Share
Explore BrainMass

The Concept of Fideism & God

1. Explain the concept of fideism, in particular the solution of the problem of faith and reason as this is proposed by fideism. In your view, does fideism deal honestly with the natural desire to understand the ideas that are accepted by faith? What advantages can be derived from a fideistic stance concerning the existence of God? What are the disadvantages?

Solution Preview

Please see response attached, including one supporting article (which is also presented below).

RESPONSE:

1.a. Explain the concept of fideism, in particular the solution of the problem of faith and reason as this is proposed by fideism.

Fideism is the reliance on faith alone rather than scientific reasoning or philosophy in questions of religion e.g., existence of god argument, reconciliation of faith and reason.

In other words, In Christian theology, fideism is any of several belief systems, which hold, on various grounds, that reason is irrelevant to religious faith. According to some versions of fideism, reason is the antithesis of faith; according to others, faith is prior to or beyond reason, and therefore is unable to be proven or disproven by it. The word is also occasionally used to refer to the Protestant belief that Christians are saved by faith alone: for which see solā fide. This position is sometimes called solifidianism. http://www.answers.com/topic/fideism-1

Briefly, the fideist notes that religions that are founded on revelation call their faithful to believe in a transcendent deity even if believers cannot fully understand the object of their faith. Whether a person accepts this or not, depends on their own views of religon and faith. Some fideists also observe that human rational faculties are themselves untrustworthy, because the entire human nature has been corrupted by sin, and as such the conclusions reached by human reason are therefore untrustworthy: the truths affirmed by divine revelation must be believed even if they find no support in human reason. Fideism, of a sort which has been called naive fideism, is one frequently found response to anti-religious arguments; the fideist resolves to hold to what has been revealed as true in his faith, in the face of contrary lines of reasoning. http://www.answers.com/topic/fideism-1

For example, Pascal's Wager assumes a more sophisticated form of fideism, who invites the skeptic to see faith in God as a cost-free choice that carries a potential reward. He does not attempt to argue that God indeed exists, only that it might be valuable to assume that it is true. In his Pensées, Pascal writes:
Who then will blame Christians for not being able to give reasons for their beliefs, since they profess belief in a religion which they cannot explain? They declare, when they expound it to the world, that it is foolishness, stultitiam; and then you complain because they do not prove it! If they proved it, they would not keep their word; it is through their lack of proofs that they show they are not lacking in sense. (Pensées, no, 233).

In other words, Pensées sees no reason to explain religious beliefs, because if you believe, there is not reason to explain the beliefs that you hold.

See the expansion of fideism logic, and examples of different proponents of this view, as well as some criticisms of fideism as well.

b. In your view, does fideism deal honestly with the natural desire to understand the ideas that are accepted by faith?

This questions is asking you for your personal opinion as to whether fideism deal honestly with the natural desire to understand the ideas that are accepted by faith. Many would argue not, and that reason is god given and is used to explore faith issues more fully (Thomas Aquinas). Since the fideist notes that religions that are founded on revelation call their faithful to believe in a transcendent deity even if believers cannot fully understand the object of their faith, for those who accept this basic idea, reason becomes irrelevant. Whether a person accepts this basic belief of fideist or not, depends on their own views of religon and faith.

What do you think? Can you accept faith ideas, without any exploration or explanations sought or offered through reasoning? Many people cannot, including the Catholic Church, who hold to the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, who argues that faith and reason work together (see article attached for the criticisms presented by the Roman Catholic Church against fideism).

Indeed, some fideists also observe that human rational faculties are themselves untrustworthy, because the entire human nature has been corrupted by sin, and as such the conclusions reached by human reason are therefore untrustworthy: the truths affirmed by divine revelation must be believed even if they find no support in human reason. It seems that this sort of naive fideism indeed fails to deal honestly with the natural desire to understand the ideas that are accepted by faith. However, according to many people, faith at some level is beyond the reasoning power of human nature, even those who do not hold entirely to the fideist views. According to the fideist, however, anti-religion arguments are resolved by arguing that what has been revealed as true in faith is indeed contrary to the lines of reasoning. In other words, this is the fideist's honest dealing with the natural desire to understand the ideas that are accepted by faith.

However, for those who do not accept this as basic fideist truth, they would probably argue that the fideist does not deal effectively with the natural desire to understand the ideas that are accepted by faith. Rather, the fideist underplays the role of reason in human nature, especially when it comes to explaining faith and faith issues.

Do you accept the basic ideas of fideism? See the article attached for further expansion of these ideas.

c. What advantages can be derived from a fideistic stance concerning the existence of God? What are the disadvantages?

Specifically, fideism teaches that rational or scientific arguments for the existence of God are fallacious and irrelevant, and have nothing to do with the truth of Christian theology (see article for other religious views of fideism, such as Islam). Its argument in essence goes:
· Christian theology teaches that people are saved by faith in the Christian God. (i.e. trust in the empirically unprovable).
· But, if the Christian God's existence can be proven, either empirically or logically, to that extent faith becomes ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains the concept of fideism, in particular the solution of the problem of faith and reason as this is proposed by fideism. It also evaluates if fideism deals honestly with the natural desire to understand the ideas that are accepted by faith and the advantages and disadvantages that can be derived from a fideistic stance concerning the existence of God. Supplemented with a article on the logic of Fideism.

$2.19