• Religion and Belief

      Keene, J. Calvin; St. Lawrence University (1971-01-01)
      I agree with Dr. Blanshard that religion needs reason, and belief should be made as rational as possible. It is an ethical responsibility to believe the truth. But belief always includes an element of tentativeness. So belief is sometimes appropriate, even in the absence of compelling evidence. Moreover, religion is related to a very different reality than is science. Consequently, the kinds of evidence that are appropriate to the one are not necessarily appropriate to the other. Insofar as God is conceived as a person, rather than an impersonal object, God cannot be approached or studied in the way in which we study impersonal objects.
    • The Ethics of Belief

      Blanshard, Brand; Yale University (1971-01-01)
      There is an ethics of thought, as well as of practice, and that ethics is the same outside religion as within it. We may not be able to control our beliefs directly, but we can control them indirectly. So we are accountable for the ways in which we form our beliefs. Some say that beliefs are private affairs, but our beliefs affect our actions, and our actions have consequences for others. Thus we are accountable for our beliefs. Religious traditions that promote unquestioning acceptance of belief without evidence are violating the ethics of belief. William James’ defense of belief without evidence is enticing, but ultimately unsuccessful.
    • Toward a Reasonable Ethics of Belief

      Ferre, Frederick; Dickenson College (1971-01-01)
      Reason has an important role to play in every area of life, including religion. However, Dr. Blanshard’s definition of what is “reasonable” is too narrow. There are many kinds and degrees of evidence. Even if one should not believe contrary to the evidence, or without any evidence, one might be permitted to believe in the absence of perfect evidence. Moreover, what constitutes relevant evidence is not the same in all areas of life. The kind of evidence that is relevant to a belief in physics is not the same as the kind of evidence that is relevant to a belief about the values of music, for example.