I am not a theologian but a philosopher, and a philosopher is a kind of professional doubter. As a Christian believer who is also engaged in systematic, meticulous, even obsessive doubt, the question of the foundations of Christian belief has always been very important to me. I don’t here mean the question of which are the most basic or foundational beliefs of Christianity, nor do I mean a kind of proof of Christianity that will persuade the skeptic, nor again do I mean that process whereby God creates Christian faith within us. What I mean is: when Christian belief is called in question, what intellectual or evidential basis can I find for it, that might provide a reason to go on believing?
My forthcoming debate with Graham Oppy on the existence of God—Is There a God? A Debate—provided me with an opportunity to spell out my (current) answer to this question. One of the concerns I had there is: How do philosophical arguments about the existence and nature of God relate to the Church’s experience of God? Can the two be put together in support of Christian belief? In the debating context, I was of course also concerned with the further question of whether any of this might contribute to convincing the atheist. But to me the more interesting and important question has always been about the structure of my own belief system, and whether it stands up to scrutiny. Philosophy, as I see it, is about helping one another scrutinize, revise, and improve our views of the world. Read More