In this Book

The Will to Imagine
summary

The Will to Imagine completes J. L. Schellenberg's trilogy in the philosophy of religion, following his acclaimed Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion and The Wisdom to Doubt. This book marks a striking reversal in our understanding of the possibility of religious faith. Where other works treat religious skepticism as a dead end, The Will to Imagine argues that skepticism is the only point from which a proper beginning in religious inquiry-and in religion itself-can be made.

For Schellenberg, our immaturity as a species not only makes justified religious belief impossible but also provides the appropriate context for a type of faith response grounded in imagination rather than belief, directed not to theism but to ultimism, the heart of religion. This new and nonbelieving form of faith, he demonstrates, is quite capable of nourishing an authentic religious life while allowing for inquiry into ways of refining the generic idea that shapes its commitments. A singular feature of Schellenberg's book is his claim, developed in detail, that unsuccessful believers' arguments can successfully be recast as arguments for imaginative faith.

Out of the rational failure of traditional forms of religious belief, The Will to Imagine fashions an unconventional form of religion better fitted, Schellenberg argues, to the human species as it exists today and as we may hope it will evolve.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright
  2. pp. 2-7
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xvi
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. Part I. Purifying Faith: Why the Best Religion is the Most Skeptical
  2. pp. 11-12
  1. 1. Ultimism and the Aims of Human Immaturity
  2. pp. 13-29
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  1. 2. Faith without Details, or How to Practice Skeptical Religion
  2. pp. 30-52
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  1. 3. Simple Faith and the Complexities of Tradition
  2. pp. 53-66
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  1. Part II. Testing Faith: Is the Best Religion Good Enough (To Satisfy Reason’s Demands)?
  2. pp. 67-68
  1. 4. The Structure of Faith Justification
  2. pp. 69-74
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  1. 5. How Skeptical Faith Is True to Reason
  2. pp. 75-96
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  1. Part III. Renewing Faith (2): How Skeptical Proof Subsumes Believing Argument—Evidentialism
  2. pp. 97-100
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  1. 6. Anselm’s Idea
  2. pp. 101-117
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  1. 7. Leibniz’s Ambition
  2. pp. 118-137
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  1. 8. Paley’s Wonder
  2. pp. 138-156
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  1. Part IV. Renewing Faith (2): How Skeptical Proof Subsumes Believing Argument—Nonevidentialism
  2. pp. 157-158
  1. 9. Pascal’s Wager
  2. pp. 159-182
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  1. 10. Kant’s Postulate
  2. pp. 183-204
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  1. 11. James’s Will
  2. pp. 205-234
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  1. Part V. Keeping Faith: Skeptical Religion as Reason’s Demand
  2. pp. 235-236
  1. 12. Faith Is Positively Justified: The Many Modes of Religious Vision
  2. pp. 237-250
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  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 251-254
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  1. Appendix A: Definitions
  2. pp. 255-258
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  1. Appendix B: Principles
  2. pp. 259-262
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 263-268
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