Rel 101 skepticism


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  • If there is such contradictions amoung the religious traditions then perhaps no religious teaching can be accepted as reasonable
  • Religon is full of assumptions and believes, where as science allegedly takes nothing for granted, has no beliefs and makes no assumptions.
  • Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are examples of this. They look for what religion is really there for –
    Marx: Oppression of the masses. Religions serves to distract workers away from their real task of correcting unjust conditions. If justice prevailed on earth, people who not seek religious consolations in the hereafter.
    Freud: that is serves to give manifestation to childish fears. People want gratification so badly that when they cannot find it in their present lives, they imagine its fulfillment in some other world.
  • Aquinas, Augustine, Boethius These all believed that is was UNREASONABLE to deny the existence of God. There are many other non Christian thinkers too – not the least is Aristotle and Plato.
  • Thinks do exist, thut there is no necessity that they exist. You and I exist, but we might well not have. Why then is there anything at all rather than nothing? None of the objects of our experience is the source of its own existence. Everything in our world depends upon and has received its existence from something other than itself. (You came from your parents, and they from theirs and so on). We must keep moving back further and further until we come to the source of all existence. There must be a self-existing wellspring of the world’s very being. That being is God.
    Telelogical argument on the existence of God or a creator based on perceived evidence of order, purpose, design, or direction — or some combination of these — in nature.
  • Every academic discipline gets off the ground only if those involved in such studies are personally motivated by faith in the worth and integrity of rational pursuit. In this sense reason and science are dependant on faith.
    Faith therefore provides the guide, for reason. Faith is the master, reason is the maidservant.
  • Rel 101 skepticism

    1. 1. REL 101 Introduction to Religion Criticisms of Religion Skepticism
    2. 2. Skepticism • “Doubt concerning basic religious principles (as immortality, providence, and revelation)” -- Merriam Webster Dictionary • Skepticism asks the question “If sacred reality is so real why isn’t obvious to everybody?”
    3. 3. Three Levels of Skepticism • Rationalism • Scientism • Suspicion
    4. 4. Rationalism • Questions the reasonableness of religion. • Can people sincerely accept ideas about the sacred in light of the Enlightenment? • Rationalism resists any mystical notions about reality. • It questions how various religions can contradict one another.
    5. 5. Scientism • The only truth is that which can be empirically proven (the scientific method). • The scientific method is the only way that our minds can understand the real world. • Religion is not scientifically demonstrable. Therefore it is not a reliable source of truth.
    6. 6. Suspicion • There is more to religion than meets the eye. • Religion is not only unreasonable and unscientific but it is covering something up. • Religion is a dubious set of symbols whose surface meaning cannot be trusted or taken at face value. There is a symbolic meaning that needs to be interpreted.
    7. 7. • Rationalism, scientism and suspicion are all manifestations of the projection theory of religion. • Projection theory teaches that: – Religious ideas are projections or creations of our own wishes. – Human fantasy, not a sacred being, is origin of our ideas about sacred reality.
    8. 8. Is faith incompatible with reason? • There are many religious thinkers who think not
    9. 9. Faith and Reason • Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). – Why does anything exist at all? – If something exists it must have had a source – God. • William Paley (1743-1805). – Best known for his arguments for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy.
    10. 10. Reason’s Reliance on Faith • Perhaps human reason and science do not start out completely neutral. • Prior to questioning and thinking, we have already performed an act of faith in that we believe that there is a rationally comprehensible truth existing in reality
    11. 11. • “We do not risk much of ourselves when we accept that 2+2=4 or that the law of gravity is correct. But it is difficult to accept the religious view that a gracious mystery encompasses one’s life without feeling a deep challenge in such an intuition. Only in taking the risk of radically trusting mystery, and steering one’s life and relationships accordingly, does one religiously acknowledge its presence and challenge.” –John Haught “What is Religion” p. 225