Clifford Rationalism

1510 Words 7 Pages
The philosophical evaluation of faith and reason seems to suggest a marrying of both sources which provides justification for his or her religious beliefs. Instead faith and reason many times results in strife and division as if these sources meant to bring about an understanding and knowledge regarding religious beliefs are incompatible. No different are the philosophy’s of William Clifford and William James regarding their stance toward the basis of religious beliefs and the means by which justification of beliefs are supported. Although Clifford maintains a strict adherence to a dogma stance of sufficient proof in relation to religious beliefs or no belief at all, and conversely James maintains there is a will and a right to believe when …show more content…
One supported by strong rationalism where a belief must be supported by proof in order to be believed as true based on an argument that a reasonable person would believe (Peterson, et al., Reason and Religious Belief, p. 61). Perhaps the fact Clifford was a survivor of a shipwreck sheds light on his deep-rooted belief and he finds such a careless act inexcusable and deplorable (Chignell, Andrew, "The Ethics of Belief", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/ethics-belief/). However, it would seem such a stance in part would be based on personal experience such as trauma resulting in a fear of being deceived. So great the fear that it would be better not to believe at all then to believe in something that is wrong and could bring about harm. It can be argued that there should be careful investigation of beliefs. However, once beliefs are confirmed that does not mean the investigative work is done or reached its conclusion. Clifford maintains, it is his or her duty to obtain proof, be open to new proof, and consider proof offered; otherwise, he or she sins against humanity (ibid). Although this may be true, there are consequences to consider when fear of belief and refusing to believe simply because it cannot not be proven as true based upon sufficient evidence and thus beyond all doubt. It can be …show more content…
111). However, what is relinquished instead is truth as he becomes a slave to his fear and sacrifices moral beliefs which religious beliefs encourage. It can be expressed as opposite sides of a coin, one side being heads and the other tails; however it’s still the same coin. Either faith seems to come before reason as with James or reason comes before faith as expressed by Clifford (Peterson, et al., Philosophy of Religion, p. 110). It is still religious belief based off of faith and reason. Both Clifford and James seem to express a need for truth and an avoidance of error, although to varying degrees. As such there should be some concession between the two opposing

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