Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (4):681-705 (2007)

In his book Rede en religie: Een verkenning, Michiel Leezenberg discusses three aspects of religion: religion as a belief system, as it pertains to moral values and the experience of meaning, and as a practice. Concerning each of these aspects, he asks himself the question of the relation between religion and rationality. While touching on all three, this paper focuses on Leezenberg's treatment of the second aspect of religion. Although religion is of course a system of beliefs, these beliefs are strongly embedded in specific practices, making a straightforward comparison with scientific beliefs highly problematic. The central problem discussed here is that of the relation between religious values and modern, secular values. The paper argues that the opposition is not simply between religious and secular morality, but between any morality in which moral taboos play an essential role and a certain utopianism present in secular morality. This leads to an investigation of the supposed link between religion and conservatism. The paper ends with a discussion of the recent phenomenon of the 'retour du religieux' in the form of a growing interest in religious experience via 'spirituality'
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