A detailed review of the theory of religion presented by Robert Cummings Neville in Religion, the third and concluding volume of his Philosophical Theology, leads into a critical response to Neville’s notions of symbolic engagement of ultimacy and second naivete. The approach is framed by concern for our perilous ecological and human future. It is both philosophical and literary in form, and driven by the haunting role of nothing in Neville’s account of the contingency of ultimate reality(ies). Neville’s theory of religion is distinguished from and far superior to reigning ways of seeing the subject in the fields of confessional theology and religious studies. However, the present response comes to focus with a celebratory yet despairing appreciation of the possibility of second naivete in religion. It aims to show, as much as say, that the normative commendation of ontological faith, which consummates Neville’s theology, may rest in part on personal dispositions that, hard though it is to believe, underplay the despair bred by religious life engaged with persistent nothing, the ultimate contingency of nature and being.

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