About this question around the statement God is good.

I am no theologian, and question seemed about theology so I let it be.

I noticed that a subsequent edit removed the theology tag. So assuming that the questioner was looking at a more general outlook, I attempted an answer.

He then commented that "philosophy-of-religion" and "theology" are functionally equivalent tags.

Surprised, I checked. The descriptions below do not seem to say so.

However it would be good in any case to make this explicit :

  • Either say they are equivalent
  • Or have a line on the distinction

Added later

Just noticed that the religion tag maps to the philosophy-of-religion tag. Adding to this the contrasting request of @curiousdanii that theology = philosophy-of-religion we get:

religion = philosophy-of-religion = theology

Do we want this?

  • There are definitely differences as the phrases are used out there in the world - my point was more that on this site they appear to me to be functionally equivalent. There seems to be little rhyme nor reason as to which tag will be applied, or both will be. Similarly there are both language and philosophy-of-language tags and physics and philosophy-of-physics tags. Commented Aug 17, 2019 at 11:41
  • @curiousdanii «There are definitely differences as the phrases are used out there in the world» we can agree on this much. The rest is my request for disambiguation.
    – Rushi
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 2:30
  • 1
    I think they should be tag synonyms. Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 2:41
  • @curiousdanii So you admit (a) "There are definitely differences as the phrases are used out there in the world" (b) "They appear to me to be functionally equivalent" So you wish to impose your misunderstanding site-wide rather than correct it?
    – Rushi
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 3:02
  • 1
    What misunderstanding? I said that on this site they appear to be used functionally equivalently. So we should either synonymise them, or use them differently. Just like your question says. Making them synonyms is much easier though. Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


Religion and theology are not identical.

Religion is (as the term is used in academia) primarily a sociological phenomenon and an academic discipline from the 19th Century and beyond (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_studies).

Theology is the study of God within a specific religious tradition (often but not always Christianity).

Philosophy of religion is not specifically identical with either of those. Theology and philosophy were broadly overlapping disciplines in many respects for much of the middle ages in both the Christian and Islamic worlds.

E.g. Aquinas has a religion (Christianity) writes in theology which in many areas is also doing philosophy, and much of which now we would study under the philosophy of religion.

  • Thanks for the answer @virmaior. Please note though the context of the disagreement: some people surprisingly think that philosophy-of-religion tag should be synonymized to theology. This implies all religions are theological/theistic which is nonsense.
    – Rushi
    Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 2:20
  • 1
    @Rusi No it doesn't imply that at all. Synonymising the tags would just reflect that no one uses these two tags with any reliable distinction on this site. And I think it should go the other way: theology as a synonym of philosophy-of-religion. Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 2:39

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