Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mesorah of Experience; R. Berkovits, Roy Clouser & Kelly Clark [in progress]

When I asked you to talk with me about how any educated person in this scientific age could still believe in God, I expected you to start our discussions with arguments for God’s existence. Instead you start by talking about religious experience! Does that mean you’re kissing off the proofs for God’s existence? Are you conceding right away that none of them work?

Yes. I’m skipping the arguments for God’s existence, first, because in my opinion none of them succeed [GMH, p.12-15, 61-64, 69-] . Let me hasten to add that I don’t believe their failure matters much.[;] I totally reject the view that belief in God is justified only if proven and that otherwise it’s blind faith (Ref. Ep, Plantinga, Clark, et al). Proving is actually an inferior way of coming to know something [contra Aish/R. Weinberg’s “five finger proofs”, my very doubting of which constitutes a denial of “rabbinic authority” in some circles…], a way we resort to when we can’t directly experience what we want to know [also I, II, III. We're in era post Nevuah, etc, where even mesorah of Bat Kol, "lower prophecies" fragmentary and/or lost to Israel]. That’s why proving is standard procedure in philosophy and the sciences. Both seek information we can’t get directly from experience.[GMH p.13-50 poss. Kuzari]. So we make hypotheses [educated guesses] and then construct arguments and weigh evidence to prove or disprove them. But genuine belief in God doesn’t regard God as a hypothesis, [but not every belief that disregards hypotheses can be similarly valid] and it doesn’t need proof [though it may be nice; also are very individualized, etc; among other reasons being that for those who thoroughly hold it, it’s what you prove from, not what you prove to; if your presuppositions aren’t "religious" or "scientific", depending…what are you privileging with the ‘measuring stick’ role? ]. It’s a belief that is both acquired and justified by experience. (Roy Clouser, “Knowing With the Heart”, p.11)

R. Berkovits on Encounter as the grounds for true religion – not ‘reason’ as the grounds for religion (not because reason is considered unreliable – an issue for reason, but not religion - but because HKBH Spoke to us...). You don’t have relationships or ‘encounters’ with abstract universalisms! You covenant with others, with Other; Relationship, Relationship, Relationship!!! (p.16-)


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