The issue of the dogmatic nature of religion is a common point for discussion. While some people are willing to accept religious principles unwaveringly, others seek to question these postulates. Herein lies the core contradiction between the philosophy of faith and the inquiry-based approach of its opponents. Although evidentialism as the necessity to accept specific claims only based on the merit of the evidence that they produce helps to rebut Clifford’s argument, they fail to address the outcomes of Clifford’s suggestion.
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Evidentialism and Its Flaws
The argument that Clifford makes is rooted deeply in the concept of Evidentialism, which implies by its nature that every statement needs the support of appropriate evidence; otherwise, it has no intrinsic value (“Richard Dawkins”). The proposed way of looking at the essential principles of the world religions, including Christianity, provides a leeway into discussing the intrinsic meaning thereof. As a result, Environmentalism refutes the very essence of faith as a self-sufficient notion.
While Pascal, James, and Bergmann add to the argument against Clifford’s opinion, they do not outline the key contradiction between the nature of faith and the assumption that Clifford makes. Specifically, Pascal, James, and Bergmann posit that the mere act of believing does not create the fact of God’s existence, hence the absence of necessity to produce any support for religious claims (“The Ethics of Belief” par. 2). Pascal, James, and Bergmann, however, do not address the obvious fact that unwavering faith is the foundation for a religion.
Believing without Evidence
On a superficial and purely utilitarian level, the idea of taking something for granted without having any proof that supports the claim in question might seem unreasonable. Scientific inquiry is crucial to the development of an argument and the acquisition of knowledge. Therefore, accepting a particular notion or belief without testing it beforehand seems to be a rather dangerous concept.
On the other hand, the idea of unwavering faith as the source of emotional and spiritual strength can be seen as a crucial component of one’s nature, culture, and well-being. In fact, it could be argued that belief creates a particular concept, shaping it and imbuing it with the meaning that it would not have had otherwise. Therefore, it seems that believing can be a self-sufficient notion that exists in its own right as the attempt at giving meaning to a specific notion and create a set of values and a philosophy for the spiritual development (“The Ethics of Belief” par. 7).
Despite the fact that Pascal, James, and Bergmann manage to provide counterarguments against Clifford’s claim quite successfully, they do not address one of the crucial aspects of belief, which is the assumption that it imbues religion with meaning. Without faith, the very existence of religious beliefs would be not only impossible but also pointless.
Nonetheless, the argument that Clifford provides is also rather sensible. Assuming the standpoint of scientific inquiry, Clifford maintains that any claim requires evidential support, thus introducing the principles of Evidentialism into theology. As a result, Clifford creates a cohesive line of reasoning that leads to the need to support the assertions regarding any religion with a sufficient amount of evidence.
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Although the problem of Evidentialism has been in existence in theology for a significant time period, no exact data that could prove it either right or wrong has been provided so far. Therefore, it would be legitimate to presume that the intrinsic value of the phenomenon lies in the internal value of the phenomenon. Pascal, James, and Bergmann’s claims approach the specified idea, suggesting an in-depth analysis of faith instead.
“Richard Dawkins: Best Arguments against Religion/Faith #1.” YouTube, uploaded by The Wonderful Truth, 2015. Web.
“The Ethics of Belief.” Stanford.edu. 2018. Web.