This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Motives and arguments
I've been acutely aware, since I was 18, of the wishful thinking charge against Christianity, when I read Bertrand Russell, and that is one of the main reasons I majored in philosophy as an undergraduate. If there were reasons to reject Christianity, I wanted to know what those were, and I wanted to know that sooner rather than later. These considerations have made Christianity more difficult to believe, not easier to believe.
All discussion of the motives of other people is sheer speculation. If you become convinced, say, that atheism is true, it may help you explain why there are so many believers, but you have things backwards if you think you can start with speculation about peoples motives and conclude anything about what you have good reason to believe. Everyone can speculate about the motives of their opponents. It's as easy as pie, but it ends in a stalemate.
If you say, "I'd love to believe in a heaven, but I just can't because the evidence just isn't there." I'm not going to call you a liar. But if I tell you I thought about these issues, and I would believe if I didn't think there were good reasons for believing (and I've just given a couple of reasons off the top of my head), then no matter how poorly you think of them as reasons, you don't have a good reason to disbelieve my introspective report.