Since the article was published several people have asked what the next step is.
References and Further Reading 1. The First-Order and Higher-Order Significance of Religious Disagreement Religious disagreement may present two distinct sorts of evidential challenges to a given religious belief: The aim of this section is to clarify the distinction between first-order and higher-order evidential challenges and to look at examples of how religious disagreement may possess first-order significance for religious belief.
The remaining sections will focus on the higher-order challenge posed by religious disagreement. In the epistemological literature on disagreement, a contrast is frequently drawn between first-order and higher-order evidence Kelly The distinction may roughly be characterized as follows.
To illustrate the distinction, consider the case from Rotondo of Detective, who has stayed up all night studying the evidence bearing on a particular crime. At the end of the lengthy process of sifting the evidence, Detective judges that it is very likely that Lefty, rather than Righty, committed the crime.
When she calls Lieutenant to share her conclusion, Lieutenant asks whether Detective has stayed up all night and then informs Detective that every time Detective has stayed up all night in the past, her reasoning has been atrocious and unreliable despite its seeming to Detective that nothing is amiss.
Still, there are others [Lasonen-Aarnio and Titelbaum ] who argue that Detective should not reduce confidence if she in fact assessed the first-order evidence correctly.
Facts about religious disagreement may pose first-order or higher-order evidential worries or both for religious belief. Given this supposition, persistent religious disagreement would constitute first-order evidence in favor of R1 over R2.
The first-order significance of religious disagreement is thus distinct from its higher-order significance. An example of an argument in the philosophy of religion that makes claims about the first-order significance of religious disagreement is the argument from divine hiddenness.
This argument against theism begins by noting that according to most theists, the highest good for a human being is to be in a loving relationship with God. Many theists also claim that since God loves all human beings, God desires to be in a loving relationship with each human person.
Thus, extensive and pervasive disagreement over whether God exists is claimed to be evidence against theism. John Hick offers a very different characterization of the first-order evidential significance of religious disagreement.
The argument for divine hiddenness and the case for religious pluralism can both be understood as appeals to the first-order rather than higher-order significance of religious disagreement. Since pluralism is itself a controversial and significantly contested religious viewpoint, the higher-order worries raised by disagreement as discussed below would seem, at least initially, to apply as much to the belief in pluralism as to other religious convictions.
Considered as a piece of first-order evidence, however, religious disagreement does lend more support to religious pluralism than to many other religious hypotheses. If culturally-conditioned interpretive frameworks are as entrenched and significant as pluralists contend, then we should expect religious conversion to be fairly rare and religious disagreement to be rather intractable, as is in fact the case.
Many non-pluralist religious perspectives will have a harder time accommodating this datum. Similarly, the argument from divine hiddenness is clearly a first-order rather than higher-order challenge to theistic belief.
Yet if ethics were confined to religion, then ethics would apply only to religious people. But ethics applies as much to the behavior of the atheist as to that of the devout religious person. Religion can set high ethical standards and can provide intense motivations for ethical behavior. Principal beliefs and ethical teachings define and alter the one’s decision making and way of life. Completely understanding, accepting and following the beliefs and teachings of a particular religion would enable an adherent to reach the optimal and ideal stage of obedience and faithfulness to one’s religion. Religion and ethics both make important contributions to the development of the human personality. Their sources are different. Religion is concerned with the relations between God and the individual.
Even if religious disagreement did not pose a higher-order challenge to the theist, the fact of significant and persistent disagreement over theism could still be first-order evidence against theism.
For example, even if a theist somehow knew that she and her fellow theists were in possession of more evidence than non-theists, so that the disagreement over theism did not give her any reason for questioning whether or not she and other theists have made some error in their assessment of the evidence, the fact that many reject theism, even if due to lack of information, would still constitute evidence against theism since prevalent disbelief is more to be expected given atheism than theism.
The Conciliatory Argument for the Higher-Order Defeat of Religious Belief We turn now from the first-order significance of religious disagreement to an argument for the claim that religious disagreement constitutes higher-order evidence that renders religious belief or at least many religious beliefs unjustified—that is, that religious disagreement constitutes a higher-order defeater for religious belief.
The argument for this conclusion can be seen as consisting of two components: The a posteriori component of the argument aims to show that the core commitments of religious believers are in fact subject to the relevant type of disagreement—a disagreement where the aforementioned conciliatory principle requires significant reduction in confidence.
Strong Conciliatory Policies The a priori stage of the argument defends some conciliatory policy that is demanding enough to require significant reduction of confidence in religious disagreements. There is no canonical conciliatory policy that is agreed upon by those who argue that disagreement has significant higher-order force, but a variety of conciliatory requirements have been proposed, some more demanding than others.
Despite the diversity of conciliatory proposals, one can discern behind the most demanding conciliatory views two basic commitments Vavova The first is a principle that requires epistemic deference to other thinkers in proportion to their apparent epistemic qualifications, and the second is a principle that constrains the types of reasons to which one can legitimately appeal when assessing the relative epistemic qualifications of the various sides of the dispute.
It is worth separating these principles out, since some criticisms of the most demanding conciliatory views can be understood as targeting the first principle, while others, the second. We might articulate these principles as follows: Adapted from Christensen For example, according to DEFERENCE, someone who believes that Muhammad is a prophet of God cannot reasonably think that those who reject this claim are, taken as a whole, just as qualified to assess the claim as those who accept it.
This means that epistemic credentials must be assessed relative to the particular proposition under dispute and the particular occasion when the proposition was assessed. This understanding of epistemic credentials may not align with conventional notions of expertise.
It seems that in such a situation, I would need to hold that, despite our equally strong epistemic positions, I was simply lucky in arriving at the truth and my interlocutor was not. Many writing on disagreement seem to take it for granted that this would not be a rational position.
Both friends do this sort of calculation often and know that the other person is no more or less reliable than they are. They usually agree on the answer in such cases, but in those instances when they do reach different answers, neither of them has proven more likely than the other to be the one who has made an error.
While nothing is out of the ordinary in this case for example, neither friend is especially distracted or extra alertupon finishing their mental calculations they discover that their answers differ: His only reason for judging that she was unreliable was the fact that her answer differed from his.Importance of Religious Beliefs to Ethical Attitudes in Business Cover Page Footnote * Tisha Emerson is Associate Professor and Joseph McKinney is the Ben H.
Williams Professor of. Yet if ethics were confined to religion, then ethics would apply only to religious people. But ethics applies as much to the behavior of the atheist as to that of the devout religious person.
Religion can set high ethical standards and can provide intense motivations for ethical behavior. Religious Diversity: Practical Points for Health Care Providers Chaplain John Ehman ([email protected]) 4/20/07, revised 5/8/12 [For a printable PDF of this resource, click HERE.] Presented here are brief lists of points for health care providers to keep in mind when caring for patients from a number of different religious traditions.
Religious beliefs. Einstein used many labels to describe his religious views, including "agnostic", "religious nonbeliever" and a "pantheistic" believer in "Spinoza's God".Einstein believed the problem of God was the "most difficult in the world"—a question that could not be answered "simply with yes or no.".
Published research into this relationship has found somewhat mixed results. While some studies have found a significant, positive relationship between religious belief and ethical attitudes, other studies have found either no effect or only a “marginal effect”. Respecting Religious Beliefs: What does it mean to respect religious beliefs?
Is it possible to respect beliefs you don’t share? –With All Due—Or Don’t. Dear Due, This is quite a controversial topic in the world of non-believers, with no one right answer, or even .