Människosynen och det kognitiva studiet av religion – en fråga med moraliska implikationer


  • Peter Nynäs


The Concept of Man and the Cognitive Study of Religion — Moral Implications

The cognitive study of religion represents a naturalistic and seemingly neutral approach to religion. At a closer look, however, an underlying conception of man is a vital element. This is of attitudinal character and influences choices of empirical findings referred to, how these are interpreted, and how they are communicated. The fact that the understanding of religion is influenced by a moral orientation need not be considered troublesome as such. Still, the strong emphasis of a naturalistic and empirical approach in the cognitive study of religion presents some problematic implications. Firstly, this self-definition prevents immediate recognition of profound attitudinal elements. Secondly, this approach also risks reinforcing a pejorative attitude towards religion.

This paper argues that the conception of man is essential in the understanding of religion. It further highlights the need critically to discuss and evaluate various conceptions of man. Such évalutations need to focus on both explicit theoretical views and implicit views rooted in profound orientations, values and attitudes. Taking into consideration the growing specialization in the study of religion, it is also of specific importance to shed light on ethical implications and to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue.