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Wikipedia explains it as follows

The philosophy of religion has been distinguished from theology by pointing out that, for theology, "its critical reflections are based on religious convictions". Also, "theology is responsible to an authority that initiates its thinking, speaking, and witnessing ... [while] philosophy bases its arguments on the ground of timeless evidence."

While I get that Philosophy of Religion bases its arguments on evidence. I can't quite comprehend what "its critical reflections are based on religious convictions" and theology is responsible to an authority that initiates its thinking, speaking, and witnessing actually means?

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Theology explicitly starts with the presumption of a god or gods — 'theos' is the Greek root for god — and as a matter of practice and convention it it steeped within the context of a particular religion. In other words, we might talk about Christian theology, Islamic theology, Hindu theology, etc, but it is uncommon to hear people talking about (say) interfaith theology.

The philosophy of religion includes theology, but is broader. It can cover topics like comparative religion, non-theistic faiths, agnosticism and atheism, the relationship between religion and science, and the like.

Theologians are bound by the dictates and teachings of their particular faith, and that puts limits on what they can argue and what conclusions they can reach. They accept certain concepts and principles on the basis of faith alone, and those concepts and principles are resistant to the standard philosophical/analytic methods.

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    "They accept certain concepts and principles on the basis of faith alone, and those concepts and principles are immune to the standard philosophical/analytic methods." I don't think that's inherent to theology, even if it's true for many theologians. – curiousdannii Dec 30 '19 at 1:33
  • @curiousdannii — Perhaps not, but it is the norm, by far. – Ted Wrigley Dec 30 '19 at 3:05
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Theology assumes, or assumes that someone assumes, the existence of Gods or gods. I am not sure the same holds good for the philosophy of religion. After all it is not at all uncommon for works on comparative religion to include a discussion of Buddhism, which does not assume the existence of Gods or gods; and comparative religion provides the material for the philosophy of religion. To reply that Buddhism is not a religion because it does not assume the existence of Gods or gods is to take a particular view of religion - not necessarily false or undiscussable but also not one to be taken simply for granted. Indeed, it is a topic that falls neutrally within the philosophy of religion.

I'd like to make another point which is harder (for me) to phrase. A philosopher of religion can plausibly, and is likely to, treat the philosophy of religion as one area of inquiry among others. In contrast, a theologian cannot treat the philosophy of religion as one area of inquiry among others; it is the area of inquiry which brings us into contact with the fundamental nature of reality (which others might reserve for the philosophy of science or even just science) and is at least capable of disclosing the meaning of life or of directing us to some such human teleology. Even normative ethicists hardly hazard as much whatever generalities they may venture on 'human flourishing'.

A third point, and I am done. There is a logic of religious language and one can analyse this in the context of a theory of Quinean semantic descent or of a Davidsonian truth-conditional theory of meaning or in other ways all of which have their origin purely within the philosophy of language. Theology can offer no account of the logic of religious language from its own and sole resources. The philosophy of religion as an area of philosophical inquiry by contrast can draw on the philosophy of language as one part of a discipline draws on another.

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