Evidence in Religion
Paper instructions: A popular idea suggests that religious beliefs, unlike scientific beliefs, should be merely a matter of faith. In this paper, tell me what you think. Do you think that religious beliefs require evidence, or should they be matters of faith (c.f. Clifford and James)? Are there good, philosophical or scientific reasons to believe in God? In answering this question, you may want to consider: • William Clifford’s argument in “The Ethics of Belief” regarding evidence and epistemic responsibility and William James’s counter-proposal in “The Will to Believe” • The three theological arguments and responses that we’ve looked at so far such as the cosmological argument, the design argument, or the ontological argument. Do any of these arguments give us good reasons to belief in god or accept religious beliefs? • Pragmatic reasons for belief such as Pascal’s Wager, the medical benefits of religious belief, or James’s claims about religion. Do these offer good reasons to believe in God?