Faith and/or Reason
William Lane Craig on Atheism said...
Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p.37.
The Bible says all men are without excuse. Even those who are given no good reason to believe and many persuasive reasons to disbelieve have no excuse, because the ultimate reason they do not believe is that they have deliberately rejected God's Holy Spirit.
The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Eerdmans: 1994), pp. 3-4.
The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind. Despite dynamic success at a popular level, modern American evangelicals have failed notably in sustaining serious intellectual life. They have nourished millions of believers in the simple verities of the gospel but have largely abandoned the university, the arts, and other realms of "high" culture... The historical situation is... curious. Modern evangelicals are the spiritual descendants of leaders and movements distinguished by probing, creative, fruitful attention to the mind.
"A Philosopher's Religious Faith", in A Second Look in the Rearview Mirror (Macmillan, April 1994)
I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition.
Alister McGrath (Zondervan: Aug 30, 1993), 242 pages.
For people who are not convinced by the arguments of classical, rationalistic apologetics, for people who feel that Christianity must have a broader appeal than to reason alone if it is to be persuasive. Alister McGrath shows convincingly that reason is only one of many possible points of contact with the Gospel. In today's world, nonrational concerns — such as a sense that life lacks focus, an unconscious fear of death, a deep sense of longing for something unknown we don't have but know we need — are much more effective points of contact for apologetics. In this book, Dr. McGrath (who is both a theologian and a scientist with a Ph.D. in microbiology) combines the clarity of a brilliant scientific mind with a deep commitment to Christ and to reaching non-Christians. Intellectuals Don't Need God is for anyone who has questions about the validity of Christianity as well as for students, pastors, and lay leaders. Anyone who works with students and young people especially needs to read this book. As McGrath says, "apologetics is not about winning arguments — it is about bringing people to Christ."
The Ragamuffin Gospel, (Questar Publishers, 1993), 54.
The scribes were treated with excessive deference in Jewish society because of their education and learning. Everyone honored them because of their wisdom and intelligence. The "mere children" (napioi in Greek, really meaning babes) were Jesus' image for the uneducated and ignorant. He is saying that the gospel of grace has been disclose to and grasped by the uneducated and ignorant instead of the learned and wise. For this Jesus thanks God.
Marlene Winell on Ambiguity said...
Leaving the Fold (Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 1993), p. 54.
Intellectual ambiguity can be very uncomfortable. It is always easier to be sure of something. A religion that neatly provides all the answers saves you the frustration and anxiety that inevitably accompany a struggle with difficult questions. Fundamentalism is especially dogmatic and detailed in describing a grand scheme. The Bible is offered as the inerrant word of God, revealing the path of history, a plan of salvation, and predictions about the future. Reasons and justifications are given. And for questions that still remain, there is the ultimate comfort that comes with trusting that a benign father God had everything under control.
The Quotable Bertrand Russell (ed. Lee Eisler, Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1993), p. 261.
If you think your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument rather than by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based upon faith, you will realize that argument is useless, and will therefore resort to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting or distorting the minds of the young in what is called 'education.'
The Quotable Bertrand Russell (ed. Lee Eisler, Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1993), p. 253.
We must therefore ask ourselves: What sort of thing is it reasonable to believe without proof? I should reply: The facts of sense experience and the principles of mathematics and logic — including the inductive logic employed in science."
The Quotable Bertrand Russell, Lee Eisler, ed. (Prometheus, 1993), p. 106.
It is the things for which there is no evidence that are believed with passion. "Nobody feels any passion about the multiplication table or about the existence of Cape Horn, because these matters are not doubtful. "But in matters of theology or political theory, where a rational man will hold that at best there is a slight balance of probability on one side or the other, people argue with passion and support their opinions by physical slavery imposed by armies and mental slavery imposed by schools.
The Ragamuffin Gospel, (Questar Publishers, 1993).
When our inner child is not nurtured and nourished, our minds gradually close to new ideas, unprofitable commitments, and the surprises of the Spirit. Evangelical faith is bartered for cozy, comfortable piety. A failure of nerve and an unwillingness to risk distorts God into a Bookkeeper and the gospel of grace is swapped for the security of religious bondage. (63) ... If we maintain the open-mindedness of children, we challenge fixed ideas and established structures, including our own. We listen to people in other denominations and religions. We don't cozy up to people who mouth our jargon. If we are open, we rarely resort to either-or: either creation or evolution, liberty or law, sacred or secular, Beethoven or Madonna. We focus on both-and, fully aware that God's truth cannot be imprisoned in a small definition. Of course, the open mind does not accept everything indiscriminately — Marxism and capitalism, Christianity and atheism, love and lust, Moet Chandon and vinegar. It does not absorb all propositions equally like a sponge, nor is it as soft. But the open mind realizes that reality, truth, and Jesus Christ are incredibly open-ended.
Alvin Plantinga in Truth Journal: An International, Inter-Disciplinary Journal of Christian Thought,Volume 3 (1991).
Alvin Plantinga argues that a natural way to understand such notions as rationality and irrationality is in terms of the proper functioning of the relevant cognitive equipment. Seen from this perspective, the question whether it is rational to believe in God without the evidential support of other propositions is really a metaphysical or theological dispute. The theist has an easy time explaining the notion of our cognitive equipment's functioning properly: our cognitive equipment functions properly when it functions in the way God designed it to function. The atheist evidential objector, however, owes us an account of this notion. What does he mean when he complains that the theist without evidence displays a cognitive defect of some sort? How does he understand the notion of cognitive malfunction?
Richard G. Swinburne in Truth Journal Vol. 3 (1991)
Why believe that there is a God at all? My answer is that to suppose that there is a God explains why there is a world at all; why there are the scientific laws there are; why animals and then human beings have evolved; why humans have the opportunity to mould their characters and those of their fellow humans for good or ill and to change the environment in which we live; why we have the well-authenticated account of Christ's life, death and resurrection; why throughout the centuries men have had the apparent experience of being in touch with and guided by God; and so much else. In fact, the hypothesis of the existence of God makes sense of the whole of our experience, and it does so better than any other explanation which can be put forward, and that is the grounds for believing it to be true. This paper seeks to justify this answer; it presents in summary arguments given in more detailed form in my book The Existence of God,1 and seeks to rebut criticisms of those arguments given in J.L. Mackie's book The Miracle of Theism.2
Richard Dawkins on Faith said...
The Selfish Gene (New edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 198.
Faith cannot move mountains (though generations of children are solemnly told the contrary and believe it). But it is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness. It leads people to believe in whatever it is so strongly that in extreme cases they are prepared to kill and to die for it without the need for further justification.
Faith and Reason (Zondervan: 1988), pp. 14-15.
It is helpful to distinguish between negative and positive apologetics. In negative apologetics, the major objective is producing answers to challenges to religious faith. The proper tack of negative apologetics is removing obstacles to belief... In negative apologetics, the apologist is playing defense. In positive apologetics, the apologist begins to play offense. It is one thing to show (or attempt to show) that assorted arguments against religious faith are weak or unsound; it is a rather different task to offer people reasons why they should believe. The latter is the task of positive apologetics.
Bertrand Russell on Philosophy said...
The Problems of Philosophy (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1988), p. 161.
Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions, since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.
Norman L. Geisler (Baker Academic: Mar 1, 1988), 400 pages.
This book is a standard apologetics textbook in many seminaries and schools in the U.S.. This is so for many good and obvious reasons. First, Geisler is well known and considered by many to be one of the greatest apologists of this century. Second, the contents of this book are so thorough and concise that there is actually no other book that has been published before or after this one that could be considered a viable rival. This is not to say that there are no other great apologetic texts out there. But there are very few that match this one. Geisler covers every imaginable worldview, describes the view, and proceeds to defend the Christian faith in light of the opposing view at hand. The book is philosophically rigorous, and laid out in a systematic fashion that helps the reader keep organized while tackling the many beliefs that stem from each of the views covered. Geisler covers rationalism, agnosticism, fideism, experientialism, evidentialism, pragmatism, combinationalism, deism, pantheism, panentheism, atheism, theism, etc. He has a chapter that is devoted to the formulation of adequate tests for truth, and then a section that details Christian apologetics from History to the deity and authority of Christ. This is why this book has been a standard text for classes all over the country in the area apologetics. I cannot recommend this book enough! ~ T. B. Vick at Amazon.com
David Basinger in Sophia: A Journal for Discussion in Philosophical Theology (Volume 26, Number 3 / October, 1987). See also, "Further Clarification".
In response to Robert A. Larmer, Basinger argues: "There is little basis upon which to claim that all proponents of solely natural causation are guilty of dogmatic, uncritical, question-begging reasoning. To claim emphatically that there is in fact no God (and thus no divine causal intervention) may be an unwarranted metaphysical contention. But the nontheist need not be making any such ontological claim. She can simply be saying that, while this epistemological contention is debatable, its affirmation is not necessarily any more dogmatic or question begging than the belief that the 'total' evidence makes theistic belief (and thus the possibility of divine intervention) most reasonable."
David Basinger in Sophia: A Journal for Discussion in Philosophical Theology. For the preliminaries, see "Miracles and Natural Explanations".
In an ongoing dialogue in this journal (Sophia), Robert Larmer and I have been discussing whether the undisputed occurrence of certain conceivable events — for instance, astonishing healings — could require all honest, thoughtful individuals to acknowledge that God has supernaturally intervened in earthly affairs. I have not denied that a theist (or nontheist) could justifiably consider the occurrence of certain possible (or even actual) events to be strong evidence for theism — for the existence of a God who benevolently intervenes in earthly affairs. But nontheists, I have argued, can justifiably maintain that evil — that the amount and nature of human pain and suffering — stands as strong evidence against God's existence. Furthermore, I have argued, nontheists can justifiably maintain that the evidence against God's existence generated by evil would outweigh any amount of evidence for theism that might be produced by any conceivable set of events. And for this reason I have continued to deny that there exists any conceivable context in which a person who did not acknowledge that God has intervened in earthly affairs could justifiably be accused of having conducted herself in a nonrational manner.
J.P. Moreland (Baker Academic: Jun 1, 1987), 288 pages.
Moreland's work must be considered one of the premier works on apologetics written by an evangelical. Although William Lane Craig is probably now worthy to be called the dean of evangelical apologists, Moreland's volume from the 1980s still stands alone as the best single volume in dealing with challenges to the Christian faith. This is due in large part to two factors: the format of the book and Moreland's concise way in handling the issues under discussion. ~ Shannon Richie ... "No evangelical now writing on apologetics surpasses Moreland in philosophical ability. Every person who intends to speak for Christ to the contemporary mind should master the content and spirit of this book." ~ Dallas Willard, University of Southern California.
William Lane Craig in Gospel Perspectives VI, pp. 9-40. David Wenham and Craig Blomberg, eds. (Sheffield, England: JSOT Press, 1986).
In his survey of the history of thought with respect to miracles, Craig traces the demise of the plausability of such supernatural events amongst biblical scholars, expressed first in naturalistic explanations for biblical events and ultimately in the repudiation of the reliability of the biblical texts. Craig addresses the influence of Bahrdt, Paulus, Schleiermacher, Strauss, and Bultmann before turning to their intellectual forebears, the thinking of Spinoza and Hume and the backdrop of Newton's mechanistic universe. Craig offers a response to each of these principal thinkers in turn, concluding that "the presupposition of the impossibility of miracles should play no role in determining the historicity of an event", even an allegedly supernatural one. In so doing, he challenges the notion that natural law must preclude miracles and provides a patient response to each of the principal objections. Craig's lengthy article is a worthwhile read both for its summary history of biblical scholarship and for its recommendation for appropriate criteria in the study of history. ~ Afterall