University of Tasmania
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Rationality and religious belief

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posted on 2023-05-26, 20:32 authored by Kowaluk, AT
The aim of this dissertation is to enquire into the rationality of religious belief and, in particular, into the rationality of the Christian belief-system. The method employed is one of analysing what Christians have had to say about the rationality of what they believe rather than that of first arriving at a set of conditions severally necessary and jointly sufficient for the rationality of belief in general, and then determining whether or not the Christian belief-system would satisfy them. Irrationalism is the first position that is examined, with particular reference to the work of Soren Kierkegaard. The Irrationalist holds both that there is a fundamental conflict between faith and reason, and that irrationality is an absolute condition of an adequate Christian Faith. Both tenets of the. Irrationalist's position are considered and each is rejected as untenable. The second position examined is that of St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas argues that there is a body of evidence which can settle the dispute between believer and sceptic. His position is examined with particular reference to his distinction between the preambles to faith and the articles of faith. A number of inconsistencies are pointed out. Chapters 3 and 4 consider two of the more important arguments for the existence of God. Chapter 3 considers the Ontological Argument with particular reference to Saint Anselm's version of it. The argument is rejected as are modern attempts to resurrect it. Chapter 4 considers the Cosmological Argument with particular reference to the first and most important three of Aquinas' five ways. These are also found wanting. Chapter 5 focuses upon two contemporary attempts to defend Christianity against charges that it is irrational in the absence of a successful theistic proof. The positions considered are those of Norman Malcolm and Alvin Plantinga. Whilst there are significant differences between the two, both point out that evidence must end somewhere and argue that belief in the existence of God belongs to that set of beliefs which do not require evidence. Both positions are found wanting.


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Copyright 1987 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: leaves 144-155

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