Faith and Reason

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  • Fideism
    • to have faith in God despite any explanation or evidence to it
    • Kierkegaard
      • empirical and rational explanation not needed
        • factual claims and rational explanations seem to be provisional and constantly subject to revision
          • belief based on reason will not bring to certainty
      • Abraham and Isaac
        • Abraham relies on God even on irrational aspects such as the killing of his son
          • Abraham is tempted by not killing, a real murderer would have been tempted by the idea of murdering
        • faith comes from passion, not from reason
          • this may cause uncertainty
        • there must be a total reliance or emotional attitude
      • faith is a matter of passion rather than reflection
        • certainty will come from the subjective passion of the believer
      • leap of faith
        • a complete trust in God - demonstration of strenght of commitment
        • a dreadful existential choice that each of us must make alone.
    • Pascal's Wager
      • probability theory
      • If we choose to believe in God then we have very little to lose (some worldly pleasures) and everything to gain (eternal happiness).
        • Since the reward of happiness for the believer is infinite, the non-believer has nothing to match it. The sensible choice, therefore, is to hedge our bets and choose to believe in God.
          • If we choose not to believe, we have everything to lose (eternal happiness) and very little to gain (worldly pleasure).
      • If we choose not to believe, we have everything to lose (eternal happiness) and very little to gain (worldly pleasure).
      • we can choose to believe in God
        • an act of commitment that will, in time, lead to an authentic experience of God.
      • self - interested, not honest -- God may see this as not real faith
    • Pragmatism
      • William James
        • interested in the practical effects of faith and belief
      • the truth of a belief - only if that belief makes a significant change to our lives
      • practical payoff
      • the belief shoud be practical, helpful and productive
      • faith as a practical, rather than rational question
      • Living as if you have religious faith may in fact bring significant changes to your life: a new optimism, a deeper humanity, moral certainty and so on.
      • useful does not mean true


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