II God _ Religious Belief

II God _ Religious Belief - II.GodandReligiousBelief l...

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II. God and Religious Belief l Introduction
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Getting God out  l One of the views handed down to us from the 18th-century  movement called the “Enlightenment” is that religion is a  private matter l This view was promoted by people who didn’t much like  religion l In modern philosophy, we try to get everything on the table l If  there are good reasons for thinking God exists, let’s talk  about them l If  there are good reasons for disbelieving in God, let’s talk  about them too
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Pro and Con l Give me some reasons for believing that God  exists l Hint: Citing a sacred text won’t help l Such texts do not try to prove God’s existence to  anyone l Only “the fool says in his heart there is no God.” l NB: Small group?
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Pro and Con l Give me some reasons for thinking there is no  God l Even if you’re a theist, you know there are  arguments on the other side
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In philosophy,  l we try to start with premises and assumptions  that many or most people would find  reasonable l See if we can logically work our way to some  conclusion
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So, can we  prove  that  l ANS: Doubtful Q: Can we have  good reasons  for thinking that God  exists? l ANS: Yes, it’s at least possible l cf. “Can we have good reasons for thinking that electrons  exist?” l Sure.  No proof, but seldom have proof  of anything l I can’t prove that the Vikings landed in Greenland centuries  before Columbus l But this does seem to be the best explanation for things we do
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The real question is this:   l Do  we have good reasons for thinking that  God exists? l In other words, should a rational person believe  that God is real? l There are a number of arguments for the  existence of God l Most of them simply aren’t any good l Not just my view
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A. Flew, Hare, and Mitchell 
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Flew: The Parable of the  l Claim: “A gardener exists and tends a plot here.” l Every time they fail to detect him, another reason is given  for why they failed but should still believe l “He only tends the garden at night.  He doesn’t have  any scent….” l In the end, the gardener is supposed to exist but is  completely undetectable l No noticeable difference between the invisible  gardener and no gardener whatsoever  l Flew’s Conclusion: theism, likewise, is a bold hypothesis 
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l Smith declares, “God loves us like a father  loves his child” l Yet children suffer in ways that their human  parents would prevent if they could l So, does human suffering prove that God is not like a  human father? l
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This note was uploaded on 07/06/2010 for the course PHIL 220 taught by Professor Koperski during the Winter '09 term at Saginaw Valley.

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II God _ Religious Belief - II.GodandReligiousBelief l...

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