John Bishop's leaps of faith: doxastic ventures and the logical equivalence of religious faith and agnosticism

Religious Studies 50 (1):101-117 (2014)
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In recent essays John Bishop proposes a model of religious faith. This author notices that a so-called doxastic venture model of theistic faith is self-defeating for the following reason: a venture suggests a process with an outcome; by definition a venture into Christian faith denies itself an outcome in virtue of the transcendent character of its claims – for what is claimed cannot be settled. Taking instruction from logical positivism, I stress the nonsensical character of religious claims while attacking Bishop's model. However, I wish to avail myself of this same model to describe a state of belief among certain parties which does not refer to transcendent matters, in order to show that a doxastic venture is indeed a valid description of a state of belief, and that pursuing this model shows in relief the transformative nature of belief, along with its essentially scientific status. It is my ambition to show, turning Bishop's model against itself, that a state of religious belief suffers from a precise logical equivalence to a condition of agnosticism. I ask whether we are justified in believing in belief
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