Evans, C. (2011). Religious experience and the question of whether belief in god required evidence. In K J Clark, R J VanArragon (Eds.), Evidence and Religious Belief (pp. 37-51). United Kingdom : Oxford University Press.
A fundamental question in the field of religious epistemology asks 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. This book contains eleven chapters by prominent philosophers which push the discussion in new directions. The book has three parts. Chapters in the first part explore the demand for evidence: some object to it while others seek to restate it or find space for compromise between Reformed epistemology and evidentialism. Chapters in the second part explore ways in which beliefs are related to evidence, that is, ways that what evidence for or against religious belief is available to a person can depend on that person’s background beliefs and other circumstances. The third part of the book 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.
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