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Is there evidence of God in conscience?

posted by Nathan Schneider

Bruce Russell reviews Paul K. Moser’s The Elusive God in Notre Dame Philosophy Reviews:

The Elusive GodFor Moser, the evidence that supports belief in God is non-propositional and comes through Spirit revealing itself in human conscience (p. 193). Again and again, he refers to such evidence as “purposively available authoritative evidence” of God’s existence and His willingness to help people become unselfishly loving (see all the entries in the Index on “purposively available evidence”). According to Moser, the experience of Spirit in conscience provides the “needed epistemological foundation” for experiential knowledge of God similar to the way that non-propositional olfactory, auditory, tactile, visual, and taste sensations provide the epistemological foundations for knowledge of things and events in the world.

Ultimately, Russell takes a highly critical stance to Moser’s argument, and his rebuttal begins with an appeal to evolutionary science:

it does not seem that the best explanation of the experiences of Spirit in conscience is that it is God’s self-revelation to those people. Conscience itself probably has an evolutionary explanation. Our human ancestors who had a conscience probably did better in situations involving social cooperation than those that did not.

And, at the end, he questions Moser’s motivations:

By writing this overly long book (it could easily be cut in half) with the content it has, Moser puts his own philosophical reputation at risk, which I believe he realizes but does not care about because it has little value in comparison to what he believes God has called him, and everyone, to do.

Continue reading at Notre Dame Philosophy Reviews. See also the extensive discussion about the book at The Prosblogion.

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