Christian Faith and Belief

Faith and Philosophy 19 (3):291-303 (2002)
Abstract
Louis Pojman has argued that Christian faith does not entail belief, or even assigning a probability of 1/2 to the claims of Christianity. However, this conclusion fails in many cases because of its ethical consequences. A Christian is committed by his faith to acting in accordance with Christian teaching. However, there are circumstances when it is morally impermissible to act in accordance to beliefs to which one assigns epistemic probability smaller than 1/2, namely when the action is prohibited by ethical claims that one takes to be more probable. It is argued that in most cases such considerations preclude a person who assigns a probability of less 1/2 from being both committed both to Christianity and to the moral life. Matters are particularly clear in the paradigmatic faith-action of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac: this action would clearly be immoral if Abraham assigned a probability less than 1/2, or in fact any probability not very close to 1, to the existence of God. A moral version of Pascal’s wager is also discussed.
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