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Unformatted text preview: Some excerpts from An Interview With Alvin Plantinga I certainly think God is real, that there really is a being of this sort, and that it is not the case that God exists only in the human imagination. It is harder to say why I believe this. I do think there are good theistic arguments-quite a large number of them; but I dont really believe in God on the basis of these arguments. Perhaps they play some kind of a role here, but for me at least the basic impulse to believe comes from a different source. Id put it like this: It seems to me that I sometimes experience God, that I am sometimes aware of his presence. God sometimes seems as real to me as my children or the people I work with. But that isnt the entire answer either. For in addition to this awareness of God, there is also something else I simply find myself believing in God. This question why do you think God is real? can be asked in several ways. Taken one way, it is a request for evidence: What is your evidence for the existence of such a being, that is, what sorts of arguments do you have for that rather momentous conclusion? Here Id have to say I dont really believe on the basis of arguments, just as I dont typically hold memory or perceptual or a priori beliefs on the basis of argument or propositional evidence. You can also ask this question in such a way that the answer says something about the way in which this belief gets into my noetic structure: Is it a matter of perception? or testimony? or rational intuition? or what? This really calls for an epistemology of belief in God an account of the faculties or belief-producing processes that are responsible for such belief. In my forthcoming book Warranted Christian Belief I try to say something sensible along these lines. How long have I believed this? I cant remember a time when I didnt believe this; I was taught about God as a child, both at home and in church, much as I was taught that there is such a place as Africa or such a person as Columbus. But then when I was about fourteen or so, something happened to me, as to many people: These beliefs became much more real to me; it seemed to me that, as I said above, I was actually aware of Gods presence, that I could actually be related to him as one person to another. But as an attempt to describe the phenomenology of my belief, this is very inadequate. . I think you are right that many philosophers think religious belief doesnt come from a source of belief that produces warranted belief: The belief-producing processes that are responsible for belief in God, for example, are not a source of warranted belief. Unlike, for example, perceptual beliefs, belief in God is not usually produced by cognitive processes that are functioning properly in the right kind of environment and have as their purpose the production of true belief. This is in contrast to philosophical beliefs, which are ordinarily a product of reason, which is a faculty directed at the production of true beliefs, even if disagreement runs rife in philosophy. And the idea would be, then, that 1 theistic belief is warranted and respectable only if it is arrived at by way of reason-...
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This note was uploaded on 01/03/2012 for the course PHILOSOPHY 01:730:103 taught by Professor Prestongreene during the Spring '12 term at Rutgers.
- Spring '12