Blog Template Theology of the Body: Our Belief II: It's More Probable Than Not

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Our Belief II: It's More Probable Than Not

Modern philosophers assure Christians that our belief is valid because our belief can be inductively supported by ample evidence.

In contrast to valid deductive arguments, wherein the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises, inductive arguments are those wherein the premises, taken together, simply and modestly make the conclusion more probable than not. In the inductive line of reasoning, the crucial issue is whether all the available arguments taken together, qua “all we know about the world,” cumulatively make it "probable" that God exists.

In terms of the probability calculus commonly known as "Bayes Theorem," belief in God can be expressed as an explanatory hypothesis which explains the existence of a variety of phenomena by showing that it is probable that they are the effects of the action of a personal agent who brings them about for certain intentions and purposes.

Philosophers have concluded that in light of the cumulative evidence, the proposition “God exists” is more probable than not- or, that the probability that God exists is greater than ½, given the evidence of human experience interpreted against the simplest hypothesis- the simplest hypothesis always being preferable.

The various occurent phenomena in our universe are such that the existence of God makes them more probable and more expected than if there were no God. Furthermore, religious experience, interpreted in light of the Principle of Credulity, (i.e., start with trust until you have reason to do otherwise) tips the balance of probability in favor of God's existence. Given that God's existence is already shown to be not improbable even apart from considerations of religious experience, it follows that in light of religious experience, we may conclude that the probability that God's existence is greater than ½.

In Short: theism is philosophically justifiable because of...

i. Its explanatory power- theism can explain almost anything!
ii. Its intrinsic probability- theism is a very simple solution!
iii. Its completeness as an explanation- (Why? Wherefore? - "God." - Enough said).
iv. Its provision of an ultimate explanation that is sufficiently expansive in scope. - Ditto.

- From Richard Swinburne, Oxford University