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The book provides an insight on religious experience and examines arguments for the existence of God. Chapter 4 provides possible views of the relationship between faith and reason. It states that faith itself can be strengthened and natural and that doubt and questioning are the antitheses of faith and bitter enemies of religious life (Peterson et al 1). However, it is not easy to separate faith from reason. All religions make use of reason and, at the same time, sanction its use. Therefore, it leads to an understanding of the role of reason in the validation of religious beliefs. A satisfactory answer is considering strong rationalism for a belief system to be accepted. Indeed, rationalism means reliance on reason or intelligence. Therefore, it is necessary to consider if strong rationalism can be practical.
The problem with strong rationalism is the assumption that reason exists in a man as a neutral faculty. Thus, it can be used to prove things to all people regardless of their individual views. The chapter also touches on fideism, which is a view that posits that religious belief systems are not subject to rational evaluation. Fideists believe that the most fundamental assumption is obtainable in the religious belief system itself. In addition, true Fideists have no problem with a lack of proof but rather they reveal it. It is necessary to make a conclusion that fideism and rationalism are strongly mistaken; hence, it is essential to analyze and evaluate religious belief systems in contrast with string rationalists. Thus, we should accept critical rationalism on the view that religious belief can be evaluated through conclusive proof. According to the author, like strong rationalism, critical rationalism tells us that rational capabilities are largely possible. Critical rationalism emerges automatically by rejecting both strong rationalism and fideism. The most fundamental approach considered is critical rationalism due to a good deal of emphasis placed on the open-ended nature of critical reflection advocated by it. Thus, according to the authors, those who judge the faith by objective and critical reflection would always remain that way. Therefore, religious faith is more of trust to an individual than mere acceptance of a scientific discovery. Therefore, a possible question that I may develop is whether acting irrationally may have negative implications for an individual’s faith (Peterson et al 13).
Chapter 5 of the book discusses the divine attributes of God. It states that God is a being, and He exists in the inner reality of all things (Peterson et al 16). The chapter reveals that God is imperceptible to the senses of a man, and unconditionally pervades all the reality known to man. In addition, the chapter focuses on the existence of God commonly regarded as traditional theism. This reading provides a conception of the nature of God, that is the nature of a supernatural being, and the conception of His nature. In the development of the conception of God, the chapter introduces the reader to the existence of God as an object of worship. This is the primary religious importance of God. However, it results in the understanding of what must be considered true of God in order to make unreserved devotions appropriate. God is considered to be the greatest of all things; therefore, He must be entitled to some honor and obedience due to His superiority. In addition, God is perceived as a perfect being, and cannot be equated with anything. Depending on God’s perfection, and His attributes of love and sympathy, He is capable of being subjected to suffering together with His creatures. In addition, a further consideration of God is that He represents an actual being that should meet the requirements of logical consistency.
However, a man can be quite ingenious by imagining that God is a marvelous character and logically inconsistent. According to the views of traditional theists, we have to consider the self-existence of God. A man depends on both self-existence and the other external influences that may have an impact on their existence. Therefore, it is challenging to reconcile the concept of God with evil and suffering. Hence, this leads me to ask whether God can subject His creatures to suffering.
Peterson, Michael, Hasker William, Reichenbach Bruce, and Basinger, David. Reason and Religious Belief: An introduction to the philosophy of religion. London. Oxford University Press, 2008.