Reason and Faith

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  • Reason and Faith
    • Propositional Faith
      • Faith is based on evidence and argument and is justified belief or knowledge
      • Aquinas
        • Faith and reason are complimentary but there are some religious truths that are not demonstrable by reason
        • The possibility of exercising my free will depends on articles of faith being less certain than the truths of logical compulsion
        • There are two ways that believers can come to know God: through intellectual efforts and through divine intervention (revelation)
      • Lock
        • Our capacity to reason and arrive at truth is a gift from God
        • Faith is just a matter of being properly guided by reason; faith is rational belief in God
    • Non-Propositional Faith
      • Faith is not based on evidence or arguments but may be explored or enriched through either. It is more than just an intellectual decision
      • Kierkegaard
        • Reason cannot know or acknowledge God for what God is: faith in God is a passionate, personal commitment
        • An epistemic leap is necessary to believe in the paradox of God
        • Faith is the acceptance of the necessity of doubt and struggle with reality, a giving up of any hope of certainty but a commitment to stake one's life on one's beliefs
      • Tennant
        • The aesthetic argument suggests that excessive beauty in nature points to a creative mind and makes scientific and reasonable explanation inadequate
    • Fideism
      • Faith is independent of reason, perhaps hostile to it and definitely superior to it in providing a complete account of the world
      • Tertullian
        • Belief in god is, and ought to be, irrational
      • Plantinga
        • He believes that belief in God is a basic belief
          • Many of our fundamental beliefs do not rest, nor need to rest, on sufficient evidence
          • He makes a new criteria for a basic belief because he thinks that Classical Functionalism doesn't give a full account
            • 1. It is the product of a properly functioning mind
            • 2. It is the product of a mind in an appropriate environment
            • 3. It is part of the mental processes aimed at producing further true beliefs
            • 4. It is successful in producing further true beliefs
    • Volitionism
      • Belief is under our control, directly or indirectly. It is rational to will oneself to believe because doing so will yield positive results
      • Indirect Volitionism
        • The idea that the choice is not under out immediate control but that we are able to influence what we come to believe by choosing to perform intermediary actions
        • James
          • Choosing to put oneself in a position whereby Faith might develop
          • In the absence of sufficient evidence we must choose whether or not to believe in God
            • There are times when evidence will only be available once we've made a choice
            • James assumes that there is no evidence for whether or not God exists. A religious believer would say that this is not the case.
      • Direct Volitionism
        • The idea that choice over what to believe is under our immediate control
        • Pascal's Wager
          • The decision to believe in God brings greater potential rewards than the decision not to believe in God
            • This is not to say that we can suddenly decide to believe in God but that the Wager is the first step towards true faith and we will then develop habits and attitudes for faith.
              • Religious habits and rituals may not lead to true faith or a personal relationship with God
              • Indirect Volitionism
                • The idea that the choice is not under out immediate control but that we are able to influence what we come to believe by choosing to perform intermediary actions
                • James
                  • Choosing to put oneself in a position whereby Faith might develop
                  • In the absence of sufficient evidence we must choose whether or not to believe in God
                    • There are times when evidence will only be available once we've made a choice
                    • James assumes that there is no evidence for whether or not God exists. A religious believer would say that this is not the case.
            • To believe in God simply for the payoff is the wrong motive for belief.
              • James: if God judges the morality of faith, an individual who has followed the Wager will not be rewarded for being selfish
            • In order to ensure the reward, we must know which God or gods to believe in.
            • James: the Wager doesn't represent a genuine option because it is not a forced option (someone can choose to be agnostic) nor is it a living option (someone of a different religion may not see the options of heaven or hell)
    • Non-Volitionism
      • Faith is not a matter of choice. God choose who will have faith and who will not.
    • Evidentialism
      • The view that believing in anything without sufficient evidence is irrational
      • Clifford
        • "It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence"
          • Many beliefs are not supported by evidence. The gap between the supporting evidence and the belief is known as the 'epistemic gap' and the believers must take a 'leap of faith''
          • Natural theology attempts to meet existentialism by showing that there is evidence for the existence of God and therefore belief is therefore rational and reasonable.
            • Many would say that a posteriori evidence is not sufficient
    • Verficationism
      • A. J. Ayer
        • The principle of Verificationism states that a statement only has meaning if it is either analytic or empirically verifiable
          • You must be able to state the criteria by which the statement can be proven correct
          • The verification principle itself cannot be verified
          • Hick: proposed eschatological verification whereby we can verify is faith is reasonable by verification of God's existence in death
    • Falsification
      • Popper
        • You must state the criteria with which something can be proved wrong for it to be reasonable

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