Is metaphysics just a bunch of nonsense? Is it okay to believe something you could never prove? Could logic be a solution to the world’s problems? This week on Philosophy Talk, we’re thinking about the Vienna Circle, a group of Austrian philosophers from the 1920s who debated these questions.
I had a terrific time discussing religious “beliefs”—or religious credences, as I call them—with Josh and Ken recently. One claim I proposed on the show is that religious credence is like make-believe imagining. I want to delve a little deeper into that claim and address something Ken said.
Many Americans think the recent synagogue shootings were motivated by religious hatred, just as many believe the Nazis persecuted Jews because their Jewish faith. This is seriously and troublingly wrong. To the Nazis of the past, as well as the neo-Nazis of the present, a person is a Jew because of their race.
Many Americans seem have a hard time grasping the idea of Jews as a race because they think of race mainly in terms of the color of a person’s skin. So they tend to frame anti-Semitic violence as attacks on the Jewish faith, rather than racist terror.
A question has plagued me since the latest cluster of scandals emerged from the Catholic church. The scandals are both about clergy who sexually abused young people and about the church hierarchy’s cover-ups. The question is this: do the priests who commit such abuses believe in God?