Religious Epistemology

Philosophy Compass 10 (8):547-559 (2015)
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Abstract
Religious epistemology is the study of how subjects' religious beliefs can have, or fail to have, some form of positive epistemic status and whether they even need such status appropriate to their kind. The current debate is focused most centrally upon the kind of basis upon which a religious believer can be rationally justified in holding certain beliefs about God and whether it is necessary to be so justified to believe as a religious believer ought. Engaging these issues are primarily three groups of people who call themselves ‘fideists’, ‘Reformed epistemologists’, and ‘evidentialists’. Each group has a position, but the positions are not mutually exclusive in every case, and in the debate, the names better describe the groups' emphases than mutually exclusive positions in the debate. In this article, we will first give a brief historical survey of evidentialism, fideism, and reformed epistemology. Second, we will give the fideist's position. Third, we will give the evidentialist's position. Fourth, we will give the reformed epistemologist's position, and last, we will include some comments on the current state of the debate, where we will show that the groups' positions are not mutually exclusive
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