Hi, everyone.

My goal here is not to argue that Christianity is true, but that I'm reasonable to be a Christian. I don't care if you agree with me about Christianity, but I do want to persuade you that I'm not stupid, crazy, insane, or in any other epistemically lamentable state, for being a Christian. What follows is a sketch that I can expand as people ask reasonable questions.

Keeping this as short as reasonably possible, I'm a Christian because I think that God exists and that God resurrected Jesus. As Pascal suggested, if I think both of these claims are probably true, then it makes sense for me to foster a belief in the Christian religion by going to church, praying, and so on. Christianity will be the "best bet" in that event, such that it will make more sense for me to foster a belief in Christianity than to foster a belief in another religion or foster no belief in any religion. So, the question is whether or not I can justify my belief that both of these claims are probably true.

My justification for my belief that God exists is an inductive argument for the existence of God which it isn't easy to express briefly, so I won't try. However, I will say that it pulls on the following versions of the following arguments.

(1) A cosmological argument from the existence of a complex physical universe
(2) A teleological argument from temporal regularity
(3) A teleological argument from spatial regularity, or "fine tuning"
(4) An argument from beauty
(5) An argument from moral awareness
(6) An argument from consciousness
(7) An argument from our ability to make significant decisions, or "providence"
(8) An argument from miracles
(9) An argument from history

The above arguments come together to form a cumulative case which I think is sufficient to justify the following.

(10) Therefore, it is at least as likely as not that God exists.

I then introduce the following propositions.

(11) If X is as likely as not to exist based on the other evidence, and if additionally I have an experience that seems to be of X, then X probably exists.
(12) I have had experiences that seemed to be of God.

So, from (1)-(9) I inductively infer (10), and from (10), (11) and (12) I deductively infer that God probably exists.

I have my belief that God exists based on the above arguments, but I have my belief in the Resurrection partly in the basic way. The idea of a properly basic belief takes off from the observation that we all have to begin building our structure of knowledge from certain plausible assumptions, and to me, one of these assumptions is that the Resurrection occurred. This, in combination with my belief that God would have reason to resurrect Christ if he had the moral character displayed in the Gospels, seems to me to warrant a belief that God probably resurrected Jesus.

So, given that I think God probably exists and that God probably resurrected Jesus, it's reasonable for me to cultivate a belief in the Christian religion by the methods suggested by Pascal.

Views: 885

Comment by matt.clerke on May 31, 2012 at 8:11pm

I eagerly await your posts better explaining your various arguments... I hope they will be posted as discussion so that we can track replies better?

Comment by Dustin on May 31, 2012 at 10:04pm

It is interesting to me - this 'beauty therefore design' argument.  But what they don't do is say they don't find a pile of steaming shit beautiful - Or find it beautiful when a lion is ripping the flesh off a little baby girl - Or find a long dirt road surrounded by lots of dirt beautiful - Or find it beautiful when a natural disaster kills millions.  

You must believe the designer 'designed' all those listed above and anything you can list as 'dislike'.  

Comment by Ron V on May 31, 2012 at 10:40pm

Prayer- no credible, reproducible evidence for the efficacy of prayer (in fact, the STEP trials showed a trend toward a negative outcome if people knew they were prayed for).

Resurrection- seriously?  This is based on hearsay/the Bible.  Where is this resurrected Jesus and all the other Hebrew zombies whose "tombs were opened and appeared to many?"

The fundamental premise of Christianity - human sacrifice - again, seriously? Animal sacrifice is bad enough, but to accept human sacrifice as a basis for a religion - really?

For most of your post, your "points" are addressed in the following (these are just off the top of my head, but I'm sure there are others)-  The Case Against God (Smith), God- the Failed Hypothesis (Stenger), The Fallacy of Fine Tuning (Stenger), The Origin of the Universe (Barrow), and The Evolution of Morality (Joyce).

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