Simone Weil's influence has been enormous and in this age of doubt and uncertainty there is something particularly appealing about this French Jewish writer, for Weil lived out her beliefs. From an early age she was attracted to Bolshevism, became an anarchist and helped Trotsky. She joined the International Red Brigade to fight Franco in the Spanish Civil War. An agnostic, she experienced a profound religious conversion, yet never converted to the Christian faith to which she was so deeply attracted. (...) This clear lucid exposition of her life and work shows how Weil is truly a prophet for our age and an indispensable source of encouragement to all those at the frontiers of religion, both within and without. (shrink)
The papers in this collection present a diversity of views on the epistemology of religious belief. There is a diversity of views about the intelligibility of particular religious beliefs: for example, about the reality of God's existence and of miracles. There is further disagreement concerning the reasonableness of religious belief itself. Some contributors argue that locating grounds for believing in God is still a fruitful undertaking. Both issues raise the problem of the philosopher's position vis-a-vis religious belief. Are philosophers in (...) a privileged position to determine either the reasonableness or the intelligibility of religious belief? Or is philosophy, properly understood, a descriptive task? The papers in this collection present a diversity of views on this issue, too. Drawing on the works of Kierkegaard, a few of the contributors argue that philosophical description cannot be neatly divorced from religious persuasion. Whatever their views on these issues, however, the contributors accept that philosophical discussion cannot proceed very far without attention to what religious believers say about their beliefs and the practices in which they take part. (shrink)
In his 1985 book on philosophy and atheism, the Canadian thinker Kai Nielsen, a prolific writer on the subject, wonders why the philosophy of religion is ‘so boring’, and concludes that it must be ‘because the case for atheism is so strong that it is difficult to work up much enthusiasm for the topic.’ Indeed, Nielsen even regards most of the contemporary arguments for atheism as little more than ‘mopping up operations after the Enlightenment’ which, on the whole, add little (...) to the socio-anthropological and socio-psychological accounts of religion provided by thinkers like Feuerbach, Marx and Freud, as any ‘reasonable person informed by modernity’ will readily acknowledge. On this view, the answer to Kant's question – ‘What may we hope?’ – does not gesture towards a resurrection and personal immortality, but instead to the death of religious discourse itself: I think, and indeed hope, that God-talk, and religious discourse more generally, is, or at least should be, dying out in the West, or more generally in a world that has felt the force of a Weberian disenchantment of the world. This sense that religious convictions are no longer a live option is something which people who think of themselves as either modernists or post-modernists very often tend to have. (shrink)
God is said to be Spirit, but the language of spirit is ignored in contemporary philosophy of religion. As well as exploring the notion of spirit in Hegel, Romanticism and Kierkegaard, participants explore the view that God is a spirit without a body, and the relations between "spirit" and "truth.".