Chapter

Religious Understanding, Naturalism, and Theory

Fiona Ellis

in New Models of Religious Understanding

Published in print December 2017 | ISBN: 9780198796732
Published online December 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191837968 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198796732.003.0003
Religious Understanding, Naturalism, and Theory

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What is the relation between religious understanding and theory? And what does it have to do with naturalism? This chapter tackles these questions initially by examining John Cottingham’s contribution to this volume, and in particular the distinction he makes between two ways of comprehending the nature of religious understanding. The chapter raises some questions about his antipathy toward theory, and proposes a model which is compatible with his praxis-oriented account and draws upon the natural theology defended elsewhere by this chapter’s author. The chapter concludes that religious understanding must be explained on its own terms, and that it has both a practical and a theoretical dimension. This conclusion is compatible with most of what Cottingham says, and it allows us to clarify in further detail where theory can go wrong and to enter into dialogue with one who opposes the theistic dimension of the picture.

Keywords: naturalism; natural theology; theory; atheism; theology; Levinas

Chapter.  6467 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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