Religion is another way of knowing

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Stating "religion is another way of knowing" is an appeal to an egalitarian impulse for equity. It constitutes an argument by pathos. It also constitutes a support of relativism.

"All ways of knowing are have equal influence when justifying knowledge claims in religion. Therefore there is no way of knowing that is more important than the other. Many see faith as the more stereotypical way of knowing that has the most influence when justifying knowledge claims in religion. However something that seems as opposing as reason has at least the same if not more influence when justifying knowledge claims in religion. Religion is very personal. Everyone interprets religion differently."

— Caitlin Low [1]

"I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith"

Immanuel Kant
"Neuroscience shows us that there's a fight between two types of reason, not between dumb intuition and true reason, but a fight between two types of reason that are aimed at different types of truth. On one hand there is cold detached, logical, analytic reason, and on the other hand there is a warmer, fuzzier type of social and emotional reason that leads to insight. Or to put it another way there is a tension between scientific truth and social narrative truth. [...Kant] recognise the limits of science. He accepted that some truths are not justified by evidence, they are justified by something else, by morality.[2]"

The argument is similar to the argument from divine sense, which suggests there is a distinct faculty in humans that directly provides religious knowledge. It is also related to the idea of nonoverlapping magisteria, which claims that religion and science make claims in distinct areas which are "two separate realms of human experience".

Counter arguments[edit]

If we consider religion to be "another way of knowing", what other methods of forming beliefs might be imagined? Consulting a Magic 8-Ball is also another way of knowing. Or, to make it more general, guessing is another way of knowing. It's premise that religion or another other method of arriving at belief is equally valid is a broken compass argument.

Discussions often turns into "How do you know that this knowledge is true?". Using the word "knowledge" might look like it implies that the data is true by definition, but this is not the case. We can read the Harry Potter books and gain knowledge about Harry Potter and the world in which the story is set. It is knowledge, and it's true in a sense that it is true to the description given in the book, but it is not a factual description of a real, existing world.

Science purposely has mechanisms and procedures to verify and confirm collected knowledge, whereas religion does not. Religion makes claims to knowledge, and sticks to those claims no matter what.

Supporting arguments[edit]

According to the is-ought problem, no amount of evidence or reason can provide us with a way to justify an "ought" prescriptive moral statement. However, we often require some form of justification for these types of statements in order to live at all. It seems as if we need another way to justify truths, at least provisionally, and at least to ourselves.


See also[edit]

v · d Common objections to atheism and counter-apologetics
Personal   Why are you trying to tear down other people's faith? · Why can't everyone just have their own beliefs? · What are your qualifications? · Atheists believe in nothing · You are a communist · Why do atheists inspire such hatred? · That's not my God
Religious   That's not in my Bible · They're not true Christians · You just want to sin · Atheists know there is a God · It takes more faith to disbelieve than it does to believe · God doesn't believe in atheists · Science is a faith · Atheism is a religion · Atheists worship materialism · Hypocrisy of celebrating religious holidays · Atheism is based on faith · Religious belief is beneficial
Science and logic   You can't prove God doesn't exist · Science can't touch god · God can't be defined · So you think we came from nothing / pondsoup / monkeys? · If God didn't create everything, who did? · That might be true for you, but its not true for me · Religion is another way of knowing · Apologetics and dinosaurs