Many smart, reflective scientifically literate people obviously still do believe in god. Thankfully (or unthankfully, depending on your perspective) religious belief is not merely the province of anti-scientific, anti-modern fundamentalists who take every word, comma and period in some sacred text -- like the Bible or the Koran -- to be the sole and authoritative truth about just about everything.
What is it
Some have argued that there aren't any good arguments for believing in God. Is belief in God just an act of faith without reason? Plenty of philosophers would disagree. Why are philosophers so divided on the matter? In this episode Ken and John discuss the rational arguments for believing in God with Philip Clayton from the Claremont School of Theology.
John and Ken begin by questioning whether or not reason has a role in religious belief, or whether the matter is necessarily one of faith and not argument. Ken is a little dubious about the arguments made for the existence of God, and thinks that regardless of these strategies most believers believe for other reasons. John and Ken go through the typical arguments that have been made for the existence of God throughout history, noticing that many are more interesting to philosophers than they are to everyday people. But John believes that arguments from design are especially powerful, and Ken agrees but points out that Darwin pokes a lot of holes in claims about design. Despite these different tactics Ken thinks that most believers believe because they somehow feel the presence of God in their lives and are spiritually moved towards faith.
Roving Philosophical Report (Seek to 4:38): Polly Stryker goes to church to talk to sincere religious believers and finds many reasons for believing in God and the many ways people come to this conclusion in their lives.
- Conundrum from the United Kingdom on Attending Church (Seek to 46:48): John and Ken try to help a member of a philosophy club from the UK (a club that often uses Philosophy Talk as a talking point) determine if attending church as a non-believer is ethically sound or if, as an atheist, he is intruding.