NDPR: The Evidence For God
January 10, 2011 — 7:57

Author: Matthew Mullins  Category: Existence of God Religious Belief  Tags: , , ,   Comments: 3

In case you missed it, Tom Senor reviews Moser’s The Evidence For God: Religious Knowledge Reexamined for Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

The Evidence for God is daring and provocative. Among the important topics it deals with are naturalism, fideism, natural theology, and the role that volition plays in our ascertaining evidence of God’s existence.
The book begins with a parable around which the entire monograph revolves. Imagine that you are hiking in a vast and remote wilderness area that is accessible only to hikers. To your great dismay, you discover that you are hopelessly lost: you have no method of determining either your exact location or a promising route back to civilization. The woods are filled with dangers (e.g., poisonous snakes, hungry carnivores, and potentially freezing temperatures) and you have no means of communication with the outside world. Worse still, you have only a meager supply of food and water. You’ve had one bit of good fortune: you’ve come across an old, dilapidated shack that contains a barely functional ham radio. The battery in the radio still has a bit of juice, although you doubt it will last long once the radio is turned on. In short, your situation is dire but not hopeless. What is your best bet for survival?

Continued here

Comments:
  • Aaron Bartolome

    Moser’s account of religious knowledge presupposes his general account of knowledge in Knowledge and Evidence (1989). Roughly, a belief B (that is basic relative to other beliefs) is justified for a person S iff: the propositional content of B best explains S‘s nonconceptual experiential contents, and B is based on S‘s justifying reasons (which consist of S‘s nonconceptual experiential contents) for B.
    In this book, Moser argues that the best (but not only) kind of evidence that a person can have for God’s existence is that person’s gradual heart transformation (from selfish motives to unselfish motives, including enemy-love) over time, together with apparent direct divine speech acts (especially divine calls or invitations). This is the kind of evidence that God would seek us humans to willingly receive.
    The challenge that Moser offers to religious skeptics is this conditional: if a person is unwilling to receive a divine call and to have her heart changed over time, then she can’t be justified in being an atheist or an agnostic because she is blocking herself off from the kind of evidence that would be available if God existed.
    Moser intentionally avoids offering a precise phenomenological characterization of receiving a divine call (perhaps because he doesn’t think such a ‘formula’ can be given or is useful). In a recent paper ( http://www.luc.edu/faculty/pmoser/MOSER%20-%20EJPR%202010%20-%20first%20proofs.pdf ) he suggests that one is acquainted with God’s presence whenever one is confronted with genuine human agape, since on his view unselfish love (including enemy-love) can only be empowered by God.

    January 11, 2011 — 3:24
  • “The challenge that Moser offers to religious skeptics is this conditional: if a person is unwilling to receive a divine call and to have her heart changed over time, then she can’t be justified in being an atheist or an agnostic because she is blocking herself off from the kind of evidence that would be available if God existed.”
    This clearly doesn’t work for skeptics like myself who were raised Christian and began life with an openness to this sort of evidence.

    January 11, 2011 — 17:44
  • Aaron Bartolome

    This clearly doesn’t work for skeptics like myself who were raised Christian and began life with an openness to this sort of evidence.
    For those who are sincerely willing to receive a divine call and to conform (with God’s help) to the demands of that call, those people can be justified in remaining agnostic for now. Perhaps a divine call is forthcoming. One cannot generalize, however, from one’s lack of evidence (despite one’s willingness to receive the evidence on God’s terms) to agnosticism about God’s existence for all people. It is important to remember that on Moser’s theory, one can still have a positive de re acquaintance with God (including being gradually transformed by God) and obtain “salvation” without any propositional beliefs about God.

    January 11, 2011 — 19:15