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Faith and Reason Paperback – April 26, 1994
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From the Author
Ronald H. Nash is professor of philosophy and theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He is the author or editor of many books, including Faith and Reason and Is Jesus the Only Savior
From the Back Cover
Christians should not have an inferiority complex regarding the academic or intellectual integrity of their faith and should understand that Christian faith is also a rational faith. Faith and Reason has two major purposes. First, it is designed to introduce readers to the more important questions that link philosophy and religion. It explores philosophical questions. It is also written for pastors, Christian workers, and educated laypeople who want to know how to defend the Christian faith. The book includes discussion questions.
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Top Customer Reviews
Another strength of the book is its superb critique of evidentialism. Nash does a great job of explaining Alvin Plantinga's reformed epistemology. The gist is that Christians have accepted the burden of proof for the existence of God when they do not need to. Think about the child who keeps asking 'why?' until you are stumped; the only way to avoid an infinite regress is to accept some beliefs as part of the foundation of your belief structure. These 'basic beliefs' necessarily do not require evidence of other beliefs. Atheists and Christians alike both have many basic beliefs. Modern philosophy was launched by Rene Descartes' project: how can you prove that the world is not the illusion of an Evil Demon (sci-fi buffs will recognize that this question was part of the plot of the movie The Matrix). The lesson of hundreds of years of philosophy is that there is no way to do it. Science is no help because the evidence we get from science is itself part of the Evil Demon's illusion. We just have to take it on faith that the world really is the way it appears. Even atheists do this, not matter how strenuously they may object when they put on their philosopher's hat.
The problem is that most Christians have already internalized evidentialism and accepted the burden of proof. They have what Nash describes as the Christian's inferiority complex. I suspect that until these Christians have successfully engaged atheists on their own turf, they will feel that rejecting evidentialism is a copout. After all, you can't win capture the flag unless you go into the other team's territory. A good companion to this book is Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. It also takes on evidentialism but also provides two powerful arguments for the existence of God. William Lane Craig is renowned for consistently winning debates with atheists; he tours college campuses and debates the most notorious atheist on campus and almost invariable wins).
Although Nash is not an evidentialist, he is more a rationalist than a VanTilian presuppositionalist. In this regard, he is close to Plantinga in his approach to the reason for belief. This comes out especially in his discussion of the rationality of religious belief, which is one of the stronger sections of the book (particularly Chapter Seven).
All in all this is a worthy endeavor. There is not a lot that is original in Nash's presentation, but he does provide a good job of presenting the case for Christian theism.