The rationality of faith and the benefits of religion

Religions don't simply make claims about the world; they also offer existential resources, resources for dealing with basic human problems, such as the need for meaning, love, identity, and personal growth. For instance, a Buddhist's resources for addressing these existential needs are dif...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:International journal for philosophy of religion
Main Author: Ballard, Brian
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2017]
In:International journal for philosophy of religion
Year: 2017, Volume: 81, Issue: 1/2, Pages: 213-227
Standardized Subjects / Keyword chains:B Religion / Choice of / Rationality / Faith
Further subjects:B Buddhism
B Desire
B Rationality
B Religion
B Value
B Evidence
B Faith
B Religious Aspects
B Emotion
B EMOTIONS (Psychology)
B Reason
Online Access: doi
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Summary:Religions don't simply make claims about the world; they also offer existential resources, resources for dealing with basic human problems, such as the need for meaning, love, identity, and personal growth. For instance, a Buddhist's resources for addressing these existential needs are different than a Christian's. Now, imagine someone who is agnostic but who is deciding whether to put faith in religion A or religion B. Suppose she thinks A and B are evidentially on par, but she regards A as offering much more by way of existential resources. Is it epistemically rational for her to put her faith in A rather than B on this basis? It is natural to answer No. After all, what do the existential resources of a religion have to do with its truth? However, I argue that this attitude is mistaken. My thesis is that the extent to which it is good for a certain religion to be true is relevant to the epistemic (rather than merely pragmatic) rationality of faith in that religion. This is plausible, I'll argue, on the correct account of the nature of faith, including the ways that emotion and desire can figure into faith and contribute to its epistemic rationality.
ISSN:1572-8684
Contains:Enthalten in: International journal for philosophy of religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1007/s11153-016-9599-5