Early History

The Society for Philosophy of Religion was founded in 1938. Before 1944 the past of the Society is murky, especially because of the Second World War. During these times a small group of scholars meet at various places – usually one of the several houses of Bob Patterson, though there was at least one meeting on a cruise – to sip the finest of liquors and to smoke the best of Cuban cigars while talking about God, no-God, which God, and the like. From 1944 onward, the society was more formally organized with a president and officers.

Recent History

The Society now meets annually in a variety of American cities. It also sponsors the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, which is published by Springer and overseen by a group of Society members.

In Memoriam

The Society is honored to memorialize the passing of our friends, mentors, and colleagues. 

Past President William Wainwright passed away on November 5, 2020.  Wainwright received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and was a longtime professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He published 13 books including Reason and the Heart, Monotheism and the Hope in God, and Reason, Revelation, and Devotion. He had a great influence in the field of ethics and philosophy of religion with a keen interest in 17th and 18th century theology. He won three National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships and was the editor of Faith and Philosophy.

Past President William Power passed away on September 6, 2020. Power received his Ph.D. from Emory University in 1965 and was a longtime professor at the University of Georgia where he was a founding member of the Department of Religion. He served as past president of the American Academy of Religion and authored  over 30 articles in addition to editing professional journals and contributing chapters to colleagues’ books. Power served on the Board of Trustees of Hope Haven School, the Athens YMCA, the Felton Williams Mission (Atlanta), and Athens Academy, and twice served as President of the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art. 

Longtime Secretary Frank Harrison passed away on April 6, 2020. Harrison received his Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and was a longtime professor of philosophy at the University of Georgia. A dedicated teacher and mentor, he was awarded the Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professorship in 2000.  He is the author of Logic and Rational Thought along with numerous articles and book chapters.  His service to the Society for Philosophy has been unmatched in his legendary role as Secretary/Treasurer. The society owes him a great debt for his many years of selfless service.

Past President Eugene Long passed away on March 13, 2020.  Long retired as a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy in the University of South Carolina. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Glasgow in 1964 and is was the longtime Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion.  He is the author of numerous books and articles was a momentous force in support of philosophy of religion. His books include Issues in Contemporary Philosophy of Religion; God, Reason and Religions; Existence, Being and God: An Introduction to the Philosophical Theology of John Macquarrie; and Experience, Reason and God: Essays in the Philosophy of Religion. An avid musician, Long the Gene Dykes Jazz Orchestra, the Blythewood Jazz Orchestra and the Carl Payne Big Band. He also sang with the Lexington County Choral Society and the Dutch Fork Choral Society.  

Past President George Mavrodes passed away July 31, 2019. Mavrodes received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1961, where he taught from 1961 to 1995. Included in his hundreds of scholarly publications is the seminal Belief in God: A Study in the Epistemology of Religion (1970), a work that shaped many of our careers in the field. George was an eager interlocutor and lifelong friend to many in the Society, sparring regularly with Thomists, Wittgensteinians, and Process Theologians in sessions while maintaining good friendships with all outside the confines of the meeting room. His service to the Society continues through those members he introduced to it and the many relationships fostered through his work and participation.

Past President John Whittaker passed away July 26, 2019. Whittaker received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1974 in Philosophy of Religion and took an initial appointment to the University of Virginia. After moving to Louisiana State University, Whittaker served as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and directed the Religious Studies Program. All who knew John can acknowledge the truth of one colleague's claim that he was "more invested in what students had to say than in what he had to say to them." He was a gifted teacher and good friend to many in the Society, always eager to engage in conversations and never eager to impose ideology. His good company and keen intellect continue to shape the Society through the many he impacted in it.

Past Presidents

2023 Jeffrey Willetts
2022 Rob Prevost
2021 Brian Birch
2020    Brad Kallenberg
2019    David Holley
2018    Katherin Rogers
2017    Scott Davison
2016    Ingolf Dalferth
2015    Patrick Horn
2014    Bernie Cantens
2013    John Schellenberg
2012    Terrence Tilley
2011    John Whittaker
2010    Ron Hall
2009    Paul Draper
2008    Houston Craighead
2007    Jeff Jordan
2006    William Hasker
2005    William Wainwright
2004    D.Z. Phillips
2003    James Harris
2002    William Alston
2001    William Rowe
2000    Patricia Johnson
1999    Frank Dilley
1998    James Keller

1997    Jane Mary Trau
1996    Louis Pojman
1995    Will Power
1994    David Schrader
1993    Lad Sessions
1992    Jackson Ice
1991    Billy Joe Lucas
1990    Jamie Ferreira
1989    Dallas High
1988    George Mavrodes
1987    John Elrod
1986    Frederick Ferre
1985    Frank Harrison
1984    Bob Perkins
1983    Charles Lewis
1982    Rem Edwards
1981    Gene Long
1980    Bill Cobb
1979    Jude Dougherty
1978    Forrest Wood
1977    Mary Rose
1976    Elliott McElroy
1975    Tom Hearn
1974    Bo Clarke
1973    Oswald Schrag
1972    Henry Sprinkle
1971    Allan Carlsson

1970    Bob Ayers
1969    Ethel Tiley
1968    Jim Rikard
1967    Maurice Allen
1966    Jose Franquiz
1965    Jackson Ice
1964    Nolan Jacobson
1963    Charles Hartshorne
1962    Wilford Cross
1961    Leroy Loemker
1960    Howard Parsons
1959    Bob Miller
1958    Henry Wieman
1957    Paul Vonk
1956    John Mourant
1955    Edgar Henderson
1954    Richard Hocking
1953    Albert Balz
1952    Godfrey Tietze
1951    J. R. Cresswell
1950    E. D. Myers
1949    John Marshall
1948    Anna Liddell
1947    Kenneth Foreman
1946    Bob Patterson
1945    Fritz Marti
1944    Edward Ramsdell