Religion and Secularisation by Vernon Pratt (auth.)

By Vernon Pratt (auth.)

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Treating them as empirical is a device for securing their intelligibility, not their truth. Mascall, however, is oddly explicit in attributing his invalid criticism to Mr T. H. McPherson: so perhaps his passing the remark is no more than an unusually subtle way of poking a friend. Most commentators, however, have found Mascall's fundamental objection - that Braithwaite's position is seriously at odds with what is known as Christianity - reasonable enough. Christianity is clearly more than a set of moral principles, it has been urged, and the 'more' is certainly not the 'entertainment' of 'stories' which may or may not be true.

They could not be the same as those employed where it was particular 'factual' beliefs that were in question. Moreover, it would simply be incoherent to ask about the validity or appropriateness of religious beliefs in general: one could only do so by invoking criteria external to religion, which (if it is right to think that religious beliefs are sui generis) would be illegitimate. And so 40 Wisdom's whole project of enquiring into 'the reasonableness, the propriety ofbeliefin gods' (Wisdom, [1] p.

In 'Gods' Wisdom takes his court case example first. 'In courts of law,' he says, 'it sometimes happens that opposing counsel are agreed as to the [experimental] facts and are not trying to settle a question of further [experimental] fact. They may be concerned with 'whether Mr. A who admittedly handed his long-trusted clerk signed blank cheques did or did not exercise reasonable care, whether a ledger is or is not a document, whether a certain body was or was not a public authority' ('Gods', p.

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