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I. Religion & Virtue Theory > Adams and the Virtue of Faith

These form an 'inconsistent triad': (a) we cannot be faulted for not believing a given item; (b) an absence of faith is a fault, and (c) faith consists in (suitable) beliefs. Adams, in "The Virtue of Faith," rejects (a) even under circumstances in which one 'cannot help it.' Some, of course, would accept (a) and deny on that basis (b). What about the possibility of accepting (a) AND (b), and denying (c)? I would allow that a person can be faulted for HOW they believe, but not, as such, for WHY. Well, (b) may be controversial -- but it's sufficiently basic to the Judeo-Christian tradition to be worth assuming, at least for explorative purposes.
August 24, 2006 | Registered CommenterJames Montmarquet
Jim,
The "virtue of faith" aporia seems well phrased and interesting. I would venture to say that the problem seems exacerbated for Christian thought--not aided--by the current wave of "theistic externalism" in Plantinga and others. For this commits them, I would think, to a strong version of (a)--indeed to rejecting any deep asymmetry between assent and resistance, since voluntariness hardly applies either way. If the theistic externalist then assumes (c) as their model of faith, as Plantinga is certainly want to do, the result is that they seem no longer able to make sense of faith as a religious virtue. So I don't know if others would agree the problem is especially acute for theistic externalists like Plantinga, but I find the tension quite apparent in his book Warranted Christian Belief, though he wants to gloss over it.
August 29, 2006 | Registered CommenterGuy Axtell