More On Ending the Philosophy of Religion Discipline in Secular Universities

Not all secular philosophers try to disabuse their students of faith. So if I can get more of them to do more of that, without losing their jobs in the process, they would do their students a service and be more in line with the rest of the disciplines in a secular university, where God explanations are not allowed to solve problems.

I agree we should try to understand religion, most emphatically. This isn't an either/or proposal. The questions up for debate are whether religion should be approached philosophically and whether or not other disciplines in the university would be better suited for studying religion. I think there are other disciplines, like comparative religion studies and biblical studies done the way Hector Avalos has proposed. If you want people to see that religious faith has no merit those disciplines are the best ones for this. Anthropology does this as well. Science destroys religion, especially evolutionary science. At that point there would be no need to philosophically examine the arguments for God or gods or religions, since they are seen for what they are, based on faith. In epistemology classes alone, secular philosophers worthy of their position should focus on disabusing students of faith as a virtue. Once that's done properly there's no need to examine the philosophical arguments of faith. When was the last time anyone examined the philosophical arguments for the Canaanite religion and child sacrifice in any class? That's the point. There would be no reason to do so. When secular philosophers of religion merely seek to help students understand the philosophical arguments, rather than critique them by arguing against faith, they are doing their students a disservice. They have to first choose which God or gods to do this for. And how do they choose? What's the criteria? Well, so far as I can tell these secular philosophers choose whatever God or gods are currently believed in their parochial districts. That privileges those particular gods just by taking them seriously.

And yet these philosophical arguments are indeed interesting. I know this all too well. In many ways I use them as icing on the cake, so to speak, after showing how science, comparative religion and biblical studies destroy the Christian faith. So it seems worthwhile for me, a counter-apologist who learned these arguments, to use them.

Nonetheless, perhaps my call for the end of the POR discipline can help end it in some small tiny way. Hopefully it can at least raise awareness of the need to excise religious POR in our universities, which if I understand Jaco Gericke correctly, that is a worthy goal. It's a paradoxical call, I know. Keep in mind we did without the POR discipline before WWII. Maybe we can find a way to do without it in the future too. In any case, I suppose to deal adequately with this topic a book needs to be written.

As to my young critics I say, don't be afraid to think outside the box. Many times young people who have been raised to think a certain way by experts cannot do this very well. They usually have a knee jerk reaction to something new without understanding that there was a time when that which they were raised to accept was not always accepted or in place. And the experts usually have a vested interest in keeping the status quo intact for personal reasons unrelated to the arguments. So even though you reject what I'm proposing, at least give it some deep thought. What are its merits? In doing so tell me if Nietzsche was wrong when he predicted and called for the death of God. You do realize that his prediction came true for the death of God theologians in the sixties, right? And it's coming true in Northern European countries too. Be sure you're not on the wrong side of history, that's all, even if we may not live long enough to see it. And then ask yourselves if calling for an end to the POR can actually help speed up its impending doom.


For earlier entries on this topic click on the tag below.