Religious disagreement – the existence of inconsistent religious views – is familiar and widespread. Among the most fundamental issues of such disagreement is whether to characterise the divine as personal or non-personal. On most other religious issues, the diverse views seem to presuppose some view on the personal/non-personal issue. In this essay, I address a particular question arising from disagreement over this issue. Let an exclusivist belief be a belief that a doctrine d on an issue is true, and that (...) doctrines on the issue that differ from d are false. Assume that for at least some people, there is no epistemic reason to prefer any one exclusivist view on the personal/non-personal question. This might be because disagreements act as defeaters for disputants’ beliefs, or because someone comes at the question without already holding a belief on the matter, and finds each view equally plausible. In these circumstances, is it still possible to engage with particular traditions in a realist, truth-seeking way? I answer that it is, arguing for a new pluralist approach to the personal/non-personal issue. By ‘pluralist’, I mean an approach that reinterprets a doctrine d on a given issue to be consistent with doctrines on the issue that differ from d. I start with probably the best-known pluralist account of religion, that of John Hick. After presenting his account I identify a problem that it faces which any pluralist account must address, one that has clear relevance to the personal/non-personal question. I then draw on Thomas Merton to outline an alternative pluralist route, illustrating how such an approach can apply to Christian and Buddhist ideas of an ultimate spiritual goal. The personal/non-personal issue is a good test for the approach I develop: because of the issue’s fundamentality, if the approach succeeds here then the prospects look bright for applying it to other topics of religious disagreement. (shrink)
This chapter sharpens the book’s criticism of exclusivist responsible to religious multiplicity, firstly through close critical attention to arguments which religious exclusivists provide, and secondly through the introduction of several new, formal arguments / dilemmas. Self-described ‘post-liberals’ like Paul Griffiths bid philosophers to accept exclusivist attitudes and beliefs as just one among other aspects of religious identity. They bid us to normalize the discourse Griffiths refers to as “polemical apologetics,” and to view its acceptance as the only viable form of (...) pluralism. This reasoning may seem initially plausible, but on closer examination his and other’s defence of the reasonableness of exclusivist responses to religious multiplicity fall apart. Informed by our study of luck-leaning theological explanations of religious difference and the counter-inductive thinking they exemplify, I argue that exclusivist responses to religious multiplicity are best explained by personal and group bias, and that a discourse between exclusivist authors or sects is beyond the pale of reasonable disagreement. Our study of descriptive (psychological) and prescriptive (religious) fideism in the first sections of Chapter Five suggests that we turn back to formal features of doxastic methods (i.e., of how people process), features that may be straightforwardly tested for in studies utilizing scales of religious orientation. These formal features allow us to better recognize not only the multiplicity of models of faith that religious adherents adhere to, but also that the relationship between forms of fideism is scalar: there is a spectrum of views running from rationalism to fideism, and at the fideistic end from moderate to strong forms of religious fideism. I further explain why developing tests and markers for a high degree of fideistic orientation is important to all those who study religion. The second half of the chapter turns to criticism or censure of exclusivist attitudes to religious multiplicity, in contrast to apologetic defenses of exclusivism. While we have examined the close connections between fideism and fundamentalism, and again between fundamentalism and exclusivism in earlier chapters, a sharper focus reveals an important but little-recognized distinction reflected in the literature: the distinction between religion-specific (or particularist) and mutualist exclusivism. The mutualist doesn’t talk just about the right of adherents of one specific religion to assert exclusivism, but the adherents of any and all “home” religions. I argue that some previously unrecognized problems for the reasonableness of exclusivist responses to religious multiplicity are brought to light when we make the distinction between the two basic ways to understand the claim that exclusivists are making. I put particularist (Barth, Lindbeck, Plantinga) and mutualist (Griffiths, Gellman, Margalit, D’Costa) defenses of exclusivism on the horns of a dilemma, and argue that despite the popularity it presently enjoys among post-liberal theologians, a close examination reveals that the very conceptual coherence of mutualist exclusivism is in serious doubt. (shrink)
This book has argued that problems of religious luck, especially when operationalized into concerns about doxastic risk and responsibility, can be of shared interest to theologians, philosophers, and psychologists. We have pointed out counter-inductive thinking as a key feature of fideistic models of faith, and examined the implications of this point both for the social scientific study of fundamentalism, and for philosophers’ and theologians’ normative concerns with the reasonableness of a) exclusivist attitudes to religious multiplicity, and b) theologically-cast but bias-mirroring (...) trait-ascriptions to religious insiders and outsiders. It is important to keep the descriptive/explanatory and normative concerns properly separated, but philosophy of luck and risk are relevant to both. More specifically, inductive risky theological strategies,we have argued, are a relevant concern both descriptively and normatively. The descriptive/explanatory relevance of measures of high inductive risk connects it with cognitive and social psychology of religion, while its normative relevance connects with critical concerns with epistemology of testimony, the epistemology of disagreement, and the ethics of belief. A research program to examine fideistic orientation and its relation to epistemically risky doxastic strategies is one of potentially numerous research programs on which philosophers and psychologists might work collaboratively. So this concluding chapter of our study culminates with the outline of a proposed research program at the intersection of shared concerns. I term this research program CICI, because it examines what lies at the intersection of CSR’s standing interest in the appeal of counter-intuitive ideas, and our own study’s focus on the fideistic penchant for counter-inductive thinking. Religious Studies scholars typically focus on particular traditions and teachings, while CSR scholars tend to eschew such content-focused approaches in favor of a study of evolutionary and hence generic or trans-religious functions and processes. I argue that CICI has the added benefit of effectively mediating this generic-specific contrast between CSR and Religious Studies, allowing CSR research to be more closely connected with and relevant to comparative fundamentalism. (shrink)
This chapter covers contemporary work on disagreement, detailing both the conceptual and normative issues in play in the debates in mainstream analytic epistemology, and how these relate to religious diversity and disagreement. §1 examines several sorts of disagreement, and considers several epistemological issues: in particular, what range of attitudes a body of evidence can support, how to understand higher-order evidence, and who counts as an epistemic “peer”. §2 considers how these questions surface when considering disagreements over religion, including debates over (...) the nature of evidence and truth in religion, epistemic humility, concerns about irrelevant influences and about divine hiddenness, and arguments over exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism. Finally, §3 summarizes the contributors’ essays in this volume. (shrink)
Epistemological questions about the significance of disagreement have advanced in concert with broader developments in social epistemology concerning testimony, the nature of expertise and epistemic authority, the role of institutions, group belief, and epistemic injustice (among others). During this period, related issues in the epistemology of religion have reemerged as worthy of new consideration, and available to be situated with new conceptual tools. This volume explores many of the issues at the intersection of the epistemology of disagreement and religious epistemology: (...) in particular, how to think carefully about religious diversity and disagreement, balancing epistemic humility with personal conviction, the place of religious belief in our social lives, and how best to think about truths concerning religion. (shrink)
Faithful persons tend to relate to their religious beliefs as truth claims, particularly inasmuch as their beliefs have soteriological implications for those of different religions. For Christians the particular claims which matter most in this regard are those made by Jesus of Nazareth and his claims are primarily relational in nature. I propose a model in which we understand divine grace from Jesus as being mediated through relational knowledge of him on a compassionately exclusivist basis, including post-mortem. Supporting this model, (...) I draw from Eleonore Stump’s hypothesis in her 2018 Atonement that the crucifixion of Jesus opens the divine psyche to all human psyches sufficiently for salvific mutual indwelling to occur, and from Gavin D’Costa’s conception of the descensus Christi ad inferos as the mechanism for grace’s accessibility post-mortem presented in his 2009 Christianity and World Religions. This model seeks to address ongoing, justified pastoral concern for the soteriological status of non-Christians while still treating Christianity as objectively true. (shrink)
This article reintroduces Fr. Zeferino González, OP (1831-1894) to scholars of Church history, philosophy, and cultural heritage. He was an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomás in Manila, a Cardinal, and a champion of the revival of Catholic Philosophy that led to the promulgation of Leo XIII’s encyclical Aeterni Patris. Specifically, this essay presents, firstly, the Cardinal’s biography in the context of his experience as a missionary in the Far East; secondly, the intellectual tradition in Santo Tomás in Manila, (...) which he carried with him until his death; and lastly, some reasons for his once-radiant memory to slip into an undeserved forgetfulness. (shrink)
Studies on racial and religious discriminations in Malaysia tend to be avoided. This is due to their sensitive nature, possibly becoming political ammunition, and individuals being accused of seditious intent. Much that is necessary to discuss discrimination in Malaysia remains unclear. It is not known to what extent contact between groups is undesirable especially as neighbors in Malaysia. This study examined ethnic differences and predictors of racial and religious discriminations among 1200 Malaysians (319 Chinese and 881 Malays). Discrimination was conceptualized (...) through having the attitude of not wanting people of a different race or a different religion as neighbors. Ethnic differences in discriminating against others were found to be significant. Malays showed higher means of not wanting neighbors of a different race or religion compared to Chinese. Demographic factors and beliefs reflecting conservatism were not good predictors, explaining only slight variances. However, a person who discriminates based on religion was consistently a predictor of exhibiting racial discrimination, and vice-versa, with approximately double the odds among Malays. The finding highlights a strong interplay between race and religion, suggesting that Chinese and Malays conflate the two together. (shrink)
"Debating Christian Religious Epistemology introduces core questions in the philosophy of religion by bringing five competing viewpoints on the knowledge of God into critical dialogue with one another."--.
How can religiously aﬃliated institutions that promote liberal arts maintain commitment both to their aﬃliation and to the ideal of religious inclusivity? What principles of accreditation should be used by agencies—such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges—in assessing religiously aﬃliated yet inclusive institutions? Many religiously aﬃliated institutions claim to value liberal arts learning and critical inquiry, to prepare students for a diverse world. Yet aﬃliation often brings with it pervasive structures of religious privilege that inhibit (...) questioning and critical thinking, especially with regard to religions. I bring Ricoeur’s philosophical hermeneutics and his approach to religious inclusivity developed in his essay “Religious Belief” (2010) to bear on these issues. Ricoeur uses the models of translation and multilingualism to promote what he calls religious “hospitality.” Through this Ricoeurian approach, I develop principles of inclusivity for use in accrediting religiously aﬃliated colleges. (shrink)
Das Themenfeld "Religion und Pluralismus" hat sich in den letzten Jahren bedeutend weiterentwickelt. Der Band führt deutschsprachige LeserInnen in die bislang vorwiegend auf Englisch geführte Debatte ein und entwickelt grundlegende Fragen und Impulse für die weitere Forschung. Internationale ForscherInnen beleuchten zentrale Fragestellungen der Debatte über Pluralismus und Religion: z.B. die epistemischen Herausforderungen des peer-disagreement, neurotheologische und religionspsychologische Argumente für einen kulturübergreifenden Kern religiöser Erfahrung, oder das Potenzial des religiösen Fiktionalismus als Antwort auf die Unvereinbarkeit religiöser Wahrheitsansprüche und um die Anforderungen (...) der Toleranz angesichts der realen Pluralität von Religionen. (shrink)
In response to the intellectual movement of New Atheism, this volume articulates a "New Theist" response that has at its core a desire to engage in productive and depolarizing dialogue. To ensure this book is of interest to atheists and theists alike, a team of experts in the field of philosophy of religion offer an assessment of the strongest New Atheist arguments. The chapters address the most pertinent questions about God, including politics and morality, and each essay shows how a (...) reflective theist might deal with points raised by the New Atheists. This volume is a serious academic engagement with the questions asked by New Atheism. As such, it will be of significant interest to scholars working in the philosophy of religion and theology, as well as those engaged in religious studies generally. (shrink)
The study of problems of religious luck, I hope to convince the reader, is a needed focus today, in that this study promotes useful dialogue among theologians, philosophers, and researchers in the cognitive science of religions. There is a strong tendency among faith traditions to invoke asymmetric explanations of the religious value or salvific status of the home religion vis-à-vis all others. Philosophy of luck will be presented in this chapter as aiding our understanding of what is going on when (...) persons or theologies ascribe various kinds of religiously-relevant traits to insiders and outsiders of a faith tradition in sharply asymmetric fashion. (shrink)
Habermas’ ‘ethics of citizenship’ raises a number of relevant concerns about the dangers of a secularistic exclusion of religious contributions to public deliberation, on the one hand, and the dangers of religious conflict and sectarianism in politics, on the other. Agreeing largely with these concerns, the paper identities four problems with Habermas’ approach, and attempts to overcome them: the full exclusion of religious reasons from parliamentary debate; the full inclusion of religious reasons in the informal public sphere; the philosophical distinction (...) between secular and religious reasons; and the sociological distinction between ‘Western’ and ‘non-Western’ religions. The result is a revised version of the ethics of citizenship, which I call moderate inclusivism. Most notably, moderate inclusivism implies a replacement of Habermas’ ‘institutional translation proviso’ with a more flexible ‘conversational translation proviso’. (shrink)
This chapter consists of a series of reflections on widely endorsed claims about Christian philosophy and, in particular, Christian philosophy of religion. It begins with consideration of some claims about how (Christian) philosophy of religion currently is, and then moves on to consideration of some claims about how (Christian) philosophy of religion ought to be. In particular, the chapter offers critical scrutiny of the oft-repeated claim that we are currently in a golden age for Christian philosophy of religion.
Religious exclusivism is the biggest threat for multi-religious society at the same time, ambivalent thoughts among religion in religious pluralism due to religious diversity often yields religious violence. In both of the extreme, (religious exclusivism and religious pluralism) there is the possibility of religious violence, i.e., religious riots, terrorism, mob lynching, and communalism. The objective of this paper is to discuss the significance of interreligious dialogue (IRD), its basic principle, how IRD will help us for addressing the problems of humanity (...) (i.e., Religious diversity and contradictory thoughts in major religions, Religious Dogma, superstition, and terrorism). If there is any biggest challenge for religion in the 21st century, is this one that how religion can deal with these problems and became a good tool for establishing peace and prosperity in the region. (shrink)
What are the epistemological implications of the cognitive science of religion (CSR)? The lion’s share of discussion fixates on whether CSR undermines (or debunks or explains away) theistic belief. But could the field offer positive support for theism? If so, how? That is our question. Our answer takes the form of an evidential argument for theism from standard models and research in the field. According to CSR, we are naturally disposed to believe in supernatural agents and these beliefs are constrained (...) in certain ways. The three main theories of this supernatural disposition are byproduct theories, adaptationist theories, and hybrid theories. We argue that our supernatural disposition—as understood by any of the main theories—is more surprising and improbable given naturalism than theism and thus serves as evidence for theism over naturalism. (shrink)
When you learn that a large body of highly intelligent, fair-minded, reasonable, and relatively unbiased thinkers disagree with you, does that give you good reason to think you’re wrong? Should you think, “Wait a minute. Maybe I’ve missed something here”? Should you at least drastically reduce your confidence? There is a general epistemological problem here regarding controversial beliefs, one that has nothing especially to do with religious belief. I argue that applying this discussion to religion transforms the problem in unexpected (...) and interesting ways, and that the religious believer is often epistemically reasonable in sticking with her controversial belief. (shrink)
Philosophical responses to religious diversity range from outright rejection of divine reality to claims of religious pluralism. In this paper, I challenge those responses that take the problem of religious diversity to be merely an instance of the general problem of disagreement. To do so, I will take, as my starting point, William Alston’s treatment of the problems that religious diversity seems to pose for the rationality of theistic beliefs. My main aim is to highlight the cognitive penetrability of religious (...) experience as a major source of such problems. I conclude by examining the consequences of cognitive penetration for the reliability of the monotheistic doxastic practice. (shrink)
Most literature on religious beliefs and disagreements among traditions focuses on a bit of mainstream assumptions: religions should be construed in substantive terms; religions are to be individuated by their core belief systems; adherents to a single tradition assent to the same belief system; religious beliefs have factual content; incompatible religious beliefs cannot be both true; and so on. In my work I question all these claims in order to defend a non kantian approach to deep pluralism. In the first (...) part I develop a narrative theory of doxastic practices. My fundamental intuition is that ambiguity, vagueness, and indeterminacy of meaning are non amendable features of any ordinary belief. Consequently, no proposition has a definite meaning, and there is no a priori reason to assume that if two believers assume the same belief, they both hold the same content. What I'm trying to do is to argue in support of a realist epistemology, without assuming a normative and rationalist stance. My evidential body is mainly drawn from psychology and psychoanalysis. In the second part I apply such a narrative theory to the study of the doxastic character of religions. I reject both functionalist and substantive approaches to religion, and I defend my own viewpoint which I label experentialism. After providing a characterization of religious beliefs, I refute how Alston, Ward and Hick account for the the doxastic features of religions. I then propose a definition of religious diversity which turns out to be alternative to the mainstream one. I work by empirical evidence from semiotics, sociology of religion and history of religions. In the third and conclusive part of my book, I give reasons against the mainstream approach to religious diversity, and I explain how my definition can be more appropriate to the sociological study of religious beliefs than the mainstream one. Finally, I provide an account of deep pluralism, I show that my approach to religious epistemology and religions is compatible with (and recommended by) deep pluralism, I differentiate kantian from non kantian pluralism, and I explain why non kantian deep pluralism resists the traditional objections to pluralism. Throughout the book I discuss relevant materials from Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (shrink)
The challenge from religious diversity is widely thought to be one of the most important challenges facing religious belief. Despite this consensus, however, many epistemologists think that standard versions of the challenge fail because they threaten to implicate many seemingly reasonable yet highly controversial non-religious beliefs. In light of this we develop an alternative, less discussed, diversity challenge that does not generalize. This challenge concerns why so much religious diversity exists in the first place given common religious, and in particular (...) theistic, views. Although there are some interesting scientific explanations of such diversity, satisfying theistic explanations of its existence are still required. (shrink)
In this essay I try to motivate and formulate the main epistemological questions to ask about the phenomenon of religious disagreement. I will not spend much time going over proposed answers to those questions. I address the relevance of the recent literature on the epistemology of disagreement. I start with some fiction and then, hopefully, proceed with something that has at least a passing acquaintance with truth.
In the Āgamadambara (“Much Ado about Religion”), Jayanta Bhatta appears to be making a case for religious toleration and pluralism. This paper considers whether Jayanta has a concept like toleration in mind at all, or at least something that we today might understand to be toleration. If he is doing neither, our understanding of the nature of tolerance and its conceptual limits may be furthered by determining exactly what he is talking about and why it looks so much like tolerance.
In the midst of the De pace fidei’s imagined heavenly conference on the theme of the possibility of religious harmony, Nicholas of Cusa has Saint Peter acknowledge to the Persian interlocutor that it will be difficult to bring Jews to the acceptance of Christ’s divine nature because they refuse to accept the implicit meaning of their own history of revelation. What is peculiar about this line in the dialogue is not merely that it flies in the face of what Cusanus (...) scholars tend to regard as an ecumenical spirit in Nicholas’ call to interreligious dialogue and mutual toleration. Rather, the statement reveals a peculiar hermeneutic principle at work in Nicholas’ understanding of the tension between truth and doctrine and the way that this tension informs human practice. Accordingly, by grappling with Nicholas’ portrayal of an imagined failure of Jews to practice interpretation correctly, I hope to shed light on Nicholas’ philosophy of religion in a way that neither ignores his anti-Judaism nor reduces the significance of his views to one of its most unpleasant manifestations. (shrink)
With respect to many, if not most issues, there exist significant differences of opinion among individuals who seem to be equally knowledgeable and sincere. Individuals who apparently have access to the same information and are equally interested in the truth affirm incompatible perspectives on, for instance, significant social, political, and economic issues. Such diversity of opinion, though, is nowhere more evident than in the area of religious thought. On almost every religious issue, honest, knowledgeable people hold significantly diverse, often incompatible (...) beliefs. -/- Religious diversity of this sort can fruitfully be explored in many ways — for instance, from psychological, anthropological, or historical perspectives. The current discussion, however, will concern itself primarily with those key issues surrounding religious diversity with which philosophers, especially analytic philosophers of religion, are most concerned at present. Specifically, our discussion will focus primarily on the following questions: How pervasive is religious diversity? Does the reality of this diversity require a response? Can a person who acknowledges religious diversity remain justified in claiming just one perspective to be correct? If so, is it morally justifiable to attempt to convert others to a different perspective? Can it justifiably be claimed that only one religion offers a path into the eternal presence of God? The answers to such questions are not simply academic. They increasingly have great impact on how we treat others, both personally and corporately. (shrink)
In response to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Nicholas of Cusa wrote De pace fidei defending a commitment to religious tolerance on the basis of the notion that all diverse rites are but manifestations of one true religion. Drawing on a discussion of why Nicholas of Cusa is unable to square the two objectives of arguing for pluralistic tolerance and explaining the contents of the one true faith, we outline why theological pluralism is compromised by its own meta-exclusivism.
In this paper, I hope to solve a problem that’s as old as the hills: the problem of contingency for religious belief. Paradigmatic examples of this argument begin with a counterfactual premise: had we been born at a different time or in a difference place, we easily could have held different beliefs on religious topics. Ultimately, and perhaps by additional steps, we’re meant to reach the skeptical conclusion that very many of our religious beliefs do not amount to knowledge. I (...) survey some historical examples of this argument, and I try to fill the gap between the counterfactual premise and the skeptical conclusion as forcefully as possible. I consider the following possibilities: there are no additional steps in the argument; or there are and they concern the alleged safety condition on knowledge, or the alleged non-accidentality condition on knowledge, or the unclarity produced by disagreement. On every possibility, the argument from the counterfactual premise to the conclusion of widespread skepticism is invalid. It seems, then, that there is no serious problem of contingency for religious belief. (shrink)
In the December 2013 issue of the periodical ‚Merkur‘, philosopher Andreas Dorschel presents a literary experiment. In the spirit of 18th century Enlightenment, he feigns an apocryphal letter including philological apparatus; it is – mind the boldness – a response letter by the Corinthians to St Paul’s first epistle. The ancient port city, multicultural, of syncretist religiousness and libertine in erotics, rejects the disciplining by the apostle. (Summary by Gustav Seibt, ‚Die Häresie der Abgrenzungen. Andreas Dorschel entwirft ein korinthisches Christentum‘, (...) in Süddeutsche Zeitung 293, 19 December 2013, p. 14). (shrink)
The topic of the thesis is the challenge that religious diversity poses to religious belief. A key issue to be resolved is whether a reasonable person may believe in the epistemic superiority of any one religious ideology in the light of religious diversity. -/- After introducing the issues, I examine Richard Swinburne’s, and then Alvin Plantinga’s, view on religious diversity. These two philosophers both advocate religious epistemic exclusivism, the view that only one religious ideology is true to the exclusion of (...) all others. I argue that the positions of Swinburne and Plantinga are unsatisfactory. -/- In Chapter 4 I list a number of objections to religious epistemic exclusivism. One of these objections, namely the religious ambiguity objection, will be important in this thesis. I explain what religious ambiguity is in more detail and distinguish between temporary religious ambiguity and permanent religious ambiguity. -/- Chapters 5 & 6 deal with responses to religious diversity in the light of permanent religious ambiguity. William Alston advocates that religious epistemic exclusivism is still reasonable given religious ambiguity. Alston appeals to faith to justify exclusivist belief but this gives rise to the objection that tentative belief is more appropriate. Conversely, John Hick rejects exclusivism in favour of another position altogether, called religious epistemic pluralism. In Chapter 7 I assess the impact of Hick’s response to religious diversity on the ideology of a traditionally minded Muslim. I argue that the Muslim is not obliged to accept Hick’s solution in full. (shrink)
The paradox of ’Buridan’s ass’ involves an animal facing two equally adequate and attractive alternatives, such as would happen were a hungry ass to confront two bales of hay that are equal in all respects relevant to the ass’s hunger. Of course, the ass will eat from one rather than the other, because the alternative is to starve. But why does this eating happen? What reason is operative, and what explanation can be given as to why the ass eats from, (...) say, the left bale rather than the right bale? Why doesn’t the ass remain caught between the options, forever indecisive and starving to death? Religious pluralists face a similar dilemma, a dilemma that I will argue is more difficult to address than the paradox just described. (shrink)
Both Christianity and Judaism have their basis in the Torah, the five central books of the Hebrew Bible that culminate in the revelation at Sinai. This very commonality, potentiality a source of mutual respect and concord, has played itself out, in the two thousand years since the advent of Christianity, in a disastrous rivalry of interpretation. Christians have interpreted their own religion in such a manner as to disallow the separate legitimacy of Judaism. Jews, in response, have often adopted an (...) insularity of focus at odds with the universality of God as Judaism itself understands it. I believe this rivalry has had a distorting effect upon both religions. The purpose of my essay is to search out some theological positions that both traditions might be able to accept, and that might permit each to adopt an affirmative, and informed, acceptance of the other. (shrink)
We all can identify many contemporary philosophy professors we know to be theists of some type or other. We also know that often enough their nontheistic beliefs are as epistemically upstanding as the non-theistic beliefs of philosophy professors who aren’t theists. In fact, the epistemic-andnon-theistic lives of philosophers who are theists are just as epistemically upstanding as the epistemic-and-non-theistic lives of philosophers who aren’t theists. Given these and other, similar, facts, there is good reason to think that the pro-theistic beliefs (...) of theistic philosophers are frequently epistemically upstanding. Given their impeccable epistemic credentials on non-theistic matters, the amount of careful thought that lies behind their theism, the large size of the community of philosophical theists, as well as other, similar facts, it would be surprising if all or even most of their pro-theistic beliefs were epistemically blameworthy in some or other signicant sense tied to charges such as ‘He should know better than to believe that’ (so mere false belief need not be blameworthy in this sense; the use of ‘blameworthy’ will be claried below). Of course some of the pro-theistic beliefs of some theistic philosophers are epistemically blameworthy; the mere large numbers of fallible theistic philosophers almost guarantees it. My point here is that it would be unexpected if most of the pro-theistic beliefs of theistic philosophers were epistemically blameworthy. (shrink)
Lewis remarked that "The world does not consist of 100 per cent Christians and 100 per cent non-Christians." A particular understanding of Christian faith is indicated in this quote. Faith must be distinguished carefully from Christian belief--and is better linked with the pursuit of Godly purposes. The door is then opened to talk about the possibility of those without Christian beliefs nonetheless exercising 'implicit' Christian faith. Various objections are addressed in defending Lewis's general understanding of faith.
This volume brings together fourteen of the best papers by the late Philip Quinn, one of the world's leading philosophers of religion. It covers the following topics: religious epistemology, religious ethics, religion and tragic dilemmas, religion and political liberalism, topics in Christian philosophy, and religious diversity.
There are many books on the market about religion in American thought and history, but the idea for a collection of essays focused directly upon pragmatist reconstructions of religious belief and sentiment is overdue. Stuart Rosenbaum’s reader admirably fills this need, and is bound to bring fresh insights to students and advanced researchers alike.
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)
The criteria of “forced, live, and momentous options,” as William James utilized them in his pragmatic defense of religious belief, cannot, I argue, both support religious pluralism and acknowledge lessons about failure of epistemic responsibility in Heaven’s Gate-followers. But I attempt to re-vitalize the pragmatic argument, showing it capable of walking this narrow line. I proceed (1) by developing the distinction and relationship between a commitment to a particular religious system or community, and a commitment to the generic “religious hypothesis” (...) itself; and (2) by explicating and expanding upon the “experimental” status—and associated pragmatic criteria for success or failure—that James already recognized for commitments to particular religious communities. I thus show how the “pragmatic argument” takes on heightened significance—and renewed promise—in light of problems associated with New Age and so-called “cult” religiosity. (shrink)
This essay on law and religion appears in the second edition of the Blackwell Companion to Philosophy of Law and Legal Theory, edited by Dennis Patterson. It is a revision of a similar entry in the book’s first edition. The essay opens by broadly discussing the complex relationships between law and religion writ large as movements in human history – social, cultural, intellectual, and institutional phenomena with distinct but often overlapping logics and concerns. It then hones in on the efforts (...) of secular law to make sense of religion and determine its place in the civil state. The essay argues that, while the questions raised by the American Bill of Rights’ religion clauses connect in some important respects to broader constitutional principles such as free expression and equality, the most interesting and theoretically excruciating conundrums involving religion need to be approached on their own unique terms. Two useful rubrics for such understanding are “separation” and “deference.” Any honest account must also admit, however, that there is an “intractable residue,” questions in the relation of religion and law to which there simply is no determinate or completely satisfactory answer. Finally, the essay emphasizes that the full texture of the legal imagination’s effort to grapple with religion only becomes apparent in the wider range of subconstitutional and nonconstitutional contexts beyond the standard litany of constitutional discourse. (shrink)