James Beilby on Alvin Plantinga’s Apologetic Program

The perennial target of Plantinga’s philosophical animadversions has been the evidentialist objection to belief in God, the idea that Christian belief is epistemically substandard because it lacks an appropriate kind and amount of evidential support. Plantinga first challenged this notion in 1967 with the publication of God and Other Minds [ … ] In this seminal volume, he argued that there are beliefs for which compelling evidence or arguments are lacking that we are nevertheless strongly inclined to accept as true, the paradigm example being belief in the existence of other minds.

He concludes that since some of what we rationally believe, and even know, is held in the absence of propositional evidence or arguments, then the evidentialist objection to belief in God is called into question. In 1983 with the publication of “Reason and Belief in God” [ … ] Plantinga radicalized this suggestion by arguing that Christian belief could be perfectly rational in the absence of propositional evidence or supporting argumentation – belief in God could be ‘properly basic’.

James Beilby, “Plantinga’s Model of Warranted Christian Belief” in Alvin Plantinga, ed. Deane-Peter Baker (Cambridge University Press: 2007) p. 126

*Cited sources have been omitted from the above section.

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