There are two conferences that will touch the topic of the project. The topic of the first conference is the nature of atheism as an alternative to theism and will take place in Moscow (Russia), the other conference is on the nature of theology and it is planned to organize it in Innsbruck (Austria).
Both conferences are interrelated and therefore a certain number of participants, especially from the Russian side, shall overlap. The main goal of the conferences is lay the ground for a theory of science for theology against the background of a largely secularized and scientifically oriented society.
One has to keep in mind that theology was first developed as a rational, philosophical discourse about God in Ancient Greece and practiced as such throughout antiquity and the middle ages. However, nowadays quite often atheistic philosopher’s claim of holding a worldview based upon reason in opposition to a theistic understanding of reality. Therefore it is important to investigate in what sense an atheist and theist outlook to reality, and consequently also a secular, atheistic and a religious, theist mode of reasoning, are opposed to each and whether reason and faith are an apt demarcation line for highlighting the differences. This appears to be particularly important given the fact the so called new atheists are arguing with fervour that religious beliefs are deeply irrational and thus also dangerous for modern secularized and pluralistic societies.
The main effect of the conferences is to bring European and Russian philosophers of religion and theologians together in order to generate a new “Pan-European” network in this scholarly community. The invited participants can work with different philosophical/theological methodologies but they should be familiar with the “analytic account” and supportive of it in order to facilitate the exchange and to avoid great divergences. Thus, the proposed topics ought to be investigated with clarity, argumentative rigor and in a systematic rather than historical or socio-political style although excurses in these fields for explanatory purposes are permitted. We are convinced that those conferences will help to promote the analytic method among Russian scholars of philosophical theology. If we succeed to develop an “analytic oriented” philosophy of science for theology, then subsequent scholars entering the field will use the results of this project (the planned handbook, the papers resulting from the conferences and workshops etc.) as their main point of reference. Thus it is very likely that they will continue to use this methodological account for their own future work.
It should also kept in mind that the fact that theology was recently established by the Russian Ministry of Education and Science as a special branch of the sciences provides us with the unique chance to exert a positive formative influence on the future development of Orthodox theology. We also think that these conferences will cross-fertilize the investments of the JFT made so far in developing Philosophy of Religion in Russia, as philosophy of religion and systematic theology go hand in hand in the analytic tradition precisely because they use the same methodology whereas analytic philosophy of religion is so far being explored within the Russian philosophical community largely independently from Orthodox theology.
Nature of Atheism 29-31 May, 2019
Naturalism, (A)theism, Theology 29-30 June, 2020
Moscow, Institute of Philosophy.
Innsbruck, University of Innsbruck.