Judging God by “Human” Standards

Faith and Philosophy 7 (3):316-328 (1990)
Abstract
Contrary to religious fundamentalism, James insists on judging religion by human standards. Fundamentalists would object on two counts: i) a truly religious person must be willing to sacrifice everything, even reason itself, on the altar of faith; and ii) James reduces religion to a mere conventionalism by presuming to apply to it the very human standards religion itself must judge.The first response shows piety itself requires the autonomy of reason. The second shows James fully appreciates the critical role religion has played in our social evolution. However, this leads into a paradox, given our first argument, which is resolved if we accept at least the possibility, as James did, of a friendly relation between the divine and the human
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