An Analytical Philosophy of Religion

An Analytical Philosophy of Religion

An Analytical Philosophy of Religion

An Analytical Philosophy of Religion

Excerpt

This book is written with a threefold purpose. First, it is planned as a textbook in philosophy of religion. It is meant for students in philosophy who are well acquainted with modern analytical and empirical philosophy and who wonder what can be said about religion from the point of view of this philosophy. It is intended also for theological students who are well acquainted with modern theology and who wonder about the implications of contemporary philosophy for theological thinking.

The second purpose of the book is more ambitious. I hope that it will encourage a fruitful discussion between philosophers and theologians, between those who respect Carnap and Feigl and have read some of Sartre, and those who admire, Barth, Nygren, and the Niebuhrs. Yet by means of this second intention also the volume addresses itself to students. By students are meant persons who do not "know," and who therefore want to discuss and to learn. They differ from another type of person, people who "know," who are quite certain and who therefore are no more in need of learning, namely, the "professors!"

The world of philosophers and theologians is full of professors. We have all met theologians who "know" that logical empiricism is "unspiritual," that it does not take into account "the deeper aspects of reality," and therefore cannot be of any use to a religious man. And who does not know those professors of philosophy who are quite certain that religion is a "cultural lag," and who suggest that a cultivated man who claims to be a Christian is lacking either in moral integrity or in intellectual keenness? I myself have not yet reached the maturity and certainty of such professors; my thinking is too full of question marks and doubts, as well in regard to "religion," as in matters of philosophy. I hope to find readers who suffer from similar doubts and questions, and who share my interest in an encounter of theological and philosophical thinking. It is not impossible that one can learn a great deal in this way.

The third purpose of the book is to try to defend a particular thesis. It is possible to discuss matters of faith in a more or less impartial way. It is possible to try to understand the deepest motivations of our own and of others' beliefs without immediately becoming defensive or aggres-

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