Philosophers ask the big questions about religion

Theologians focus on the content of different religious traditions, while psychologists focus on the causes of religious beliefs. Philosophers, on the other hand, focus on the evidence for these beliefs and the rationality of these traditions. The field is called the epistemology of religion.

Luis Oliveira, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Houston, will lead a multi-continent exploration of the epistemology of religion with a $1.3 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

"What arguments are there for believing in God or for following a specific ?" Oliveira asked. "What reasons and arguments are there in support of believing or not believing, in support of belonging or not belonging to a ?" How can individuals justify either choice?

Summer workshops planned over the next three years in Brazil, Argentina and Chile will connect Latin American philosophers with colleagues from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to stimulate academic interest and research in the epistemology of religion.

Fellowships will bring Latin American scholars to U.S. universities in order to further strengthen research ties between the two groups.

The project is religiously neutral. This means the work won't be limited to one religious tradition and will include study of the reasons for atheism and agnosticism, Oliveira said. Scholars of every persuasion will be involved.

He said the timing is right. "In the last 15 years, discussions of religion in the public sphere have become very acrimonious and not very philosophical at all," he said.

"There has been too much one-sided conviction. The atheists think are ignoring the scientific evidence. The religious people think atheists are ignoring obvious aspects of the human experience. Very few acknowledge the force of the points made from the other side."

Cue the community of academic philosophers who specialize in such questions. In stark contrast to popular culture, Oliveira said the philosophical discussion of religion has grown increasingly sophisticated. Yet there has been little interaction between Latin America and the English-speaking world in this regard.

That's about to change. His project will connect Latin American scholars working in the epistemology of religion with the thriving English-speaking philosophical community and will infuse the English-speaking community with new perspectives and insights from Latin America.

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Feb 19, 2019
Arrogant condescending philosophers had "analized" many aspects of religions before: from their upper class status had waited for God to kneel in front of them and reveal Its secrets e.g., Bertrand Russell. Too bad that they did not read Plato, he could had teach them a lot about that philosophical analysis. Those analysis brought massive divorce, epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, skyrocketing suicide.

Funny how the first question that mr oliveira asked is the same that few lines above was described as the goal of psychology of religion: psychologists focus on the causes of religious beliefs = What arguments are there for believing in God

Many of us could use that money more wisely.

Feb 19, 2019
Ugh, Templeton. What little remains of philosophy is willing to put a prize on itself.

Luckily science is priceless.

The atheists think religious people are ignoring the scientific evidence. The religious people think atheists are ignoring obvious aspects of the human experience.

I would put it this way:

Non-religious consider all the sides of the coin, but rightly notes that the objective [numeric!] side is the more valuable.

It *used* to be that theologians wanted to see their magic in everything too. But those days went when science forced theology into the market of useless mind games. Such as this "but you do it too" strawman.

@mqr: Plato was a mystic; Sagan pointed out in "Cosmos" how they destroyed the first (mercantile based) Greek science.

So I guess we all know why *you* want historically rational philosophers like Russell to 'kneel in front of' him, But as I said, philosophy is now a whore for known erroneous superstition. [And WTD!? Relevance?]

Feb 19, 2019
""There has been too much one-sided conviction. The atheists think religious people are ignoring the scientific evidence."

I would enjoy attending one of those seminars.
While not being a member of any religion myself, I am aware that the Universe was created and did not come about all on its own as atheists are fond of proposing - without credible evidence for their proposal.
Obviously, there are natural and rational Laws to preserve the Universal Order where certain observable patterns are implemented and followed, leading to that Order where most are immutable Laws. The fact that such Laws and their orderly implementation are so visibly apparent, has led me to believe that they stem from a deliberately created Program and Design to promote a well established Reality. These are Truths that do not try mens' Souls, but elevate humankind to the highest aspirations, where the study of science as a tool of logic and reason (hopefully) is used to further knowledge for all.

Feb 19, 2019
With regard to Philosophy and its study - each and every utterance, thought, idea, hypothesis, theory, and concept are philosophical emanations of the human mind. Philosophy is unavoidable and so prevalent with each waking moment. Decisions, choices and motives are also all philosophical in nature. Those who are against Philosophy are against humanity, as well as against themselves.
Everyone who is capable of THOUGHT is a Philosopher.

Feb 19, 2019
"What arguments are there for believing in God"

The belief in the Creator God is a Choice, where no arguments, pro or con are required, nor to be on the defensive for one's choices. And to conduct one's life according to the way one believes would be most pleasing to God certainly requires no explanation,
Atheists have their choices also, and need not make an explanation if they don't wish to believe in the Creator God. All humans are allowed to make choices according to their own Philosophy.

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