Experience between the secular and the divine

As Edward Baring states in his introductory essay for this forum on phenomenology and religion, “The strange and often contradictory ways that phenomenology has been woven into and through diverse religious traditions are the subject of this forum.”

Baring writes, “Religious and secular thinkers tend to speak different languages and, too often, talk past each other. Even attempts at reconciliation raise the suspicion that they shelter values and presuppositions that tilt the playing field from the start. Jürgen Habermas’s account of the ‘post-secular’ is a case in point. That is why the curious relationship between phenomenology and religion is so fascinating. Phenomenology does not pretend to be a neutral space where those who believe and those who do not can thrash out their differences. Rather it presents a strange paradox, a form of thought that has been variously claimed as the basis of a resolute atheism and as the most philosophically rigorous account of religious faith. Here, there are those on both sides who can claim to be on home ground. It thus provides a privileged perspective for re-examining the relationship between the religious and the secular.”

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