Critical Thinking : The Antidote For Faith

Alan Jacobs’ antidote to Christian anti-intellectualism
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In both cases Kant is too little metaphysical ontological. He denies the possibility of any rational or natural theology, because he, first of all, does not acknowledge the true character of speculation as being distinguished from theoretical knowledge of objects, and because, secondly, he does not acknowledge that ethical and ethico-theological speculation, though it be not theoretical in the sense of empirical sciences, nevertheless is theoretical in the sense of philosophical thought.

It remains obscure, because Kant is too rationalistic a thinker to descry the function of religious imagination.

Kant approaches a right appreciation of the non-philosophical, non-speculative nature of religion, but he ruins his doctrine eventually by his conception of rational faith. It is quite true, that in and by faith man's intellect and will are more deeply united than in any other region of his mind.

But this unification is accomplished as little by practical as by theoretical reason. It is accomplished not by reason at all, but by imagination. Thus prophetic inspiration and divine revelation can be understood in their specific purport, whereas in the Kantian interpretation they lose their meaning and appear as obstacles of pure, rational faith. While Kant recognized clearly enough the superrational meaning of the beautiful and of creations in the realm of art , he did not succeed in rating the superrational in the realm of religion at its true value.

He overcame rationalistic prejudices in analyzing the peculiar contribution of the man of genius , but he yielded to them in the case of the prophet. This is the deficiency of his philosophy seen by so many critics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; but none of these critics tried to supplement what is missing, and to supply philosophy with an appropriate theory of religious imagination and inspiration.

The deficiency of Kant's views is rooted in his concept of man as being composed of nature and reason. Thus the unity of mind, soul, and heart, the unity of the individual could not be rightly appraised and interpreted. Kant always fails to understand man when he meets this unity. In the field of aesthetics he attained more than anywhere else to a just comprehension because here the theoretical powers of sensation and intellect join each other and a new synthesis, not achieved in the theoretical sphere, is here produced.

In the religious field the synthesis concerns not only the theoretical faculties, but intellect and will, theoretical and practical procedure.

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There Kant's moralism prevailed and made an alliance with his rationalism to defeat the supermoral and superrational powers operative in revelation and inspiration, in mystical intuition, and prophetic imagination. Thus spiritual values in their proper form remained hidden from him. On the other hand, Kant underrated the speculative elements presented by his own ethico-theological theory. He did not realize that this theory represents a contribution to the despised and allegedly destroyed natural theology! The germ of such a theology appears in the transcendental ideal.

But the idea of God is not confined to the idea of a perfect intellect that produces the content of its knowledge in a creative way; it is at once the idea of a perfect willy , only in this combination the idea of God is completed. Both the perfect intellect and the perfect will exceed the functions and the potentiality of human intellect and will.

God is not only the consummation of knowledge, He is at the same time the ultimate goal of knowledge, i.

Ancient wisdom made new

*FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Critical Thinking: The Antidote for Faith, is not just food for thought; it is a true intellectual feast. Throughout the book. Critical Thinking: The Antidote For Faith - Kindle edition by Wayne Bartz. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.

Thus the Aristotelian idea of God would have been reinterpreted by Kant. But Kant misses the full reward of his critical inquiries, because he confuses natural theology and rational faith. He substitutes rational faith for natural theology. Instead of qualifying the nature of knowledge achieved by ontoand ethico-theological speculation Kant takes refuge in the device of a faith that is neither really rational nor a real faith, as Spinoza in a similar dialectical situation took refuge in the concept of an intellectual love that was neither really intellectual nor a real love.

Kant was driven to this subterfuge because he rightly recognized the problematic character of the speculative idea of God, on the one hand, and, on the other, rightly felt that faith supplemented this problematic idea in a legitimate way. But he neither succeeded in granting to speculation what belongs to it, nor in recognizing the true nature of faith. Natural theology, to be sure, must be restricted because the idea of God, even in the critical form of Kant's ethico-theology, contains insoluble problems that make the very concept problematic.

An intellect that produces its own object is no longer an intellect; a will that produces its final purpose can no longer be conceived of as a will. In both cases the analogy breaks down.

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An analogical knowledge is not strictly knowledge; it resembles the imaginative knowledge of religious revelation without reaching its level. It lies between a legitimate conceptual and a legitimate imaginative knowledge. But the idea has, as Kant says, the function of a regulative principle.

It indicates the direction in which we must seek ultimate truth without ever being enabled to find it. We need this idea as the point toward which all knowledge must move; but this point also signifies the definite end of all human intellectual endeavor. At the uttermost frontier of reason and speculation, unanswerable questions arise. Reason needs to be supplemented. This supplement is granted, not by postulates and rational belief, but by faith, in the genuine sense of the word.

I will conclude the discussion of Kant's doctrine by adding some remarks about the negative part of this statement. It is an illusion that we should attain to a rational content of faith. If no other way were open to faith in God, we could never reach it at all. He errs from the very outset in pronouncing that moral reason can postulate the existence of God.

Kant uses the term in two different ways. He says that pure practical reason postulates the existence of God, but also that it postulates the belief in God. These different meanings should be carefully distinguished.

12 Rules for Life - a critical review

A postulate, we learn, is a practical supposition or assumption. The postulate itself is thus rational faith in God. Both interpretations of Kant's doctrine, however, are unsatisfactory and their very duality hints at an inner uncertainty and ambiguity of the entire theory. A postulate has not the true character of faith. Belief, in the religious sense, includes trust, fear, hope, longing, love, and similar affections, and they do not postulate but rather presuppose the existence of God.

Faith, therefore, cannot be interpreted as postulation. It is a kind of devotion, of confidence, of loyalty, of reverence. To be sure, a certain agreement between morality and faith exists. Faith in God as the guarantor of a moral world order presupposes the validity of the moral law and is partly based on this validity.

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Different contexts perhaps, but nevertheless a touch confusing to the reader trying to discern what role the three elements of human will, psychotherapy, and the work of the Holy Spirit each play. Another failing of post-modern thought is that it often discounts ideologies as relative and of equal standing, but if we accept the Buddhist project, which is ultimately to reduce suffering and ignorance in the world, then we have to acknowledge that ignorance does lead to suffering and that institutionalised ignorance can only be countered by a commitment to the wider, shared fields of knowledge that compose the best of our understanding as a species at this moment of time. For those who haven't read the trilogy, here's an overview. I found Peterson very illuminating on the Fall and how the opening of human eyes to evil enabled us to imagine the future, created a need for security and, thereby, a necessity for work. The doctrine of fideism is consistent with some, and radically contrary to other theories of truth:. They are;.

It is thus a reasonable faith; one might say, it is suggested by moral reason. But a suggestion is not a postulation. If anyone is able to postulate religious belief, not man and his moral reason, but God alone can do it.

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There is no moral proof of the existence of God. Faith cannot be demonstrated, either as a postulate or as postulated.

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It is neither an act nor a product of reason. It transcends reason altogether, though it is in agreement with morality, and promotes morality. The content of faith may be reasonable, but it is certainly not rational. The idea of a moral Author of nature is not the result of merely ethical argumentations, not even of combined ethical and ontological considerations.

Light and truth are instrumental and creative; they shape and generate change, we all hope, for the better. The truth, delivered courageously, can be an antidote to staid tradition. As a force in the world and in medical education, we need not just the truth but those who will courageously speak truth to tradition. It seems that medical education is on the cutting edge of tradition. Some activities, once valuable and worthwhile, even state of the art innovations at the time, may, prevent better and more effective practices from emerging.

When an ineffective aspect of medical education is defended and fed by tradition there is greater need for critical and courageous thinking. Perhaps this is where intelligent strangers might be able to play an important role. They may notice what we who are immersed in tradition simply take much for granted and cannot see the imperfections; they may be able to show us the truth of who we are and where we are headed better than we can ourselves. Truth-telling is a common theme in popular culture. Artists as varied as Aretha Franklin, John Lennon, and Olivia Newton John and many more have songs about various aspects and applications of honesty.

There are few social or psychological imperatives as central to human flourishing as truth-telling. But there are perils in expressing what one believes to be the truth. Courage is not supplementary but central to the enterprise of truth-telling. Whistleblowers are not plentiful; their open wounds and unsightly scars discourage applicants for the job.

Even recently, two who have criticized CBME 1 were not universally treated as heroes of medical education. Some ideas and some research may need to be stated subtly, almost subversively. Courage in telling the truth means not just facing persecution and opposition but also being open to correction, having enough humility to allow room for someone to convince you of a different, better view.

This is the way forward; this is how we move past the cutting edge of tradition. I will offer a few examples from the CCME where we ought to exercise our critical and courageous thinking. First, I will highlight a stellar example I observed personally. Many others clapped in support. It took insight and great courage to tell the deans that they had work to do.

I hope her critical and courageous thinking will bring truth and light to this situation and help create change. We can all learn from her. Supported exercise sessions yoga or running were scheduled for am. An oral presentation reported that a simple simulation exercise with the best outcome data was going to be offered as an optional extra-curricular activity while the lecture the least effective was being retained as a sanctioned curricular activity. A prominent speaker argued for the use of the term andragogy methodology of teaching adults over pedagogy teaching practices generally without acknowledging the serious and harmful errors of the discredited adult learning movement.