chapter  23
13 Pages



Contemporary philosophical discussions of theism tend to focus upon issues of its veracity or its meaningfulness as an explanatory hypothesis. For philosophers of religion in the analytic tradition, an important concern has been to establish a convincing correspondence between the theistic description of God and external reality (notably Swinburne 1979; Mawson 2005). An alternative thread in the history of the subject can be discerned, however, where the investigation of theism does more than offer a critical analysis of the way in which an externally existent God might be defined. Indeed, this philosophical enterprise can be read rather differently, for it can be argued that accounts of God reveal much about the human beings who offer these descriptions, providing ways of understanding the concerns that shape the structures of the human mind. Approached in this manner, the concept of God becomes less something whose importance is determined by the success with which it mirrors external reality and more a concept whose significance is derived from its ability to illuminate the peculiarities and possibilities inherent in being human.