Religious Studies

ISSN: 0034-4125

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  1. How to believe in immortality.Carol Zaleski - 2023 - Religious Studies 2023 (doi:10.1017/S0034412523000124):1-14.
    All the cards seem to be stacked against belief in immortality. Nonetheless, the resources of particular religious traditions may avail where generic philosophical solutions fall short. With attention to the boredom and narcissism critiques, intimations of deathlessness in Śāntideva's radical altruism, and recent Christian debates on the soul and the intermediate state, I propose two criteria for a coherent religion-specific belief in immortality: (1) the belief is supported by a fully realized religious tradition, (2) the belief satisfies the demand for (...)
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  2. Conceptual Plausibility and the Rationality of Theistic Belief.Ricardo Silvestre - 2023 - Religious Studies 60 (1).
    In this article, I present a defense of conceptual plausibility, understood as an epistemic way to qualify concepts that situates them between the merely possible and the actual. To show that there is such a thing as conceptual plausibility, I rely on what seems to lie at the heart of many uses of the phrase “plausible concept”: explanatory fruitfulness. To make an effective case for the claim that conceptual plausibility is of philosophical interest, I present an argument based on the (...)
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  3.  34
    Conversational Implicatures Cannot Save Divine Command Theory from the Counterpossible Terrible Commands Objection.Frederick Choo - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (4):852-858.
    Critics of Divine Command Theory (DCT) have advanced the counterpossible terrible commands objection. They argue that DCT implies the counterpossible ‘If a necessarily morally perfect God commanded us to perform a terrible act, then the terrible act would be morally obligatory.’ However, this counterpossible is false. Hence, DCT is false. Philipp Kremers has proposed that the intuition that the counterpossible above is false is due to conversational implicatures. By providing a pragmatic explanation for the intuition, he thinks that DCT proponents (...)
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  4. Free Will and the Moral Vice Explanation of Hell's Finality.Robert J. Hartman - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (4):714-728.
    According to the Free Will Explanation of a traditional view of hell, human freedom explains why some people are in hell. It also explains hell’s punishment and finality: persons in hell have freely developed moral vices that are their own punishment and that make repentance psychologically impossible. So, even though God continues to desire reconciliation with persons in hell, damned persons do not want reconciliation with God. But this moral vice explanation of hell’s finality is implausible. I argue that God (...)
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  5. Two challenges for 'no-norms' theism.James Reilly - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (4):775-782.
    A number of theistic philosophers have recently denied that God is subject to moral and rational norms. At the same time, many theists employ epistemological and inductive arguments for the existence of God. I will argue that ‘no-norms’ theists cannot make use of such arguments: if God is not subject to norms – particularly rational norms – then we can say nothing substantive about what kind of worlds God would be likely to create, and as such, we cannot predict the (...)
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  6. Towards a Buddhist Theism.Davide Andrea Zappulli - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (4):762-774.
    My claim in this article is that the thesis that Buddhism has no God, insofar as it is taken to apply to Buddhism universally, is false. I defend this claim by interpreting a central text in East-Asian Buddhism – The Awakening of Faith in Mahāyāna – through the lenses of perfect being theology (PBT), a research programme in philosophy of religion that attempts to provide a description of God through a two-step process: (1) defining God in terms of maximal greatness; (...)
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  7.  83
    Epistemic phariseeism.Dormandy Katherine - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (3):515-532.
    A prominent view in religious epistemology, which I call divine-help epistemology, says that people of faith are epistemically gifted by God, whereas non-believers are subject to the noetic effects of a fallen world. This view aims to show how religious beliefs for people of faith can be epistemically justified. But I argue that it makes such people prone to a cluster of epistemic vices that I call epistemic phariseeism. Divine-help epistemology is especially apt to promote these vices because its normativity (...)
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  8. How African Conceptions of God Bear on Life's Meaning.Thaddeus Metz - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (2):340-354.
    Up to now, a very large majority of work in the religious philosophy of life’s meaning has presumed a conception of God that is Abrahamic. In contrast, in this essay I critically discuss some of the desirable and undesirable facets of Traditional African Religion’s salient conceptions of God as they bear on meaning in life. Given an interest in a maximally meaningful life, and supposing meaning would come from fulfiling God’s purpose for us, would it be reasonable to prefer God (...)
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  9. Private evidence for atheism.Aaron Bartolome - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (1):97–114.
    This article presents an argument for atheism that contains a premise stated from the first-person perspective and that is intended to rationally persuade people who satisfy certain conditions. The argument also contains a premise about what God would do, if God existed, that is acceptable to theists and is affirmed in some major monotheistic religious traditions. This article explains how the argument differs from some other familiar arguments for atheism and then discusses some critical responses to it.
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  10. Do we need an account of prayer to address the problem for praying without ceasing?Michael Hatcher - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (1):78-96.
    1 Th. 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. Many have worried that praying without ceasing seems impossible. Most address the problem by giving an account of the true nature of prayer. Unexplored are strategies for dealing with the problem that are neutral on the nature of prayer, strategies consistent, for example, with the view that only petition is prayer. In this article, after clarifying the nature of the problem for praying without ceasing, I identify and explore the prospects of (...)
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  11. Absolute Identity and the Trinity.Chris Tweedt - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (1):34-54.
    Trinitarians are charged with at least two contradictions. First, the Father is God and the Son is God, so it seems to follow that the Father is the Son. Trinitarians affirm the premises but deny the conclusion, which seems contradictory. Second, the Father is a God, the Son is a God, and the Holy Spirit is a God, but the Father is not the Son, the Father is not the Holy Spirit, and the Son is not the Holy Spirit. This (...)
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  12.  35
    The alchemy of suffering in the laboratory of the world: Vedāntic Hindu engagements with the affliction of animals.Akshay Gupta & Ankur Barua - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (S1):82-95.
    Traditionally, the problem of evil, in its various formulations, has been one of the strongest objections against perfect being theism. In the voluminous literature on this problem, the motif of evil has usually been discussed with respect to human flourishing. In recent decades more focused attention has been paid to animal suffering and the philosophical problems that such suffering poses for perfect being theists. However, this growing body of literature, in Anglo-American philosophical milieus, is largely aimed at sketching a specifically (...)
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  13. Normative appraisals of faith in God.Daniel Howard-Snyder & Daniel J. McKaughan - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (Special Issue 3):383-393.
    Many theistic religions place a high value on faith in God and some traditions regard it as a virtue. However, philosophers commonly assign either very little value to faith in God or significant negative value, or even view it as a vice. Progress in assessing whether and when faith in God can be valuable or disvaluable, virtuous or vicious, rational or irrational, or otherwise apt or inapt requires understanding what faith in God is. This Special Issue on the normative appraisal (...)
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  14. Theorizing about Christian Faith in God with John Bishop.Daniel J. McKaughan & Daniel Howard-Snyder - 2023 - Religious Studies 59 (Special Issue 3):410-433.
    We assess John Bishop’s theory of the nature of Christian faith in God, as most recently expressed in ‘Reasonable Faith and Reasonable Fideism’, although we dip into other writings as well. We explain several concerns we have about it. However, in the end, our reflections lead us to propose a modified theory, one that avoids our concerns while remaining consonant with some of his guiding thoughts about the nature of Christian faith in God. We also briefly examine three normative issues (...)
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  15. Naturalism, classical theism, and first causes.Joseph C. Schmid - 2023 - Religious Studies 59:63-77.
    Enric F. Gel has recently argued that classical theism enjoys a significant advantage over Graham Oppy's naturalism. According to Gel, classical theism – unlike Oppy's naturalism – satisfactorily answers two questions: first, how many first causes are there, and second, why is it that number rather than another? In this article, I reply to Gel's argument for classical theism's advantage over Oppy's naturalism. I also draw out wider implications of my investigation for the gap problem and Christian doctrine along the (...)
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  16. Evil is still evidence: comment on Almeida.Robert Bass - 2023 - Religious Studies 1.
    Michael Almeida has recently tried to show that if S5 correctly represents metaphysical necessity, there can be no non-trivial evidence for or against the existence of the traditional God. Evidence would thus be irrelevant to the reasonability of traditional theistic belief. Almeida's argument has implications beyond its announced target: it amounts to a new argument for sweeping scepticism. Almeida's argument for the irrelevance of evidence to the existence of God would apply to any state of affairs that entails some metaphysical (...)
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  17. Evil and Evidence: A Reply to Bass.Mike Almeida - 2023 - Religious Studies.
    In ‘Evil is Still Evidence: Comments on Almeida’ Robert Bass presents three objections to the central argument (ENE) in my ‘Evil is Not Evidence’. The first objection is that ENE is invalid. According to the second objection, it is a consequence of ENE that there can be no evidence for or against a posteriori necessities. The third objection is that, contrary to ENE, the likelihood of certain necessary identities varies with the evidence we have for them. In this reply I (...)
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  18.  12
    Divine hiddenness, the demographics of theism, and mutual epistemic dependence: a response to Max Baker-Hytch.Andrew Blanton - 2023 - Religious Studies:1-17.
    In his article ‘Divine Hiddenness and the Demographics of Theism’ Stephen Maitzen (2006) develops a permutation of the argument from divine hiddenness which focuses on the uneven distribution of theistic belief around the globe. Max Baker-Hytch (2016) responds to this argument by providing a theodicy which appeals to the fact that humans are epistemically interdependent. In this article I argue that Baker-Hytch's response is at best incomplete and at worst relies on a faulty modal judgement. After exploring some ways Baker-Hytch (...)
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  19. Non-personal immortality.Sebastian Gäb - 2023 - Religious Studies.
    This article explores the concept of non-personal immortality. Non-personal theories of immortality claim that even though there is no personal or individual survival of death, it is still possible to continue to exist in a non-personal state. The most important challenge for non-personal conceptions of immortality is solving the apparent contradiction between on the one hand accepting that individual existence ends with death and on the other hand maintaining that death nevertheless is not equal to total annihilation. I present two (...)
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  20. Aquinas's science-engaged theology.Ignacio Silva & Gonzalo Recio - 2023 - Religious Studies.
    Science-engaged theology has emerged as a new way of conducting research within the vast field of science and religion, with the aim of, at least in one way of understanding it today, solving theological puzzles. In this article we suggest that an analysis of the diversity of approaches in which thirteenth-century philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas engaged theological questions with the best knowledge of the natural world available at the time allows twenty-first century science-engaged theologians to move forward the discussion (...)
     
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  21.  13
    Embodied world construction: a phenomenology of ritual.Jack Williams - 2023 - Religious Studies (FirstView):1-20.
    This article presents a new approach to understanding ritual: embodied world construction. Informed by phenomenology and a philosophy of embodiment, this approach argues that rituals can (re)shape the structure of an individual's perceptual world. Ritual participation transforms how the world appears for an individual through the inculcation of new perceptual habits, enabling the perception of objects and properties which could not previously be apprehended. This theory is then applied to two case studies from an existing ethnographic study of North American (...)
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  22.  83
    Newman on emotion and cognition in the Grammar of Assent.Emma Emrich - 2023 - Religious Studies:1-17.
    This article considers the role of emotion in John Henry Newman's Grammar of Assent by distinguishing five different ways (or ‘models’) in which the emotions play a positive epistemic role in relation to cognition. The most important of these, the Cognitive-Emotion Model, offers a new account of Newman's crucial idea of real assent, one that stresses the primary role of the emotions in real assent rather than imagination. This model helps to explain the nature of real assent by highlighting Newman's (...)
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  23. A Christian Ethics of Blame: Or, God says, "Vengeance is Mine".Robert J. Hartman - 2023 - Religious Studies:1-16.
    There is an ethics of blaming the person who deserves blame. The Christian scriptures imply the following no-vengeance condition: a person should not vengefully overtly blame a wrongdoer even if she gives the wrongdoer the exact negative treatment that he deserves. I explicate and defend this novel condition and argue that it demands a revolution in our blaming practices. First, I explain the no-vengeance condition. Second, I argue that the no-vengeance condition is often violated. The most common species of blame (...)
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  24. Why the Jesus as mother tradition undermines the symbolic argument against women's ordination.Grace Hibshman - 2023 - Religious Studies.
    The symbolic argument against women's ordination supposes that the theological significance of Christ's sex is his saving relationship to the Church, which takes the form of that of a bridegroom and his bride. It infers that a male priest alone is fit to represent Christ in his capacity as the Saviour of the Church, and thus that only men should be ordained. Since the emergence of the symbolic argument, however, scholars have rediscovered a long tradition of understanding Christ's saving relationship (...)
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