These sections will address philosophy of religion as studied primarily in analytic departments of philosophy and religious studies in English speaking countries.
The philosophical exploration of religious beliefs and practices is evident in the earliest recorded philosophy, east and west.
In the west, throughout Greco-Roman philosophy and the Medieval era, philosophical reflection on God, or gods, reason and faith, the soul, afterlife, and so on were not considered to be a sub-discipline called “philosophy of religion.” The philosophy of God was simply one component among many interwoven philosophical projects.
This intermingling of philosophical inquiry with religious themes and the broader enterprises of philosophy (e.g.
Philosophy of religion is the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions.
It involves all the main areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics and value theory, the philosophy of language, philosophy of science, law, sociology, politics, history, and so on.
While this field is vital for philosophy, philosophy of religion may also make a pivotal contribution to religious studies and theology.
Cudworth and his Cambridge University colleague Henry More produced philosophical work with a specific focus on religion and so, if one insisted on dating the beginning of philosophy of religion as a field, there are good reasons for claiming that it began (gradually) in the mid- 17 century (see Taliaferro 2005).Philosophy of religion is therefore relevant to practical concerns; its subject matter is not all abstract theory.Given the vast percentage of the world population that is either aligned with religion or affected by religion, philosophy of religion has a secure role in addressing people's actual values and commitments.Philosophy of religion also includes an investigation into the religious significance of historical events (e.g., the Holocaust) and general features of the cosmos (e.g., laws of nature, the emergence of conscious life, widespread testimony of religious significance, and so on).Section one offers an overview of the field and its significance, with subsequent sections covering developments in the field since the mid-twentieth century.