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Summary Berkeley is quite explicit about the religious motivations behind his philosophy: according to the subtitle of the Principles, Berkeley's aim is to discover and refute "the grounds of Scepticism, Atheism, and Irreligion." In furtherance of this aim, Berkeley offers several direct arguments for the existence of God, as well as analyses and defenses of a number of religious doctrines. 
Key works General treatments of Berkeley's thought which emphasize the importance of religion include Berman 1994 and Roberts 2007. Berkeley's religious motivations are also examined in a general way by Clark 1985Mabbott 1931 is a classic treatment of the importance of God to Berkeley's philosophical system. Mabbott's judgment of the centrality, and ineliminability, of God in Berkeley's philosophy is challenged by Atherton 1995.
Introductions Handbook treatments of Berkeley's philosophy of religion include Clark 2005 and Pearce forthcoming.
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Berkeley: Arguments for Theism
Berkeley: Continuity Argument for Theism
  1. M. R. Ayers (1987). Divine Ideas and Berkeley's Proofs of God's Existence. In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of George Berkeley. D. Reidel
  2. Jonathan Bennett (1965). Berkeley and God. Philosophy 40 (153):207 - 221.
    It is well known that Berkeley had two arguments for the existence of God. A while ago, in trying to discover what these arguments are and how they fit into Berkeley's scheme of things, I encountered certain problems which are hardly raised, let alone solved, in the standard commentaries. I think that I have now solved these problems, and in this paper I present my results.
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  3. George Botterill (2007). God and First Person in Berkeley. Philosophy 82 (1):87-114.
    Berkeley claims idealism provides a novel argument for the existence of God. But familiar interpretations of his argument fail to support the conclusion that there is a single omnipotent spirit. A satisfying reconstruction should explain the way Berkeley moves between first person singular and plural, as well as providing a powerful argument, once idealism is accepted. The new interpretation offered here represents the argument as an inference to the best explanation of a shared reality. Consequently, his use of the first (...)
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  4. Hugh Hunter (forthcoming). George Berkeley’s Proof for the Existence of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-11.
    Most philosophers have given up George Berkeley’s proof for the existence of God as a lost cause, for in it, Berkeley seems to conclude more than he actually shows. I defend the proof by showing that its conclusion is not the thesis that an infinite and perfect God exists, but rather the much weaker thesis that a very powerful God exists and that this God’s agency is pervasive in nature. This interpretation, I argue, is consistent with the texts. It is (...)
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  5. Douglas M. Jesseph (2005). Berkeley, God, and Explanation. In Christia Mercer (ed.), Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics. Oxford University Press
    This paper analyzes Berkeley's arguments for the existence of God in the Principles of Human Knowledge, Three Dialogues, and Alciphron. Where most scholarship has interpreted Berkeley as offering three quite distinct attempted proofs of God's existence, I argue that these are all variations on the strategy of inference to the best explanation. I also consider how this reading of Berkeley connects his conception of God to his views about causation and explanation.
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  6. Paul J. Olscamp (1970). George Berkeley's Unique Arguments About God. Studi Internazionali Di Filosofia 2:29-48.
Berkeley: Passivity Argument for Theism
  1. Margaret Atherton (1995). Berkeley Without God. In Robert G. Muehlmann (ed.), Berkeley's Metaphysics: Structural, Interpretive, and Critical Essays. The Pennsylvania State University Press
  2. M. R. Ayers (1987). Divine Ideas and Berkeley's Proofs of God's Existence. In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of George Berkeley. D. Reidel
  3. Jonathan Bennett (1965). Berkeley and God. Philosophy 40 (153):207 - 221.
    It is well known that Berkeley had two arguments for the existence of God. A while ago, in trying to discover what these arguments are and how they fit into Berkeley's scheme of things, I encountered certain problems which are hardly raised, let alone solved, in the standard commentaries. I think that I have now solved these problems, and in this paper I present my results.
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  4. Hugh Hunter (forthcoming). George Berkeley’s Proof for the Existence of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion:1-11.
    Most philosophers have given up George Berkeley’s proof for the existence of God as a lost cause, for in it, Berkeley seems to conclude more than he actually shows. I defend the proof by showing that its conclusion is not the thesis that an infinite and perfect God exists, but rather the much weaker thesis that a very powerful God exists and that this God’s agency is pervasive in nature. This interpretation, I argue, is consistent with the texts. It is (...)
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  5. Douglas M. Jesseph (2005). Berkeley, God, and Explanation. In Christia Mercer (ed.), Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics. Oxford University Press
    This paper analyzes Berkeley's arguments for the existence of God in the Principles of Human Knowledge, Three Dialogues, and Alciphron. Where most scholarship has interpreted Berkeley as offering three quite distinct attempted proofs of God's existence, I argue that these are all variations on the strategy of inference to the best explanation. I also consider how this reading of Berkeley connects his conception of God to his views about causation and explanation.
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  6. Ekaterina Y. Ksenjek & Daniel E. Flage (2012). Berkeley, the Author of Nature, and the Judeo-Christian God. History of Philosophy Quarterly 29 (3):281-300.
    Does George Berkeley provide an argument for the existence of the Judeo-Christian God at Principles of Human Knowledge, part I, section 29? The standard answer is that he does. In this paper, we challenge that interpretation. First, we look at section 29 in the context of its preceding sections and argue that the most the argument establishes is that there are at least two minds, that is, that the thesis of solipsism is false. Next, we examine the argument in section (...)
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  7. Paul J. Olscamp (1970). George Berkeley's Unique Arguments About God. Studi Internazionali Di Filosofia 2:29-48.
Berkeley: Divine Language Argument for Theism
  1. Margaret Atherton (1995). Berkeley Without God. In Robert G. Muehlmann (ed.), Berkeley's Metaphysics: Structural, Interpretive, and Critical Essays. The Pennsylvania State University Press
  2. Donald Edward Baldwin (1978). The Divine Visual Language Argument in George Berkeley's "Alciphron.". Dissertation, University of Missouri - Columbia
  3. Daniele Bertini (2011). Ragioni scientifiche e ragioni teologiche nell'Argument from Design: il caso di Berkeley. Lo Sguardo 6 (2).
    My paper moves from Kant's taxonomy for the arguments for the existence of God. After providing a brief survey of Kant's account, I claim that contemporary arguments from design fit Kant's characterization of the physico-theological argument. Then, in the second section, I deal with the logical frame of the argument from design. In the third section I introduce Berkeley's divine language argument (DLA), in order to demonstrate that DLA is an argument from design. Consequently, in the fourth section, I give (...)
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  4. Walter E. Creery (1972). Berkeley's Argument for a Divine Visual Language. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (4):212 - 222.
  5. James P. Danaher (2002). Is Berkeley's World a Divine Language? Modern Theology 18 (3):361-373.
    George Berkeley (1685–1753) believed that the visible world was a series of signs that constituted a divine language through which God was speaking to us. Given the nature of language and the nature of the visual world, this paper examines to what extent the visual world could be a divine language and to what extent God could speak to us through it.
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  6. Stephen H. Daniel (2001). Berkeley's Pantheistic Discourse. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 49 (3):179-194.
    Berkeley's immaterialism has more in common with views developed by Henry More, the mathematician Joseph Raphson, John Toland, and Jonathan Edwards than those of thinkers with whom he is commonly associated (e.g., Malebranche and Locke). The key for recognizing their similarities lies in appreciating how they understand St. Paul's remark that in God "we live and move and have our being" as an invitation to think to God as the space of discourse in which minds and ideas are identified. This (...)
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  7. Michael Hooker (1982). Berkeley's Argument From Design. In Colin M. Turbayne (ed.), Berkeley: Critical and Interpretive Essays.
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  8. Douglas M. Jesseph (2005). Berkeley, God, and Explanation. In Christia Mercer (ed.), Early Modern Philosophy: Mind, Matter, and Metaphysics. Oxford University Press
    This paper analyzes Berkeley's arguments for the existence of God in the Principles of Human Knowledge, Three Dialogues, and Alciphron. Where most scholarship has interpreted Berkeley as offering three quite distinct attempted proofs of God's existence, I argue that these are all variations on the strategy of inference to the best explanation. I also consider how this reading of Berkeley connects his conception of God to his views about causation and explanation.
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  9. E. G. King (1970). Language, Berkeley, and God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 1 (2):112 - 123.
  10. A. David Kline (1987). Berkeley's Divine Language Argument. In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Essays on the Philosophy of George Berkeley. D. Reidel
  11. Teja Oblak (2003). Berkeley's Alchiphron or the Language of God. Phainomena 43.
    The author of the article presents Berkeley's theory of emotive language as seen in his book Alchiphron or the Minute Philosophy. Through the presentation of Berkeley's book the author tries to present her own interpretation of the emotive language theory and thus descend from the strict metaphysical framework to the grounds of linguistics and religion. By connecting the fields that seem extremely separate from each other, the author endeavours for a sort of re-actualization of the Berkeleyan theory of language. Her (...)
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  12. Paul J. Olscamp (1970). George Berkeley's Unique Arguments About God. Studi Internazionali Di Filosofia 2:29-48.
Berkeley: Divine Attributes
  1. Bertil Belfrage (2011). On George Berkeley's Alleged Letter to Browne: A Study in Unsound Rhetoric. Berkeley Studies 22:3-8.
    Luce once declared that his and Jessop’s interpretation of Berkeley is “reflected in our edition of the Works.” The appearance of a recent article by Stephen Daniel draws attention to two examples of the implications of this interpretive model of editing. One is Luce’s and Jessop’s rejection of Alciphron as a reliable source for Berkeley’s philosophy, because we have access to his true philosophy elsewhere , and “it is idle to turn to Alciphron for Berkeleianism,” for he does not rest (...)
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  2. David Berman (1981). Cognitive Theology and Emotive Mysteries in Berkeley's Alciphron. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 81:219-229.
  3. Thomas Curtin (2014). Divine Analogy in Eighteenth-Century Irish Philosophy. Journal of Theological Studies 65 (2):600-24.
    In eighteenth century Ireland, attempts to explain divine predication led to the belief that analogy provides a viable way through which we can know things about God. This belief, in turn, resulted in a controversy over divine analogy which involved numerous philosophers and theologians of the period. This paper will examine how three figures in the debate understand analogy and how that understanding influences their positions on divine analogy: William King, Peter Browne, and George Berkeley. At the height of this (...)
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  4. Stephen H. Daniel (2011). Berkeley's Rejection of Divine Analogy. Science Et Esprit 63 (2):149-161.
    Berkeley argues that claims about divine predication (e.g., God is wise or exists) should be understood literally rather than analogically, because like all spirits (i.e., causes), God is intelligible only in terms of the extent of his effects. By focusing on the harmony and order of nature, Berkeley thus unites his view of God with his doctrines of mind, force, grace, and power, and avoids challenges to religious claims that are raised by appeals to analogy. The essay concludes by showing (...)
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  5. Stephen H. Daniel (2001). Berkeley's Pantheistic Discourse. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 49 (3):179-194.
    Berkeley's immaterialism has more in common with views developed by Henry More, the mathematician Joseph Raphson, John Toland, and Jonathan Edwards than those of thinkers with whom he is commonly associated (e.g., Malebranche and Locke). The key for recognizing their similarities lies in appreciating how they understand St. Paul's remark that in God "we live and move and have our being" as an invitation to think to God as the space of discourse in which minds and ideas are identified. This (...)
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  6. Robert McKim (1987). What Is God Doing in the Quad? Philosophy Research Archives 13:637-653.
    I begin with an examination of Berkeley’s various suggestions about how to account for the continued existence of physical objects which are unperceived by finite spirits. After dismissing some of these suggestions I attempt to combine others in a unified theory which involves an appeal to what finite perceivers would perceive if they were in the right conditions, to the operation of the will of God, and to the perception of God. I assess the merits, both philosophical and textual, of (...)
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  7. James O'Higgins (1976). Browne and King, Collins and Berkeley: Agnosticism or Anthropomorphism? Journal of Theological Studies 27 (1):88-112.
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  8. Kenneth L. Pearce (forthcoming). Matter, God, and Nonsense: Berkeley's Polemic Against the Freethinkers in the Three Dialogues. In Stefan Storrie (ed.), Berkeley's Three Dialogues: New Essays. Oxford University Press
    In the Preface to the Three Dialogues<, Berkeley says that one of his main aims is to refute the free-thinkers. Puzzlingly, however, we are then treated to a dialogue between two Christians in which the free-thinkers never reappear. This is related to a second, more general puzzle about Berkeley's religious polemics: although Berkeley says he is defending orthodox conclusions, he also reminds himself in his notebooks "To use the utmost Caution not to give the least Handle of offence to the (...)
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  9. Jean-Paul Pittion & David Berman (1969). A New Letter by Berkeley to Browne on Divine Analogy. Mind 78 (311):375-392.
  10. E. W. Van Steenburgh (1963). Berkeley Revisited. Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):85-89.
  11. G. J. Warnock (1955). WISDOM, J. O. - The Unconscious Origin of Berkeley's Philosophy. [REVIEW] Mind 64:423.
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Berkeley: Philosophy of Religion, Misc
  1. Timo Airaksinen (2010). Active Principles and Trinities in Berkeley's "Siris". Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 200 (1):57 - 70.
    Berkeley's Siris is a chain of arguments which ends in God. First God is a metaphysical principle causally regulating the world or Macrocosm. But in the final paragraphs of Siris, God is treated in a theological perspective. This is to say that Berkeley introduces the idea of the Trinity and relates it to the rest of his chain argument. He says that Father, Son, and Spirit correspond to the philosophical notions of sun, light, and heat. I study the final theological (...)
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  2. A. C. Armstrong (1920). IX. The Development of Berkeley's Theism. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 32 (3-4):150-161.
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  3. Naguib Baladi (1945). La Pensée Religieuse de Berkeley Et l'Unité de Sa Philosophie. Imprimerie de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale.
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  4. Jeffrey Barnouw (2008). The Two Motives Behind Berkeley's Expressly Unmotivated Signs : Sure Perception and Personal Providence. In Stephen H. Daniel (ed.), New Interpretations of Berkeley's Thought. Humanity Books
  5. Bertil Belfrage (2007). The Theological Positivism of George Berkeley (1707-1708). Acta Philosophica Fennica 83:37-52.
    Did George Berkeley, as I argued long ago in Belfrage (1986), defend a theory of "emotive meaning" in his Manuscript Introduction (an early version of the introduction to the Principles)? This question has raised a broad spectrum of different issues, which I think it is important to keep apart, such as rhetorical, psychological, semantic, ethical, metaphysical, and theological aspects. In the present paper, I hope to clear the ground of ambiguities, which have led to serious misunderstandings on this interesting point (...)
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  6. David Berman (2010). The Distrustful Philosopher: Berkeley Between the Devils and the Deep Blue Sea of Faith. In Silvia Parigi (ed.), George Berkeley: Religion and Science in the Age of Enlightenment. Springer
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  7. David Berman (1981). Cognitive Theology and Emotive Mysteries in Berkeley's Alciphron. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 81:219-229.
  8. Daniele Bertini (2010). Berkeley, Theology, and Bible Scholarship. In Silvia Perigi (ed.), George Berkeley: Religion and Science in the Age of Enlightenment. Springer
    My paper concerns Berkeley’s notion of theology. After brief considerations on the general attitude toward religion by Berkeley, I try to assess the immaterialistic approach to three main topics of theology: the ground of any theological knowledge, natural theology, revealed theology. My argument takes in consideration particularly Berkeley’s criticism of Scholasticism. My claim is the following: Berkeley holds that all men have an immediate experience of God’s presence, but this experience is not direct conceptual knowledge. I shortly compare my views (...)
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  9. S. Seth Bordner (2012). George Berkeley: Religion and Science in the Age of Enlightenment. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 32 (4):313-315.
  10. Harry Bracken (1960). Berkeley on the Immortality of the Soul. Modern Schoolman 37 (3):197-212.
  11. Scott Breuninger (2010). Recovering Bishop Berkeley: Virtue and Society in the Anglo-Irish Context. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Berkeley's sermons on passive obedience in the Irish context -- Science and sociability: Berkeley's "bond of society" -- Piety, perception, and the free-thinkers -- Luxury, moderation, and the south sea bubble -- Planting religion in the New World, 1722 - 1732 -- Improving Ireland: luxury, virtue, and economic development -- Bishop of Cloyne: protestantism, patriotism, and a national panacea.
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  12. Richard Brook, Berkeley and the Causality of Ideas; a Look at PHK 25.
    I argue that Berkeley's distinctive idealism/immaterialism can't support his view that objects of sense, immediately or mediately perceived, are causally inert. (The Passivity of Ideas thesis or PI) Neither appeal to ordinary perception, nor traditional arguments, for example, that causal connections are necessary, and we can't perceive such connections, are helpful. More likely it is theological concerns,e.g., how to have second causes if God upholds by continuously creating the world, that's in the background. This puts Berkeley closer to Malebranche than (...)
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