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Faith and Reason

Faith and Reason

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Faith and Reason

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  1. Faith and Reason

  2. History of Defences of Religious Belief • Philo (1 c. CE), Augustine (4th c.), Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd (10th & 12th c.), St. Anselm Maimonides (11th c) Aquinas (13th c.) tried to reconcile Monotheism with Greek Philosophy • Efforts to “prove” that God exists were meant to show that reason does not go counter to what faith accepts

  3. Questions about Traditional Arguments • Cosmological arguments at best only prove the necessity of an uncaused “first cause” that is outside the natural order • Paley’s references to biological complexity are weakened b/c evolution supports the possibility for a natural source of biological complexity besides conscious intelligence

  4. The State of the Debate About God • Traditional arguments for the existence of God are still being strenuously debated • Two major arguments for Atheism are still being debated: • Freud’s Projection Theory • Problem of Evil (after midterm) • Many philosophers see the issue as undecided

  5. Freud’s “Projection Theory” of Religion • One of the most common arguments used against belief in God and in support of atheism • Freud (and others) have argued that God is not real, but rather a psychological projection of our deep need for a protective authority figure • God does not make us in his image, rather we make God in our image

  6. The Projection Theory’s Relevance to the Question of God’s Existence • There is a major logical flaw in the “projection argument:” God doesn’t exist b/c Religious beliefs are psychological illusions • Even if it were true that all religious beliefs were actually psychological illusions, this would not show that God does not exist • God’sexistence is a logically separate issue from the question of how people happen come to their religious beliefs about God

  7. Blaise Pascal • Blaise Pascal 17th c. CE philosopher, scientist and mathematician • Deeply religious man • Wrote “The Wager” to help unbelievers to see the reasonableness of faith even if reason cannot decide the issue of God’s existence

  8. The Wager

  9. William James • 19th c. CE American philosopher • Rejected Pascal’s argument • Argued that faith based in selfish calculation would not be real faith • Argued instead for the reasonableness of choosing a faith stance under certain circumstances

  10. Faith as a “Genuine Option” • Genune Options: • Living Option (vs. dead) • Forced Option (vs. avoidable) • Momentous (vs. trivial) • Passional nature may and must decide upon genuine options when they cannot be decided on intellectual grounds • Passional nature=hopes, fears & needs that come from personal experience

  11. Alvin Plantinga • 20th c. Philosopher • Everyone must have some beliefs for which there are no arguments for why they are true--one simply believes them to be true (basic beliefs) • Atheists might propose that only self-evident propositions should be allowed to be basic beliefs • Is this proposition self-evident asks Plantinga?

  12. God & Properly Basic Beliefs • There is reason to question the standard for basic beliefs proposed by atheists • Since we all need some basic beliefs to begin reasoning and to ground reasonable discourse, why can’t Christians have God’s existence as a basic belief, especially considering how essential it is for their efforts to make sense of the world?