Review: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Chapter 2.2

2: WHY SHOULD ANYONE BELIEVE ANYTHING AT ALL? (PART 2)

One error that the author makes with Kant is confusing hypocrisy with falsity. He claims that Kant violates the Law of Noncontradiction by saying that no one can know the real world while claiming to know something about it (p 60). Whether or not Kant is hypocritical in his assertion does not automatically make his assertion false, and the author would be better off demonstrating how we can have certainty that our perceptions match an actuality. Additionally, Kant elaborates a good deal on what varieties of thoughts, knowledge, and experience appear to exist, while the author makes the blanket conclusion that if Kant is wrong then truth is knowable. Here also, I recall Frame’s critique that Geisler fails to recognize important distinctions. I can elaborate on how the author grossly oversimplifies Kant’s philosophy, but my purpose in this letter is not to write my own book of philosophy. I have been suggested this book as an argument for why I should consider Christianity, and I am responding as to whether I find its claims convincing.

According to the author, the first principles are inherent in the nature of reality and are self-evident. He makes no other argument to establish his philosophy except that we should know the first principles intuitively. However, the Law of the Excluded Middle does not apply to all concepts, only to those that have strictly defined meanings, are mutually exclusive, and are not subject to perspectival differences. Those distinctions are not always intuitive. Finally, the author admits that inductive conclusions must be based on incomplete and imperfect information since no human possesses infinite knowledge. He concludes that human knowledge must rely on practically rather than absolutely certain conclusions. In this, then, he is no better off than Hume in having to concede that the absolute axioms he professes may be flawed by his own human error, and no better off than Kant in having to concede that things are not sure beyond all doubt (p 65).

Again, the author claims that truth constitutes moral truth. He asks us to consider the implications of other religious teachings, asking if it is really true that there’s a God up there by the name of Allah who wants Muslims to kill all non-Muslims (p 68). This might not be the best ever example to bring up regarding absolute moral truth, considering that according to his own scriptures, his God once wanted the Hebrew tribes to kill all the Amalekites, not only the adults but the infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass (I Samuel 15:2-3). Many Christian commentators believe that the sins of the Amalekites were so heinous that the killing of the Amalekite children was a necessary consequence for the good of Israel. If one accepts the justification of the Amalekite killings as religiously moral, then  one must remain open to the idea that the same god may have judged the sins of non-Muslims in a similar fashion. But I digress.

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