A major question in the Philosophy of Religion concerns the existence of God, and a significant portion of the literature in this field is devoted to providing an answer to this question.1 The question also plays a central role in this study, though I will not attempt to provide arguments which disambiguate in favour of, or against, the existence of God. My approach will be to assume that the evidence leaves open the question of God’s existence, i.e., that the total relevant evidence neither shows belief in God to be true nor false.2 I will refer to this assumption as the thesis of religious ambiguity or simply as the ‘ambiguity thesis’. The ambiguity thesis is open to contention, although I believe that it is worthy of serious philosophical consideration.3 One reason for considering this assumption is that it can be seen to explain observations about the nature and diversity of religious commitments. For example, Keith Ward observes that

Many religions claim to state truths about the nature of the universe and human destiny which are important or even necessary for human salvation and ultimate well-being. Many of these truths seem to be incompatible; yet there is no agreed method for deciding which are to be accepted; and equally intelligent, informed, virtuous and holy people belong to different faiths.4


Religious Belief Religious Commitment Religious Pluralism Prima Facie Case Doxastic Voluntarism 
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  1. 3.
    John L. Schellenberg argues that: ‘the weakness and ambiguity of our evidence for the existence of God is not a sign that God is hidden; it is a revelation that God does not exist’. Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993), p. 1.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    John Hick, An Interpretation of Religion (London: Macmillan, 1989), pp. 73–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. John Hick, ‘The Philosophy of World Religions’, Scottish Journal of Theology, 1984, 37: 229–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 13.
    See Richard Frank, Al-Ghazālī and the Ash’arite School (Durham: Duke University Press, 1994)Google Scholar
  5. Frank Griffel, Al-Ghazālī’s Philosophical Theology: An Introduction to the Study of his Life and Thought (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Zain Ali 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zain Ali
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AucklandNew Zealand

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