Richard Rorty 1931-2007
Richard Rorty, one of the more well known public intellectuals and philosophers in this country just recently passed away. He will be remembered by many for his role in reviving interest in American pragmatism.
His writings on religion are sparse and not always satisfying. He tends to privatize religion so that it doesn't intrude in public life. But sometimes I think he got something of religion and I'll quote such a passage from his 2000 book, Philosophy and Social Hope.
A pragmatist philosophy of religion must follow Tillich and others in distinguishing quite sharply between faith and belief.
Liberal Protestants are willing to talk about their faith in God, but demur at spelling out just what beliefs that faith includes. Fundamentalists, are happy to enumerate their beliefs by reciting the Creed, and to identify their faith with those beliefs.
The reason the Tillichians think they can get along either without creeds, or with a blessedly vague symbolic interpretation of creedal statements is that they think the point of religion is:
To make the sort of difference to a human life which is made by the presence or absence of love. The best way to make Tillich and fuzziness look good, and to make creeds look bad, is to emphasize the similarity between having faith in God and being in love with another human being.