Existence of God
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Existence of God
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Theological Traditions Anglican. Notable Theologians Abraham Kuyper. Suppose further that one seeks to build a theistic commitment on hope. The acceptance of theistic hope provides reason to act as if theism were true, not because one believes that it is true, but because one hopes that it is. What is it to act as if theism is true? It is to put into practice behaviors characteristic of a particular religious tradition, such as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam. A problem arises however. Social psychology, with its theories of biased scanning, social-perception theory, and cognitive dissonance theory, advances the idea that behavior can alter, influence, and generate attitudes, including beliefs see Jordan By regularly engaging in behaviors and practices characteristic of a particular religious tradition, one engages in actions that tend to inculcate religious belief.
Belief is catching, as associating and imitating the faithful is an effective way of self-inducing the beliefs of the faithful.
Why atheists are not as rational as some like to think
Those who seek to replace belief with hope will find themselves taking steps to build a theistic commitment on hope, while holding that they ought to avoid theistic belief. Yet, the very steps involved in fostering a commitment on hope — immersive role-playing as a theist, or acting as if theism were true — tend to generate theistic belief.
Those who habitually or chronically imitate the actions and rituals of theists find eventually that those are not just tasks they perform, but are at the heart of who they are and what they believe. Yet, theistic belief is off-limits. One would have to take steps that inoculate against the contagious theistic belief. One is pushed to act as if theism were true, yet pulled to act to ensure that one does not come to believe that it is.
Whatever commitment might emerge out of this dynamic is not likely one characteristic of a mature or wholeheartedly committed theist. This problem of catching belief flows out of the fact that chronically acting as if something is true is an effective way of inculcating the belief that it is true.
Religious Fictionalism, for example, which holds that faith that p does not require belief that p , has to deal with the problem. For more discussion, see Malcolm and Scott , and Jordan The essay was a page best seller, which, most commentators agree, was unfair in many respects to Hume. Since in some cases, Beattie contends, despair flows from the loss of faith. And he assumes that no justifying good exists for Hume to risk causing despair. Beattie believed that Christian belief provided consolation, especially to those suffering or oppressed.
His argument might be reconstructed as there exists a person S , such that:. Montaigne was endowed with a good estate, health, leisure and an easy temper, literary tastes, and a sufficiency of books; he could afford thus to play with life, and the abysses into which it leads us. Let us take a case in contrast. This argument lends itself easily to a pragmatic cast since it places great weight on the idea that certain human needs support the rational and moral legitimacy of religious belief:. This sort of argument faces many questions and issues that we cannot explore here.
Among these issues and questions are: suppose that one, morally and rationally, may satisfy a need, it does not follow that one can satisfy that need in any old way. Some ways of satisfying a need are permissible while others are not. Is belief in God a permissible way?
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Do humans in fact have the alleged needs? Is belief in God the only feasible way to satisfy those needs? See Williams for further discussion.
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