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An Analytical Approach to Truth and Religion

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An Analytical Approach to Truth and Religion


ABSTRACT: I discuss some of the problems of the application of the notion of truth to religion. After introductory remarks on the problem called truth and religion to show the peculiarity and the actuality of the problem discussed, I examine the different meanings of the notions of truth and religion, in order to formulate some comments on the different concepts of the truth of religion. I name the main types of religious truth, and consider the competencies of the diverse types of the study of religion to determine the truth of religion, and to analyze how to understand the truth of distinct types of religion. I conclude with some remarks on the appropriate approach to the question of the truth of religion. The considerations show that there is no simple answer to the question of the truth of religion in general or in particular. As it turns out the answer requires some relativizations, among others to the notion of truth and of religion. The notions of true religion and credibility of religion, though at first sight distinct, seem to condition each other. The notion of the truth of religion can be a valuable instrument of interpretation of religious phenomena not only in philosophy and theology of religion, but in the social sciences of religion too.

Introductory remarks

Justification of a religious point of view usually consists in attempts to prove that some particular religion is true. In my paper I will discuss some problems arising when the notion of truth is applied to religion. I first focus on analyzing complexity and conditions of the question about truth of religion in order to determine various meanings which could be ascribed to the expression "truth of religio...


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...uth, New York 1967.

Streng F. J., Truth, in: M. Eliade (editor in chief), The Encyclopedia of Religion, vol. 15, New York-London 1987, 63-72.

Vroom H. M., Religions and the Truth. Philosophical Reflections and Perspectives (Currents of Encounter, vol. 2), Amsterdam 1990.

Walker R. C. S., Theories of Truth, in: B. Hale, C. Wright (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language, Oxford 1997, 309-330.

Wiebe D., Religion and Truth. Towards and Alternative Paradigm for the Study of Religions, The Hague, Paris, New York 1981.

Waardenburg J. (ed.), Classical Approaches to the Study of Religion. Aims, Methods and Theories of Research, vol. 1: Introduction and Anthology; vol. 2: Bibliography, The Hague, Paris 1973-1974.

Whaling F. (ed.), Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Religion, vol. 1: The Humanities, vol. 2: The Social Sciences, New York 1984-1985.

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