The encyclopedia of world religions / Robert S. Ellwood, general editor; Gregory D. Alles, associate .. is the one on the Study of Religions (see RELIGION. PDF | of the,abstract conception,of selfhood,and,dogmatic rationalism found in In the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (ERN) we set. BOOK REVIEWS The first edition of the ER appeared in under the editorship of Mircea Eliade, the preem- inent Romanian historian of religion whose aca-.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Dutch|
|Genre:||Children & Youth|
|ePub File Size:||22.33 MB|
|PDF File Size:||18.18 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Sign up for free]|
TEFL courses in person and tutored those taking distance your lesson plan so that they can talk to you Putting Your Le Encyclopedia of African Religion. 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA. Encyclopedia of religion / Lindsay Jones, editor in chief.— 2nd ed. p. cm. Fully updated edition! The new edition of the Dartmouth. Medal-winning Encyclopedia of Religion, published by Macmillan Reference USA,™ an imprint of Gale.
Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Encyclopedia of Religion 2nd edition; edited by Lindsay Jones. David Wulff. Edited by Lindsay Jones. Detroit, gram at the University of Chicago.
Instead, it is appropriate to turn to what is covered, noting that the rise in religiously motivated violence makes this a particularly timely work, while the refusal of the editor to define or analyze the terms of religion and war, while understandable, is unfortunate. It is more appropriate to turn to the salient themes of the work.
First, it is argued that most religions have explicitly scriptural and doctrinal views on war. As the editor points out, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions share a view of war as a means for establishing the divine will on Earth. Indeed, human violence prefigures that of the apocalypse. The role of war in Hinduism is also noted. Second, many religions have supported states when the latter have waged war, against both external and internal enemies.
Clerical warriors—for example, forces of Buddhist monks—marked the culmination of this. Indeed, religious pacifism is widespread, although more so in some religions Hinduism than others Islam. In the organization of the work, the editor notes the development and diversity of religions and therefore divides them by chronology and branch.
The text is ably laid out, with a clear typeface and with entries supported by boxed and sourced quotations, each long enough to be of value, and by extensive further reading. The illustrations, however, are not always relevant. The photograph of a soldier for the entry on the English Civil Wars with the caption "This [sic] English Civil War Society performs re-enactments of battles using authentic weapons, tactics, and clothing" is one of many that could have been dispensed with.
The space could have been more profitably used for a conclusion. The entries are up-to-date; that on Hizbullah, for example, including its recent confrontation with the United States. Fifth, and probably most importantly in terms of the history of ideas, the seminal philosopher of science Carl Hempel — contended that the project of logical positivism was too limited Hempel It was insensitive to the broader task of scientific inquiry which is properly conducted not on the tactical scale of scrutinizing particular claims about empirical experience but in terms of a coherent, overall theory or view of the world.
According to Hempel, we should be concerned with empirical inquiry but see this as defined by an overall theoretical understanding of reality and the laws of nature. Moreover, the positivist critique of what they called metaphysics was attacked as confused as some metaphysics was implied in their claims about empirical experience; see the aptly titled classic The Metaphysics of Logical Positivism by Gustav Bergmann — Let us now turn to Wittgenstein — and the philosophy of religion his work inspired.
In the Philosophical Investigations published posthumously in and in many other works including the publication of notes taken by his students on his lectures , Wittgenstein opposed what he called the picture theory of meaning. On this view, statements are true or false depending upon whether reality matches the picture expressed by the statements.
Wittgenstein came to see this view of meaning as deeply problematic. The meaning of language is, rather, to be found not in referential fidelity but in its use in what Wittgenstein referred to as forms of life.
As this position was applied to religious matters, D. Phillips , , B. Tilghman , and, more recently, Howard Wettstein , sought to displace traditional metaphysical debate and arguments over theism and its alternatives and to focus instead on the way language about God, the soul, prayer, resurrection, the afterlife, and so on, functions in the life of religious practitioners.
For example, Phillips contended that the practice of prayer is best not viewed as humans seeking to influence an all powerful, invisible person, but to achieve solidarity with other persons in light of the fragility of life.
To ask whether God exists is not to ask a theoretical question. If it is to mean anything at all, it is to wonder about praising and praying; it is to wonder whether there is anything in all that. Phillips At least two reasons bolstered this philosophy of religion inspired by Wittgenstein. First, it seemed as though this methodology was more faithful to the practice of philosophy of religion being truly about the actual practice of religious persons themselves.
Second, while there has been a revival of philosophical arguments for and against theism and alternative concepts of God as will be noted in section 5 , significant numbers of philosophers from the mid-twentieth century onward have concluded that all the traditional arguments and counter-arguments about the metaphysical claims of religion are indecisive. If that is the case, the Wittgenstein-inspired new philosophy of religion had the advantage of shifting ground to what might be a more promising area of agreement.
While this non-realist approach to religion has its defenders today, especially in work by Howard Wettstein, many philosophers have contended that traditional and contemporary religious life rests on making claims about what is truly the case in a realist context. It is hard to imagine why persons would pray to God if they, literally, thought there is no God of any kind. Interestingly, perhaps inheriting the Wittgenstein stress on practice, some philosophers working on religion today place greater stress on the meaning of religion in life, rather than seeing religious belief as primarily a matter of assessing an hypothesis see Cottingham Virtually all the extant and current methodologies in epistemology have been employed in assessing religious claims.
Some of these methods have been more rationalistic in the sense that they have involved reasoning from ostensibly self-evident truths e.
Also, some have sought to be ahistorical not dependent upon historical revelation claims , while others are profoundly historical e. Over the past twenty years, there has been a growing literature on the nature of religious faith. Among many philosophers in the analytical tradition, faith has often been treated as the propositional attitude belief, e. The following examines first what is known as evidentialism and reformed epistemology and then a form of what is called volitional epistemology of religion.
On this view, the belief in question must not be undermined or defeated by other, evident beliefs held by the person. Moreover, evidentialists often contend that the degree of confidence in a belief should be proportional to the evidence. Evidentialism has been defended by representatives of all the different viewpoints in philosophy of religion: theism, atheism, advocates of non-theistic models of God, agnostics.
Evidentialists have differed in terms of their accounts of evidence what weight might be given to phenomenology? Probably the most well known evidentialist in the field of philosophy of religion who advocates for theism is Richard Swinburne —. Swinburne was and is the leading advocate of theistic natural theology since the early s. Swinburne has applied his considerable analytical skills in arguing for the coherence and cogency of theism, and the analysis and defense of specific Christian teachings about the trinity, incarnation, the resurrection of Christ, revelation, and more.
Taylor — , F. Tennant — , William Temple — , H. Lewis — , and A. Ewing — The positive philosophical case for theism has been met by work by many powerful philosophers, most recently Ronald Hepburn — , J. Schellenberg — , and Paul Draper —. There have been at least two interesting, recent developments in the philosophy of religion in the framework of evidentialism. Arguably, in the Christian understanding of values, an evident relationship with God is part of the highest human good, and if God were loving, God would bring about such a good.
Because there is evidence that God does not make Godself available to earnest seekers of such a relationship, this is evidence that such a God does not exist.
The argument applies beyond Christian values and theism, and to any concept of God in which God is powerful and good and such that a relationship with such a good God would be fulfilling and good for creatures.
It would not work with a concept of God as we find, for example, in the work of Aristotle in which God is not lovingly and providentially engaged in the world. This line of reasoning is often referred to in terms of the hiddenness of God. Another interesting development has been advanced by Sandra Menssen and Thomas Sullivan. In philosophical reflection about God the tendency has been to give priority to what may be called bare theism assessing the plausibility of there being the God of theism rather than a more specific concept of God.
This priority makes sense insofar as the plausibility of a general thesis there are mammals on the savanna will be greater than a more specific thesis there are 12, giraffes on the savanna. Perhaps the import of the Menssen-Sullivan proposal is that philosophers of religion need to enhance their critical assessment of general positions along with taking seriously more specific accounts about the data on hand e. Evidentialism has been challenged on many grounds.
Some argue that it is too stringent; we have many evident beliefs that we would be at a loss to successfully justify. Instead of evidentialism, some philosophers adopt a form of reliabilism, according to which a person may be justified in a belief so long as the belief is produced by a reliable means, whether or not the person is aware of evidence that justifies the belief.
Two movements in philosophy of religion develop positions that are not in line with the traditional evidential tradition: reformed epistemology and volitional epistemology. Reformed epistemology has been championed by Alvin Plantinga — and Nicholas Wolterstorff — , among others. While this sense of God may not be apparent due to sin, it can reliably prompt persons to believe in God and support a life of Christian faith.
While this prompting may play an evidential role in terms of the experience or ostensible perception of God, it can also warrant Christian belief in the absence of evidence or argument see K. In the language Plantinga introduced, belief in God may be as properly basic as our ordinary beliefs about other persons and the world.
The framework of Reformed epistemology is conditional as it advances the thesis that if there is a God and if God has indeed created us with a sensus divinitatis that reliably leads us to believe truly that God exists, then such belief is warranted.
There is a sense in which Reformed epistemology is more of a defensive strategy offering grounds for thinking that religious belief, if true, is warranted rather than providing a positive reason why persons who do not have or believe they have a sensus divinitatis should embrace Christian faith.
Plantinga has argued that at least one alternative to Christian faith, secular naturalism, is deeply problematic, if not self-refuting, but this position if cogent has been advanced more as a reason not to be a naturalist than as a reason for being a theist.
Reformed epistemology is not ipso facto fideism. Fideism explicitly endorses the legitimacy of faith without the support, not just of propositional evidence, but also of reason MacSwain By contrast, Reformed epistemology offers a metaphysical and epistemological account of warrant according to which belief in God can be warranted even if it is not supported by evidence and it offers an account of properly basic belief according to which basic belief in God is on an epistemic par with our ordinary basic beliefs about the world and other minds which seem to be paradigmatically rational.
Nonetheless, while Reformed epistemology is not necessarily fideistic, it shares with fideism the idea that a person may have a justified religious belief in the absence of evidence. Consider now what is called volitional epistemology in the philosophy of religion. Paul Moser has systematically argued for a profoundly different framework in which he contends that if the God of Christianity exists, this God would not be evident to inquirers who for example are curious about whether God exists.
This process might involve persons receiving accepting the revelation of Jesus Christ as redeemer and sanctifier who calls persons to a radical life of loving compassion, even the loving of our enemies. If the experts disagree about such matters, what should non-experts think and do?
Or, putting the question to the so-called experts, if you as a trained inquirer disagree about the above matters with those whom you regard as equally intelligent and sensitive to evidence, should that fact alone bring you to modify or even abandon the confidence you hold concerning your own beliefs? Some philosophers propose that in the case of disagreements among epistemic peers, one should seek some kind of account of the disagreement. For example, is there any reason to think that the evidence available to you and your peers differs or is conceived of differently.
Perhaps there are ways of explaining, for example, why Buddhists may claim not to observe themselves as substantial selves existing over time whereas a non-Buddhist might claim that self-observation provides grounds for believing that persons are substantial, enduring agents David Lund The non-Buddhist might need another reason to prefer her framework over the Buddhist one, but she would at least perhaps have found a way of accounting for why equally reasonable persons would come to different conclusions in the face of ostensibly identical evidence.
Assessing the significance of disagreement over religious belief is very different from assessing the significance of disagreement in domains where there are clearer, shared understandings of methodology and evidence. For example, if two equally proficient detectives examine the same evidence that Smith murdered Jones, their disagreement should other things being equal lead us to modify confidence that Smith is guilty, for the detectives may be presumed to use the same evidence and methods of investigation.
But in assessing the disagreements among philosophers over for example the coherence and plausibility of theism, philosophers today often rely on different methodologies phenomenology, empiricism, conceptual or linguistic analysis, structural theory, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and so on. But what if a person accepts a given religion as reasonable and yet acknowledges that equally reasonable, mature, responsible inquirers adopt a different religion incompatible with her own and they all share a similar philosophical methodology?
This situation is not an abstract thought experiment. One option would be to adopt an epistemological pluralism, according to which persons can be equally well justified in affirming incompatible beliefs.
This option would seem to provide some grounds for epistemic humility Audi ; Ward , , At the end of this section, two observations are also worth noting about epistemic disagreements. First, our beliefs and our confidence in the truth of our beliefs may not be under our voluntary control. Perhaps you form a belief of the truth of Buddhism based on what you take to be compelling evidence. Even if you are convinced that equally intelligent persons do not reach a similar conclusion, that alone may not empower you to deny what seems to you to be compelling.
Second, if the disagreement between experts gives you reason to abandon a position, then the very principle you are relying on one should abandon a belief that X if experts disagree about X would be undermined, for experts disagree about what one should do when experts disagree.
For overviews and explorations of relevant philosophical work in a pluralistic setting, see New Models of Religious Understanding edited by Fiona Ellis and Renewing Philosophy of Religion edited by Paul Draper and J. Religion and Science The relationship between religion and science has been an important topic in twentieth century philosophy of religion and it seems highly important today. This section begins by considering the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine now the National Academy of Medicine statement on the relationship between science and religion: Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience.
In science, explanations must be based on evidence drawn from examining the natural world. Scientifically based observations or experiments that conflict with an explanation eventually must lead to modification or even abandonment of that explanation.
Religious faith, in contrast, does not depend only on empirical evidence, is not necessarily modified in the face of conflicting evidence, and typically involves supernatural forces or entities. Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science.
In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways. Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist. Neither God nor Allah nor Brahman the divine as conceived of in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism is a physical or material object or process.
It seems, then, that the divine or the sacred and many other elements in world religions meditation, prayer, sin and forgiveness, deliverance from craving can only be indirectly investigated scientifically.
So, a neurologist can produce detailed studies of the brains of monks and nuns when they pray and meditate, and there can be comparative studies of the health of those who practice a religion and those who do not, but it is very hard to conceive of how to scientifically measure God or Allah or Brahman or the Dao, heaven, and so on.
Despite the initial plausibility of the Academies stance, however, it may be problematic. The later are a panoply of what is commonly thought of as preposterous superstition.
The similarity of the terms supernatural and superstitious may not be an accident. Moving beyond this minor point about terminology, religious beliefs have traditionally and today been thought of as subject to evidence.
Evidence for religious beliefs have included appeal to the contingency of the cosmos and principles of explanation, the ostensibly purposive nature of the cosmos, the emergence of consciousness, and so on. Evidence against religious belief have included appeal to the evident, quantity of evil in the cosmos, the success of the natural sciences, and so on. One reason, however, for supporting the Academies notion that religion and science do not overlap is the fact that in modern science there has been a bracketing of reference to minds and the mental.
That is, the sciences have been concerned with a mind-independent physical world, whereas in religion this is chiefly a domain concerned with mind feelings, emotions, thoughts, ideas, and so on , created minds and in the case of some religions the mind of God.
The science of Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton was carried out with an explicit study of the world without appeal to anything involving what today would be referred to as the psychological, the mind or the mental.
The bracketing of mind from the physical sciences was not a sign of early scientists having any doubts about the existence, power and importance of minds.
That is, from Kepler through Newton and on to the early twentieth century, scientists themselves did not doubt the causal significance of minds; they simply did not include minds their own or the minds of others among the data of what they were studying. But interestingly, each of the early modern scientists believed that what they were studying was in some fashion made possible by the whole of the natural world terrestrial and celestial being created and sustained in existence by a Divine Mind, an all good, necessarily existing Creator.
They had an overall or comprehensive worldview according to which science itself was reasonable and made sense. Scientists have to have a kind of faith or trust in their methods and that the cosmos is so ordered that their methods are effective and reliable. Whether there is sufficient evidence for or against some religious conception of the cosmos will be addressed in section 4.
Let us contrast briefly, however, two very different views on whether contemporary science has undermined religious belief. According to Steven Pinker, science has shown the beliefs of many religions to be false. We know, but our ancestors did not, that humans belong to a single species of African primate that developed agriculture, government, and writing late in its history.
We know that our species is a tiny twig of a genealogical tree that embraces all living things and that emerged from prebiotic chemicals almost four billion years ago. There is no such thing as fate, providence, karma, spells, curses, augury, divine retribution, or answered prayer—though the discrepancy between the laws of probability and the workings of cognition may explain why people think there is. Pinker Following up on Pinker, it should be noted that it would not be scientifically acceptable today to appeal to miracles or to direct acts of God.
Any supposed miracle would to many, if not all scientists be a kind of defeat and to welcome an unacceptable mystery. This is why some philosophers of science propose that the sciences are methodologically atheistic. As Michael Ruse points out: The arguments that are given for suggesting that science necessitates atheism are not convincing. There is no question that many of the claims of religion are no longer tenable in light of modern science. But more sophisticated Christians know that already.
The thing is that these things are not all there is to religions, and many would say that they are far from the central claims of religion—God existing and being creator and having a special place for humans and so forth. Ruse 74—75 Ruse goes on to note that religions address important concerns that go beyond what is approachable only from the standpoint of the natural sciences. Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the purpose of it all? And somewhat more controversially what are the basic foundations of morality and what is sentience?
Science takes the world as given Science sees no ultimate purpose to reality… I would say that as science does not speak to these issues, I see no reason why the religious person should not offer answers. They cannot be scientific answers. They must be religious answers—answers that will involve a God or gods. There is something rather than nothing because a good God created them from love out of nothing. The purpose of it all is to find eternal bliss with the Creator.
We humans are not just any old kind of organism. This does not mean that the religious answers are beyond criticism, but they must be answered on philosophical or theological grounds and not simply because they are not scientific.
Philosophical Reflection on Theism and Its Alternatives For much of the history of philosophy of religion, there has been stress on the assessment of theism. Section 6 makes special note of this broadening of horizons. Theism still has some claim for special attention given the large world population that is aligned with theistic traditions the Abrahamic faiths and theistic Hinduism and the enormity of attention given to the defense and critique of theism in philosophy of religion historically and today.
Divine attributes in this tradition have been identified by philosophers as those attributes that are the greatest compossible set of great-making properties; properties are compossible when they can be instantiated by the same being.
Traditionally, the divine attributes have been identified as omnipotence, omniscience, perfect goodness, worthiness of worship, necessary of non-contingent existence, and eternality existing outside of time or atemporally. Each of these attributes has been subject to nuanced different analysis, as noted below. God has also been traditionally conceived to be incorporeal or immaterial, immutable, impassable, omnipresent.
One of the tools philosophers use in their investigation into divine attributes involve thought experiments. In thought experiments, hypothetical cases are described—cases that may or may not represent the way things are.
In these descriptions, terms normally used in one context are employed in expanded settings. Thus, in thinking of God as omniscient, one might begin with a non-controversial case of a person knowing that a proposition is true, taking note of what it means for someone to possess that knowledge and of the ways in which the knowledge is secured. Various degrees of refinement would then be in order, as one speculates not only about the extent of a maximum set of propositions known but also about how these might be known.
That is, in attributing omniscience to God, would one thereby claim God knows all truths in a way that is analogous to the way we come to know truths about the world? Too close an analogy would produce a peculiar picture of God relying upon, for example, induction, sensory evidence, or the testimony of others.
Using thought experiments often employs an appearance principle. One version of an appearance principle is that a person has a reason for believing that some state of affairs SOA is possible if she can conceive, describe or imagine the SOA obtaining and she knows of no independent reasons for believing the SOA is impossible. As stated the principle is advanced as simply offering a reason for believing the SOA to be possible, and it thus may be seen a advancing a prima facie reason.
If God does know you will freely do some act X, then it is true that you will indeed do X. But if you are free, would you not be free to avoid doing X? Given that it is foreknown you will do X, it appears you would not be free to refrain from the act. Initially this paradox seems easy to dispel. If God knows about your free action, then God knows that you will freely do something and that you could have refrained from it. Think of what is sometimes called the necessity of the past.
Once a state of affairs has obtained, it is unalterably or necessarily the case that it did occur. If the problem is put in first-person terms and one imagines God foreknows you will freely turn to a different entry in this Encyclopedia moreover, God knows with unsurpassable precision when you will do so, which entry you will select and what you will think about it , then an easy resolution of the paradox seems elusive.
To highlight the nature of this problem, imagine God tells you what you will freely do in the next hour. Under such conditions, is it still intelligible to believe you have the ability to do otherwise if it is known by God as well as yourself what you will indeed elect to do? Self-foreknowledge, then, produces an additional related problem because the psychology of choice seems to require prior ignorance about what will be choose. Various replies to the freedom-foreknowledge debate have been given.
Some adopt compatibilism, affirming the compatibility of free will and determinism, and conclude that foreknowledge is no more threatening to freedom than determinism.
While some prominent philosophical theists in the past have taken this route most dramatically Jonathan Edwards — , this seems to be the minority position in philosophy of religion today exceptions include Paul Helm, John Fischer, and Lynne Baker. A second position adheres to the libertarian outlook, which insists that freedom involves a radical, indeterminist exercise of power, and concludes that God cannot know future free action.
What prevents such philosophers from denying that God is omniscient is that they contend there are no truths about future free actions, or that while there are truths about the future, God either cannot know those truths Swinburne or freely decides not to know them in order to preserve free choice John Lucas. Aristotle may have thought it was neither true nor false prior to a given sea battle whether a given side would win it.
Some theists, such as Richard Swinburne, adopt this line today, holding that the future cannot be known. If it cannot be known for metaphysical reasons, then omniscience can be analyzed as knowing all that it is possible to know. Other philosophers deny the original paradox.
God can simply know the future without this having to be grounded on an established, determinate future. But this only works if there is no necessity of eternity analogous to the necessity of the past.
If not, then there is an exactly parallel dilemma of timeless knowledge. For outstanding current analysis of freedom and foreknowledge, see the work of Linda Zagzebski. In the great monotheistic traditions, God is thought of as without any kind of beginning or end. God will never, indeed, can never, cease to be. This view is sometimes referred to as the thesis that God is everlasting. This is sometimes called the view that God is eternal as opposed to everlasting.
Why adopt the more radical stance? One reason, already noted, is that if God is not temporally bound, there may be a resolution to the earlier problem of reconciling freedom and foreknowledge.
As St. Augustine of Hippo put it: so that of those things which emerge in time, the future, indeed, are not yet, and the present are now, and the past no longer are; but all of these are by Him comprehended in His stable and eternal presence.
The City of God, XI. Those affirming God to be unbounded by temporal sequences face several puzzles which I note without trying to settle. If God is somehow at or in all times, is God simultaneously at or in each? If so, there is the following problem. If God is simultaneous with the event of Rome burning in CE, and also simultaneous with your reading this entry, then it seems that Rome must be burning at the same time you are reading this entry.
A different problem arises with respect to eternity and omniscience. If God is outside of time, can God know what time it is now? Arguably, there is a fact of the matter that it is now, say, midnight on 1 July A God outside of time might know that at midnight on 1 July certain things occur, but could God know when it is now that time?
For some theists, describing God as a person or person-like God loves, acts, knows is not to equivocate. But it is not clear that an eternal God could be personal. Some religions construe the Divine as in some respect beyond our human notions of good and evil.
In some forms of Hinduism, for example, Brahman has been extolled as possessing a sort of moral transcendence, and some Christian theologians and philosophers have likewise insisted that God is only a moral agent in a highly qualified sense, if at all Davies To call God good is, for them, very different from calling a human being good.
Here are only some of the ways in which philosophers have articulated what it means to call God good. The latter view has been termed theistic voluntarism. A common version of theistic voluntarism is the claim that for something to be good or right simply means that God approves of permits it and for something to be bad or wrong means that God disapproves or forbids it.
Theistic voluntarists face several difficulties: moral language seems intelligible without having to be explained in terms of the Divine will. Indeed, many people make what they take to be objective moral judgments without making any reference to God. If they are using moral language intelligibly, how could it be that the very meaning of such moral language should be analyzed in terms of Divine volitions?
New work in the philosophy of language may be of use to theistic voluntarists. Also at issue is the worry that if voluntarism is accepted, the theist has threatened the normative objectivity of moral judgments.