Evidence and Religious Belief

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-09-09
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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A fundamental question in philosophy of religion is whether religious belief must be based on evidence in order to be properly held. In recent years two prominent positions on this issue have been staked out: evidentialism, which claims that proper religious belief requires evidence; and Reformed epistemology, which claims that it does not.Evidence and Religious Beliefcontains eleven chapters by prominent philosophers which push the discussion in new directions. The volume has three parts. The first part explores the demand for evidence: some chapters object to it while others seek to restate it or find space for compromise between Reformed epistemology and evidentialism. The second part explores ways in which beliefs are related to evidence; that is, ways in which the evidence for or against religious belief that is available to a person can depend on that person's background beliefs and other circumstances. The third part contains chapters that discuss actual evidence for and against religious belief. Evidence for belief in God includes the so-called common consent of the human race and the way that such belief makes sense of the moral life; evidence against it includes profound puzzles about divine freedom which suggest that it is impossible for a being to be morally perfect.

Author Biography

Kelly James Clark is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the author and editor of over fifty articles and fifteen books including The Story of Ethics (Prentice-Hall), Return to Reason (Eerdmans), and Children of Abraham (forthcoming).

Raymond J. VanArragon is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is author of Key Terms in Philosophy of Religion (Continuum), co-editor of Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion (Blackwell), and has published articles in philosophy of religion and epistemology.

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributorsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Exploring the Demand for Evidence
Willing Belief and Rational Faithp. 13
Epistemic Self-Trust and the Consensus Gentium Argumentp. 22
Religious Experience and the Question of Whether Belief in God Requires Evidencep. 37
Phenomenal Conservatism and Evidentialism in Religious Epistemologyp. 52
The Relation of Beliefs to Evidence
Theistic Proofs, Person Relativity, and the Rationality of Religious Beliefp. 77
Hiddenness, Evidence, and Idolatryp. 95
An Evolutionary Objection to the Argument from Evilp. 114
Evidence and Religious Belief
Consensus Gentium: Reflections on the 'Common Consent' Argument for the Existence of Godp. 135
Morality and Happinessp. 157
Divine Perfection and Freedomp. 175
The Many Gods of Hick and Mavrodesp. 186
Bibliographyp. 203
Indexp. 211
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