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versión On-line ISSN 2304-8557
versión impresa ISSN 0023-270X

Koers (Online) vol.76 no.1 Pretoria  2011




The return of religion


Die terugkeer van religie



S. Griffioen

Rijksstraatweg 77, 3632AA Loenen aan de Vecht, Nederland. E-mail:




Religion is back in Philosophy as a respectable subject. Part 1 first charts what MacIntyre, Taylor and Derrida have meant in this regard. Subsequently, it turns to the Enlightenment to determine what constituted the breakthrough. It is found that even where the Enlightenment gave maximum room to religion (i.e. as a civic religion and as "religion of the heart") it still excluded a constitutive relation to a transcendent revelation.
Part 2 centres on the religion-faith distinction in reformational philosophy. Similar to the Enlightenment, religion is understood as part of human nature. However, human nature itself is conceived as intrinsically religious and depending for its light on revelation. Secondly, "religion" in this context also encompasses idols and religious substitutes. Thus, it directs attention to shopping malls, football stadiums, health policy, et cetera, as possible contexts of a return of religion. Examples show that this has become a popular approach. However, most of the publications surveyed fail to distinguish between an "analogical" and a "pistically qualified" use of religion, and are open to exaggerations (the shopping mall and football stadiums as temples, etc.). At this junction, the relevance is shown of the religion-faith distinction as well as of Elaine Botha's theory of metaphors. The epilogue offers an integration of parts one and two.

Key concepts: Enlightenment, faith, idol, religion, worldview


Religie is terug in die Filosofie as 'n waardige onderwerp. In Deel 1 word eerstens uitgestip wat MacIntyre, Taylor en Derrida in hierdie verband bedoel. Daarna word na die Verligting gekyk om te bepaal wat die deurbraak moontlik gemaak het. Die bevinding is dat, selfs waar die Verligting heeltemal plek gemaak het vir religie (as 'n siviele religie en as religie van die hart), dit steeds 'n wesenlike verband met 'n transendentele openbaring uitgesluit het.
Deel 2 sentreer rondom die religie-geloofsonderskeid in reformatoriese filosofie. Ooreenkomstig met die Verligting, word religie as deel van die menslike natuur verstaan. Menslike natuur word egter op sigself verstaan as wesenlik religieus en afhanklik van openbaring vir sy lig. Tweedens omvat "religie" in hierdie konteks ook afgode en religieuse plaasvervangers. Dit vestig dus die aandag op winkelarkades, voetbalstadions, gesondheidsbeleid, ensovoorts as moontlike kontekste van 'n terugkeer van religie. Uit voorbeelde kan gesien word dat hierdie 'n populêre benadering geword het. Die meeste van die publikasies wat ondersoek is, versuim egter om tussen 'n "analogiese" en 'n "pisties-gekwalifiseerde" gebruik van religie te onderskei en is oop vir oordrywing (bv. die winkelarkade en voetbalstadions as tempels). By hierdie kruispunt word op die relevansie van die religie-geloofsonderskeid gewys, sowel as op Elaine Botha se metafoorteorie. Die epiloog bied 'n integrasie van dele een en twee.

Kernbegrippe: afgod, geloof, religie, Verligting, wêreldbeskouing



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1 I gratefully acknowledge the help of Jonathan Tipping (Groningen) in checking my English.

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