Reason and Religious Faith

Reason and Religious Faith

Reason and Religious Faith

Reason and Religious Faith

Synopsis

"Terence Penelhum surveys traditional and contemporary views on the often troubled relationship between philosophical reason and religious faith. Covering all the major issues and figures in a clear, balanced, and fair-minded way, this is the most reliable and modern treatment of these issues now available." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This book is intended to clarify and explore some of the special problems that religious faith raises for philosophy. But it is written in the conviction that these problems are of interest and importance not only to philosophers but also to serious students of religion and to theologians. In the first, introductory chapter I discuss why faith generates special philosophical perplexities. Since many of the problems that faith raises have been dealt with by major classical thinkers, whose opinions form the background of many important present-day discussions, in Chapter 2 I offer a highly condensed and selective account of some of the most important classical positions. Readers for whom this chapter is a mere repetition of the familiar are invited to pass over it and to look back later if references to some of those thinkers suggest that I have not understood them correctly.

Chapters 3 to 6 deal with what seems to me to be the central intellectual difficulty that faith presents: that is, the relation of faith to reason, or, alternatively, the epistemology of faith. But I have been anxious throughout to avoid being constrained either by traditional restrictions on the understanding of these phrases or by the limits imposed by currently fashionable attempts to break free of them. And even though I have at no time tried to conceal my own views, my main concern has been to elucidate the nature of the problems themselves; hence the frequency with which I may admit not knowing the answers.

I want here to acknowledge a number of debts. I am grateful to Hugo Meynell for many discussions of issues dealt with here and to our colleagues Eliezer Segal and Andrew Rippin for helpful suggestions. I want to thank Spencer Carr for his invitation to write this book and for his help and patience while I have been responding. Two anonymous readers who saw the product in an earlier version made valuable suggestions that have helped me remove many flaws. Special thanks, however, must go to Robert McKim, who read the . . .

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