forthelord wrote: Hello everyone. I would like to discuss the usefulness of reformed epistemology when dealing with doubt. Basically, RE allows an escape route from using arguments as the foundation for our faith. However, for the educated theist, doesn't this just push the question back another step? For now we must ask the question of whether we can base our beliefs in the properly basic way. Its not as if Plantinga's model is warranted in the basic way. For the educated Christian, the rationality of the Spirit's witness is still contingent on arguments and evidence. But isn't the entire point of RE to escape this problem? At least to me, I don't see how any account can be given that totally frees the Christian from arguments and evidence. What do you all think?
If they really are searching for some non-rational path to knowledge, however, then that's a matter of subjective values. Do you want to have a rational basis for your beliefs or not? Maybe you don't desire that. Many people, however, myself included, place great value on reasoned thought, and we will be unimpressed by positions renouncing rational justification for beliefs. I suppose you simply need to ask yourself whether or not you have similar values.
emailestthoume wrote: Are you saying it is irrational to believe properly basic beliefs on the evidence of experience?
I'm only pointing out that I want to have reasons for my beliefs, and that I expect Christians to want the same for themselves. Since no good reasons for Christianity have ever been given, though, this is a serious problem.
emailestthoume wrote: Though I don't agree this is the only reason for believing, for Christians why cannot the reason be direct experience of the Holy Spirit, as your direct experience of the external world is the reason you believe it exists? I have never seen an argument for the existence of the external world that would cause me to hold the belief that there exists an external world. In short, I hold the belief in the external world based on experience, not any argument. Don't you as well? Its the same logic behind both. Though you seemed to agree with this in your first sentences, in the part I quoted from you, you seem to not. I apologize if I am misunderstanding, if I am, perhaps you could clarify this for me.
Maybe you think I'm saying that personal experience does not make for good evidence, but let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, experience is, at bottom, the only evidence we could possibly have for anything.The thing is, even if we took them at their word, Christians never report any experiences which justify god-belief. After all, what experiences could possibly help us accomplish that incredible feat of inference? Now, it could be that the Holy Spirit is working in them to force them to believe, but this would not be a rational process. In such a case, the Holy Spirit would have bypassed our rationality by implanting belief directly. What the Holy Spirit can never do is implant justification, yet we need justification if we want our beliefs to be rational.
emailestthoume wrote: You say that personal experience can justify belief, in fact you say "at bottom, the only evidence we could possibly have for anything." Yet you say that Christians cannot experience God to justify their belief in God as grounds for it. But by definition it is only available to Christians after all. And I am not speaking of getting goose bumps or having a chill go down my neck. I am speaking of direct experience of the divine Holy Spirit Himself.But you seem to think that one could not make justifiable rational inferences from this experience, perhaps because it is not a thought per-say. On the contrary. Let me explain. If you were to taste honey you would naturally conclude that it is sweet and of a certain texture (perhaps thick). However it is not the implantation of any thought in your head at the moment of tasting that makes you conclude it is sweet. Rather, it is the physical experience of tasting the honey by which you make a justifiable rational inference that it is sweet and of a certain texture. Likewise, when I experience God, it is an experience not of the implantation of any thought, but by direct experience, just as in the case of honey, I can justifiably conclude certain properties of the thing experienced (in this case, God). This is how I conclude that He is loving, merciful, and graceful. Such a thing, as I explained, is both rational and justified. What I have said does not necessarily mean a Christian God, but with a man (or woman, idk) such as yourself who debates Christians, I would be more than happy if you grant me that my experiences justifies such conclusions about God. If you will do that, I could move on to explain how it could justify more distinctly Christian beliefs.
For the educated Christian, the rationality of the Spirit's witness is still contingent on arguments and evidence.