Free How Antony Flew Would Respond To It Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Religion, God, People, Philosophy, Science, Belief, Life, Socrates

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/18


William James' rejection of "the agnostic rules for truth-seeking" using his romantic love/marriage example and explain what it means for the question of whether God exists
The issue of whether God exists forever remains as people always strive to argue whether it is true or not especially with theologians. God is said to be a supernatural being that controls everything in the universe. God is said to be omnipotent, omnipresent, perfect, and eternal. We have different Gods depending on the religious faith such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014). The arguments of whether God exists have mainly been done by theologians, philosophers over the centuries. In the philosophy, for instance, God's existence is discussed in epistemology. There are many philosophical issues concerning the existence of God.
The will to believe is a one of Williams' lectures that he conducted in 1896. In this lecture, Williams defends the belief that was adopted without seeking evidence of the truth. To be precise in his lecture, Williams is defending the rationality of faith in religion despite the fact that he lacks enough evidence to support his lecture on religion (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014). He says that he wants to justify faith that makes people believe in religion despite the fact that people's intellect may not have been coerced which make him title his paper ‘The Will to Believe.’
Williams’ principal argument in this paper is that whether beliefs are true or not depends on mainly using them without evidence first. For instance, he says it is rational to believe in something without evidence to accomplish works that require boldness that is what scientists do most of the time (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014). As such, William argues that just like confidence in tackling hard tasks, faith in religion is not different if a person has no evidence in religion. James was undecided between studying human nature and religion involving of a supernatural being that people believed in.
James essay in the paper titled, “Reflex Action and Theism,” tries to bring together science and religion. He says that reflex action makes the physical part of the human being in their biology to respond to thins around them in a number of ways. In animals especially those that think go beyond and that is when the ideas about God and how he exists set in. James does not believe in the existence of God but says everything is just natural. He says that people bring in God when things get tough on their side, to help them solve these issues thus making Him the center of gravity (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014). He advocates theism that says people like escaping from theoretical control (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014).
The Varieties of Religious Experience studies human nature. According to James, a part of the human being is related to their religious experiences. He does not dwell much on the religious institutions, the rituals they perform or the ideas they believe in but he focuses on people’s feelings, their actions and what they have experienced especially when they are alone. In most cases, what they have experienced in solitude is related to the divine being of God (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014).He gives an example of Walt Whitman, who is said to be very religious. To him, people like Walt make a choice in what to believe in and get the goodness they anticipate for the body and soul.
For instance, liberal Christianity is a total devotion to being healthy in the mind. It makes people strive not to be consumed by the old hell-fire theology. James believes that evil is a lie, and it does not exist. The radial evil always happens. Despite how secure someone feels the soul unconsciously has some bitter thin rising in it like nausea or a dead delight. James believes that people go for religion to seek assurance, not to be worried, to have peace and that thing will get better though everything on the outside does not change. It is mysticism, and it is very ineffective because it makes people not to express themselves honestly, making people passive.
Religious experiences are useful according to James even when combined with the biological functions of a person, but he says he does not guarantee this to be true. He does not have evidences for his believes though those concerning religion.
William’s argument has faced severe criticism. Alfred Henry Lloyd, a professor at the University of Michigan, published a book titled "The Will to Doubt" to respond William’s beliefs. In his book, Alfred claimed that being doubtful is important in true believing. C.S. Peirce in his 1908 paper A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God does not agree with other philosophers especially the arguments by William James.
Peirce says that allowing the philosophy of life to be infected with the seed of death is something to worry about especially from pragmatists such as James. To him, these pragmatists are not truthful, and they confuse people in what they believe in and weigh of reasons. It is good to dwell also on the traditional beliefs as they were. It is a thing that James does not appreciate believing in traditions is comforting.

Anthony Newton Flew, an English philosopher, had lots of contribution to the philosophy of religion. Notably, Anthony Newton strongly advocated atheism saying that people should believe in it until they see the evidence of God. He did not believe in life after death, defense against evil and the meaning of who God is. In 2004, he stated that he now believes in deism that he had now started believing in a god. Anthony Newton was the author of, There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind a book he wrote in collaboration with Roy Abraham Varghese Talking about his change of mind. Anthony Newton book is filled with controversy.
Flew says he changed his mind because he had to go where evidence leads, but he did not become a Christian. He is a deist and Deists believe God is there, created the universe, but he does not believe in the Bible (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014). God does not intervene, never has since he created the universe.
Flew continues to reject the moral, cosmological and ontological nature of God despite him agreeing that God exists. Looking at the scientific innovations, he says that the universe is a product of human intelligent design such as Pojman and Vaughn, (2014) becomes continually dominant as the advancement of humankind's knowledge that relate to the integrated complexity of the system of nature (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014).
Fellow former atheists believe that Flew changed his mind because of his age. At 81, he might be getting worried about what his Maker will do to him regarding publically disowning Him while alive. Flew rejects this saying that he does not believe in heaven, the Bible, Koran, etc. he s just following evidence.

Why William James has a stronger position on the topic over Anthony Flews

Basing on William James and Antony Flews arguments’, all were atheists at a particular period. Flew scores highly because he later comes to be a deist even though he does not believe in religion wholly, flew says yes God exists but humans are the co-creators of God, so they help in designing through their creativity. Such is evident in the fact that every year there are new technological innovations being discovered.
The human’s natural objective is to know who God is if He is supreme and the purpose of people as humans. In a witty way, people always strive to become superior through civilizations that are coming up where they wish to be transitioned. The superiority is better foe if we seek for inferiority then we will become slaves and face destruction. Therefore, science also has its place and technical place.
William once said, "Man must be saved from his wisdom, in so far as his righteousness because the ultimate result is corruption (James 30)." It is a paradox because while philosophers, psychologists are in the field doubting the existence of God, a million people are in their religious institutions praising the same questioned about God. At the same time, Christians also go to these psychologists when this gets tough on their side on issues such as how to handle marriage, relationships with their friends. Then science and religion are interrelated in a way.
What humans have done and thought depends on what is going on in the mind of an individual. The upbringing also plays a significant in the ultimate belief of a person whether religion or science. The people who have grown in strict religious homes tend to believe so much in the existence of God unlike the others who is left out to believe in science or anything that comes their way (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014).
Scientists and philosophers, on the other hand, believe that things such as fear, sickness and death push people to make an illusion in their minds about a supernatural God that exists upon which they can depend on. Therefore, they strive to please them so that favor may rest upon them. To do these sacrifices must be offered, and the tradition must be then handed to the following generations making it mortal.
One objection to James’s doctrine includes the fact that he provided a hypothesis and could not himself believe in it. Also, the epistemological problem of belief voluntarism and that success in the world depends on an individual’s belief.
Science and religion seem to be incompatible, and it is difficult merging the two. The two are in conflict. A person cannot be entirely a scientist and a staunch believer in religion at the same time (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014).
Religion seeks to liberate humans from the bondages of desires and fears scientific reasoning can compliment it in another way (Pojman &Vaughn, 2014). Science aims to discover rules that allow the association and foretelling of facts. It also reduces the connections discovered to a smaller number so that independence is seen. The two subjects should seek rational unification that will bring immense success. It is not easy though, but science purifies the religion as well as contributing to helping people understand their spirituality. Argument of the existence of God will continue to be among the theologians, philosophers, and psychologists. Philosophers will always base on epistemology, ontology and the theory of value such as William James.
These arguments are many and are classified as logical, metaphysical, empirical and subjective depending on the viewpoint and evidences. William James says if you believe something it becomes reality for you!

Plato's Apology

The relationship between Plato and Socrates has remained an area of argument among scholars. Socrates says that Plato is not wise though he was his student, this is ironical. In his Apology of Socrates, Plato says he was devotedly following Socrates ideas. Socrates claims that Plato in his dialogues never speaks about himself. The maxim “unexamined life is not worth living’’ by Socrates was about teaching people the virtues of living, (Melchert, 1999).
Socrates insists that he does not teach, nor could his discussion depend on finances. As such, he could allow anybody to join in the discussions, with this, he question both poor and rich. Socrates did what he did because he thought that he was exquisitely inspired. None of the people he alleged corruptly made charge against him. The Xenophon's Apology, Memoirs, and symposium are a reflection of Plato’s Apology and parts of his early dialogues.
Apology, according to Melchert (1999) can be elaborated as a historical account of Socrates’ defense of himself during his trial. However, there are several limitations involved in chronological writings. The writings to some extent might to some extent have Plato’s outset of Socrates to be idealized and might have reported what he thought to have been ideal rather the actual events of Socrates.


James, W. (2008). The varieties of religious experience: A study in human nature. Waiheke Island: Floating Press.
Melchert (1999). The Great Conversation. Toronto: Mayfield Publishing Co.
Pojman, L. P., & Vaughn, L. (2015). Philosophy: The quest for truth. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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