By R.R. Bowker Company

It is a single-volume resource of trustworthy details on crucial substitute religions, overlaying for every such necessities as heritage, theology, effect at the tradition, and present prestige. The chapters of the booklet have been written through specialists who examine the events they've got written approximately.

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The context is not an academic philosophical dispute, but a bitter conflict within a family of traditions that share some practices and goals, and a war among the institutions that support them. The audience for the arguments, as Montaigne notes, is not academic skeptics, but already committed believers. Each side tries to find arguments that believers on the other side or wavering believers on their own might find plausible as supports for their allegiance. The proponents typically appeal to shared beliefs and images, especially biblical ones, which carry substantial rhetorical weight for adherents in both camps.

The issue is not one of simply adding a new belief (belief in God) to our store of already-accepted beliefs, but the question of which beliefs are the central and distinctive convictions that we ought to hold (compare Tilley 1978:12-18 on Flew). Both internalist and externalist accounts misportray the practical-intellectual issues. But if the usual philosophical approaches are not only wrong in their presumptions about the positions of those practically engaged in argument, but also of little use in practical disputes, is there no practice for resolving overarching and life-determining practical issues except the desultory polemics and the self-serving rhetoric whose posturing is open to Montaigne's withering analysis?

As our mind is strengthened by communication with vigorous and orderly minds, so it is impossible to say how much it loses and degenerates by our continual association and frequentation with mean and sickly minds. There is no contagion that spreads like that one. . I enter into discussion and argument with great freedom and ease, inasmuch as opinion finds in me a bad soil to penetrate and take deep roots in. No propositions astonish me, no belief offends me, whatever contrast it offers with my own.

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