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The Rationality of Religious Belief  What reasons are there to believe that God or some supernatural force exists? MiraclesMiracles The very definition.

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Presentation on theme: "The Rationality of Religious Belief  What reasons are there to believe that God or some supernatural force exists? MiraclesMiracles The very definition."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Rationality of Religious Belief  What reasons are there to believe that God or some supernatural force exists? MiraclesMiracles The very definition of GodThe very definition of God The existence and order of the universeThe existence and order of the universe Meaningfulness in our livesMeaningfulness in our lives

2 Why Miracles Cannot Justify Religious Belief: David Hume ( ) We should proportion our beliefs to what we experience. Testimony of others should be doubted as improbable if witnesses: are few in number, contradict one another, have an interest in persuading us, are either hesitant or zealous, or contradict our normal experienceare few in number, contradict one another, have an interest in persuading us, are either hesitant or zealous, or contradict our normal experience

3 Hume: Religion Is Based on Faith, not Irrational Belief in Miracles Miracles are violations of laws of natureMiracles are violations of laws of nature Belief in miracles requires that we believe it more reasonable to think that the order of the universe has been violated than that we are (pleasantly) mistaken or have been deceived by (well-intentioned) enthusiastsBelief in miracles requires that we believe it more reasonable to think that the order of the universe has been violated than that we are (pleasantly) mistaken or have been deceived by (well-intentioned) enthusiasts Reports of miracles are more common among the primitive culturesReports of miracles are more common among the primitive cultures

4 Religion is our “opium” for dealing with socio-political alienation: Karl Marx ( ) God is really the idealization of humanity as alienated, unconscious of itselfGod is really the idealization of humanity as alienated, unconscious of itself Such alienation is caused by thinking of humanity and nature as abstractions rather than as products of real activity and laborSuch alienation is caused by thinking of humanity and nature as abstractions rather than as products of real activity and labor Real life is not atheistic, for even denying that God exists depends on thinking abstractlyReal life is not atheistic, for even denying that God exists depends on thinking abstractly

5 “God is Dead”: Friedrich Nietzsche ( ) God once served as a fixed point of reference, but now nothing—not even science or truth— is absoluteGod once served as a fixed point of reference, but now nothing—not even science or truth— is absolute People refuse to acknowledge the death of God because it requires that they affirm their responsibility for their lives and valuesPeople refuse to acknowledge the death of God because it requires that they affirm their responsibility for their lives and values


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