Le Poidevinian Argumentative Analysis

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Initially I will present a description of theological instrumentalism and the motivations for advocating religious fiction as instrumentally valuable. One of the motivations for rejecting theism is the problem of evil. The problem of evil when treated as a fiction is thought to avoidable as the instrumentalist is the creator of his fictional world and so can exclude inconsistencies. I argue that the instrumentalist does not need to avoid the problem of evil and that it can be fictionally valuable. Further, if the instrumentalist does not include suffering in their fiction, this can lead to pragmatic inconsistencies. I then consider the differences between the realist and the instrumentalist at the level of belief. There is clear divergence …show more content…
However as he rightly points out the problem of evil would still exist within that fiction, if God is omnipotent and omnibenevolent and yet there is still great suffering then the problem is still one that must be dealt with (Le Poidevin, 1996). Le Poidevin’s initial solution to this is that because this is a fictional world for the instrumentalist, they may choose what the fiction consists of. The instrumentalist can avoid external inconsistencies for the fiction by not including the relevant tensions. ‘We may well include the idea of suffering. Indeed, for most theistic outlooks, suffering plays an important role in spiritual development. But we do not need to include the idea that the world contains an appalling amount of apparently pointless suffering.’ (Le Poidevin, 1996). Likewise Deng advocates choice on the part of the instrumentalist, he thinks the individual can be selective with the stories they incorporate into their fiction as these stories may aid moral development. He goes further than Le Poidevin in that he thinks one could include into their fiction ideas from different religions. ‘A religious story may play a role in moral growth, but only in the way other stories can too. The make-believer can decide what to include in the fiction, and in principle he can include ideas from different religious traditions. His is a sui generis form of engagement with religious ideas and practices.’ (Deng, DATE: 212). There are a few difficulties that will arise for the instrumentalist if they choose to adopt a religious fiction that they themselves have crafted. If one includes various religious ideas, traditions, and practices and wishes to belong to a religious community then they may find that they are treated with hostility, alienated,

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