The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion

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9780801447808: The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion

The Will to Imagine completes J. L. Schellenberg's trilogy in the philosophy of religion, following his acclaimed Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion and The Wisdom to Doubt. This book marks a striking reversal in our understanding of the possibility of religious faith. Where other works treat religious skepticism as a dead end, The Will to Imagine argues that skepticism is the only point from which a proper beginning in religious inquiry―and in religion itself―can be made.

For Schellenberg, our immaturity as a species not only makes justified religious belief impossible but also provides the appropriate context for a type of faith response grounded in imagination rather than belief, directed not to theism but to ultimism, the heart of religion. This new and nonbelieving form of faith, he demonstrates, is quite capable of nourishing an authentic religious life while allowing for inquiry into ways of refining the generic idea that shapes its commitments. A singular feature of Schellenberg's book is his claim, developed in detail, that unsuccessful believers' arguments can successfully be recast as arguments for imaginative faith.

Out of the rational failure of traditional forms of religious belief, The Will to Imagine fashions an unconventional form of religion better fitted, Schellenberg argues, to the human species as it exists today and as we may hope it will evolve.

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From the Back Cover:

"This book provides a comprehensive and original perspective on the relation between faith and reason. J. L. Schellenberg's detailed, historically connected defense of what he aptly calls skeptical religion will significantly challenge both nonskeptical theists and skeptical detractors of religion."--Robert Audi, Professor of Philosophy and David E. Gallo Chair in Ethics, University of Notre Dame

"J. L. Schellenberg is one of the most innovative philosophers of religion today. The Will to Imagine is rich with vigorous, challenging arguments on the limits of reason, skepticism, the nature of religious faith, belief, and the imagination, and a sustained, original defense of a combination of skepticism and religious faith."--Charles Taliaferro, St. Olaf College

"In this completion to his important trilogy, J.L.Schellenberg compellingly defends a critical and imaginative philosophy of religion against the contemporary tendencies of turning philosophy of religion into an analytical theology or of replacing it by a dogmatic naturalism. His rigorously argued nonnaturalist alternative breaks new ground."--Ingolf U. Dalferth, Danforth Professor of Philosophy of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

"J. L. Schellenberg throws much light on some central issues in the philosophy of religion and upon important figures in its development such as Pascal, Kant, and James. He challenges us to take skeptical faith seriously, as a living alternative to traditional forms of religious belief and practice. The Will to Imagine is technically accomplished, while at the same time offering insights into matters of human importance such as the pursuit of beauty. It will be a rewarding read for all students of the philosophy of religion."--P. A. Byrne, King's College London, editor of Religious Studies

"This book attempts to reconcile faith and reason in a manner that is so radical it might actually succeed!"--Paul Draper, Purdue University

About the Author:

J. L. Schellenberg is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University. He is the author of Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism, and The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion, all from Cornell.

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