Against Theological Fictionalism

Roger Pouivet


According to theological fictionalism, God has the same status as a fictional character in a novel or a movie. Such a claim has been defended by Robin le Poidevin on the basis of Kendall Walton’s theory of make-believe. But it is not only a philosophical esoteric account of religious beliefs, it is now an exoteric view, sometimes accepted by “believers” themselves, and so could even be considered a postmodern heresy. But theological  fictionalism does not work: faith is real assent and not make-believe; belief is different from acceptance; belief and faith are dispositional, but make-believe seems to presuppose an account of beliefs as occurrent states; we cannot anymore imagine at will than we can believe at will.

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