What's So Great About Christianity?

Dinesh D'Souza

Ch 15: The World Beyond our Senses: Kant and the Limits of Reason

Atheists claim to be the “brights” because they subject all their knowledge claims to reason alone while religious believers make knowledge claims that are based on faith and end in irrationality and superstition. D’Souza seeks to refute the naturalistic claim to exhaustive knowledge by (1)demonstrating philosophically that Kant proved the limits of reason and the senses for discovering the transcendent and (2) by showing that historically humans have acknowledged the existence of the transcendent (religious view).

p167 Sam Harris quote ridiculing acceptance of the Bible

p168 multiple quotes asserting confidence in rationality as providing access to everything. Discussion of transcendence.

p170-171 explores Kant's idea that all we receive is filtered through the lens of our senses. "it is simply irrational to presume that our experience of reality corresponds to reality itself."

p175 I think D'Souza's paragraph starting "The illusion of realism..." is pretty profound. It includes the sentence "Realists like Dennett think of themselves as tough-minded empiricists, but they are not empirical enough to realize that all that is available to them are experiences and nothing beyond them."

p177 Berger quote

p178 "While the atheist arrogantly persists in the delusion that his reason is fully capable of figuring out all that there is, the religious believer lives in the humble acknowledgment of the limits of human knowledge, knowing that there is a reality greater than, and beyond that which our senses and minds can ever apprehend.

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What's So Great About Christianity?

Dinesh D'Souza

Ch 16: In the Belly of the Whale: Why Miracles are Possible

Since our knowledge of the world is so imcomplete due to (1) our limited perspective and (2) our fallible reason, we should not be dogmatic about the possibility of miracles. Rather, we should remain open. D’Souza seeks to refute Hume’s argument against miracles and show where Hume seems to violate his own statements about the impossibility of observing causation. As he points out, the possibility of miracles is directly related to the existence of a supernatural God. If God does exist, then it is logically possible that God could cause events that are out of the ordinary and naturally unexplainable.

p179 Christianity is the only major religion in the world that depends on miracles.

p180 Dawkins blast and Gould's separate magisteria.

p181 Hume's argument against miracles

p187 Popper as another spokesman for a Hume type position

p189 "Like the author of a novel, God is entirely in charge of the plot."

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What's So Great About Christianity?

Dinesh D'Souza

Ch 17: A Skeptic’s Wager: Pascal and the Reasonableness of Faith

Since miracles are possible, D’Souza asks whether faith is reasonable and replies that faith is in no way opposed to reason. Given what we know and don’t know, it is reasonable to bet on faith. Atheist’s hostility to faith seems puzzling since we all make decisions based on faith (trusting authorities, presupposing regularities, etc.). He does acknowledge a distinction between faith and knowledge: “faith begins where reason ends.” He says based on the evidence, we should wager (Pascal’s Wager) on God and begin to act as though Christianity is true while asking God for faith.

p192 Statements by Gould, Dawkins, Dennett, Sagan ridiculing faith.

p193 William James The Varieties of Religious Experience, Kant weighs in with the reasonableness of faith.

p195 Talks about agnosticism and doubt and then asserts that doubt is a proper habit of mind for a believer. Talks about the nature of faith.

p196 Pascal begins with the Kantian postulate "reason's final step is to recognize that there are an infinite number of things which surpass it."

p197 Not original with Pascal, offered by Muslim theologian Abu Hamed al-Ghazali.

p198 The necessity of making a choice

p199 a suggestion for what he calls the "hiddenness of God" very good

p199 skeptics prayer

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