The Riddling God

Andrew Gleeson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Much philosophy of religion tries to prove or disprove the existence of God. The arguments typically proceed without attention to religious practices and attitudes. Someone to whom religion is an utter mystery could in principle follow the arguments and be convinced. Inspired by a paper of Cora Diamond’s (Diamond 1991), I examine the ontological argument (OA) and contend (1) that if crucial words like ‘God’ and ‘great’ are not given a religious, Godly, understanding from the outset (from attention to the religious context of their use) they are, by default, given a ‘worldly’ understanding hostile to real faith, and (2) that while the OA fails as a proof, it contains a penetrating insight into the relationship between religious understanding and religious belief. I offer my argument as an instance of Diamond’s ‘realistic spirit’ in philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMorality in a Realistic Spirit
Subtitle of host publicationEssays for Cora Diamond
EditorsAndrew Gleeson, Craig Taylor
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781351064309
ISBN (Print)9781138479968
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory


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