What Philosophical Theology & Religion Can Do for One Another
Although philosophical theology is, in part, an academic discipline aimed at a theoretical understanding of such topics as faith, revelation, divine attributes, divine action, and various conceptually challenging doctrines, it can be more than merely a branch of scholarship. This paper argues that application of philosophical tools to “divine things” can both benefit from cooperation with religion and contribute to the attainment of the good of religion. The paper’s method is that of Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Its foundation lies in the ideas of St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, about the virtue of religion and about the relation of faith and reason, ideas the application of which to the needs of theology has an established place in Catholic theological thought, but which are equally relevant to Orthodox and Protestant concerns. The paper begins by distinguishing various senses of the terms “philosophical theology” and “religion” and then shows by argument and example what it is that the each one can do for the other. This will be of particular help (1) in justifying (e.g., to students) the inclusion of philosophical theology in seminary curricula, as well as more broadly both (2) in showing philosophy students how their chosen discipline can be connected to their religious commitments, and (3) in showing religious believers the value of giving attention and respect to philosophical theology.