Title: The Ontological Status of Religion and Its Significance for Religious Freedom
Author: Risalatul Hukmi
Tebal: vii + 88 pages
ISBN: 978-623-96375-3-8 (PDF)
From introduction: In recent years, the shape of the discourse in religious studies has been dominated by social constructionist works. Now the concept ‘religion’ is therefore intensively disputed; does it truly exist? Is it real? According to social constructionists, the very notion of religion is genealogically unique to western modern civilization and is closely related to the history of colonialism. It is intertwined with modernization and secularization which tends to separate ‘religious’ associated with irrationality from ‘secular’ associated with rationality. Conceptually, ‘religion’ has no reference in the real world and cannot pick out a distinctive phenomenon across cultures so that is analytically useless. For these reasons, religion is considered as an illusory category and the presence of religious studies is merely to maintain such a fiction.
Hence, the main objective of this book is to provide an ontological account for the category ‘religion’ that is disputed in some social constructionist works and justify its significance for religious freedom. This book argues that religion exists and is real as a distinctive social category, though it is socially constructed, because it has a distinctive causal power in society; it can create discrimination as well as overcome it.