Beyond offering reasons of a philosophical kind for resisting some versions of the opinion, very commonly held, that the existence of God is incapable of rational demonstration, I do no more than to give further reasons of a theological nature why Christians should think, as a matter of faith, that the existence of God is rationally demonstrable, as a dogmatic decree of the first Vatican Council says. But nowhere in this essay do I offer any argument intended as proof of the existence of God, nor do I examine from the standpoint of validity any of the arguments which historically have been offered as proofs.
Faith, Reason, and the Existence of God Published: Reviewed by James F. As anyone acquainted with contemporary philosophy of religion knows, the apparent simplicity and straightforwardness of this question is deceptive.
Many subsidiary questions must be asked before any informative answer is forthcoming. Chief among these questions are: While Denys Turner touches somewhat on the first of these clarifying questions and deals in some detail with the second, it is really the third that is central for understanding his project.
And the answer he provides to this question will be surprising to many -- Turner is primarily out to show that the existence of God can and should be proved to those whose lives are dedicated to the study and explication of things theological.
Says Turner, "Theologians in the main seem to think the proposition to be beyond question that the existence of God cannot be proved, on any defensible account of rational proof" ix.
In fact, to assume that proof is possible is understood to be in direct contradiction to the whole idea of faith. Turner's book is one large, complex, and intricate argument that, from the standpoint of faith, there is very good reason to expect that rational proof of God's existence be forthcoming.
The contemporary conception that such is impossible -- born in Kant, weaned by Nietzsche, and blossoming into full maturity in Derrida and the postmodernists -- gets something very wrong both about the nature of faith and about the nature of reason.
It is Turner's purpose to return us to an orthodoxy that will liberate us to understand and celebrate their true nature and relationship. It will be helpful to have terms to refer to these opposing views that proof of God is possible and that it is not, as well as to those who hold them.
Turner nowhere offers such terms. So for lack of more promising alternatives I will refer to the former view as "natural theology" and those who hold it as "natural theologians," and to the latter view as "fideism" and those who hold it as "fideists.
A great deal of Turner's argument focuses on the thought of Thomas Aquinas. He concentrates here because of his amazement at the extent to which fideists appeal to Thomas for support of their position.
So, while his primary thesis is that the nature of both faith and reason support natural theology, there is a secondary thesis not far below this first tier -- viz.
The first of the book's three parts chs. This contrast concerns the long-recognized theological paradox that, on the one hand there must be some knowledge of God in order for faith and theology to exist, and on the other hand that God, as wholly other, cannot be known for lack of any sufficient reference point.
It is easy to see why this distinction is foundational to the debate between natural theology and fideism.
Those who would argue for natural theology seem to be flirting with the heresy of what Heidegger labeled "onto-theology" -- the view that there is a commonality between the nature of God and the nature of humanity that would provide the basis for rational knowledge of God.
The shadow of the threat of onto-theology hangs over this entire book. Thus another secondary thesis can be identified -- that natural theology can be defended without falling into this supposed heresy. It is at this point that Turner's first section earns its name. He argues on the one hand in admittedly Aristotelian fashion for the inescapably immanent nature of reason, grounded in the animality of human beings.
Human beings could not be animals at all without being rational animals. On the other hand, he notes the obvious self-transcendent nature of reason, and argues that it necessarily points us beyond itself to some dimension of knowledge and reality about which it can tell us only of its existence, not of its nature.
Turner calls this feature of reason its "sacramental cast. The second section of the book chs. In the first section Turner set up reason as potentially capable of bridging the gap between human knowledge and divine nature, but in this section he takes care to note just how big the gap appears to be, and what a formidable task reason has before it.
This section is quite charitable to Turner's interlocutors, presenting a strong case for fideism that enlists such remarkably strange bedfellows as Duns Scotus and Jacques Derrida.
Scotus argued against Thomas's doctrine of analogical language in reference to our knowledge of God. After all, any argument whose terms are used univocally in the premises and analogically in the conclusion commits the fallacy of equivocation and therefore could never be valid.
Hence, if our knowledge of God could only be analogical, we could have no rational knowledge of him. Scotus, of course, was no fideist -- he believed that much knowledge of God was possible through reason.
His contention with Thomas was that that knowledge had to be univocal, not analogical, in nature.Faith and Reason.
Traditionally, faith or human existence rightly governed by faith, out how the authority of faith and the authority of reason interrelate in. The Magis Center provides comprehensive and systematic responses to restore, reconstruct, and revitalize belief in God, the transcendent dignity of every person, the significance of virtue, the.
Denys Turner, Faith, Reason, and the Existence of God, Cambridge University Press, , pp, $ (pbk), ISBN Reviewed by James F.
Sennett, Lincoln Christian College and Seminary Can we prove the existence of God? As anyone acquainted with contemporary philosophy of religion knows. Turner suggests that philosophical objections to proofs of God’s existence succeed because the proofs rely on an impoverished notion of reason—based either on a .
Moderns, in love with the illuminating power of technological reason, have tended to view faith not as light but as obscurity. But faith is the proper, indeed reasonable, response to the experience of the living God, who is not an object in the world, but rather the Creator of the world.
Denys Turner argues that there are reasons of faith why the existence of God should be thought rationally demonstrable and that it is worthwhile revisiting the theology of Thomas Aquinas to see why.5/5(1).