What is Faith? – Part 1

Some general observations to consider before attempting to answer the question "What is faith?":1. Don't criticize what you can't understand.Or better:  Try to understand what faith is before you try to evaluate the goodness or badness of faith.2. The word 'faith' has multiple definitions in any decent dictionary.The word 'faith' is literally ambiguous.  Some uses or meanings of the word 'faith' should be set aside, and one should focus in on one or two meanings that seem p … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 6

I will now try to wrap up this series of posts on Swinburne's Argument from Religious Experience (AFR).   I don't have any big bold conclusion that I'm driving toward, just a few observations, clarifications, and an objection or two.One thing I have done is to make use of the concepts of dependence and independence, which are basic concepts in probability.  I have explored the question of whether and to what extent the veridicality of one generic theistic religious experience (TRE) is de … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 5

Here is a brief plot summary of the movie Harvey:Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six-foot rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane - but he may be wiser than anyone knows.James Stewart played Elwood P. Dowd, the "whimsical middle-aged man" who could apparently see and converse with Harvey, a six-foot rabbit who was invisible to others.  The obvious conclusion is that Elwood is mentally ill and that his experiences of the s … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 4

3 TREs with Dependency

Although I have been considering the implications of the idea that the veridicality of a Theistic Religious Experience (TRE) is independent of the veridicality of other TREs, this is NOT the view of Swinburne.  In fact, Swinburne clearly holds the opposite view, the view that the veridicality of a TRE is dependent on the veridicality of other TREs.  I will get into the details of this shortly.First, let me back up for a moment and provide a key definition.  Swinburne defines "religious ex … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 3

3 Fair Coin Tosses

Previously, I have only considered the very simple case where one person has a memory of having previously had a theistic religious experience (hereafter: TRE) of a generic sort--an experience in which it seemed (epistemically) to him/her that God was present.  There were a couple of basic points made about probable inferences in contrast to necessary or deductive inferences, but there are even more interesting points of logic and probability ahead as we consider more complex and more realistic … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Argument from Religious Experience – Part 2

Richard Swinburne's argument from religious experience (AFR) as given in The Existence of God (2nd ed.- hereafter: EOG) is based on three key epistemological  principles: EXPERIENCE …(in the absence of special considerations), if it seems (epistemically) to a subject that x is present (and has some characteristic), then probably x is present (and has that characteristic)… (EOG, p. 303) MEMORY If it seems to a subject that in the past he perceived something  or did something, then (in the abse … [Read more...]

Evolution vs. The Argument from Providence

In the Existence of God (2nd edition, hereafter: EOG) Richard Swinburne lays out a carefully constructed, systematically presented case for the the claim that it is more likely than not that God exists.  I have previously argued that there is a big problem with this case that arises with the third argument.  In order to know that the premise of the third argument is true, one must know a lot of information about science and about the evolution of life and the evolution of human beings.Here is … [Read more...]

The Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven

One reason for being a skeptic is that people lie...often.  Children lie, teenagers lie, college students and young adults lie,  older adults lie, and seniors lie.Here is a story that reinforces the need for skepticism.===================Tyndale House, a major Christian publisher, has announced that it will stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey.The best-selling book, first published in 2010, purports to describe what Alex … [Read more...]


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