What is Faith? – Part 5

We have been examining the Thomist view of faith, as characterized by Richard Swinburne in Faith and Reason (FAR).In order to avoid the implication that one must reason in a circle in order to have 'faith in God', a supporter of the Thomist view of faith can draw a distinction between beliefs about God that are implied by the statement 'God exists' and other beliefs about God that are NOT implied by this claim.  For a Thomist, belief in the existence of God is (or can be) based on reasons or … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 4

We have looked at a simple and widespread understanding of 'faith in God':Definition 1Person P has faith in God IF AND ONLY IF  P believes that God exists.One problem with Def. 1 is that the devil himself would have 'faith in God' based on this definition, and thus this could hardly be considered  to be a virtue, to be the kind of faith that is commended by the Christian religion.According to Swinburne (in Faith and Reason, 2nd ed., hereafter: FAR), the Thomist view of faith is si … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 3

I said that I was not going to walk slowly through the rest of Chapter 4 of Faith and Reason (FAR), by Richard Swinburne.  But there is a lot going on in the next few paragraphs of Chapter 4, and I find myself wanting to make several comments on them.  So, contrary to my previous plans,  I'm going to continue to walk slowly through at least the next few paragraphs.Before we get to Swinburne's characterization of the Thomist view of faith,  I have a couple more comments.  Swinburne focuses on … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 2

What does the word “faith” mean?  According to my dictionary (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition), the word “faith” has several different meanings: Definition 1:  A confident belief in the truth, value, trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.Definition 2:  Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.Definition 3:  Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance…Definition 4:  Belief and trust in God.Definition 5:  Religious conviction.D … [Read more...]

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...]

Happy Easter Dr. Craig

Last year I wrote several posts criticizing William Lane Craig's case for the resurrection.  Here are several excerpts from those posts (plus links, in case you want to read the full post from which an excerpt was taken):===========Some Skeptical Thoughts on the Resurrection[excerpt:]1. Geisler vs. CraigNorman Geisler makes an excellent point in his book When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences (co-authored with Ron Brooks):Before that we can show that Jesus ro … [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...]

Religious Experience – Recognizing God

Sam said to me and our gathered friends:Give me someone who is willing to sit down and take a three-hour Chemistry test, and another hour to review the test after it is completed, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.This claim was plausible; it made sense to me, especially in view of the fact that the Graduate Record Exam Chemistry Test has about 130 multiple-choice questions, and students are given two hours and fifty … [Read more...]


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