Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 December 2012
What, if anything, is it that the faithful know? How is it that they come to this knowledge? How do they explain their knowledge and exercise their capacities for knowing in a faithful manner?
Such questions have long arisen in the intersections of the lives of philosophy and of faith. There are several troubling responses among the most immediate answers. For instance, there is the strong sceptical view that the knowledge claims of faith are false and that faithful living rests on a delusion. This stance does not make sense of the epistemic experiences of the faithful and is therefore, according to philosophy, antiphilosophical. Some of the faithful find the dogmatic claims of other believers, who seem to know too much, uncomfortable. The fideist argument, which holds that faithful knowing is without need of any support in evidence and is immune from the scrutiny of reason, is also problematic.
One can add to this another issue of concern to the thoughtful. The long relationship between knowledge and faith has been preoccupied with the question of whether human cognitive equipment can produce a reasonable belief about the existence of a transcendent deity. Suppose that there are rationally compelling arguments for this belief. Even so, what the faithful say that they know goes beyond that there is such a being. The knowledge and wisdom of the life of faith cannot be reduced to propositions that are the conclusions to arguments for the existence of a divine being.