Rationality and Commitment

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


The problem before us is that, if systems of religious belief require and admit of rational justification, as has been argued, they ought only to be accepted more or less provisionally; yet the religious believer characteristically gives whole-hearted assent to his beliefs. Either, then, our account of religious faith is inadequate or such faith has to be condemned as inherently irrational. At this stage in the argument, as on earlier occasions, it is worth noticing that it is not only in connection with religious belief that the problem arises. Mention has been made earlier of the analogies that exist between systems of religious and political belief. Both are, characteristically, involved in a ‘form of life’. If we take, for example, liberal democracy, we find that, at the level of theory, it is enormously complex, and in practice it can work successfully only if the institutions in which it is embodied are supported by the appropriate attitudes and skills of a very wide range of types of people. The apparatus of representative government and of the courts of law in a liberal society depends for its continued effectiveness on the continuing trust of the great majority.


Religious Belief Liberal Democracy Liberal Society Rational Justification Religious Believer 
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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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