Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

Excerpt

For some years I have been teaching the philosophy of religion to students interested in the foundations of religious belief but with no preparation in philosophy. Coming from courses in literature and in the physical and social sciences, these students brought with them many questions involving values, the nature of truth, the compatibility of religious faith with the findings of science, and the nature of man and his destiny. As discussion proceeded it became increasingly clear that I could not assume that they had even an elementary knowledge of the physical world as a whole, let alone any appreciation of the basic problems involved in the interpretation of scientific discoveries. They tended to take for granted that what had been taught in biology, psychology, and sociology was all that was to be known about man's nature--the more since they had little knowledge of their own religious tradition at its best. Moreover, they were relatively unaware of the problems involved in interpreting "facts," having had little practice in considering man's world as a whole. Yet these students were particularly anxious to know whether one could find any basis for religious belief in a world whose energies might any day blow up in their faces.

To help meet this situation, what seemed to be required was a book bringing together the fundamental facts and problems relevant to the thinking through of basic religious issues. The point of departure for such a book should be sections, like Chapter 1 and 2, which articulated the student's problems in the religious area. It then might proceed to supply basic information and exposition of philosophical problems with regard to the nature of truth, the nature and validity of religious experience, the basis for the con-

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