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Religion and the pursuit of truth


This is a new argument to the effect that religions are not truth-oriented. In other words, it is not a fundamental function of religion to represent the world accurately. I compare two hypotheses with respect to their likelihood (in A. W. F. Edwards's technical sense). The one which entails that religion is not truth-oriented is a better explanation than its competitor for a number of empirical observations about religion. It is also at least as probable. I point out that, once one has established that religions are not truth-oriented, it is possible to argue that religions are false and it is possible to run a sound ad hominem argument against religious believers who advance religious claims. I suggest that the results are early ones and that what matters is evaluating religion in the way I illustrate in this paper. The ad hominem argument shows that the question of whether religion is truth-oriented is particularly important.

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Religious Studies
  • ISSN: 0034-4125
  • EISSN: 1469-901X
  • URL: /core/journals/religious-studies
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