Keeping score: the consequential critique of religion [Book Review]

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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DOI 10.1007/s11153-011-9311-8
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References found in this work BETA
Keith Ward (2006). Is Religion Dangerous? William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co..
J. Angelo Corlett (2009). Dawkins' God Less Delusion. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 65 (3):125 - 138.

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Citations of this work BETA
Andrew Johnson (2013). An Apology for the “New Atheism”. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 73 (1):5-28.

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Aku Visala (2008). Religion and the Human Mind: Philosophical Perspectives on the Cognitive Science of Religion. Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 50 (2):109-130.
Keith Ward (2006). Is Religion Dangerous? William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co..
Re'em Segev (2009). Second-Order Equality and Levelling Down. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):425 – 443.

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