In his autobiographical-biographical study, Father and Son, Edmund Gosse describes how one evening, during his childhood, while his father was praying at - or, rather, over - his bed, a rather large insect dark and flat, with more legs than a self-respecting insect ought to need, appeared at the bottom of the counterpane, and slowly advanced… I bore it in silent fascination till it almost tickled my chin, and then I screamed ‘Papa! Papa!’. My Father rose in great dudgeon, removed (...) the insect and then gave me a tremendous lecture. 1. (shrink)
Contemporary uncertainty about faith finds its roots in the nineteenth century. The first chapter of this book indicates how philosophical, ethical, scientific, literary, historical, and democratic developments during that century brought about a fundamental crisis for faith. This crisis was reflected in Newman's attempts, both as an Anglican and as a Roman Catholic, to understand the nature of faith and of its certainty. A survey of Newman's intellectual background and of his discussions of the problem of faith, in unpublished as (...) well as published writings up to 1870, is followed by a searching analysis of his definitive study of faith, The Grammar of Assent. This analysis shows that, in spite of certain criticisms, Newman provides a way of understanding the assent of faith that is of major importance today. This study of Newman, which is fully annotated, is both a historical study and a contribution to the contemporary theological debate about faith. (shrink)
Since theistic faith involves the notion of God as personally agential and since it faces difficulties in establishing its credibility in view both of problems in warrantably ascribing natural, historical and personal states to divine activity and of the counterevidence of evil, this paper takes up the story of a quadriplegic patient and certain remarks by Whitehead and Hartshorne to explore the viability of a concept of divine activity that is non-coercive but significant. In order to develop this concept of (...) God's agency and to warrant its credibility, the essential kenoticism of the divine is also discussed. (shrink)
Towards the end of Way to Wisdom , after noting how specialization has fragmented modern thought, Karl Jaspers writes that One might wish for a philosophy that would encompass and assimilate the whole tradition, that would be equal to the intellectual situation of our time, that would express the contents common to all of us, and this both in sublime intellectual constructions and in simple propositions capable of finding resonance in every man.
Although the basic ideas of the ontological argument can be found in Aristotle and Philo Judaeus, the argument received its classical formulation in Anselm's Proslogion and his Reply to the objections raised by Gaunilo. During the succeeding nine centuries the argument has had a chequered career. It was supported by some scholastic theologians but rejected by Aquinas. Descartes and Leibniz offered their own versions of the proof but Kant's refutation of the argument has generally been accepted as conclusive during the (...) past century and a half. Nevertheless, interest in the proof has never completely disappeared—perhaps provoked by Aquinas' suggestion that the proof may be valid for God even though it cannot be valid for us because of the inadequacy of our knowledge of God. Recently there has been a revival of interest in the ontological argument. J. N. Findlay put the argument into reverse to show the necessary non-existence of God in an article in 1948 but in later writings he has suggested that the argument may have positive significance. In 1960 Norman Malcolm published a paper in which he distinguished two basically different forms of the ontological argument in the Proslogion and defended the possible validity of the second of them. (shrink)
This book is a lively and readable introduction to the basic problems in the philosophy of religion. As well as dealing with traditional questions about the relationship between faith, belief, theology and reason, the attributes and existence of God, the possibility of immortality, the character of morality and its place in religious belief, and the significance of claims about experience, Dr Pailin discusses fundamental and searching questions about the relationship between faith and culture, the nature of interpretation, the theological significance (...) of references to the past, and the complexity of religious language. The result is an illuminating introduction whose probing honesty will challenge as well as stimulate its readers' reflections on the fundamentals of religious faith and whose references to other works will indicate to readers where they may follow up its ideas. Book jacket. (shrink)
This study looks at the various ways in which theological conclusions are affected by the rationality of those who produce them. The author's critique of the study of theology arises out of a conviction that theology has to establish its credibility as a mode of understanding if it is to be of value. In considering what follows once it is recognised that - since theologians are human - their conclusions are affected by the nature of human thought, Dr Pailin offers (...) a clarification of faith, belief and reason, and how they are related to each other. The book shows that while theology can no longer credibly pretend to divine authority in determining the truth in all disciplines, it is committed to understanding the fundamental character of reality as a whole. Against the conservative backlash in religious thought, and the secularist trend towards scepticism when references are made to the reality of God, the author takes up the challenge of current thinking to show that it is possible for theology to affirm God's reality in a positive way which is, at the same time, self-critically aware of the human character of thought. (shrink)