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Rationality and religious belief


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Kowaluk, AT 1987 , 'Rationality and religious belief', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The aim of this dissertation is to enquire into the
rationality of religious belief and, in particular, into the
rationality of the Christian belief-system.
The method employed is one of analysing what Christians have
had to say about the rationality of what they believe rather than
that of first arriving at a set of conditions severally necessary
and jointly sufficient for the rationality of belief in general,
and then determining whether or not the Christian belief-system
would satisfy them.
Irrationalism is the first position that is examined, with
particular reference to the work of Soren Kierkegaard. The
Irrationalist holds both that there is a fundamental conflict
between faith and reason, and that irrationality is an absolute
condition of an adequate Christian Faith. Both tenets of the.
Irrationalist's position are considered and each is rejected as
The second position examined is that of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Aquinas argues that there is a body of evidence which can settle
the dispute between believer and sceptic. His position is examined
with particular reference to his distinction between the preambles
to faith and the articles of faith. A number of inconsistencies
are pointed out.
Chapters 3 and 4 consider two of the more important arguments
for the existence of God. Chapter 3 considers the Ontological
Argument with particular reference to Saint Anselm's version of it.
The argument is rejected as are modern attempts to resurrect it. Chapter 4 considers the Cosmological Argument with particular
reference to the first and most important three of Aquinas' five
ways. These are also found wanting.
Chapter 5 focuses upon two contemporary attempts to defend
Christianity against charges that it is irrational in the absence
of a successful theistic proof. The positions considered are those
of Norman Malcolm and Alvin Plantinga. Whilst there are
significant differences between the two, both point out that
evidence must end somewhere and argue that belief in the existence
of God belongs to that set of beliefs which do not require
evidence. Both positions are found wanting.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Kowaluk, AT
Keywords: Belief and doubt, Rationalism
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1987 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: leaves 144-155

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