Religious Ambiguity and Religious Diversity

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9780190221263: Religious Ambiguity and Religious Diversity

The religious ambiguity of the world has many aspects, one of which is the hiddenness of God. Theists have proposed a number of explanations of God's hiddenness. Some putative explanations contend that the advantages of God's hiddenness ("goods of mystery") outweigh whatever benefits would result if God's existence and nature were clear to us ("goods of clarity"). Goods of mystery that have received a lot of discussion include human moral autonomy and the ability on our part to exercise control over whether we believe in the existence of God. The extent of the ambiguity that surrounds God's existence, and indeed all important religious matters, combined with our lack of an obviously correct and adequate explanation of this lack, suggest that, even if God exists, it is not important that people believe in God. Another central theme in the book is the significance of religious diversity for religious belief. The character of this diversity is such that it provides people who take a position on religious matters with reason to adopt the "Critical Stance" -- which requires people in all the religious traditions to subject their religious beliefs to critical scrutiny and hold those beliefs in a tentative way.Some contend that religious faith requires complete confidence in what is believed but tentative belief actually is sufficient to sustain many forms of religious commitment.

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About the Author:

Robert McKim is Professor of Religion and of Philosophy at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


"McKim's book is both eloquent and erudite, and should serve as recommended reading for those seriously concerned with questions of faith." --Sophia

"I recommend this book. Anyone interested in issues raised by divine hiddenness or religious diversity, or in the nature of a reasonable religious faith, should examine it carefully. McKim's arguments are detailed, balanced, and to the point. Future writers on these topics must take them in to account."--Faith and Philosophy

"Even if McKim has not made a convincing case for tentative religious belief, his book does raise vital questions for the philosophy of religion. It will repay close attention from all philosophers."--International Journal of Philosophical Studies

"A powerful book that deserves serious consideration. McKim's epistemic proposal certainly is intriguing, and anyone looking for a comprehensive introduction to religious epistemology will find Religious Ambiguity and Religious Diversity very satisfying."--Philosphia Christi

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