Westphal, implications

"The emergence of Modern Philosophy of Religion" By M Westphal 

Notes on the Edecel A2 implications paper for RS

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- Philosophy has developed over the centuries in regard to religion 

- There has been a shift from talking about God to talking about religion 

Ideas on philosophy

Philosophical Theology - concerned with God

Philosophy of Religion - concerned with religion 

Shift from the philosophical theology to the philosophy of religion 

- Scepticism - questions the truth of beliefs themslves 

- Suspicion - Are the beliefs genuinly held or are there other motives 

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Philosophical theology

2 forms of philosophical theology

1.  Scholastic 

Explores the idea that human reason, faith and revelation work together in harmony 

2. Deism 

Separates reason from faith and revelation. 

Separates the rational core of religion (God as creator and source of moral law) from the shall of faith, revelation and athority (HUSK AND KENRAL) 

Is responsible for beginning the change and was the religion of the enlightenment

Arose from the need of religion to encourage moral unity rather than hostility

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Motivated by 3 enlightenment characteristic 

1. The independence of our human reason 

2. A desire for tolerance between faiths for the good of society 

3. A desire to ensure the church didn't gain a monopoly on true knowlegde and didn't have power in society 

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13th century - the enlightenment = Aquinas five ways of proving God were certain 

1. Motion - Those things that are in the world which are in motion must have been moved by somthing. This means there is a mover, the mover is God.

2. Cause - Everything that exists has a cause, nothing can cause itself and therefore there must be an uncaused cause of everything - this is God.

3. Contingency - Everything in the world is contingent rather than necessary. God doesn't demand on anything and so is necessary and has necessary existance. 

4. Gradation - Some things are more good and some less good. Something which is more good is closer to the maximum. This maximum is God. 

5. Design Argument - the way in which everything acts means that we achieve our ends, they means we much have been designed by a desiger - this is God.

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Proofs and Probability

What is a proof?

Logically necessary truth    2+2=4  Can be proven true or false 

A statement is proven with supporting evidence 

Probable conclusion - one that is most likely true, looking at a range of evidence

"A proposition is probable not in isolation but in relation to other evidence - stating propositions" Hick

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Existence of God

Proofs for the exitance of God 

A priori deductive - not dependent on external evidence or experience, they are deduced from what is self - evidence (analytic propositions) 

They do not need anything but themselves to prove their truth

A posteriori inductive - depend on external experience and evidence that exists in the world (synthetic propositions).

We can not be certain of their truth without the benefit of observation or experience

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Deductive and A priori

Ontological argument

Appealing because ...

- do not depend on experience which may be understood or interpreted differently by different people 

- Universally accessable 

- based on knowledge which we are born with 

Not appealing because ...

- Is the premise true

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Inductive and a posteriori

Appealing because ... 

- Rely on evidence that can be tested 

- they offer more than one conclusion 

Not appealing because ...

- They depend on everybody agreeing on the nature of the evidence

- No reason to accept the conclusion 

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- We can not have a priori knoweldge of God through theoretical reason, we have it through practical reason

- Rationalist (reason is the way in which we analyise the world) 

- Age of reason - universal reason allows for a uiversal morality

- Morality doesn't need religion. We do not need religion to know our duty or to be motivatived to do it

- Morality leads us to religion, the presence of morality implies both the existance of God and the afterlife

- Religion sees duty as divine commands, this is a motivation to the moral life

- All our duties must be to humans and not to God - he needs nothing from us

- Religion is ony concerned with human ethics and even God is just a means to the end of living morally 

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- Religion itself is the problem 

- Suspican 

- examining the motivate behind religion 

Motives ...

- Self interest

- Trying to insure a better future 

Results in deception people think they are worshipping God when really they are using him as a means to their won end of saving their souls

Links to the ideas of Marx 

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Karl Marx

"Religion is the opium of the people"

- Socialogical view

- Religion is man made 

- Dones't benefit society

- Religion makes people fall into a false sense of calm, its for comfort

- Religion is the way in which the upper class surpress the lower class so they can get richer

- Neitzsche agrees with Marx - religion is enslaving, victims are looking for revenge not comfort. By being with priests they feel they have a moral high ground and this gives them satifcation 

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- Phsycological appoach

- Religion is inner conflict

- It it a forfillment to supress sexual desires

- religion makes the stress of society bearable

- We have fear (death) and religion controls our fears

- Father (religion) looking over a child (believer)

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Religious arguements


- All humans strive to reach the summum bonum - perfect happiness

- If we feel we ought to strive to the summum bonum then we can (ought - can)

You cant reason your way to God - 3 Postulates which work in morality 

1.Freedom - We must be free to make our own decisions

2. Immorality - There must be an afterlife for us to achieve the summum bonum

3. God - God must exist in order to be a judge and bring us to the after life

We strive for the summum bonum - it isnt in this life - its in an after life - if there is an after life - there must be a God

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Religious Arguments


- reject teleological and deontological arguements = rejections of God

- evil and suffering - God is not ominopotent or all loving or he doesnt exist


- infulenced by Kant (universalisability) 

- Universal moral plane in which we all have access 

- "absoulte spirit" which is passed through generations as our innermost self

- There is a universal truth which we are all in search of "absolute religion"

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Religious Arguments


- Disagreed that everything could be explained though reason 

- Religion was a true "leap of faith"

- You must simply believed (not understood through reason) 


- God is not found in creeds or rituals but through experince, sin is humans wanting to be free from authority 

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Analysing the ideas


- was the main learning methord of the middle ages

- Reason , revelation and faith work together


- God has set the world in motion he doesnt intervine with day to day running 

- "Cosmic watch maker" 

- Move away from violance and religion 

- Enlightenment - move to unite denominations 

- Focus on reason over faith

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- science disproves the existence of God 

- "anti theist" religion is bad for man kind

Francis Collins

- DNA "language of God"

Michaele Behe

- the world is the result of the activity of a creator God 

- "intelligent designer"

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