Religious skepticism is a type of skepticism relating to religion. Religious skeptics question religious authority and are not necessarily anti-religious but are those skeptical of a specific or all religious beliefs and/or practices. Some are deists, believing in a non-interventionist god(s) and rejecting mainstream religions. Socrates was one of the first religious skeptics of whom there are records; he questioned the legitimacy of the beliefs of his time in the existence of the Greek gods.
Religious skepticism generally refers to doubting given religious beliefs or claims. Historically, religious skepticism can be traced back to Socrates, who doubted many religious claims of the time. Modern religious skepticism typically emphasizes scientific and historical methods or evidence, with Michael Shermer writing that it is a process for discovering the truth rather than general non-acceptance. For this reason a religious skeptic might believe that Jesus existed while questioning claims that he was the messiah or performed miracles (see historicity of Jesus). Religious skepticism is not the same as atheism or agnosticism, though these often do involve skeptical attitudes toward religion and philosophical theology (for example, towards divine omnipotence). Religious people are generally skeptical about claims of other religions, at least when the two denominations conflict concerning some stated belief. Additionally, they may also be skeptical of the claims made by atheists. The historian Will Durant writes that Plato was "as skeptical of atheism as of any other dogma."
- Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson
- Robert G. Ingersoll
- Jefferson Bible
- Religion and science
- Scientific skepticism
- Mann, Daniel. "Skeptical of Atheism". Apologetics for Today. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
- Durant, Will (1944). Caesar and Christ: The Story of Civilization. Simon & Schuster. p. 164.