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Faith and Epistemology : Discussing Boghossian’s Claims Reasonable Faith UTD Allen Hainline Jan 16, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Faith and Epistemology : Discussing Boghossian’s Claims Reasonable Faith UTD Allen Hainline Jan 16, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Faith and Epistemology : Discussing Boghossian’s Claims Reasonable Faith UTD Allen Hainline Jan 16, 2014

2 Today’s Outline Brief review of purpose of group Overview of the Semester Responding to Atheist Peter Boghossian – Discussion 2

3 Motivation for Apologetics or Christian Case-Making “American churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One results of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer experience by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of a deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one’s faith is logical and fits the facts of experience, and of the stability brought to one’s life by the conviction that one’s faith is objectively true.” William Lane Craig 3

4 Biblical Basis for Apologetics “Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” I Peter 3:15 Examples – Jesus appealed to miracles and to fulfilled prophecy to prove His claims Luke 24:25-7, John 14:11 Told us to love God with our minds Luke 10:27 – Paul’s example Appealed to eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ resurrection (I Cor 15:3-8) Appealed to creation as pointing to a Creator (Rom 1:20, Acts 14:17) – Bible esteems wisdom incredibly – e.g. Proverbs 4

5 Importance of Apologetics Shaping culture – Helps create more receptiveness to gospel Strengthening believers – Need to know why we believe (not just what) – Builds disciples with deeper knowledge – Helps preserve faith during low emotional times Winning unbelievers – E.g., Strobel’s Case for Christ and Case for Faith books have led to countless conversions You can make a difference! 5

6 Biblical Basis for Apologetics “Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and respect” I Peter 3:15b – Greek word for defense is origin of apologetics (apologia) Examples: – Paul approached Athenian philosophers in Acts 17 on their terms – Paul rented hall of Tyrannus in Ephesus for 2 years to argue daily for gospel and reason with unbelievers (Acts 19:9-10) See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception Col 2:8a 6 “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered” C.S. Lewis We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:5

7 7 But shouldn’t we just focus on faith not reason? Shouldn’t we have childlike faith? “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.” 1 Cor 14:20

8 Spring 2014 Schedule Jan 23 – Evidence for Christianity from Early Church Fathers - Dr. Justin Bass Jan 30 – Differences Between Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christians – Dr. Justin Bass Feb 6 – Quantum Mechanics, Miracles and Materialism - Dr. Neil Shenvi via Skype Feb 13 – Evidence for Resurrection – J Warner Wallace Feb 20 – 4:30-6:00 Intelligent Design Jonathan McLatchie in FN 2.102 (Pizza provided) Feb 27 – Archaeological Corroboration of the Bible - Ted Wright March 6 – Archaeology and the Bible – Allen Hainline March 13 – No meeting due to Spring Break March 20 – Human Free Will and God’s Sovereignty - Steve Lee (FN 2.102) March 27– How Can a Good God Allow Evil? Allen Hainline Fri March 28 or Mon March 31 – Dr. Frank Turek April 3 – What if Atheists are Right? Beau Bishop April 10 – 7:00 William Lane Craig Skypes in for Q&A (larger room – TBD) April 17 – 7:30 Evidence for the Resurrection - Steve Lee (Joint meeting with Intervarsity in JSOM 1.118 (Davidson auditorium) April 24 – Review and Discussions May 1 – End of the year party 8

9 Atheist Boghossian Philosopher at Portland State University Wrote influential book called “A Manual for Creating Atheists” Starting TV Show called “The Reason Whisperer” 9

10 Boghossian’s Approach Doesn’t present arguments against the existence of God or try to refute arguments for God Mischaracterizes faith as “pretending to know what you can’t possibly know.” If you have evidence then it wouldn’t be faith He admits to trying to change the definition of faith and encourages his followers to – Use word “faith” only in religious context – Stigmatize faith-based claims like racist claims 10

11 Discussion What do you think of Boghossian’s definition of faith and evidence? – Do some Christians have a “blind faith?” Is faith an epistemology (a way of knowing)? Which fallacies or fallacies might be pertinent in evaluating Boghossian’s claims? Do you agree that Biblical faith involves trust as in a person? Can you think of examples of scientist’s having faith in an idea? What is your reaction to Boghossian’s lack of focus on engaging in actual arguments and evidence? 11

12 Response Faith is not an epistemology – Faith is trusting in what you have good reason to accept – There may be an implicit element of a lack of proof to the degree of certainty than one achieves in math but almost no atheist would claim to have that level of certainty about their belief either. Long history of Christian thinkers and the Bible itself don’t define faith that way – E.g. Jesus would have been destroying the faith of the disciples by appearing to them – Disciples shouldn’t have testified that they saw the risen Christ so that people could have faith 12

13 Notes Belief that vs. belief in Bog admitted to group of Portland atheists that he has “no empirical evidence” for the view of faith he espouses “Good atheist” interview had Peter pushing back when host said he can’t just redefine faith Mention fideism Biblical faith is more than knowledge not less – Even the demons believe (James …) 13

14 General Lessons Until you refute a belief, you shouldn’t focus on how a belief was formed – To do otherwise commits genetic fallacy – “I’m getting a bit sick of these pseudo-psychological explanations. Whenever you’ve run out of arguments, just make up some just-so story about how there is a natural tendency for humans to believe such things for some made up reason and we’re all biased of course so (condescending head pat) don’t believe that, sonny. C.S. Lewis called it Bulverism, Flew called it the subject/motive shift: distract attention from the truth of a claim by explaining how some people have come to believe something so silly.” Luke BarnesBulverism Faith is a commitment response to a belief – May be well-reasoned or not – Thus, faith is not an epistemology at all 14

15 Choose an epistemology that would allow you to find whatever worldview is true – Don’t choose an epistemology that only works well if your current worldview is true – Traditional Christian thinkers adopt – Some modern atheists choose a very narrow epistemology that only works well if naturalism is true Don’t consider God as an explanation, favoring even things like multiple unseen universes over God 15

16 Self-Defeating Nature of Naturalism If true, would undermine his belief in naturalism In some sense faith is required for reason Argument from Reason 16

17 Analogy from my work – Hardware issue – Software issue – Satellite data issue – Boot-strapping algorithms … 17

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