chapter  3
Christianity and critical realism
Pages 18

While Bhaskar was working on From East to West three pre-eminent critical realists, Margaret Archer, Andrew Collier and Douglas Porpora, were already beginning to tease out the implications of critical realism for their own Christian faith. Where Bhaskar adopted a position that sought to be inclusive of a range of different religious traditions, Archer, Collier and Porpora were committed to the specific tradition of Christianity: Archer and Porpora as Roman Catholics with particular interests in, respectively, Catholic mysticism and process theology; Collier as an Anglican with a particular interest in theological epistemology and political theology. Their efforts resulted in a flurry of publications that, in effect, constituted a second wave of critical realism’s spiritual turn. One of the results of their work was the identification of a tradition of Christian critical realism that first emerged in the late 1950s, and which until recently operated almost entirely independently of the tradition of critical realism associated with Bhaskar. In the following sections we will first outline the work of Archer, Collier and Porpora, and then introduce the independent tradition of theological critical realism as it sought to explore (1) the interface between Christian theology and natural science, (2) the epistemic status of Christian doctrine, and (3) the relationship between historiography and biblical interpretation.