Saturday, August 15, 2015

Ten Topics #6

John Loftis, at his blog Debunking Christianity, lists ten objections, concepts, or topics that seem to be raised most often by atheists in debates with theists. Here's the sixth (my response to the earlier objections can be found by scrolling down the page):

6. Faith is not an [sound] epistemology, and the retreat to faith is a concession of the failure of the belief to be defended on rational grounds.

Faith is not really an epistemology at all. Epistemology is the study of knowledge and the justification of belief. Faith is a commitment to accept as true what one has good reason to believe is most probably true. It's not, as many atheists portray it, believing something despite a lack of evidence. Rather it's a commitment to believe or trust despite the lack of certainty or proof, which is a much different matter.

There's plenty of evidence to support a belief that God exists, if evidence is to be demanded, and thus there's ample warrant for one's commitment to that belief. Anyone who has watched the debates between philosopher William Lane Craig and sundry atheistic opponents (easily accessed on youtube or here;) knows that evidence and argumentation in support of theism is not hard to come by. Viewers of these debates will also be aware that atheists are often hard-pressed to mount a serious challenge to Craig's case. The situation is so dire for atheists, in fact, that there are web sites and youtube videos out there which offer advice to atheists who choose to debate Craig, one piece of which is, don't do it.

Richard Dawkins famously took that advice, but his refusal to debate Craig made it appear that he realized he couldn't adequately defend his belief (atheism) on rational grounds and thus retreated to his faith that atheism is true and theism is false without allowing that faith to be subjected to rational scrutiny.