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epub The Elusive God: Reorienting Religious Epistemology download

by Paul K. Moser

  • ISBN: 0521889030
  • Author: Paul K. Moser
  • ePub ver: 1614 kb
  • Fb2 ver: 1614 kb
  • Rating: 4.3 of 5
  • Language: English
  • Pages: 308
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 7, 2008)
  • Formats: lrf docx txt mbr
  • Category: Other
  • Subcategory: Humanities
epub The Elusive God: Reorienting Religious Epistemology download

The result is a needed reorienting of religious epistemology to accommodate the character and purposes of an authoritative, perfectly loving God.

The result is a needed reorienting of religious epistemology to accommodate the character and purposes of an authoritative, perfectly loving God.

Paul Moser has conclusive evidence that God exists Anyway, I could think of one reason why God would remain elusive in such a circumstance, and I think Moser might agree.

Paul Moser has conclusive evidence that God exists. Sounds impressive, until we learn that the evidence is essentially his conscience, or rather, his guilty conscience. Moser interprets the pangs of conscience, and his reaction to them, as a god that personally communicates commands and empowers obedience, at least insofar as Moser adjusts his thoughts and behavior to conform to the perceived demands of his conscience/god. Anyway, I could think of one reason why God would remain elusive in such a circumstance, and I think Moser might agree.

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Divine hiddenness and the demographics of theism. Religious Studies, 42, 177–191. Does Molinism explain the demographics of theism? Religious Studies, 44, 473–477. Department of Philosophy, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada.

Paul K. Moser (born 1957 in Bismarck, North Dakota) is an American philosopher who writes on epistemology and . Moser (born 1957 in Bismarck, North Dakota) is an American philosopher who writes on epistemology and the philosophy of religion. He is the author of many works in epistemology and the philosophy of religion, in which he has supported versions of epistemic foundationalism and volitional theism. Understanding Religious Experience: From Conviction to Life's Meaning. The Elusive God: Reorienting Religious Epistemology.

Reorienting Religious Epistemology]. Bijdragen: International Journal in Philosophy and Theology, 70(3), 377-378. Reorienting Religious Epistemology]", author "E. Koster", year "2009"

Reorienting Religious Epistemology]. Koster, . In: Bijdragen: International Journal in Philosophy and Theology. 2009 ; Vol. 70, No. 3. pp. 377-378. cle{267f7af2ff2c, title "", author "E. Koster", year "2009"

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Three questions motivate this book's account of evidence for the existence of God. First, if God's existence is hidden, why suppose He exists at all? Second, if God exists, why is He hidden, particularly if God seeks to communicate with people? Third, what are the implications of divine hiddenness for philosophy, theology, and religion's supposed knowledge of God? This book answers these questions on the basis of a new account of evidence and knowledge of divine reality that challenges skepticism about God's existence. The central thesis is that we should expect evidence of divine reality to be purposively available to humans, that is, available only in a manner suitable to divine purposes in self-revelation. This lesson generates a seismic shift in our understanding of evidence and knowledge of divine reality. The result is a needed reorienting of religious epistemology to accommodate the character and purposes of an authoritative, perfectly loving God.
Comments (7)

Kecq
Paul Moser has conclusive evidence that God exists. Sounds impressive, until we learn that the evidence is essentially his conscience, or rather, his guilty conscience. Moser interprets the pangs of conscience, and his reaction to them, as a god that personally communicates commands and empowers obedience, at least insofar as Moser adjusts his thoughts and behavior to conform to the perceived demands of his conscience/god.

What is this god like? It is, says Moser, a perfectly loving god. From this premise, Moser derives other attributes with an alacrity comparable to the deduction of Herr Krug's pen from Hegel's Absolute. Dozens of times throughout the book, Moser invokes the formula, "A perfectly loving god would [INSERT AN ATTRIBUTE, ATTITUDE OR ACTION]." For example:

"a perfectly loving God would work by killing attitudes obstructing life in order to bring life." (Location 420.)

"a perfectly loving God would seek to break down self-destructive opposition to God (at least in cases where there’s hope for correction), but not by means of a counterproductive direct assault." (555.)

"a perfectly loving God as creator would have a right to take a human life and thus terminate the exercise of a human will, in accordance with moral perfection." (562.)

"a perfectly loving God would allow certain kinds of pain and suffering." (1003.)

"a perfectly loving God would sometimes hide in ways that allow people to have serious doubts about God, even at times when they apparently need God’s felt presence." (2434.)

Moser never provides the reasoning by which he connects his general premise of a perfectly loving god to his conclusion of a specified attribute. He simply makes these proclamations as if the attributes were self-evident given the general premise.

Once Moser has compiled his lengthy list of attributes for "a perfectly loving God worthy of worship" he then commences a search through the world's religions for an acceptable candidate that might satisfy these requirements and be deserving of Moser's adoration. At the start, all gods that are not monotheistic are summarily rejected. Allah does not last long either, and Moser then proceeds to the "God of Jewish and Christian monotheism." (952.) Moser is quick to point out that he does not assume such a god exists, and then continues to further pare the candidates.

We learn that the Psalmist said things about Yahweh that do not square with Moser's perfectly loving god, so Moser gravitates toward Christian theism and the sayings of Jesus and the Apostle Paul. (4115.) Moser expressly denies that the Bible itself possesses any inherent authority when it comes to knowledge of the perfectly loving god. (3224.) It appears that Moser alone is the ultimate authority on that topic, and statements in the Bible are only useful insofar as they affirm Moser's own view of god. Those who understand Jesus and Paul's words as revealing a deity that differs from Moser's god are portrayed as idol worshippers with morally distorted views of the divine. (2278.) This includes Protestants. (2283.)

But Moser's own knowledge of the perfectly loving god is largely derived from a source that Moser himself denounces. Moser rejects natural theology on the ground that it purports to establish a deity's existence through objective rational argument instead of the subjective experience of a guilty conscience and obedience to the conscience, which Moser claims is the only foundation for conclusive evidence and knowledge of god. Yet, when Moser creates his list of attributes for the perfectly loving god, he relies entirely on rationalizations and does not purport to establish these attributes upon the inward movements of his own conscience. For example, when Moser states that god has the right to take human life and terminate the exercise of human will, Moser derived this conclusion from his assumed premise that god is perfectly loving. Moser made no attempt to ground this knowledge on his experience of the inner workings of his conscience.

Also, Moser provides no explanation as to why he attributes the movements of his conscience to a god. Again, he seems to be borrowing a page from natural theology by suggesting that man's moral sensibility evinces the voice of a deity that alternatively convicts or approves his thought and actions. Even assuming that Moser perceives his conscience as operating in this way, he never explains how he makes the leap from the subjective experience of his own conscience to an objective, transcendent god.

In addition, there is not only a circularity in Moser's theory of divine knowledge, but the circle is broken as well. According to Moser, before god reveals conclusive evidence and knowledge of himself to someone, that person must first become "attuned" to god by wholeheartedly determining to subjugate his own will to god’s will (by obeying the dictates of his conscience). Yet, Moser also states that before one can become attuned to god, he most first have an accurate understanding of the true nature and demands of this god, otherwise the person will tune-in to a cognitive idol of his own making. Therefore, before a person can obtain true knowledge from god, the person must already possess true knowledge of god. Moser does not explain how that is possible.

Finally, what if Moser is wrong? What if the true God is different than Moser's idealization of a perfectly loving god? After all, Moser never establishes his own authority to speak on behalf of God, and he recognizes no authority beyond himself and his own conscience. If Moser is wrong, then all the errors he assigns to other people's conception of god turn back upon his own. If he is wrong, then his perfectly loving god is nothing more than "a convenient idol of my own making" and Moser becomes the willing recipient of "at most a counterfeit." (2629; 2656.) Moser's theory of divine knowledge provides no basis for discerning whether a given conception of god, including Moser's own, is correct or counterfeit.

Under Moser's epistemology, a true knowledge of God would remain as elusive as ever.
Мох
Alright, so I want to leave a good review without making this too long and drawn out. I want to primarily provide a response to a previous reviewer's (Steve Baughman) "major problems".

(Objection 1) The conclusive evidence for the evidence of Gods existence that God, if he exists, would seek to facilitate is a filial knowledge. He (God) would provide conclusive evidence, primarily, in the cognitive domain. The reviewer argues that Moser never specifies what that would look like. Well, thats because it doesnt look like anything, its something that occurs internally. This is specifically why right at the beginning of chapter 1 Moser addresses the skeptics objection of evidence needing to be reproducible (he refutes that really quickly, and with ease; however, I am not going to get into every detail of what Moser says and how he addresses objections. If you want to know what he says, read it.) Something that occurs internally would, for obvious reasons, not be reproducible, and even if something like the moment of conversion were reproducible, it is a an event that only authenticates it self to the person in question. So this doesnt seem to be a major problem. Moving on.

(Objection 2) Basically the reviewer claims that God's elusiveness serves no purpose for the person who doesnt have the "Good news", or the gospel of Christ. First, Moser states that he doesnt have all the answers as to why God would remain elusive in EVERY circumstance; however, he does state five reasons why God might be elusive (I forgot what page, I think its in chapter 3, and Im too lazy to go grab my book right now lol sorry). Anyway, I could think of one reason why God would remain elusive in such a circumstance, and I think Moser might agree. Perhaps the reason why God would remain elusive in such a circumstance is out of an act of grace, so as not to cause the individual to "decisively" choose against God (remember these individuals dont have the gospel message which, given christianity, is the means by which the Spirit convicts, leads a person to repentance and ultimately conversion. "How can they call on the one they have not heard" (Romans 10:14). Given Christianity, why would God bestow optimal grace on an individual who has no access to the gospel, and risk the chance of the person choosing decisively against him?) However, I am sure Moser would argue that, given Gods goodness, no one will ever be condemned unless they have received sufficient, or optimal grace, as well as, a sound psychological state, unhindered by any false dispositions, that may have formed, through no fault of their own concerning God. This would include the second century tibetan who never got the gospel memo (This would also require some notion of purgatory since people obviously die without ever hearing the gospel message in this life. However, I dont see this as a problem since Moser is a Jesuit). In essence, no one is ever at a disadvantage, and anyone who is eternally condemned, has chosen to be. (For a thorough explanation concerning the topic of Gods goodness and damnation, which Im amost 100% Moser holds to, see Jerry Walls - Hell: The Logic of Damnation. He basically argues for a molinistic understanding of foreknowledge and free will, with the added modification of purgatory)

(Objection 3) The reviewer apparently has a problem with Mosers claim that there are no defeaters for his argument. However, it doesnt seem like he would have to look too far within his own camp to find the same claims being made (J.L. Schellenberg makes the same claim at the end of "Divine Hiddeness and Human Reason" which by the way, is a phenomenal book as well. For those of you that didnt know, "The Elusive God" is a response to Schellenbergs book). Anyway, the reviewer quotes Moser: "Maybe there could be defeaters (such as hallucination) but, since I don't actually have any, I'm justified in believing that my experience is from God." (p. 139). The reviewer then states "I bet I could suggest loads of alternative explanations for any "evidentiary" religious experience Moser would care to share. (Faber offers a bunch in his "The Psychological Roots of Religious Belief")". However, Moser states this, only after he argues that because he has no reason to believe that "the voice inside his head" is his own, then he is justified. In other words, because he is not naturally inclined to think in pattern "x" he has no reason to think the pattern of thought "x" is coming from himself, specially when pattern of thought "x" is causing such a conflict of will. I was a skeptic myself prior to conversion, and this was exactly the conflict I was facing; I was trying to convince myself for some time it was my own voice in my head, however, the evidence became "conclusive" when I finally decided to just give in. What I experienced upon my decision to "give it a try" was an internal self authentication of Gods existence through "volitional fellowship". I'm not just saying this to strengthen Moser's point, indeed most people who have experienced such an event did not convert primarily because of the evidence, but because of willing submission to volitional fellowship. There is something given in that experience that authenticates, with conclusive evidence, the existence of God (For more on this topic, see Alvin Plantinga on Reformed Epistemology). However, abandoning all bias and upon examining the naturalists explanations of what may of triggered that experience, I will say that it is not without merit, therefore, I will, to some degree, agree with the reviewer in saying "we should chalk one up for skepticism, or at least for a humble fallibilism, about the divine source of one's "religious" experience."

(Objection 4) Basically the reviewer argues against Moser in the form of a question - How do we know which is the correct religion? Who should we believe? Why should Christianity be given any priority? Well, an exhaustive answer would take much too long, and I want to finish this post so I can finish watching UFC in peace. However, Ill give a short account. Lets start with world views. If any worldview has a self contained contradiction, then it should be rejected. For example, Buddhist who deny western logic. There is no reason to accept a religion or world view that states we can both exist, and dont exist, at the same time and in the same way. That would violate one of the laws of thought - The law of noncontradiction. Anyway, this would help significantly lower the number of religions that now need to be examined. Anyway, as far as Christianity is concerned, it is the only religion that states God dwelled with humanity (in Christ obviously). Therefore, because the resurrection is at the heart of the Christian message, indeed, it is Christianity, then it would seem that the truth of Christianity hinges on whether or not Jesus indeed resurrect (I just wrote a 12 page paper on the topic for my theology class - if anyone is interested in reading a quick non-exhaustive summary on the topic, just leave a message and I will be more than happy to email it to you). All that to say, in my opinion, the evidence for the Christian faith is overwhelming compared to that of other religions. There is an empty tomb that needs to be explained, the question is - who is doing a better job of accounting for, and explaining the historical evidence?

(Objection 5) The reviewer basically asks: What if Moser did unto other religions as he has asked for skeptics to do unto his? Basically placing the burden of proof back on Moser. Out of all the objections set forth, this is by far the most formidable one. To this I have no response. Good job Steve. Well, I have one response; however, even I will admit that I am not 100% satisfied with it (at least when viewed from a non-bias position). I forgot what philosopher it was (maybe Hume, or Kant) that stated that we all, as individuals, have a responsibility to acquiring truth. I believe that if every religious individual should take up this task seriously, they will inevitably come to some form of christendom. Of course this is just a personal conviction; however, this conviction stems from the fact that I believe the evidence for Christianity is overwhelming. Either way, I still hold, that no one, even those in other religions will finally be condemned unless (1) optimal grace is provided, (2) a psyche unhindered by dispositions acquired through no fault of the individual is undone (this would include religious folk in other countries who have never heard the gospel), and (3) a clear understanding of the Christian message is provided (this might fall under "1"). I know that this is, for the most part, irrelevant to the objection at hand. However, it is not entirely divorced from the objection which is why I bring it up.

So much for not long and drawn out lol. Anyway, I hope the review helped much. I did not intend to attack steve; I just felt that he left a good comment with formidable objections that needed addressing. Thanks Steve.

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