Evil and religion: Ricoeurian impulses for theology in a postsecular climate

International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (2):129-148 (2015)
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Abstract

Starting point of this article is a tension perceived in postsecular reassessments of religion between a new openness to religion’s meaning and importance and a negative motivation, due to religion’s violent presence. These negative conditions may hinder assessing religion in its fullness and specific character. Further reflection on the right attitude to study religion and a way out of this tension is given by analyzing Paul Ricoeur philosophical approach to religion in The Symbolism of Evil. A detailed investigation of Ricoeur’s text is necessary to find out why he, as a philosopher, turns to religious language for reflecting on what he calls ‘the reality of evil’. The outcome of this study provides a critical perspective for discussing current reassessments of religion, as well as recent debates on the use of the concept of evil. This discussion will focus on the importance of approaching religion as dealing with fundamental existential questions, including when the topic of evil is concerned. Such a deliberate and positive approach to religion does not exclude criticism. A constructive approach to religion like Ricoeur’s seems necessary to really make sense of the ‘postsecular’ perspective as bridging the gap between religious and secular approaches.

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In pursuit of the postsecular.Arie L. Molendijk - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (2):100-115.
Making sense of the postsecular: theological explorations of a critical concept.Petruschka Schaafsma - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 76 (2):91-99.

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