Is modern critique of religion (that of past and present) practical or obsolete?

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Is modern critique of religion (that of past and present) practical or obsolete? In other terms is the philosophy of religion more of a debate or consensus? And would you say most professors of philosophy grant their attention either way?

My colleagues may disagree, but I think philosophical reflection on religion (pro and con) has never been stronger. Leading journals like Religious Studies, the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Sophia, Faith and Philosophy, Philo, Philosophia Christi, and others are vibrant places to find contemporary debate on all major topics in terms of religion (the existence of God, the relationship of religion and ethics, religious pluralism, etc). 'Philosophy of religion' is the top pick for topics in philosophy at Oxford by students, and in a poll of several years ago, it was the second preferred area of philosophy in the USA by students (the first choice was ethics). The profession of philosophy today contains many secular atheists and some are hostile to religion and its practices, but it also contains many Christians, people of Jewish faith, Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist philosophers.... So, I would say there is no consensus on religion among all philosophers today, but there is also no consensus on the best ethical theory or philosophy of science or the philosophy of mathematics and so on. This diversity should not (I suggest) lead one to believe that there are no right answers in these different domains. But it should (again I suggest) lead us to be humble when we do profess that theory X is the right answer. I am a theist, for example, while some other panelists are atheists (such as Louise Antony). but I will be the first to say that I might be wrong, and she might be right. For a great look at the lack of consensus in philosophy in many areas, check out Gary Gutting's latest book from Cambridge University Press on what philosophers do and do not know. For one overview of the arguments in philosophy of religion today, check out the free online Stanford Encyclopedia of Religion entry "Philosophy of Religion."

I am not entirely sure of the meaning of your second question. Are you asking about whether most philosophers (past and present) critique or defend or explore religious concerns / beliefs / practices? This is hard to say, but if I had to wager I think that from Socrates to the present, of all the areas of philosophy that have been covered, probably the most attention has gone into ........... I don't think I am in a position to finish that sentence, but topics that bear on religious concerns would be very high on the list, along with ethics and metaphysics (theories of what exists) and certainly more than (for example) philosophy of language or philosophy of mathematics, though I would also say that the latter two are fascinating areas of philosophy and a deep inquiry in religion, ethics, and metaphysics and epistemology (theory of knowledge) should include (and would be enriched by) a solid grounding in philosophy of language and philosophy of mathematics.

In closing it occurs to me you might be raising a different question: do most philosophers make known their views on religion? Very hard to say, though I have noticed in the last ten or fifteen years that older philosophers have seemed more explicit about their faith (like Michael Dummett, John Cottingham, Robert Audi) or their dismissal of religious faith (Simon Blackburn, Mary Midgley, David Lewis).

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