AA012 – What is Religion? with Kevin Schilbrack

How should we understand the concept of religion? How does our understanding of it impact the way we see different traditions, communities, and practices? What are the ways religion has been understood in the past and in the academy? For this episode of the podcast, I speak with Kevin Schilbrack about his contribution to the long-running debate over defining religion. Dr. Schilbrack teaches in the Philosophy and Religion Department at Appalachian State University, he is a graduate of Chicago Divinity School, and has published widely on the conceptual and philosophical issues arising in the cross-cultural study of religions. He is the contributing editor of books such as Thinking Through Myths and Thinking Through Rituals, and his most recent work, Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto (which forms the centerpiece of this interview), was published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2014.

Armchair Atheism is the official podcast of GodlessHaven.com, exploring subjects related to religion and non-belief through interview discussions with a variety of scholarly and thoughtful voices.

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Dr. Schilbrack’s university page: appstate.academia.edu/KevinSchilbrack

Critical Realism and the Academic Study of Religion (YouTube)

Kevin Schilbrack on What is Philosophy of Religion?



Philosophy and the Study of Religions: A Manifesto

Thinking Through Rituals: Philosophical Perspectives

Thinking Through Myths: Philosophical Perspectives


Further reading:

Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Survey

Gallup, Five Key Findings on Religion in the US

Some definitions of religion, Joseph Adler

Sociology of Religion Resources


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