In response to the April 2017 Critical Research on Religion editorial “On a balanced critique: (or on the limits of critique),” the author suggests first that defining religion is possible and helpful, and that even those who claim not to define the subject demonstrate knowledge of its boundaries. Academic research on religion can offer useful generalizations and insights, while having no impact on the fortunes of religion in the real world. When believers perceive academic research as hostile to religion, they are absolutely right. All academic approaches to religion reflect its loss of authority under secularization. Our work is always a critique in the strongest sense, especially when it deals with the psychological foundations of religious beliefs. Even a “balanced” critique undermines belief plausibility and will incur the wrath of true believers.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Religious studies