Truth, Suffering and Religious Diversity: A Pragmatist Perspective

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Abstract

This chapter first presents a pragmatist account of the issue of realism regarding theology and religion, arguing that a pragmatist conception of truth achieves a plausible middle ground between not only religious realism and antirealism or evidentialism and fideism, but also religious inclusivism and exclusivism. There may be ethical reasons to prefer pragmatism to its alternatives, as it seems to motivate a moderate version of inclusivism. In addition, pragmatism about religious truth rejects the metaphysically realist view that suffering happens for objective or absolute reasons available from a God’s-eye perspective. Pragmatism is thus a relevant approach to the religious diversity and pluralism debate as well as to the problem of evil and suffering. Pragmatist “antitheodicism” can be defended as a way of acknowledging the plurality of religious (and non-religious) responses to suffering, against metaphysically realist theodicies. However, it needs to be critically examined whether the pragmatist “softening” of the notion of truth will in the end run into a conflict with the antitheodicy project itself, given that the concept of truth is itself needed in antitheodicism.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligious Truth and Identity in an Age of Plurality
EditorsPeter Jonkers, Oliver J. Wiertz
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date2019
Pages41-60
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-02937-1
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-01967-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 611 Philosophy

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