Keeping score: the consequential critique of religion [Book Review]
Graduate studies at Western
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 70 (3):231-246 (2011)
|Abstract||This essay attempts to specify just what one would need to show in order to draw any substantive conclusion about religion’s consequential value. It is focused on three central questions: (1) What exactly is being evaluated? (2) What benefits and harms are relevant? (3) How are the relevant benefits and harms to be assessed? Each of these questions gives rise to a range of thorny philosophical and empirical issues, and any thesis about religion’s ultimate consequential value will therefore be contingent on a range of rationally contestable assumptions and stipulations. Consequently, one should not take it as “obvious” that religion is a harmful social force, or that the world would be better off without it. Such claims require much more empirical research and philosophical reflection than they have received thus far. Thus, while we can point to a few clear cases of religiously-produced harm and benefit, we do not yet know what religion’s ultimate consequential value is, as counter-intuitive as that may seem|
|Keywords||Religion Consequences Social science Value Benefits Harms Comparison|
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