This paper is an analysis of the following argument that denies the possibility of rationality in religious faith:
Rational belief is belief that is proportioned to the evidence. Religious faith is belief that is unsupported by the evidence. C) Therefore, religious faith is never rational. To assess this argument properly, a number of key assumptions need to be examined and critiqued. First, premise 1 implies without explanation a nature of belief that allows for proportionality.
Antony Flew is famous for a few things. Among them is an allegory he included in an essay originally published in 1955, called “Theology and Falsification”. As the title implies, Flew attacks religious belief from a position that would have been familiar to someone like Bertrand Russell or A. J. Ayer, and is today is recognizable as a stock materialist criticism. Let’s have a look at the parable, and Flew’s reasoning from it, to see exactly why he’s wrong.
The story of Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion involves the Roman empire. The fifth presiding governor over the territory of Judea incorporating the Hebrew tribes, was Pontius Pilate. Pilate is often quoted in undergraduate philosophy for asking Christ, “what is truth?”. He’s also often cited in pastoral homilies for his choice to “wash his hands” of the guilt of Christ’s crucifixion.
For most, this is thought to be the central moment of choice in the Pilate story.