Philosophy's Own Religion

This review is taken from the SCM Press Autumn Book List.

In this book Don Cupitt presents his systematic philosophy of religion. He begins with showing what is wrong with the way the subject is taught: scraps from various philosophies of the past are selected for use in the service of an agenda controlled by theology. Inevitably, the result is something closer to religious apologetics than to genuine philosophy.

Cupitt sets out his alternative approach in two parts. The first is a "democratic metaphysics." Cupitt describes his popular systematic philosophy as being the most urgently needed, and yet the most neglected, kind of philosophy. He describes his own position as combining nihilism with radical humanism, and as a "language-mediated radical religious humanism".

From this, Cupitt then derives "philosophy's own religion". It is without dogma. It is a religion of life in which we learn to say Yes to transience, to practice expressive or solar living, and to be humanitarians in social ethics.

Philosophy's own religion is the religious outlook we would come to if we were to make a new beginning, and to be strictly rational. It is not wholly novel: versions of it crop up often in the history of philosophy. Another version of it was the very earliest form of Christianity, the "kingdom theology" of Jesus and the first generation.