Donovan paragraphs 30 to 34


Here Donovan suggests that intuition in prosaic areas such as investment and gardening is even more susceptible to deception. And religion may be in fact no better off because of its variety and frequent disagreement. This diversity actually makes religious intuition even less ‘plausible’ and would seem to agree with Hume here that too many people having too many intuitions which may contradict each other makes this form of knowledge unreliable.



Here he argues that just because some intuitions in some situations may be ‘acceptable’ doesn’t make ‘intuitive ways of knowing’ always acceptable. As he has said earlier, just because we may be right doesn’t make us always right and the ability to intuitively know something doesn’t mean that extends to everything. He uses road sign and palm reading as examples of skills which are not equivalent. He ends with his assessment that since we still cannot agree on what we know about God how can we possibly agree on the validity how that knowledge comes?



Donovan admits that this isn’t all Owen and others are saying i.e. that a believer simply knows, although it is one aspect, there are many aspects of religious experience which make up religious life as a whole.



But basically they are arguing for the prime importance of an intuitive, not-argued-for knowledge of God and acceptance of his existence. Donovan concludes that this is a weak straw.



There are still too many ‘ifs’ for him but now he tells us what he believes: not all religious experiences are necessarily illusory; the person who says ‘he just knows’ is not necessarily simple! If e.g. a religion like Christianity is true, then it is likely that individuals will become aware of his presence, however it is the ‘if ‘ which presents the problem and until that is solved the question of the reliability of intuitive knowledge of God cannot be resolved.


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