Is Faith Rational? (Part One)

Dec 14, 2015, 12:00 PM

Nathan Gilmour (Christian Humanist podcast) and Rob Dyer (God Complex Radio) join Mark and Wes for to discuss the reasonableness of religious belief reading:

Antony Flew, "The Presumption of Atheism" (1976) Norwood Russell Hanson, “The Agnostic’s Dilemma” (1971) Steven Cahn, "The Irrelevance of Proof to Religion" (1969) Alvin Plantinga, “Is Belief in God Properly Basic?” (1981) Merold Westphal, "Sin and Reason" (1990) Basil Mitchell “Faith and Criticism” (1994) Peter van Inwagen, "Clifford's Principle" (1994) William Alston "Experience in Religious Belief" (1991) Richard Swinburne, "The Voluntariness of Faith" (1981) and “The World and Its Order” (1996) Paul Helm, "Faith and Merit" (1999) These were all published as the final chapter of the Oxford reader edited by Helm, Faith and Reason.

What is reasonableness, and is it compatible with religious faith, if we take "faith" to mean accepting a claim without evidence? Clearly, there are smart, thoughtful people on both sides of the issue, but why should that be, if one could glean correct opinions about religious matters from our shared experience of the world? Or if the evidence is insufficient either way, aren't there still some standards of reasonableness we can appeal to for what the wisest course of action to take is when we don't have sufficient evidence?

In this half, we focus on Flew, who compares the situation to a court of law, where we presume innocence; likewise, we should presume atheism. Cahn tells us why believers don't care about proofs for the existence of God. Hanson thinks we would all accept as proof of God if He appeared before us publicly, which means we treat His existence as an empirical proposition and should't remain agnostic any more than we suspend judgment about never-observed physical phenomena like egg-laying bats. Westphall argues that original sin means that there is no "natural light of reason" that would allow us to objectively determine without revelation anything out religious matters. #philosophy #religion #gilmour #dyer #faith #reason #atheism Go to the blog: