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Homo Religiosus?
Exploring the Roots of Religion and Religious Freedom in Human Experience


Part of Cambridge Studies in Religion, Philosophy, and Society

Jack Friedman, Timothy Samuel Shah, Christian Smith, Phil Zuckerman, Justin L. Barrett, Richard Sosis, Jordan Kiper, Alvin Plantinga, Ernest Sosa, Linda K. George, Jeff Levin, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Christopher Tollefsen, Stephen Macedo
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  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108422352

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About the Authors
  • Are humans naturally predisposed to religion and supernatural beliefs? If so, does this naturalness provide a moral foundation for religious freedom? This volume offers a cross-disciplinary approach to these questions, engaging in a range of contemporary debates at the intersection of religion, cognitive science, sociology, anthropology, political science, epistemology, and moral philosophy. The contributors to this original and important volume present individual, sometimes opposing points of view on the naturalness of religion thesis and its implications for religious freedom. Topics include the epistemological foundations of religion, the relationship between religion and health, and a discussion of the philosophical foundations of religious freedom as a natural, universal right, drawing implications for the normative role of religion in public life. By challenging dominant intellectual paradigms, such as the secularization thesis and the Enlightenment view of religion, the volume opens the door to a powerful and provocative reconceptualization of religious freedom.

    • Features chapters by authors presenting opposing viewpoints on the 'naturalness' of religion, the rationality of materialism, the relationship between religion and health, and the implications of scientific views of religion for religious freedom rights
    • Examines the centrality of religion to human experience through multiple disciplinary perspectives, including cognitive and evolutionary science, anthropology, sociology, political theory, and epistemology
    • Discusses the political implications of the centrality and naturalness of religion to human experience, with particular reference both to early Enlightenment critics of religion and to modern 'anti-essentialist' critics of the conceptual frameworks of religion and religious freedom
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The contributors to this superb, inter-disciplinary collection are leaders in their respective fields. They illuminate a subject that should be of concern to everyone.' Roger Trigg, Ian Ramsey Centre, University of Oxford

    'In recent years, academic and policy debates over religious freedom have had the unexpected but welcome effect of encouraging researchers to revisit several long-neglected questions: just what we mean by 'religion', whether religion is universal, and the implications of religion's presence in societies for our understanding of human nature. Although these questions are being posed anew in many circles, Timothy Samuel Shah and Jack Friedman's Homo Religiosus? is the first book to bring together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to address the issues in a philosophically sophisticated and comparative manner. The result is a pathbreaking book. The exercise is also bracing: even as its contributors speak in varied voices, their shared effort highlights the most critical epistemological and ethical shifts underway today in the comparative study of religion and human freedom.' Robert W. Hefner, The Pardee School of Global Affairs, Boston University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108422352
    • length: 278 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 1 table
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Jack Friedman and Timothy Samuel Shah
    1. Are human beings naturally religious? Christian Smith
    2. Are human beings naturally religious? A response to Christian Smith Phil Zuckerman
    3. On the naturalness of religion and religious freedom Justin L. Barrett
    4. Sacred versus secular values: cognitive and evolutionary sciences of religion and their implications for religious freedom Richard Sosis and Jordan Kiper
    5. Theism, naturalism and rationality Alvin Plantinga
    6. Alvin Plantinga on theism, naturalism and rationality Ernest Sosa
    7. Research on religion and health: time to be born again? Linda K. George
    8. Religion, health and happiness: an epidemiologist's perspective Jeff Levin
    9. Why there is a natural right to religious freedom Nicholas Wolterstorff
    10. Religious liberty, human dignity, and human goods Christopher Tollefsen
    11. Human rights, public reason, and American democracy: a response to Nicholas Wolterstorff Stephen Macedo.

  • Editors

    Timothy Samuel Shah, Georgetown University, Washington DC
    Timothy Samuel Shah is Research Professor of Government at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion. He is also Director for International Research at the Religious Freedom Research Project at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and Senior Director of the South and Southeast Asia Action Team with the Religious Freedom Institute.

    Jack Friedman, Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion
    Jack Friedman is pursuing his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Maryland. He is a former project manager at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion, and a former research assistant for the Religious Freedom Research Project at Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. He is also co-editor of Religious Freedom and Gay Rights: Emerging Conflicts in the United States and Europe (2016).


    Jack Friedman, Timothy Samuel Shah, Christian Smith, Phil Zuckerman, Justin L. Barrett, Richard Sosis, Jordan Kiper, Alvin Plantinga, Ernest Sosa, Linda K. George, Jeff Levin, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Christopher Tollefsen, Stephen Macedo

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