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Rev. John Coleman chooses not to define religion but says that he prefers to look at what religion does for people and see what that tells him. He mentions the two kinds of attempts at answering this question: a definition that is more substantive and a definition that is more functional, and the problems that these two attempts can create.
Coleman,, John A. S.J. and Benney, Alfred. Created by Alfred Benney. "Rev. Dr. John Coleman, S.J. Engages with the Question: How Do You Define Religion?" February 1999. DigitalCommons@Fairfield. Web. https://digitalcommons.fairfield.edu/asrvideos/386
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Playing Time: 1:45 minutes
About the Interviewee:
The Rev. Dr. John A. Coleman, S.J. received his Master’s Degree in Sacred Theology from Santa Clara University and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California Berkeley. He has been an associate pastor at Saint Ignatius Church, San Francisco since 2009. Previously, he taught at Loyola Marymount University as the Charles Casassa Professor in Social Values from 1997-2009 and at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley from 1974-1997. From 1980-1997 Coleman was the sociology of religion editor at the international Catholic journal, Concilium. Coleman has taught or lectured in Ireland, Belgium, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia. He has authored or edited nineteen books in the fields of sociology of religion, social ethics and issues of globalization, including The Evolution of Dutch Catholicism; Globalization and Catholic Social Thought; Christian Political Ethics.
About the Interviewer:
Dr. Alfred Benney is Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Fairfield University. He has a Ph.D in Theology from the Hartford Seminary Foundation and taught courses in Non-Traditional American Religions and Christian Religious Thought. His research interests include “how people learn”; “the appropriate use of technology in teaching/learning”; and “myth as explanatory narrative”. He has published work on teaching with technology.