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Anderson, Pamela Sue, , . Feminist Challenges to Conceptions of God: Exploring Divine Ideals
2007, Philosophia 35 (3-4):361-370.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: This paper presents a feminist intervention into debates concerning the relation between human subjects and a divine ideal. I turn to what Irigarayan feminists challenge as a masculine conception of the God’s eye view of reality. This ideal functions not only in philosophy of religion, but in ethics, politics, epistemology and philosophy of science: it is given various names from a competent judge to an ideal observer (IO) whose view is either from nowhere or everywhere. The question is whether, as Taliaferro contends, my own philosophical argument inevitably appeals to the impartiality and omni-attributes of the IO. This paper was delivered during the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

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Ekstrom, Laura W, , . Suffering as Religious Experience
2004, in Peter Van Inwagen (ed.) Christian Faith and the Problem of Evil. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Press: 95-110.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Summary: In this paper, Ekstrom argues that some instances of suffering might reasonably be viewed as religious experiences that serve as a means of intimacy with God. Thus, where atheologians typically take suffering as evidence against the existence of God, Ekstrom argues that it might in fact be a route of knowledge to God.

Comment: This chapter would probably be most useful in arguments for/against the existence of God. In particular, it could follow on from a unit on the problem of evil. It is of particular interest because it’s commonly argued that suffering is an argument against God’s existence, but Ekstrom argues to the contrary.

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Fricker, Elizabeth, , . Epistemic Trust in Oneself and Others – and Argument from Analogy?
2014, in Laura Frances Callahan & Timothy O’Connor (eds.) Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue. Oxford University Press.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Richard Foley and others have recently argued that there is an a priori connection between rational trust in one’s own faculties to rational trust of other human persons. This chapter argues, to the contrary, that we must instead establish through empirical observation which others are to be trusted and under which circumstances – there is no rational presumption of the trustworthiness of others. Hence, insofar as one’s religious beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others, rationality requires that one assess the credentials of those whom one trusts.

Comment: A great primary reading for a religious epistemology course, or otherwise a great secondary reading for a more general philosophy of religion course, for a unit on Faith. If being used as a primary reading, it could be good to ask students to explain whether and why they agree that religious beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others – and, if they do agree, whether this is problematic? What other (non-religious) cases can they think of where our beliefs are based on trust in the testimony of others?

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Griffioen, Amber, , . Theraputic Theodicy? Suffering, Struggle, and the Shift from the Gods-Eye View
2018, Religions 9(4).
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: From a theoretical standpoint, the problem of human suffering can be understood as one formulation of the classical problem of evil, which calls into question the compatibility of the existence of a perfect God with the extent to which human beings suffer. Philosophical responses to this problem have traditionally been posed in the form of theodicies, or justifications of the divine. In this article, I argue that the theodical approach in analytic philosophy of religion exhibits both morally and epistemically harmful tendencies and that philosophers would do better to shift their perspective from the hypothetical ‘God’s-eye view’ to the standpoint of those who actually suffer. By focusing less on defending the epistemic rationality of religious belief and more on the therapeutic effectiveness of particular imaginings of God with respect to suffering, we can recover, (re)construct, and/or (re)appropriate more virtuous approaches to the individual and collective struggle with the life of faith in the face of suffering.

Comment: Useful for an introductory or intermediate Philosophy of Religion course – probably following or preceding the study of a ‘classical’ theodicy. It would be interesting to then have seminar questions in which students are invited to compare the two approaches to theodicy.

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Scrutton, Tasia, , . Why Not Believe in an Evil God? Pragmatic Encroachment and Some Implications for Philosophy of Religion
2016, Religious Studies 52(3): 345-360.
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Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Abstract: Pointing to broad symmetries between the idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent and all-good, and the idea that God is omniscient, omnipotent but all-evil, the evil-God challenge raises the question of why theists should prefer one over the other. I respond to this challenge by drawing on a recent theory in epistemology, pragmatic encroachment, which asserts that practical considerations can alter the epistemic status of beliefs. I then explore some of the implications of my argument for how we do philosophy of religion, arguing that practical and contextual as well as alethic considerations are properly central to the discipline.

Comment: A thought-provoking paper to use when teaching non-classical conceptions of God, which I think would be useful in an undergraduate course after teaching classical conceptions of God. Omnibenevolence in particular is an attribute that isn’t often construed in a non-classical way, which makes this paper particularly interesting.

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