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Lessons in Faith and Knowledge

Smith, Simon (2011) Lessons in Faith and Knowledge Minerva, 15. pp. 78-101.

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The aim of this paper is to consider how well equipped philosophy is to meet the logical and epistemological demands of religious belief. That this belief is a response to questions both practical and urgent – the nature of one’s existence, the reality of salvation – frequently seems quite unimportant in a field dominated by rationalism and theistical realism. To properly understand both the response and the questions that give rise to it, I want to return to the foundations of religious thought. These foundations, I suggest, are not found in pure intuitions of divine reality, or in objective perceptions of divine handiwork. Religious thought begins with religious education. That is where we will find the conceptual tools to make sense of talk about God. More importantly, perhaps, that is where we will find a criterion of knowledge. Education embodies the creative involvement of one mind in the development of another. The philosophical import of this is two-fold. First, it provides a model for conceiving Creation and the Agent of Creation. This resolves the conflict between classical and neo-classical ontologies, offers instead a chastened transcendence: otherness without isolation, involvement without equiprimordiality. Second, it instantiates providence in action, God at work in the believer’s life. Our criterion of knowledge, then, is a matter of impact: the ‘experiencable difference’ providence makes to the believer’s life. Together, model and instance underpin a realignment of praxis and theoria. Religious praxis stands upon its claim to truth; without praxis embodied by the connection of developing minds, truth cannot be ascertained.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Library and Learning Support
Authors :
Date : 2011
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright © 2011 Minerva
Depositing User : Jane Hindle
Date Deposited : 25 Jul 2017 09:53
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:54

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