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Unbedeutend_F_Organisch

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Arguing for belief in God
« Online: 17 de Abril de 2005, 18:15:34 »
Arguing for belief in God


By Richard N. Ostling
ASSOCIATED PRESS


SOUTH BEND, Ind. — In a scientific era, is it still possible to believe in God and such events as the Easter miracle of Jesus' Resurrection from the grave? Can a rational person see God as both all-powerful and benevolent despite horrendous suffering in disasters like the Asian tsunami? From the perspective of philosopher Alvin Plantinga, the answers are emphatic: yes and yes.
    A Protestant professor at the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Plantinga applies modern analytic philosophy to the age-old questions about God and the universe. While he's little known outside his specialty, an assessment in Christianity Today magazine called him "not just the best Christian philosopher of his time ... [but] the most important philosopher of any stripe."

    Even atheist opponents recognize his importance. William Rowe of Purdue University and Michael Tooley of the University of Colorado -- who is co-authoring a book with Mr. Plantinga -- each consider him among the top two or three defenders of traditional belief in God.
    Mr. Plantinga's best work is clear but hardly popular fare; it's filled with modal logic and letter formulas that summarize the steps in his rigorous arguments.
    It may seem odd, but modern philosophy ponders how we know things like this: that other people exist with thoughts and feelings like our own; that material objects we observe are real; that the world existed more than five minutes ago; that the future will resemble the past or that we can rely upon our minds.
    Mr. Plantinga argues that common sense and science know that such things are true -- and that they employ personal sympathy, memory, perception and intuition in the process. Applying complex formulas, Mr. Plantinga asserts that belief in God is equally reasonable.
    It's heavy stuff, but the philosopher tries to lighten the mood as much as he can.
    He imagines Henry Kissinger swimming across the Atlantic in one text, a possible world where Raquel Welch is mousy and others where there never was a Raquel Welch. The actress, he notes, "enjoys very little greatness in those worlds in which she does not exist."
    Mr. Plantinga's Roman Catholic campus, which decades ago hired no Protestant philosophers, provides congenial surroundings for his work. Notre Dame boasts the nation's largest philosophy faculty. One survey of scholars rated Notre Dame first in the English-speaking world for graduate study in the philosophy of religion. Mr. Plantinga long led its graduate center in that field.
    Chatting about faith's perennial puzzles, the bearded philosopher turns out to be a cheerful, plainspoken and seemingly ordinary Midwesterner. At age 72, he still takes an hour most days for a workout to keep his wiry 6-foot-2 frame in shape for his chief avocation, rock climbing.
    Back in 1951, Mr. Plantinga was a Harvard University scholarship student surrounded by scoffers when one evening he experienced a "persuasion and conviction that the Lord was really there and was all I had thought."
    Shortly thereafter, he transferred to Michigan's faith-affirming Calvin College, affiliated with his lifelong denomination, the Christian Reformed Church. "As good a decision as I've ever made," he said. He then did graduate work at Michigan and Yale and taught at Calvin before moving to Notre Dame in 1982.
    In his student days, "everybody was predicting and giving lots of learned reasons for Christianity just dying out."
    "Christianity didn't have any future in the academy," he said, recalling what he himself felt at the time. "It seemed the thing to think."
    But now, "in philosophy, at least, Christianity is doing vastly better than it did 40 or 50 years ago and that's probably true in academia in general." One index: In 1978, Mr. Plantinga and five colleagues founded the Society of Christian Philosophers. Today it's an 1,100-member subgroup of the American Philosophical Association that publishes a respected quarterly.
    Mr. Plantinga modestly avoids mentioning his own influence in nurturing younger Christian thinkers.
    He notes that Christianity faces two intellectual competitors today. Postmodern thought claims "there basically isn't any truth at all," while atheistic naturalism says there is such a thing as truth, but only empirical science delivers it.
    Mr. Plantinga sees "superficial conflict but deep concord between Christian belief and science" and "superficial concord but deep conflict" between science and atheism.
    He argues that if evolution was godless and operated only to enhance reproductive fitness, there's no particular reason to think the results of humanity's thinking processes are reliable. But with God, he says, our minds are geared to discover truth, including scientific truth.
    Mr. Plantinga addressed science and God last fall at Beijing and Cambridge universities, and continues the theme in Scotland's Gifford Lectures beginning April 12, a rare second invitation to that prestigious forum.
    "As far as I can see, there aren't any scientific results that are incompatible with miracles," he asserts. Nor has any thinker, ancient or modern, provided reasons why intelligent persons can't believe in them, he said.
    Scientific laws state "the way in which God ordinarily treats the stuff he's made," Mr. Plantinga. "That doesn't mean he always has to treat it the same way."
    Especially in an era of quantum mechanics, science "doesn't preclude someone's rising from the dead or turning water into wine," he continues. "These things are very unlikely, but of course we already knew that." In fact, highly improbable events happen all the time, he said.
    But if miracles in general are possible, how do we substantiate a specific miracle like Jesus' Resurrection?
    According to Mr. Plantinga, the initial probability of any such claim is low, though it would obviously rise if Christians are right that Jesus "is the incarnate second person of the Trinity."
    The external evidence, assessed by Oxford's Richard Swinburne and others, includes the Apostles' Easter testimonies and the dramatic spread of their belief. Mr. Plantinga finds this convincing: "Maybe it's not knockdown, drag-out 100 percent conclusive evidence, but it's pretty strong evidence."
    Ultimately, Mr. Plantinga sees a couple dozen good arguments for God's existence, but concedes nobody has airtight proof. That doesn't faze him a bit.
    "There are plenty of other things we rationally accept without argument," he said.

fonte: http://washingtontimes.com/culture/20050324-114421-6396r.htm

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Offline Galileo

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Re: Arguing for belief in God
« Resposta #1 Online: 17 de Abril de 2005, 23:40:45 »
Citação de: Unbedeutend Organisch
"As far as I can see, there aren't any scientific results that are incompatible with miracles," he asserts.

This of course turns the issue on its head: the real question is whether miracles are compatible with science.

Once you accept miracles, anything goes! Nothing can be incompatible with miracles.

There is an interesting article about postmodernist religious fundamentalists, of whom Plantinga is one. I will quote a passage from it:
Citação de: Meera Nanda
What do I mean by a postmodern style of religious fundamentalism? I mean simply those elements of religio-political movements that deploy the logic of postmodernist deconstruction of natural science in order to defend their use of God, Spirit and other supernatural forces as legitimate sources of scientific explanation.…

Postmodernist defenders of the faith demand the right, to quote Alvin Plantinga, a well-known philosopher of religion, “to pursue science.. as Christians, starting from and taking for granted what we know as Christians.” Structurally similar arguments appear again and again in other faiths, defending their right to pursue “Vedic science” or “Islamic sciences,” complete with miracles and other manifestations of the supernatural. Indeed, among Hindu and Islamic faithful, the right to their “own” science is asserted with a special vehemence, because it is mixed up with anti-colonial and anti-Western rhetoric.

All of these militant demands for “equal rights” to pursue their own version of theistic or sacred science take it for granted that it is no longer necessary to grant science the status of objective and universal knowledge. Science, it is assumed in true postmodernist fashion, no longer poses a challenge to the metaphysical assumptions of their own faiths, because scientific knowledge is itself a construct of a wide variety of contested terms, held together, ultimately, by cultural power and social interests which define a given paradigm or an episteme…. Religious fundamentalists are simply taking a page out of the social constructivist book.

More specifically, these movements are opposed to a naturalistic worldview which happens to be fundamental and necessary for science-as-we-know-it. They are keen on asserting their right to their own sacred sciences because they want to bring in the supernatural as an explanation of natural phenomena…. Naturalism as a worldview, and as a method, makes God, or Spirit, irrelevant and unnecessary to explaining the workings of nature, human beings and society. Religious fundamentalists correctly sense that naturalism is the biggest threat there is to a strong version of their faith.
"Galileo was more perceptive than his prosecutors" - Pope John Paul II, 1992

Unbedeutend_F_Organisch

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Re: Arguing for belief in God
« Resposta #2 Online: 18 de Abril de 2005, 10:39:47 »
Citação de: Galileo
Citação de: Unbedeutend Organisch
"As far as I can see, there aren't any scientific results that are incompatible with miracles," he asserts.

This of course turns the issue on its head: the real question is whether miracles are compatible with science.

Once you accept miracles, anything goes! Nothing can be incompatible with miracles.

I agree, possibly the best argument against any type of intelligent miracles(of God's causation) is prove the non-influence over the world(and universe)
But, why any form of natural miracle isn't possible exist?

Obs: You can think that i'm a theist, while this impression, i'm an agnostic/rationalist post-post-modernist
Citar

There is an


:D

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interesting article about postmodernist religious fundamentalists[/color][/url], of whom Plantinga is one.

Platinga may be a religious fundamentalist, but he doesn't postmodernist.

Citar

I will quote a passage from it:
Citação de: Meera Nanda
What do I mean by a postmodern style of religious fundamentalism? I mean simply those elements of religio-political movements that deploy the logic of postmodernist deconstruction of natural science in order to defend their use of God, Spirit and other supernatural forces as legitimate sources of scientific explanation.…

Postmodernist defenders of the faith demand the right, to quote Alvin Plantinga, a well-known philosopher of religion, “to pursue science.. as Christians, starting from and taking for granted what we know as Christians.” Structurally similar arguments appear again and again in other faiths, defending their right to pursue “Vedic science” or “Islamic sciences,” complete with miracles and other manifestations of the supernatural. Indeed, among Hindu and Islamic faithful, the right to their “own” science is asserted with a special vehemence, because it is mixed up with anti-colonial and anti-Western rhetoric.

All of these militant demands for “equal rights” to pursue their own version of theistic or sacred science take it for granted that it is no longer necessary to grant science the status of objective and universal knowledge. Science, it is assumed in true postmodernist fashion, no longer poses a challenge to the metaphysical assumptions of their own faiths, because scientific knowledge is itself a construct of a wide variety of contested terms, held together, ultimately, by cultural power and social interests which define a given paradigm or an episteme…. Religious fundamentalists are simply taking a page out of the social constructivist book.

More specifically, these movements are opposed to a naturalistic worldview which happens to be fundamental and necessary for science-as-we-know-it. They are keen on asserting their right to their own sacred sciences because they want to bring in the supernatural as an explanation of natural phenomena…. Naturalism as a worldview, and as a method, makes God, or Spirit, irrelevant and unnecessary to explaining the workings of nature, human beings and society. Religious fundamentalists correctly sense that naturalism is the biggest threat there is to a strong version of their faith.

There is a paradoxy in "postmodernist religious" view, if the empirical information is false , any thing is false, the post-modernist religion, culture's defence too

Commentarie: Sorry, Galileo , I am not able for hard english speaking. :oops:

 

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