Deciding About Religion

John G. Stackhouse

in Humble Apologetics

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780195138078
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834679 | DOI:
Deciding About Religion

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Investigates principles of epistemology that guide all decision making and, more specifically, religious decisions. Epistemological principles discussed include hypothetical thinking (human thoughts are provisional guesses); graduated assent (we ought to proportion our assent to the apparent grounds and importance of what is to be believed); truth as understood in terms of coherence, correspondence, and pragmatic value; and of faith as an act of commitment anchored in, yet going beyond, what we think we know. The chapter goes on to offer both substantive and functional definitions of religion and recommends a method of deciding among religious options. Having come to the best conclusion possible, one must take a step of trust and commitment: an act of faith. Beneath and within all this human effort is the reality that because religious decision is not just intellectual but an act of the will, the Holy Spirit must turn a person away from sin to love God.

Keywords: epistemology; faith; functional religion; graduated assent; grounds; hypothetical thinking; substantive religion; truth

Chapter.  10678 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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