The Uses of Belief in God

Mitchell Silver

in A Plausible God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226818
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236565 | DOI:
The Uses of Belief in God

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This chapter enumerates all of the things that belief in any God might be expected to accomplish, things that belief in the old God did accomplish. The uses of a belief in God are discussed in terms of social conformity, expressive functions, security, comfort, solace, and morality. The chapter argues that belief in God is a potential workhorse. It aligns people's beliefs and practices with their community and traditions. It gives people courage and hope for their endeavors, comfort and consolation for their losses, and protection and sanctuary from their worst fears. Belief in God gives one the language to speak of his most precious experiences and a being to address when expressing existential emotions. It grounds one's morality and gives one a perspective from which to understand the deepest questions.

Keywords: social conformity; expressive functions; security; comfort; solace; morality; belief

Chapter.  4049 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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