Factual Belief vs. Religious Credence - Coggle Diagram
Factual Belief vs. Religious Credence
According to Leeuwen, "Factual beliefs have three characteristics...They (1) are practical setting independent, (2) cognitively govern other attitudes, and (3) are evidentially vulnerable.(Leeuwen, pg. 699)
Factual beliefs are context independent. They can occur throughout any practical setting.
The theory of gravity does not change regardless of where a person is located whether they are in California or New York
"Factual beliefs are practical setting independent. Humans adjust to the practical setting they are in almost reflexively, using various cognitive attitudes accordingly, but factual beliefs operate in the background across practical settings" (pg. 702)
Factual beliefs cognitively govern other attitudes and form the baseline of how things work. There are the data background that informs inferences. They are the rules of the world.
If the statue of David by Michelangelo is tossed into water, it would sink. The fact that marble sinks in water is a factual understanding.
"I claim that being the informational background that allows inferences among other attitudes is characteristic of factual beliefs, but not of other attitudes." (pg. 703)
Factual beliefs are vulnerable to evidence. A person will believe something because they have the evidence leading them to believe in it. If evidence changes, beliefs may change as well.
If a person were to put two oranges in their kitchen cabinet yesterday they would continue to believe that they are two oranges in the cabinet if there is nothing to suggest otherwise.
"Theoretical arguments support building evidential vulnerability into the definition of factual belief. If contrary evidence didn't extinguish factual beliefs we would be poor survivors. One's factual belief that no hyenas are near must vanish on seeing fresh hyena tracks, on pain of being lunch." (pg. 704)
How is Religious Credence different from Factual Beliefs?
Religious credence is context and setting dependent. Religious beliefs don't apply everywhere.
Two similar situations can be interpreted differently based on the setting. Wine and a community wafer during a Christian ceremony will be interpreted differently as wine and crackers served for dinner at home. The crackers do not have any religious meaning.
"What explains the data is that the credence is practical setting dependent, becoming deactivated outside the religious-ritual setting" (pg. 706)
Religious credence is not the baseline of our understanding of reality. Religion does not govern our understanding of reality or the world like factual reasoning does.
It is possible for Jesus to rise from the dead or for Moses to cross Red sea due to religious credence.
"If a person factually believe in transformation of humans into animals, she would also factually believe that some animals are human, due to the reflexive cognitive governance factual beliefs have over themselves; that this worry does not occur shows that the credence in question is not a factual belief." (pg. 707)
Religious credences are not vulnerable to evidence. People do not need evidence to believe in certain things. People don't believe in religion because they spent hours studying it but because of the tradition, values, and community that religion may have connections with.
A religious Christian won't believe that Jesus rose from the dead due to evidence or factual belief but due to their religious beliefs.
"Rather, this illustrates why religious attitudes tend not be be evidently vulnerable, or in other words, why the religious credence attracts positions does not include evidential vulnerability..." (pg. 707)
According to Leeuwen, "By way of contrast, religious credence (a) have perceived normative orientation, (b) are susceptible to free elaboration, and (c) are vulnerable to special authority." (pg. 699)
Religious credence has perceived normative orientation; it gives people an understanding how life should be.
Religion tells you how to be a good person and how humans should live. It prescribes the idea of beautiful and truth and how the world should work ideally.
"Religious credences, metaphorically, are a map that helps the agents find this "place" of fullness." (pg. 709)
Religion is vulnerable to free elaboration. Using some religious story one is able to build and elaborate on that story in order to figure out how to act in the world.
Today everyone lives with WiFi, internet, technology, and social media. People need to elaborate on their understanding of religious credence in order to find answers to modern issues. There is no answer on how to live in the world with social media.
"Why, from a theoretical standpoint, should the free elaboration be a property of religious credences? Free elaboration, I hold, naturally accompanies perceived normative orientation: it allows credences to provide orientation in situations to which previous credences did not apply but in a way that extends the normative orientation of previous credences." (pg. 711)
Religious credence is vulnerable to special authority. It originates from someone who is thought to be admirable. People who are anointed as wise or authoritative have the ability to tell others how they should live and act in the world.
Jesus is anointed as the son of God and everything he says is recorded in the gospel. Everything that is written in the gospel has special significance and people will believe it.
Form religious credence based on special authority of Jesus and not evidence or scientific data
"Special authority is taken have an admirable character of some sort...Second, the special authority is typically anointed in the community somehow with different acts playing the anointing role in different traditions." (pg. 711)
For some factual belief and religious credence operate in different ways and for others they co-exist in their minds.
Religious credence is a reaction to the limits of factual explanation. It is a response to the unexplainable. There are limits of facts and things that are not explained by facts are explained by religious credence.
A way to respond to sickness or a way to think about family, community, tradition, inheritance.
Religion is imagination for people who are most likely atheists and are only governed by factual evidence