Volume 36, Issue 1, January 2019
Kegan J. Shaw
A Plea for the Theist in the Street
A Defense of Liberalism in the Epistemology of Religious Experience
It can be easy to assume that since the “theist in the street” is unaware of any of the traditional arguments for theism, he or she is not in position to offer independent rational support for believing that God exists. I argue that that is false if we accept with William Alston that “manifestation beliefs” can enjoy rational support on the basis of suitable religious experiences. I make my case by defending the viability of a Moorean-style proof for theism—a proof for the existence of God that parallels in structure G. E. Moore’s famous proof for the existence of the external world. I argue that this shows that even if the theist in the street has nothing to offer for helping to convince the religious sceptic, this needn’t entail that she cannot offer independent rational support in defense of her theistic belief.