Rationality of Religious Belief according to Wolterstorff Moderate Critique of Evidentialism

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Philosophy Dept., ‘Allamah Tabatabai

2 PhD Student in ‘Study of Religion”, University of Religions and Denominations


Rationality of religious belief is one of the most important issues in the philosophy of religion and includes five epistemological approaches. Up till recent times, evidentialism was the approach prevalent in the field of rationality of religious beliefs. And it was considered as a symbol of maximal rationalism. Reformed epistemology, however, is a newly-emerged school which opposes evidentialism and deems rationality as something irrelevant. According to reformed epistemology, religious beliefs may be fully justified and reasonable, even if no evidence confirms them. Here, views of Wolterstorff, as one of the most important scholars advocating this approach, consist of two main assumptions: first, many people believe in many ideas about God in a foundational way, i.e. immediately and not based on other’s ideas; and the other, in most cases, they are right to believe in such ideas.
In the present article, after saying that Locke’s standard in making uses of the notion of “reasonable” (which is the same as the standard of classical foundationalism) is not a justified one, the authors will explain the way in which Wolterstorff goes to discuss “rationality”. They will describe that he accepts rationality in the general and extensive sense of the term and by rationality he does not mean only Aristotelian reason; rather, he takes faith as being rational and proposes a synthesis of evidentialism and fideism.