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A surprisingly religious John Stuart Mill

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Timothy Larsen is McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. In this interview session, we ask Larsen a few questions to learn more about John Stuart Mill’s religious identity. Oxford University Press: Your most recent book, John Stuart Mill: A Secular Life, is in OUP’s Spiritual Lives series and is essentially a religious biography of Mill. What is the best one-word description of Mill’s religious identity? Timothy Larsen: “Complicated,” I guess. He has been called everything from an atheist to a mystic. One scholar has even claimed that Mill saw himself as the founder of a new religion. Mill himself once observed that his reverence for Jesus Christ gave him the right to call himself a Christian. OUP: But did he believe in God or not? TL: Mill decided that strictly in terms of proof the right answer to that question of God’s existence is that it is “a very probable hypothesis.” He also thought it was perfectly rational and legitimate to believe in. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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