this issue
previous article in this issuenext article in this issue

Document Details :

Title: Religion, Belief and Literalness
Author(s): BURMS, Arnold
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 71    Issue: 3   Date: 2010   
Pages: 312-326
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.71.3.2061177

Abstract :
Two perspectives on religion are contrasted. From the internalist perspective religion is not in need of any neutral justification: its point is manifest within religious life itself, just as the point of morality is manifest within moral life. From the externalist perspective religious practices and attitudes are dependent on the truth of certain assumptions about supernatural realities. It is argued that there are good reasons for endorsing internalism and, consequently, for radically dissociating religion from belief: if religious discourse is non-literal (as the internalist claims), belief becomes dispensable. Finally, however, it is admitted that the internalist, by drawing a sharp line between literal and non-literal language, might miss an important truth about religion.