I urge philosophers of religion to investigate far more vigorously than they have until now the acceptability of varied components of the world religions and their epistemological underpinnings. By evaluating "acceptability" I mean evaluation of truth, morality, spiritual efficacy and human flourishing, in fact, any value religious devotees might think significant to their religious lives. Secondly, I urge that philosophers of religion give more attention to what scholars have called the "esoteric" level of world religions, including components of strong ineffability, (...) weak ineffability, and an alleged perennial philosophy. All this should involve a cooperative effort between analytic, comparative, and feminist philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Within Jean Paul Sartre’s atheistic program, he objected to Christian mysticism as a delusory desire for substantive being. I suggest that a Christian mystic might reply to Sartre’s attack by claiming that Sartre indeed grasps something right about the human condition but falls short of fully understanding what he grasps. Then I argue that the true basis of Sartre’s atheism is neither philosophical nor existentialist, but rather mystical. Sartre had an early mystical atheistic intuition that later developed into atheistic mystical (...) experience. Sartre experienced the nonexistence of God. (shrink)
I examine the two main arguments that Richard Dawkins offers in The God Delusion to convince believers that God does not exist. Dawkins’ arguments, as stated, are not successful. Neither do sympathetic extensive reformulations have what it takes to require a believer to admit that God probably does not exist. I further argue against Dawkins’ assuming that belief in God, if legitimate, can be only a scientific hypothesis.
In this paper I argue that Richard Swinburne fails to adequately support his Principle of Credulity in favor of the validity of alleged experiences of God. I then formulate an alternative, analogical argument for the validity of alleged experiences of God from the validity of sense-perceptual experiences, and defend it against objections of Gale and Fales. But then I argue against trying to establish the validity of alleged experiences of God by analogy.
In her important work, Hasidism as Mysticism: Quietistic Elements in Eighteenth Century Hasidic Thought, the late Rivkah Schatz-Uffenheimer depicted early eighteenth-century Hasidism as a movement with pronounced ‘quietist tendencies’. In this paper I raise several difficulties with this thesis. These follow from social-activist features of early Hasidism as well as from a selection from the writings of leading early Hasidic masters. I conclude that a major stream of thought in early Hasidim was not quietist in tendency. Finally, I compare the (...) intentions of the masters I cite to some non-quietist themes in Eastern mystical thought. (Published Online July 10 2006). (shrink)
In this paper I defend the possibility that a ‘contented religious exclusivist’, will be fully rational and not neglectful of any of her epistemic duties when faced with the world’s religious diversity. I present an epistemic strategy for reflecting on one's beliefs and then present two features of religious belief that make contented exclusivism a rational possibility. I then argue against the positions of John Hick, David Basinger, and Steven Wykstra on contented exclusivism, and criticize an overly optimistic conception of (...) rationality. Finally, I describe a contented exclusivist who might very well not be fully rational in the face of religious diversity. (shrink)
Recently, "Religious Studies" published an article by Richard Gale and Alexander Pruss, arguing that there exists a necessary being who is a creator of the world. Building on their argument, I argue that, assuming that there is exactly one creator, that creator is essentially omnipotent.
This paper replies to Evan Fales' sociological explanation of mystical experience in two articles in "Religious Studies" vol. 32 (143-63 and 297-313). In these papers Fales applies the ideas of I. M. Lewis on spirit possession to show how mystical experiences can be accounted for as vehicles for the acquisition of political power and social control. The rebuttal of Fales contains three main elements: (a) the presentation of specific examples of theistic mystical experience from Christianity and Judaism which provide counter-examples (...) to Fales' theory; (b) the presentation of some general objections to its plausibility; and (c) an argument for the conclusion that the burden of proof lies with naturalistic, reductionist explanations of religious experiences rather than with theistic interpretations of those experiences. (shrink)
David Basinger has defended his position on the epistemology of religious diversity against a critique I wrote of it in this journal. Basinger endorses the principle that in the face of pervasive epistemic peer conflict a person has a prima facie duty to try to adjudicate the conflict. He defends this position against my claim that religious belief can be non-culpably “rock bottom” and thus escape “Basinger’s Rule.” Here I show why Basinger’s defense against my critique is not satisfactory, and (...) I argue against accepting Basinger’s Rule. (shrink)
Introduction i This work is a sustained argument for the rationality of belief in God based on the evidence that across various religions down through history people seem to have experienced God.1 If we conf1ne ourselves to rationality ...
There exists a diversity of "evidence-free" religions, contradicting one an- other. There will be an epistemic problem for a religious devotee either because evidence-free belief is in general not epistemically justified in the face of diversity, or because of a special problem in the religious case. I argue that in general evidence-free belief is epistemically justified in the face of diversity. Then I argue that recent arguments of Wykstra and Basinger fail to show that there is a special problem in (...) the religious case. Finally, I give reasons why religious belief is epistemically justified in the face of diversity. (shrink)
THE AUTHOR REPLIES TO RONALD SUTER'S "RUSSELL'S\n'REFUTATION' OF MEINONG IN 'ON DENOTING'," "PHILOSOPHY AND\nPHENOMENOLOGICAL RESEARCH," JUNE, 1967. SUTER'S\nINTERPRETATION OF ONE OF RUSSELL'S ARGUMENTS IS CRITICIZED\nON EXEGETICAL GROUNDS, AND HIS DEFENSE OF ANOTHER ARGUMENT\nIS REBUTTED ON LOGICAL GROUNDS. MEINONG'S THESIS IS\nPRESENTED AS THE THESIS THAT ALL STATEMENTS OF A CERTAIN\nFORM ARE TRUE. IT IS ARGUED THAT ALL OF RUSSELL'S ARGUMENTS\nARE ATTEMPTS TO POSE COUNTER-EXAMPLES TO THIS SINGLE VIEW.\nMEINONG IS DEFENDED AGAINST RUSSELL'S COUNTER-EXAMPLES.