This chapter addresses the following question: Does religious faith require belief in miracles as a condition of its credibility? It answers yes and argues that if religion is distinguished from other cultural activities, the mark of distinction is belief in we call transcendence. If religion offers human beings anything other than what is already achieved in politics, art, literature, ethics, psychology, and social order, then that added value must somehow derive from the transcendent. Even if all that religion contributes is an interpretive overlay that enables believers to critique other cultural activities, that standard requires a point of view from “elsewhere” to distinguish it from that of astute and morally sensitive humanists. Religious faith that does not affirm access to power and wisdom from “elsewhere” than human creativity or the system of nature seems hardly worth the exclusive devotion, rigorous discipline, and self-denying sacrifice required by most religious traditions.
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