Volume 20, 1995
What’s The Question?
Two kinds of critical questions have been asked about the propriety or rightness of Christian beliefs. The first is the de facto question: is Christian belief true? The second is the de jure question: is it rational, or reasonable, or intellectually acceptable, or rationally justifiable? This second question is much harder to locate than you’d guess from looking at the literature. In “Perceiving God” William AIston suggests that the (or a) right question here is the question of “the practical rationality,” construed as he construes it. I argue that the question is ambiguous: and one of the disambiguees is too easy to answer, while the other is such that its answer is really irrelevant to any sensible version of the de jure question. I conclude by venturing a suggestion as to what a sensible de jure question might be.