Skeptical Faith

Volume: Skeptical Faith

Feb. 12-13, 2010
Albrecht Auditorium, Claremont Graduate University
Southwest corner of 10th Street and Dartmouth Avenue, Claremont, California
Sponsored by Claremont Graduate University, Pomona College, Claremont McKenna College

Conference Chair:
Ingolf U. Dalferth
Danforth Professor of the Philosophy of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

John Schellenberg’s recently published book The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion raises the issue of the relationship between faith and skepticism. Is belief in God necessary for faith in God to be possible? Is it impossible to believe in God without having faith in God? Is faith in God based on experience, and what kind of experience supports or undermines faith in God? Is faith in God dependent on a proper understanding of ‘God’, or is it rather a prerequisite for a proper understanding of ‘God’? Is faith in God an instance of having faith in x, and is faith in God analogous to having faith in the new administration? Is it true that without understanding what ‘God’ means one cannot meaningfully believe or not believe in God? Does one need to have sufficient reasons for believing that x before one is rationally entitled to having faith in x? In short, what is the relationship between faith and belief, belief and understanding, understanding and experience, and experience and skepticism?

This conference is an invitation to rethink our usual understanding of the relationship between faith, belief and skepticism. For some, ‘skeptical faith’ is an oxymoron and faith and skepticism are mutually exclusive states or attitudes. Others argue that there is no proper faith without skepticism about faith. True faith is not merely skeptical about skepticism but also skeptical about itself. If skepticism is skeptical of faith and belief, and if faith is skeptical of belief and skepticism, how are we to construe the relationship between faith, belief, and skepticism if we seek to understand what is characteristic of a life of faith, or of unfaith?


Friday, Feb. 12

9:00 am Ingolf Dalferth: Opening Remarks
9:15 am John Schellenberg: Skepticism as the Beginning of Religion
Response: Michael Rodgers
10:45 am Coffee
11:00 am Adriano Fabris: Skepticism, Involvement, Faith: from Weischedel to Schellenberg
Response: Marlene Block
12:30 pm Lunch
2:30 pm Stephen T. Davis: Christian Skepticism: Can We Really Know God?
Response: Ryan Falcioni
4:00 pm Coffee
4:30 pm Jure Zovko: Skeptical Faith as an Aspect of Conscious Life
Response: Deena Lin
6:30 pm Dinner

Saturday, February 13th

9:00 am Philip Clayton: Between Skepticism and Faith: Evolution, Peirce, and Religious Belief
Randy Ramal: Skepticism and the Grammars of Evidence and Causality in Religion
10:30 am Coffee
11:00 am John Whittaker: Why God’s Existence Cannot Be Proved: The Real Reasons
Response: Sanjay Merchant
12:30 pm Lunch
2:30 pm Patricia Easton: Was Pierre Bayle a Religious Skeptic?
Response: Eric Hall
4:00 pm Coffee
4:30 pm John Cottingham: Faith and the “Epistemic Bias”
Response: Andreas Hunziker
6:00 pm General Discussion and Closing Remarks
7:00 pm Dinner