Lecture 7_The Character of God, Morality, and the Problem of Evil

Lecture 7_The Character of God, Morality, and the Problem of Evil

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The Character of God, Morality, and the Problem of Evil The Narrative Ontological Argument relies solely on the idea of God. Forgoes a posteriori knowledge. Cosmological and Teleological Arguments focus on aspects of creation. Turn from a priori knowledge and justification. Pragmatic or Moral Arguments forge a new way altogether. Emphasize that none of the previous attempts address what actually compels the faithful; namely, the character of God. Religion and “Practical Reason” Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) The fundamental idea of Kant's “critical philosophy” is human autonomy. Scientific knowledge, morality, and religious belief are mutually consistent and secure because they all rest on the same foundation of human autonomy. “Highest good” = a world in which there is both complete virtue and complete happiness. Our duty to promote the highest good is the sum of all moral duties. We can fulfill this duty only if we believe that the highest good is a possible state of affairs. And we can believe that the highest good is possible only if we also believe in the immortality of the soul and the existence of God. On this basis, he claims that it is morally necessary to believe in the immortality of the soul and the existence of God, which he calls “postulates of pure practical reason.“ SIMPLIFYING Kant Kant allowed that belief in God is a matter of faith. But this is NOT an irrational belief! Belief in God (along with the immortality of the soul) is the most fundamental belief of all because without it, we would not have the “anchor for our morality.” In other words, we would not have any reason to suppose that our good deeds would, in fact, eventually be rewarded or evil deeds punished. We would lack the motivation to act in a moral fashion. After all, justice is not always delivered in this life. Misfortune often befalls the innocent while the corrupt prosper. Therefore, it is rational to have faith. William James (1842-1910) He makes the pragmatic argument that believing in God is “rational” insofar as it doesn’t conflict with our other beliefs and it tends to make us lead better lives. Religion offers itself as a “momentous” option.
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2012 for the course PHI 2010 taught by Professor Tacks during the Spring '12 term at Florida State College.

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Lecture 7_The Character of God, Morality, and the Problem of Evil

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