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Natural Religion

(1,284 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Peter | Holmes, Stephen R.
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion The concept of natural religion has more than one sense. Its primary sense was fixed during the European Enlightenment (II, 2). Natural religion is opposed to revealed religion. It is a religion based on human reason alone, in contrast to a religion whose essential principles can be known only because they have been communicated through a divine message given to specific people at specific times and places. The principles of natural religion are held to be discoverable by all people at all times and places. This notion of natural religion can…


(4,554 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Peter | Hornig, Gottfried | Pailin, David Arthur | Walters, Kerry S.
[German Version] I. Philosophy of Religion – II. Dogmatics – III. Europe – IV. North America I. Philosophy of Religion Deism has a current and a historical sense in theology and philosophy of religion. Its current sense, dating from the end of the 18th century, denotes belief in a first cause who made the world but no longer exercises any providential control over it. In its historical sense it refers…

Bradley, Francis Herbert

(146 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Peter
[German Version] (Jan 30, 1846, London – Sep 18, 1924, Oxford) spent his working life as a fellow of Merton College in Oxford. Bradley was one of the most important representatives of late 19th and early 20th-century Absolute Idealism in English philosophy. His ideas provided the target for the developing analytic school of G.E. Moore and B. …


(863 words)

Author(s): Engfer, Jürgen | Byrne, Peter | Peters, Karl E.
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Science and Religion I. Philosophy The contrasting positions held by empiricists and rationalists (Rationalism) were originally employed in ancient medicine, and in modern philosophy until I. Kant, to identify instances of bias that were to be avoided; the concept was subsequently used in a neutral or eve…


(1,006 words)

Author(s): Löhr, Gebhard | Byrne, Peter | Ven, Johannes van der | Ustorf, Werner
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Philosophy of Religion – III. Practical Theology – IV. Missiology I. History of Religions The term “agnosticism” originally referred to the impossibility of attaining certain metaphysical knowledge or, with reference to transcendent questions, to gain grounded judgments. The term stems from T.H. Huxley (1869; see also II). While for Huxley, agnosticism was epistemologically justified, the use of the term today is usually motivated in a variety of ways. The Sophist Protagoras of Abdera ( On the Gods, DK 80B4), who …

Clarke, Samuel

(158 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Peter
[German Version] Oct 11, 1675, Norwich – May 17, 1729, Leicestershire), an exponent of rationalist and liberal theology in the 18th century. Clarke studied in Cambridge where he came under the influence of I. Newton. In A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God (1705) Clarke defended a cosmological proof of the existence of God, which was based on the necessity of explaining why contingent being exists. A Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion argues that the principles of morality can be discerned by reason without relianc…

Butler, Joseph

(362 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Peter
[German Version] (May 18, 1692, Wantage, Berkshire – Jun 16, 1752, Bath) studied at Oriel College in Oxford and held many appointments in the Church of England (including bishop of Bristol, dean of St. Paul's, and bishop of Durham). His main works are: Fifteen Sermons Preached at the Rolls Chapel (1726) and The Analogy of Religion (1736). The latter became particularly important for the history of English theology, as it contained a – for its time – successful defense of Christian revelation and was used as a primer in the ¶ education of English ordinands for decades after his death. The Sermon…

Natürliche Religion

(1,213 words)

Author(s): Byrne, Peter | Holmes, Stephen R.
[English Version] I. Religionsphilosophisch Der Begriff der n.Rel. ist mehrdeutig. Seine primäre Bedeutung wurde während der eur. Aufklärung (: II., 2.) festgelegt. Die n.Rel. wird der Offenbarungsrel. gegenübergestellt. Sie gründet sich allein auf die menschliche Vernunft und steht damit im Gegensatz zu einer Rel., deren wesentliche Grundsätze nur deshalb bekannt sein können, weil sie durch eine göttliche Botschaft bestimmten Menschen zu bestimmten Zeitpunkten und an bestimmten Orten mitgeteilt wu…