I just finished reading the Blackburn essay, and I very much enjoyed it so this can account for Group 1's posting on the matter. Blackburn addresses the question of what it means to "respect" religious beliefs, and how this turn can run a wide gamut. It seems to include simply staying out of the way and allowing someone to partake in something they happen to enjoy and which (in the case of something like a Friday night Shabbat service in a mostly secular Jewish home) is mostly harmless, to the sort of "respect creep" he talks about in where one is expected to show deference and awe towards something, whether they agree with it or not.
He also discusses the difference between onto-theology/religion and what he chooses to call "expressive" theology/religion as they are held in modern studies on the subject. He seems to have rather mixed feelings about the attempt to push for "expressive" religion. He seems to suspect that regardless of how metaphorically or paradigmatically one chooses to explain religious belief, it must always hold something of the onotological about it - at least in so far as one's religious beliefs are used to support and reinforce attitudes. In general, it's all well and good to say that certain attitudes found in modern orthodox Islam towards women (and their supposed inferiority to men) are merely expressions of ingrained cultural values and male attitudes... but it's a pretty terrible deal for the women and the religious language (even if taken non-literally) seems to add extra force towards the prejudice.
I have to confess at this point to being a bit confused as to the distinction he is drawing between attitude and emotion. I was inferring from the contextual clues that attitudes are 'about/towards something' whereas emotions are more centered on the self perhaps? If anyone is more familiar with Blackburn or with these uses of the words, please help me out! But in general he seems to have mixed feelings towards expressive interpretations of religion. He talks about his "piety towards pieties" and how he not only expects but in some way demands people show respect and empathy towards it, along with the gross difficulties involved in finding any grounds to be against expressive interpretations of religion in so far as they express the great human emotions and common humanity of people. As he says, "After all, who wants to be put down as against love and hope?"
There was more of course, and I really found his discussion on respect creep interesting, but I want other voices to jump in right away. The comments sections are usually more fun than the blog posts, so what did YOU guys think?
Question: What is the difference between onto-religion/theology and "expressive" religion/theology?
A: Onto-religion/theology makes statements that are factual claims about how the world "is"