Authors
Daniele Bertini
University Of Rome 2, Tor Vergata
Abstract
My paper addresses what a religion is. I comment briefly on the "substantive versus functionalist" debate, and I provide reasons to reject both of them. While I offer short summary arguments against the functionalist approach, I develop two detailed arguments against the substantive one. The former moves from the evidence that religious beliefs change over time. The latter moves from internal disagreements about the meaning of the core beliefs of a faith. These two arguments show that it is impossible to reduce the belief system of any historical faith to a set of propositions which all the adherents to a tradition assent to. Although my arguments are conceptual, I include also empirical materials in support of my view. I then conclude by presenting a pluralist account of religions from an internalist standpoint.
Keywords Substantive definitions of religion  Functionalist definitions of religion  Peter van Inwagen  Religious Pluralism
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