A Defense of First and Second-Order Theism: The Limits of Empirical Inquiry and the Rationality of Religious Belief

Charles Taliaferro, Christophe Porot
2017 European Journal for Philosophy of Religion  
We argue that the use of the term "supernatural" is problematic in philosophy of religion in general, and in the contribution by Thornhill-Miller and Millican (TMM) in particular. We address the disturbing parallel between Hume's case against the rationality of belief in miracles and his dismissal of reports of racial equality. We do not argue that because Hume was a racist (or an advocate of white superiority) therefore his view against miracles is faulty, but we draw attention to how Hume
more » ... up a framework that, for similar reasons, discounts evidence of black intelligence and divine intelligence (or evidence of acts of God). We go on to argue against TMM's revision of Hume on miracles. We then argue that empirical testing on the veracity of petitionary belief is impossible for there is no control case (everyone is prayed for) and that empirical testing can no more evaluate the evidential merits of most religious experiences than it can assess the merits of any robust philosophical position in epistemology, metaphysics, value theory, logic and mathematics. We express doubts about the integrity and scope of how one might enjoy the good of religion without belief. In a final section we offer a defense of the rationality of believing in specific religious traditions based on religious experience along with what we refer to as sufficient philosophical reasoning.
doi:10.24204/ejpr.v8i3.1695 fatcat:rb6wlv42frembghormx6gko2cq