Bryan N. Smith
Epistemology (PHIL 5340), Houston Baptist University, May 2014

Abstract:

The overwhelming technological advances in transportation and telecommunication infrastructures, coupled with mass migrations, as well as increasing economic and political interdependence amongst nations in the past century has served to effectively fuse disparate cultures together and close the epistemic gap between human beings across the world, creating what has been referred to by some as a “global village”. One of the prominent results of such a phenomenon has been the increasing realization of religious diversity amongst otherwise alienated people groups. No longer given the luxury of geographically isolating oneself from opposing views, religious believers of all stripes now find themselves in what can sometimes be a rather uncomfortable situation. A situation which, by its very nature, forces itself upon them, thereby demanding a response. But how is one to respond to such diversity, especially amongst epistemic peers? Although there are no doubt many options, it is the contention of this paper that, although believers may indeed be rational in maintaining their beliefs in the face of such radical diversity , they should do so with an open, self-critical, tentativeness, being willing to not only consider the possibility that their beliefs could be wrong, but to partake in an honest examination of their own beliefs as well as the beliefs of others with whom they disagree.

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