The Maverick Philosopher does not like the idea of a ‘naturalized salvation’ because you loose too much when naturalizing it and foreclose any possibility of there being ‘real supernatural salvation’. Instead, William Vallicella wants the naturalizing theologian to simply admit that there are no such things as gods, sins, or effective prayers. You can then, i suppose, concentrate on real natural things like meditation.
At the Philosoblog, Jim Ryan believes that “salvation can be fully described in non-religious and non-theistic terms”. He does not want to follow the Maverick Philosopher in abandoning religious concepts, and thus talk of salvation. He wants to be able to accomplish what the religious do, but without the god-talk, which he believes to be superfluous.
At 茶代, S. does not think that Ryan has wide enough view of salvation, it being too psychological and not ethical enough.
I tend to agree with everyone. BUT, though i like how they are framing the problem, i don’t think they are getting at the right solutions. It is imperative that we go about reforming, indeed naturalizing, salvation. However, it will not work to either get rid of superannuated religious notions, nor to rephrase them in demythologized terms.
The solution is rather to rationalize salvation rather than naturalize it. This means that instead of trying to translate religious notions into scientifically acceptable terms, we need to scientifically explain why these notions were held in the first place. Reformulating religious idea about salvation doesn’t produce any new knowledge and is thus not very useful. Explaining why we felt a need to come up with notions of salvation and why we came up with the ones we did, would be informative. Further, once we explained why we need to conceive of salvation, then we could formulate natural kinds of salvation that would satisfy that need. But trying to come up with a natural salvation before we know why we need one is shooting in dark.
The next step in religion is not to come up with a godless mirror image of what we have now, as that would be, at best, moving sideways and not really forwards (though it might indeed remove some of the dangers of religion, it doesn’t transform religion). The real leap in religion will only come about when religion learns to look inside itself and understand why it does what it does (it must become self-conscious or at least self-reflective). Then religion will be able to transform its fundamental notions, such as salvation, by giving a naturalized account of their purpose. Only then will we be in a position to formulate a ‘naturalized salvation’ that is not so much god-less as thoroughly reasoned.