Critique of Religion by Strong Foundationalists

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Wesleyan University
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Religion is a set of beliefs which tend to explain where we come from, how nature came to be, how we should behave, pray and that there is something or someone stronger and powerful than us that exists somewhere. Scientists tend to argue with these facts all the time because they tend to believe in facts and not mere beliefs so for centuries there have been disagreements between scientists and strong believers. There are different types of religion which come with different beliefs. As of 2014 there are 4200 different religions in the world and these can be categorized into several main religions which include Christianity, Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and many more. According to the physiologist Max Muller back in the 19th century the word religion was used to refer to GOD or the gods. Christianity and Islam are the 2 major religions in the world. Christians, Islam and some other communities believe in a God they cannot see. People just tend to believe on their own will or because one was brought up with such beliefs that tend to go on to other generations. It is called having faith. Faith is the belief or trust in something or someone intangible.

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One American analyst philosopher known as Alvin Platinga said that belief in God doesnt have to be based on argument, it doesnt have to be justified with reasons and evidence the way we have been thinking for centuries because its not as if theres something more basic or fundamental that were more certain about upon which God can be based. Faith in God itself is foundational its not influential, its immediate, its direct. We have a kind if direct existence of God according to Platinga although we sometimes get confused and we dont really understands whats going on when we have these feelings.

Evidentialism and Foundationalism

Evidentialism is the compelling evidence or argument required for a belief about God to be rational or justified. Foundationalists say that what you need in order to believe in God you need to have justification or proof of existence and reasons in favour of that you cant just adapt this belief from nothing. But Platinga objects this theory because its based on foundationalism which is bankrupt. Platinga says that the belief requires non evidentialism. Non evidentialism stating that belief about God can be rational without its being based upon evidence or argument. This seems very impossible but it has become a very influential view in that a lot of people upto date tends to strongly belief in the existence of God without substantial evidence. Platinga has done a remarkable job of defending the view over the last 20 or so years.

So why think that evidentialism presumes foundationalism? Platinga argues that this view that we need to have evidence so that our beliefs can be justified presumes foundationalism. He says that some of our ideas are basic and dont require further justification. He claims that if there is any justification then it is also supported by a belief which may have also add other arguments. He says that if one is to look for a justification then it must be rock solid or full proof of the existence and not what people think they know. A basic belief is one that is justified, directly, non-inferentially and non-evidentially. One foundationalist stated that a belief is properly basic if and only it is self-evident, or incorrigible or evident to the senses. These are things that we can rest on with complete certainty, no doubt at all examples 1+1=2 or the fact that bachelors are unmarried. These are facts that cannot change even with time, it is what we know and there is no disagreement or doubt. Another example of strong foundationalism is the law of contradiction which states that some claim cant both be true and untrue at the same time in the same way.

Platinga disagrees with foundationalists and says that there are more beliefs than just this types that can be admitted as foundational. He wants to broaden the class of foundational beliefs. These are indivisible beliefs. These are beliefs that no amount of information can lead us to change our mind about what we know. But Platinga wants to argue is that there are other foundational, immediate, encouragable, non- inferential beliefs that are divisible ones that we could change our mind about as they are immediate.

According to what we have seen the critique of religion by strong foundationalists also creates some doubt because it creates appoints of debate where we ask whether foundationalism is true, and incorrigible beliefs cannot be debated. Platinga says that the essential principle of classical foundationalism itself cannot satisfy the essential requirement of classical foundationalism. Other ordinary beliefs like I see a tree are properly basic. They are direct and it is perfectly reasonable to believe them. But there are some things that you can argue with. So what platinga says is that we have foundational basic beliefs and we acquire them all the time which we get to change our minds on as we keep moving.

Thats how Platinga sense of God is going to work in that there are things that we have to believe that have no evidence. We just acquire these beliefs with our encounters in the world. He has belief of Gods existence strongly and its not that he has seen him but just has awareness of Gods existence in the world.

We see that belief in the external world, in causation, the existence of other minds, God is basic. Foundationalists state that properly based beliefs must be self-evident, incorrigible, evident to the senses. Platinga states that properly basic beliefs are defeasible.

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