I Don’t Care – Part 3

According to the Christian philosopher Peter Kreeft, and many others, Aquinas gives five different arguments for the existence of God.  In the Handbook of Christian Apologetics (IVP, 1994; hereafter: HCA) by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, there is a chapter that lays out twenty different arguments for the existence of God, and the first five arguments are versions of Aquinas' Five Ways:A word about the organization of the arguments.  We have organized them into two basic groups: those wh … [Read more...]

I Don’t Care – Part 2

OK. Maybe I care just a little bit.I summarized my complaint against Aquinas' Five Ways this way (in response to a comment from Jeff Lowder):I'm just pointing out that (a) NONE of the Five Ways is an argument for the existence of God as it stands (in the section called "Whether God Exists?"), and (b) in order to make use of any of the Five Ways as an argument for the existence of God, there is a serious amount of intellectual effort required to fill the logical gap that is located in the … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 9

Here are some key points from the first section (Relation of Faith to Reason) of Geisler's article "Faith and Reason" (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 239; hereafter: BECA):The contents of faith "are above reason." and so must be revealed to humans by God. Faith "involves will (freedom) and reason doesn't coerce the will". Some theological truths "have been proved demonstratively" and can be based on reason, such as the existence of God.If we take the second point in … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 8

In the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (1999; hereafter: BECA), Geisler has written a fairly long and detailed article on “Faith and Reason”, and the entire article is basically an exposition of the views of Aquinas about faith and the relationship between faith and reason.There are nine bolded subheadings in Geisler’s article on “Faith and Reason”:1. Relation of Faith to Reason 2. Three Uses of Reason 3. Divine Authority 4. Reason in Support of Faith 5. Distinguishing Fai … [Read more...]

What is Faith – Part 6

I have noticed a problem of unclarity in my own thinking and writing about the Thomist view of faith.  Before I go further in discussing Swinburne's characterization of the Thomist view of faith, I want to briefly consider the point of unclarity or ambiguity in my previous discussion of this view of faith. I have been sliding too easily over the distinction between possibility and necessity concerning the role of reasons and arguments in the Thomist view of faith.Aquinas believes that it is … [Read more...]

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...]