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Charles Taliaferro on the Philosophy of Religion

Philosophy of religion is also a robust, important undertaking due to its breadth. Religious traditions are so comprehensive and all-encompassing that almost every domain of philosophy may be drawn upon in the philosophical exploration of their coherence, justification, and value. I can think of few areas of philosophy that lack religious implications. Any philosophical account of knowledge, values, reason, human nature, language, science, and the like will have a bearing on how one views God or the sacred; religious values and practices; the religious treatment of birth, history, and death; the varieties of religious experience; the relationship between science and religion; and other substantial terrain… ¶ Because it explores embedded social and personal practices, philosophy of religion is relevant to practical concerns; its subject matter is not all abstract theory. Given the vast percentage of the world population that is either aligned with religion or affected by it, philosophy of religion has a secure role in addressing people’s values and commitments. A chief point of reference in much philosophy of religion revolves not around hypothetical, highly abstract thought experiments but around the shape ad content of living traditions. Because of this practical embeddedness, philosophy of religion involves issues of great political and cultural significance. Questions are raised about the relationship between religious and secular values; religious toleration and liberty; and the religious implications and duties concerning medicine, the economy, public art, education, sexual ethics, and environmental responsibility.