Religion is central to Latin American culture, prominently shaped by Christianity but also enriched with contributions from Amerindian and African worldviews. Yet, academic and scientific circles in Latin America are very critical of popular religiosity, viewed as superstitious and anti-scientific. Although these criticisms may be justified sometimes, there are distortions and exaggerations in the way religion is generally interpreted by local intellectual elites. Whether it is extreme credulity or radical scepticism regarding religious beliefs and their social role, both attitudes seem rationally unjustified. The project here proposed aims to deal with this problem by helping to develop philosophical reflection about religion in Latin America. It hopes to take advantage of the prominence of Brazil in Latin America, and the expertise acquired by the Brazilian Association for the Philosophy of Religion (BAPR) in recent years in organizing congresses and providing other resources for enhancing this field of knowledge. Through this project, the BAPR proposes to include more scholars from other Latin American countries in its conferences. This way, we aim to create a network of researchers in the field in the region, in order to find ways of benefiting from the importance religion has to its culture to develop fully the potential of its people.
This project proposes to achieve the general aim of developing the philosophy of religion in Brazil and Latin America by means of organizing two conferences, which will deal with two big questions: "spirituality today" and "religion and intelligence". Both questions reflect well the problem of excessive skepticism and credulity stated above. More details about the main subjects and respective subtopics for each conference are found at the drafts of the call for papers included in the project.