A Strategy for the Defence of the Rationality of Theism

  • Basil Mitchell
Part of the Philosophy of Religion Series book series


The point of the comparison between such procedures as those of history and critical exegesis and those of theology was to suggest that theology is not alone in relying on arguments which have force but cannot be regarded as demonstrations or as based on strict probabilities. If there are such cumulative arguments, theological reasoning would certainly seem to make use of them. Thus I. M. Crombie, in his paper ‘Theology and Falsification’, discusses what he calls ‘theistic interpretations of our experience’ [1].

Those who so interpret need not be so inexpert in logic as to suppose that there is anything of the nature of a deductive or inductive argument which leads from a premiss asserting the existence of the area of experience in question to a conclusion expressing belief in God…. All that is necessary is that he [the theist] should be honestly convinced that, in interpreting them [his experiences], as he does, theistically, he is in some sense facing them more honestly, bringing out more of what they contain or involve than could be done by interpreting them in any other way. The one interpretation is preferred to the other, not because the latter is thought to be refutable on paper, but because it is judged to be unconvincing in the light of familiarity with the facts. There is a partial parallel to this in historical judgment. Where you and I differ in our interpretation of a series of events, there is nothing outside the events in question which can over-rule either of us, so that each man must accept the interpretation which seems, on fair and critical scrutiny, the most convincing to him.


Normal Science Religious Conversion Cosmological Argument Metaphysical System Philosophical Thesis 
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Copyright information

© Basil Mitchell 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Basil Mitchell
    • 1
  1. 1.Christian ReligionUniversity of OxfordUK

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