2 January 2013

IDS: What Is This Thing Called Religion? Spiritual Difference, Secular Critique, and Human Maturity

Our attitudes and approaches towards interfaith dialogue are fundamentally shaped by our understanding of the nature of religion. Is religion primarily a mater of faith, of beliefs, or of praxis? If religions are multi-dimensional phenomena, are some dimensions more important than others? Is religious commitment an authentic and indispensable facet of what it means to be fully human or a sign of inauthenticity and/or malformation? How might a distinction between true faith and false faith relate to a distinction between mature faith and immature faith? Is the category of 'quasi-religion' helpful? Do all religious (or would-be secular) positions have inclusive, exclusive, and pluralistic characteristics? Can human flourishing function as a criterion for evaluating different religious traditions? Can we formulate a vision of human maturity outside of a religious or quasi-religious tradition? In allowing questions such as the above to multiply and interact, we will explore the possibility that any viable model of religion that can help us find our way in a religiously complex and diverse world must resist premature reductionism and must be aware of the self-referential nature and implications of its investigations. 

ICS 2400AC W13
Thursdays 5:00pm-8:00pm
(MA, PhD)