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.
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 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).
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.