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Can We Be Sure About Contingent Religious Insights?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter introduces two distinctions: one concerning the meaning of contingency, and another concerning the nature of religious insights. It distinguishes between three ideas of contingency: causality, determined by a multitude of causes ("we do not know exactly how our beliefs are caused but they have their origin in socio-economic, psychological and cultural factors"); arbitrariness ("there are no grounds for having some religious beliefs and not others"); and accidentality ("in the process of belief-formation accidental happenings do play a role"). The arguments pro and contra religious truth depend heavily upon presuppositions concerning the nature of religious insight. The chapter distinguishes between basic religious insights, their formulations as beliefs, and reflections upon these beliefs. It discusses the objections against religious truth and certainty on the basis of both distinctions.

Keywords: contingent belief; religious insights



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