In locating friendly fire in contemporary philosophy of religion, D.Z. Phillips shows that more harm can be done to religion by its philosophical defenders than by its philosophical despisers. Friendly fire is the result of an uncritical acceptance of empiricism, and Phillips argues that we need to examine critically the claims that individual consciousness is the necessary starting point from which we have to argue: for the existence of an external world and the reality of God; that God is a person without a body, a pure consciousness; and that to assent to a religious belief is essentially to assign a truth value to a proposition independent of any confessional context. When these products of friendly fire are avoided, we arrive at a new understanding of belief, trust and the soul, and refuse to say more or less than we know about the realities of human life in the service of religious apologetics.
'In Religion and Friendly Fire, D.Z. Phillips returns to philosophical questions that have occupied him throughout his career. What makes this book unique and provocative is the way in which these questions are brought together under the theme of what Phillips calls 'friendly fire', which he describes as 'the possibility that harm can be done to religious beliefs by the very philosophical analyses which set out to defend them'.' Philosophical Investigations