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The evidential force of spiritual maturity and the Christian doctrine of sanctification

  • STEVEN L. PORTER (a1)

Abstract

The truth of one's religious beliefs can be questioned by appeal to hypocrisy or blatant moral failure amongst the adherents of one's religion. Such an appeal implies that the absence of spiritual maturity within a religious individual or group can serve in some way as evidence against the truth of that religion and (presumably), conversely, that spiritual maturity within a religious individual or group can be thought of as providing some sort of evidence for the truth of that religion. The first part of this article attempts to get clear on what sort of evidential force the presence or absence of spiritual maturity has for the rational assessment of religious belief in general. This part of the article concludes that the evidential force of spiritual maturity must ultimately be assessed within the contours of a particular religion with a firm grasp on the sort of moral formational process envisaged by that religion. So, in the second part of the article, the evidential force of spiritual maturity is considered from a Christian perspective and an interpersonal model of sanctification is appealed to as an explanation of the lack of spiritual maturity amongst Christian believers.

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