Does Epistemic Humility Threaten Religious Beliefs?

Journal of Psychology and Theology 46 (4):292– 304 (2018)
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Abstract

In a fallen world fraught with evidence against religious beliefs, it is tempting to think that, on the assumption that those beliefs are true, the best way to protect them is to hold them dogmatically. Dogmatic belief, which is highly confident and resistant to counterevidence, may fail to exhibit epistemic virtues such as humility and may instead manifest epistemic vices such as arrogance or servility, but if this is the price of secure belief in religious truths, so be it. I argue, however, that even in a world full of misleading evidence against true religious beliefs, cultivating epistemic humility is the better way to achieve believers’ epistemic aims. The reason is that dogmatic belief courts certain epistemic dangers, including to the true religious beliefs themselves, whereas epistemic humility empowers believers to counter them.

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Katherine Dormandy
University of Innsbruck

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