Religious Understanding, Naturalism, and Desire

Fiona Ellis

in Making Sense of the World

Published in print December 2017 | ISBN: 9780190469863
Published online November 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780190469887 | DOI:
Religious Understanding, Naturalism, and Desire

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David Burrell uses the image of a transformative pilgrimage to capture what is at issue when the notion of religious understanding is introduced. This chapter challenges the naturalist’s objection to the very idea of there being a journey in this sense, grants with John Cottingham that the transformation is moral and spiritual, and considers what it could mean for such understanding to be theoretical as well as practical. Further questions arise concerning the “fuel” of this transformative journey, and Levinas claims that it is motivated by desire. This chapter considers the merits of his position and concludes that it offers the shape for a model of religious understanding which can genuinely appeal to an expansive, i.e., nonscientistic, naturalist.

Keywords: religious understanding; naturalism; expansive naturalism; atheism; desire; theory; natural theology

Chapter.  8424 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics ; Philosophy

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