Throughout the ages one of the central topics in the philosophy of religion has been the rationality of theistic belief. Philosophers and theologians have debated whether it is rational to believe certain propositions about God's existence and nature. This text proposes that parties on both sides of this debate might shift their attention in a different direction, by focusing on the question of whether it is rational to be a religious theist. Explaining that having theistic beliefs is primarily a cognitive affair but being a religious theist involves a whole way of life that includes one's beliefs, Golding argues that it can be pragmatically rational to be a religious theist even if the evidence for God's existence is minimal. The argument is applied to the case of Judaism, articulating what is involved in religious Judaism and arguing that it is rationally defensible to be a religious Jew. The book concludes with a discussion of whether a similar argument might be constructed for other versions of religious theism such as Christianity or Islam, and for non-theistic religions such as Taoism or Buddhism.Engaging in a discussion of classic and contemporary writings on the rationality of religious commitment, this book provides fresh insights to scholars of philosophy of religion, theology and Jewish studies.
Rationality and Religious Theism