Paradoxically Assisting Christianity

Paradoxically Assisting Christianity - Adam Reed Dr. Kaplan...

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Adam Reed Dr. Kaplan Christianity and its Critics Paper #1 October 1, 2006 Christianity has always been a topic of debate among theologians, philosophers, and scholars. One period of history when Christianity fell under heavy criticism was during the Enlightenment, a period of scientific and philosophical advancements. These advancements provided answers to questions about nature and the human existence that were once attributed to the divine. Dogmatic faith in a divine being was, for many, replaced by skepticism towards the world. Two skeptics that criticized Christianity during the Enlightenment were David Hume and Gotthold Lessing. Both men were viewed as enemies of Christianity. This paper shows that Hume and Lessing did not harm Christianity but in-fact paradoxically assisted it. Hume has a distain for natural theology. His first problem with the natural path to religion is that it leaves people no reason to think for themselves. Another problem that he has is that natural religion encourages dogmatic beliefs that have no basis in a person’s own reasoning. “While the haughty dogmatist, persuaded, that he can erect a complete system of theology by the mere help of philosophy, disdains and farther aid, and rejects this adventitious instructor.”(Hume 139) Hume is saying that when people already have all the answers provided by others they don’t search for it themselves. When people have no answers of their own they eventually will question their faith. Hume takes this further by making the claim that the only true way to find god is through skepticism. Only when a person can realize their limited capacity for reason do they turn to god. People do not have revelations from things that they are taught by the
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Reed Christian church. The best that natural theology can do is show it is insufficient and pushes people in other directions. When people look at their world and can find no reasonable answers is when they look for god and have revelations. This is the first point where Hume assists Christianity. When people search for their faith instead of being taught their faith it is inherently strengthened. Another point in Hume’s
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This essay was uploaded on 04/18/2008 for the course RELS V194 taught by Professor Kaplan during the Spring '06 term at Loyola New Orleans.

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Paradoxically Assisting Christianity - Adam Reed Dr. Kaplan...

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