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Essay: Alvin Plantinga and his Thought of God

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  • Subject area(s): Religious studies and Theology essays
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  • Published: January 22, 2020*
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  • Alvin Plantinga and his Thought of God
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Alvin Plantinga has thoroughly thought out and rationalized the thought that if God (the Christian God that he has confidence in) truly exists, at that point a Christian’s faith in God can be translated as properly basic. A properly basic belief is another way of saying that it isn’t defended by what we call proof. Plantinga argued that we hold numerous beliefs, for instance, the belief that the universe was not made only five minutes prior, any beliefs that come from memory, beliefs that different personalities exist, the belief that we are seeing many different colors. Put aside the way that a great deal of Christians believe that they can deliver nice proof for the presence of God. Plantinga argued, very successfully in my view, that regardless of whether that is true, belief in a higher power can be understood as properly basic and go on to reasonably defend even without confirmation. God made us so that when we work smoothly and properly we know that it is because we are believing and trusting in him. The ordinary epistemic reaction to creation is to trust things like “God made this,” or on a very basic level, “God is real.”

Now, on to what the Great Pumpkin objection was. In the Charlie Brown cartoon, the character Linus, is a boy who thought that each Halloween the Great Pumpkin will come to visit him at the pumpkin patch. Linus believed that the great pumpkin will come and reward all the well-behaved kids with gifts. Plantinga compared the Great Pumpkin belief to the belief of God. He felt that the belief in God was no more rational than belief in the Great Pumpkin but the belief in God could be seen a basic. We consider the belief in God to be basic because we feel like God has already implanted in us, the nature to see how he is working and providing in the world around us. With the Great Pumpkin not being able to show us his good works and how it is helping individuals out in our everyday life, is the reason why we consider it non-basic. (page 114)

Alvin Plantinga’s states that Christians don’t have to waste time with any arguments for having confidence in God since having confidence in God is a properly basic belief. He proceeds to state that arguments are deficient for the premise of a religious belief. A couple of beliefs are properly basic: perceptual beliefs, memory beliefs, and beliefs which ascribe mental states to other persons. (page 109). Diverse beliefs are non-basic beliefs. These are formed from beliefs in legitimate theories. It is typical for people to believe that confidence in God isn’t rational or open to feedback for lack of evidence. The thinking is that trust in God requires a kind of legitimization or argument. This it isn’t the sort of thing that one could simply acknowledge. This is the possibilities that Plantinga rejects. Plantinga’s view is that trust in God, or a more specific religious beliefs, is properly basic.

It may be felt that all beliefs require affirmation with respect to why, and that trust in God could hardly be a unique case. Regardless, this can’t be right, given how “proof” is grasped here. For example, assume that I trust I have a headache. What is my “proof” for this belief? I don’t look for some extraordinary reasons that seem to be basic and after that I have a headache from those reasons. So, not all beliefs rely on proof; some are basic. Plantinga calls attention to this, this is something that no logician, that thinks about the hypothesis of learning, would disagree with.

In closing, I do agree with Plantinga. I agree that his objection to the Great Pumpkin objection is successful. Plantinga has told us that someone who truly believes in God must always think that God is a basic belief. Meaning that there is no need to have proof or try to justify the circumstances. The Great Pumpkin theory does not follow the same guidelines.

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