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...]

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...]