Following God without Belief: Moral Objections to Agnostic Religious Commitment

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Abstract

Since pragmatic arguments for agnostic religious commitment do not require one to believe on insufficient evidence, they avoid one of the moral objections to pragmatic arguments for belief in God: the objection that one should not believe on insufficient evidence. However, I will argue that pragmatic arguments for agnostic religious commitment must deal with two related moral objections. First, if we have a duty to investigate the truth in matters of importance to our behavior, then making such a commitment turns out to conflict to some extent with that duty, though not, I think, to an unacceptable degree. Second, some people have a conception of God and the religious life such that making an agnostic religious commitment may interfere with the person's ability to reflect on moral matters and act on her conclusions, thus putting her at greater risk of doing the wrong thing.

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