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What Problem, Essentially, Is C. Stephen Evans Attempting To Resolve? Is His Resolution Effective? Why Or Why Not?

2433 words - 10 pages

C. Stephen Evans is stating there is a problem with the philosophy of religion having a neutral stance. Evans rejects both fideism as well as neutralism, and believes that by trying to have a, “neutral, disinterested posture,” a person could, “cut themselves off from the possibility of even understanding what religion is all about,” (Evans, 1985 p. 115). Evans notes that the view of faith and reason, by some religious believers think it is an impossibility to have “rational reflection” on religion. After his arguments that disprove many ideas in both fideism and neutralism, he proposes an alternative solution which he has named, “critical dialog”, that he hopes will, “preserve the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses of the initial theories,” (p. 115). “Correct thinking about religion is rather a genuine faith, a personal commitment,” (p. 116).
Evans’ explanations and arguments on the Fideist point of view are eye-opening and well argued. The fideist believes that people who choose neutrality are the rebellious humans that do not believe in God and that being neutral is just an illusion. The fideist thinks that a person who attempts to be neutral is, “impious or presumptuous, an arrogant placing of human reason above God,” (p. 117). Evans goes on to point out that his view is that humans can never really be religiously neutral. Either they believe or they do not, and the non-believers according to Evans are “rebels against the Creator,”. I particularly like this next quote because it makes me think about my own situation a few years ago, Evans states the rebel goes against the grain and chooses a path that, “All her activities reflect the distorted and twisted character she has given to life,” (p. 116).
The Neutralists’ perceives, “our critical thinking will only be likely to help us toward the truth if it is completely impartial and unbiased,” (p. 117) However, Evans points out that we are all affected by factors that are not rational. Evans states that our thoughts are, “colored not only by our prior experiences but by our emotions, our upbringing and education, the ideas and attitudes of our friends, our historical situation, and a host of other factors,” (p. 117). This can be witnessed at any high school or work place throughout the world. We are all at one point in time or another persuaded by others and our own history. The neutralist stands firm that rational thought “be presuppositionless,” (p. 117). I was and still am a little confused on the word presuppositionless. So, I looked up the parts and pieces and it is basically what I thought the word means, but I had the meaning in my mind from a supposition, that was in my mind from somewhere, which could have been a presupposition. I apologize, a little journal humor.
sup·po·si·tion - noun \ˌsə-pə-ˈzi-shən\
: an idea or theory that you believe is true even though you do not have proof

Full Definition of SUPPOSITION

1. : something that is supposed : hypothesis
2. : the act of...

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