Religious Imagination

Edited by Guy Axtell (Radford University)
Assistant editor: Katelyn Dobbins (Radford University)
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  1. added 2019-01-19
    Living in the Throes of Paradox.Howard Wettstein - 2017 - Conversations: Institute of Jewish Ideas 30 (4):1-15.
    A reflection on paradox vis-a-vis truth in the context of religion. The discussion directly pertains to the Jewish context. But the issues are quite general.
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  2. added 2018-12-10
    Dread Hermeneutics: Bob Marley, Paul Ricoeur and the Productive Imagination.Christopher Duncanson-Hales - 2017 - Black Theology 15 (2):157-175.
    This article presents Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic of the productive imagination as a methodological tool for understanding the innovative social function of texts that in exceeding their semantic meaning, iconically augment reality. Through the reasoning of Rastafari elder Mortimo Planno’s unpublished text, Rastafarian: The Earth’s Most Strangest Man, and the religious and biblical signification from the music of his most famous postulate, Bob Marley, this article applies Paul Ricœur’s schema of the religious productive imagination to conceptualize the metaphoric transfer from text (...)
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  3. added 2018-12-10
    Re-Imagining Text — Re-Imagining Hermeneutics.Christopher Duncanson-Hales - 2011 - Postscripts: The Journal of Sacred Texts and Contemporary Worlds 7 (1):87-122.
    With the advent of the digital age and new mediums of communication, it is becoming increasingly important for those interested in the interpretation of religious text to look beyond traditional ideas of text and textuality to find the sacred in unlikely places. Paul Ricoeur’s phenomenological reorientation of classical hermeneutics from romanticized notions of authorial intent and psychological divinations to a serious engagement with the “science of the text” is a hermeneutical tool that opens up an important dialogue between the interpreter, (...)
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  4. added 2018-10-05
    Does "Think" Mean the Same Thing as "Believe"? Insights Into Religious Cognition.Larisa Heiphetz, Casey Landers & Neil Van Leeuwen - forthcoming - Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
    When someone says she believes that God exists, is she expressing the same kind of mental state as when she says she thinks that a lake bigger than Lake Michigan exists⎯i.e., does she refer to the same kind of cognitive attitude in both cases? Using evidence from linguistic corpora (Study 1) and behavioral experiments (Studies 2-4), the current work provides evidence that individuals typically use the word “believe” more in conjunction with statements about religious credences and “think” more in conjunction (...)
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  5. added 2018-09-22
    Are You There, God? It’s Me, the Theist: On the Viability and Virtue of Non-Doxastic Prayer.Amber Griffioen - forthcoming - In Oliver Crisp, James Arcadi & Jordan Wessling (eds.), Reaching for God: New Theological Essays on Prayer. Oxford, UK:
    In this article, I explore the possibility of what I call “non-doxastic theistic prayer”, namely prayer that proceeds without full belief in God – or in the kind of God who could be the recipient of such prayer. After developing a working definition of prayer, I proceed to discuss a few prominent forms of prayer and explore the ways in which such prayer might legitimately be performed non-doxastically. I conclude by examining the possibility that some forms of what I call (...)
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  6. added 2018-09-22
    Prolegomena zu einer jeden künftigen '(Nicht-)Metaphysik' der Religion: (Anti-)Realismus, (Non-)Kognitivismus und die religiöse Imagination.Amber Griffioen - 2016 - In Rico Gutschmidt & Thomas Rentsch (eds.), Gott ohne Theismus. Münster, Germany: pp. 127-147.
    In this chapter, I first explore the possible meanings of the expression 'non-metaphysical religion' and its relation to the realism and cognitivism debates (as well as these debates' relation to each other). I then sketch out and defend the germs of an alternative semantics for religious language that I call 'religious imaginativism'. This semantics attempts to move us away from the realism-antirealism debates in Philosophy of Religion and in this sense might count as 'non-metaphysical'. At the same time, it allows (...)
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  7. added 2018-09-22
    Religious Experience Without Belief? Toward an Imaginative Account of Religious Engagement.Amber Griffioen - 2016 - In Thomas Hardtke, Ulrich Schmiedel & Tobias Tan (eds.), Religious Experience Revisited: Expressing the Inexpressible? Leiden, Netherlands: pp. 73-88.
    It is commonly supposed that a certain kind of belief is necessary for religious experience. Yet it is not clear that this must be so. In this article, I defend the possibility that a subject could have a genuine emotional religious experience without thereby necessarily believing that the purported object of her experience corresponds to reality and/or is the cause of her experience. Imaginative engagement, I argue, may evoke emotional religious experiences that may be said to be both genuine and (...)
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  8. added 2018-06-07
    On Progressive Revelation: Some Thoughts.Richard Oxenberg - manuscript
    In this very brief piece I suggest the possibility of regarding the Bible as both revealed and fallible, by outlining a theory of revelation that sees it as conditioned by the limitations of those who receive it.
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  9. added 2018-06-07
    Revelation and The Essentiality of Essence.Franck Lihoreau - 2014 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 1 (1):69-75.
    It is usually agreed that the Revelation Thesis about experience – the idea that the knowledge we gain by having an experience somehow “reveals” the essence, or nature, of this experience – only requires that we know the essence of the experience, not that we know, of this essence, that it is the essence of the experience. I contest this agreement. In the light of what I call the “Essentiality of Essence Principle”– the principle that whatever is in the essence (...)
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  10. added 2018-06-07
    The Fulfillment of a Polanyian Vision of Heuristic Theology: David Brown’s Reframing of Revelation, Tradition, and Imagination.David James Stewart - 2014 - Tradition and Discovery 41 (3):4-19.
    According to Richard Gelwick, one of the fundamental implications of Polanyi’s epistemology is that all intellectual disciplines are inherently heuristic. This article draws out the implications of a heuristic vision of theology latent in Polanyi’s thought by placing contemporary theologian David Brown’s dynamic understanding of tradition, imagination, and revelation in the context of a Polanyian-inspired vision of reality. Consequently, such a theology will follow the example of science, reimagining its task as one of discovery rather than mere reflection on a (...)
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  11. added 2018-06-07
    Against Theological Fictionalism.Roger Pouivet - 2011 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (2):427 - 437.
    According to theological fictionalism, God has the same status as a fictional character in a novel or a movie. Such a claim has been defended by Robin Le Poidevin on the basis of Kendall Walton’s theory of make believe. But it is not only a philosophical esoteric account of religious beliefs, it is now an exoteric view, sometimes accepted by "believers" themselves, and so could even be considered a postmodern heresy. But theological fictionalism does not work: faith is real assent (...)
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  12. added 2018-04-16
    The Factual Belief Fallacy.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2018 - Contemporary Pragmatism (eds. T. Coleman & J. Jong):319-343.
    This paper explains a fallacy that often arises in theorizing about human minds. I call it the Factual Belief Fallacy. The Fallacy, roughly, involves drawing conclusions about human psychology that improperly ignore the large backgrounds of mostly accurate factual beliefs people have. The Factual Belief Fallacy has led to significant mistakes in both philosophy of mind and cognitive science of religion. Avoiding it helps us better see the difference between factual belief and religious credence; seeing that difference in turn enables (...)
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  13. added 2017-08-30
    Seeking the Supernatural: The Interactive Religious Experience Model.Neil Van Leeuwen & Michiel van Elk - 2018 - Religion, Brain and Behavior 8.
    [OPEN ACCESS TARGET ARTICLE WITH COMMENTARIES AND RESPONSE] We develop a new model of how human agency-detection capacities and other socio-cognitive biases are involved in forming religious beliefs. Crucially, we distinguish general religious beliefs (such as *God exists*) from personal religious beliefs that directly refer to the agent holding the belief or to her peripersonal time and space (such as *God appeared to _me_ last night*). On our model, people acquire general religious beliefs mostly from their surrounding culture; however, people (...)
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  14. added 2017-03-31
    Two Paradigms for Religious Representation: The Physicist and the Playground.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2017 - Cognition 164:206-211.
    In an earlier issue, I argue (2014) that psychology and epistemology should distinguish religious credence from factual belief. These are distinct cognitive attitudes. Levy (2017) rejects this distinction, arguing that both religious and factual “beliefs” are subject to “shifting” on the basis of fluency and “intuitiveness.” Levy’s theory, however, (1) is out of keeping with much research in cognitive science of religion and (2) misrepresents the notion of factual belief employed in my theory. So his claims don’t undermine my distinction. (...)
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  15. added 2017-03-08
    “Reason Turned Into Sense”: John Smith on Spiritual Sensation.Derek Michaud - 2017 - Leuven: Peeters.
    John Smith (1618-1652), long known for the elegance of his prose and the breadth of his erudition, has been underappreciated as a philosophical theologian. This book redresses this by showing how the spiritual senses became an essential tool for responding to early modern developments in philosophy, science, and religion for Smith. Through a close reading of the Select Discourses (1660) it is shown how Smith’s theories of theological knowledge, method, and prophecy as well as his prescriptive account of Christian piety (...)
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  16. added 2016-08-24
    Do Religious “Beliefs” Respond to Evidence?Neil Van Leeuwen - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup1):52-72.
    Some examples suggest that religious credences respond to evidence. Other examples suggest they are wildly unresponsive. So the examples taken together suggest there is a puzzle about whether descriptive religious attitudes respond to evidence or not. I argue for a solution to this puzzle according to which religious credences are characteristically not responsive to evidence; that is, they do not tend to be extinguished by contrary evidence. And when they appear to be responsive, it is because the agents with those (...)
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  17. added 2016-07-16
    Faith, Belief and Fictionalism.Finlay Malcolm & Michael Scott - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):257-274.
    Is propositional religious faith constituted by belief? Recent debate has focussed on whether faith may be constituted by a positive non-doxastic cognitive state, which can stand in place of belief. This paper sets out and defends the doxastic theory. We consider and reject three arguments commonly used in favour of non-doxastic theories of faith: (1) the argument from religious doubt; (2) the use of ‘faith’ in linguistic utterances; and (3) the possibility of pragmatic faith. We argue that belief is required (...)
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  18. added 2016-07-02
    Sufism and Inspiration as an Epistemological Means in the Thought of Ibn Taymiyya / Tasavvufun ve Epistemolojik Bir Araç Olarak İlhamın İbn Teymiyye Düşüncesindeki Yeri.Emrah Kaya - 2016 - Cumhuriyet Ilahiyat Dergisi 20 (1):11-34.
    ABSTRACT: This article aims to study Sufism (taṣawwuf) and inspiration (ilhâm), which is the main means of the mystical knowledge, in the thought of Ibn Taymiyya who is known generally as an exponent of a tradition grounded on the understanding of Salaf. He is considered by majority to be a rigid opponent of Sufism because of his unconventional interpretations of Sufi terminology. Also, since Ibn Taymiyya constantly offers the Qur’ān, ḥadīth, and the opinions of Salaf as the base of religious (...)
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  19. added 2015-10-26
    The Power of Humility in Sceptical Religion: Why Ietsism is Preferable to J. L. Schellenberg's Ultimism.James Elliott - 2017 - Religious Studies 53 (1):97-116.
    J. L. Schellenberg’s Philosophy of Religion argues for a specific brand of sceptical religion that takes ‘Ultimism’ – the proposition that there is a metaphysically, axiologically, and soteriologically ultimate reality – to be the object to which the sceptical religionist should assent. In this article I shall argue that Ietsism – the proposition that there is merely something transcendental worth committing ourselves to religiously – is a preferable object of assent. This is for two primary reasons. First, Ietsism is far (...)
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  20. added 2015-08-20
    Beyond Fakers and Fanatics: A Reply to Maarten Boudry and Jerry Coyne.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (4):1-6.
    Maarten Boudry and Jerry Coyne have written a piece, forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology, called “Disbelief in Belief,” in which they criticize my recent paper “Religious credence is not factual belief” (2014, Cognition 133). Here I respond to their criticisms, the thrust of which is that we shouldn’t distinguish religious credence from factual belief, contrary to what I say. I respond that their picture of religious psychology undermines our ability to distinguish common religious people from fanatics. My response will appear in (...)
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  21. added 2014-08-28
    Religious Credence is Not Factual Belief.Neil Van Leeuwen - 2014 - Cognition 133 (3):698-715.
    I argue that psychology and epistemology should posit distinct cognitive attitudes of religious credence and factual belief, which have different etiologies and different cognitive and behavioral effects. I support this claim by presenting a range of empirical evidence that religious cognitive attitudes tend to lack properties characteristic of factual belief, just as attitudes like hypothesis, fictional imagining, and assumption for the sake of argument generally lack such properties. Furthermore, religious credences have distinctive properties of their own. To summarize: factual beliefs (...)
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  22. added 2014-05-31
    N, N-DIMETHYLTRYPTAMINE AND BIOLOGICAL REDUCTIVE ACCOUNTS FOR RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES.Shaun Smith - forthcoming - Liberty University Digital Commons.
    There is unquestionably a plethora of details and mysteries regarding the mind and the body. However, with the advent of psychopharmacology (the study of how psychedelics inform or alter brain states) there are more issues at hand. Do psychedelics allow us to access deeper areas of our consciousness? Are we having a spiritual experience under the influence of psychedelics? Dr. Rick Strassman does not want to continue asking these rather conspiratorial-like questions. Instead, Dr. Strassman believes that there is one special, (...)
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  23. added 2014-03-06
    Blind Man's Bluff: Examining the Basic Belief Apologetic.Guy Axtell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 130 (1):131--152.
    Today we find philosophical naturalists and Christian theists both expressing an interest in virtue epistemology, while starting out from vastly different assumptions. What can be done to increase fruitful dialogue among these divergent groups of virtue-theoretic thinkers? The primary aim of this paper is to uncover more substantial common ground for dialogue by wielding a double-edged critique of certain assumptions shared by `scientific' and `theistic' externalisms, assumptions that undermine proper attention to epistemic agency and responsibility. I employ a responsibilist virtue (...)
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  24. added 2012-04-18
    Possibility and Permission? Intellectual Character, Inquiry, and the Ethics of Belief.Guy Axtell - 2014 - In Pihlstrom S. & Rydenfelt H. (eds.), William James on Religion. (Palgrave McMillan “Philosophers in Depth” Series.
    This chapter examines the modifications William James made to his account of the ethics of belief from his early ‘subjective method’ to his later heightened concerns with personal doxastic responsibility and with an empirically-driven comparative research program he termed a ‘science of religions’. There are clearly tensions in James’ writings on the ethics of belief both across his career and even within Varieties itself, tensions which some critics think spoil his defense of what he calls religious ‘faith ventures’ or ‘overbeliefs’. (...)
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  25. added 2011-12-09
    Skepticism as the Beginning of Religion.J. L. Schellenberg - 2011 - In Ingolf Dalferth (ed.), Skeptical Faith. Mohr Siebeck.
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  26. added 2011-12-09
    The Evolutionary Answer to the Problem of Faith and Reason.J. L. Schellenberg - 2009 - In Jonathan Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, vol. 2. Oxford University Press.
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