Sunday, October 26, 2008

Plantinga, Christians and their doubts

A redated post.

Since the issue of Christian doubts has come up on a couple of blogs, I thought this, from Plantinga, would be of interest.

And what can I say about my spiritual life since leaving Calvin? For me,
as, I suppose, for most others, spiritual life is an up and down proposition,
with what one hopes are the consolidation of small but genuine gains.
Sometimes I wake in the wee hours of the morning and find myself wondering:
can all this really be true? Can this whole wonderful Christian story really be
more than a wonderful fairy tale? At other times I find myself as
convinced of its main lineaments as that I live in South Bend.


Mark K. Sprengel said...

Nothing like seeing the fallacious "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" mantra being tossed out there, even when it's camouflaged.

Anonymous said...

How can Plantinga doubt a properly basic belief?

It is strange that Christians doubt because William Lane Craig was recently arguing that belief in God falls into the same category as belief in the reality of the past or belief in other minds.

I'm sure Plantinga never thinks that any of his students are mindless.

Anonymous said...

My doubts move me from atheism to deism and back, and that's it. I tell myself there isn't much difference between a distant God and none at all, so there's no real struggle for me.

Jason Pratt said...

I'm pretty sure Plantinga (or even WLC) doesn't claim "this whole wonderful Christian story" to be a properly basic belief. {s}

Also, Plantinga's notion of properly basic beliefs doesn't mean 'beliefs about which no one can doubt' or even 'beliefs assumed by everyone at bottom'. (I'm not that big a fan of his use of properly basic beliefs, but I wouldn't criticise his approach as being either of these.)


I'm interested why you would even move toward deism at all. As you said, practically speaking there's no effective difference (except maybe as a way of accounting for natural ontology, per the move Flew eventually made--assuming he hasn't recanted since then {s}; and fwiw I really don't think an atheist per se has to be worried about that. Maybe not even a naturalist.)


Anonymous said...

our sense perceptions are properly basic, but they're pretty easily subject to doubt, too.

Blue Devil Knight said...

Psychologically, Deism and atheism are pretty far apart in terms of how they would color your worldview. Evidentially speaking, they are kissin' cousins.

Randy said...

Psychologically, Deism and atheism are pretty far apart in terms of how they would color your worldview.

I agree completely.

I'd have to say that Deism is the only form of theism that strikes me as remotely plausible given what we currently know about the universe. If I were to find something like the argument from reason to be compelling I'd become a deist.

philip m said...

Are you kidding me? Right before I came here I was thinking of that exact passage - how wakes up in the morning and wonders if it's all just a fairy tale. Then I come here and it's the second post down. Kinds weird.

IlĂ­on said...

South Bend is a great place to be from. ;)