By Errol E. Harris (auth.)
Professor Errol E. Harris provided the 1st 3 chapters of Atheism and Theism as public lectures at Tulane college on January 20-22, 1975. The lecture sequence was once made attainable through a provide from the Franklin J. Matchette origin of recent York urban. these people who had the excitement of listening to the lectures shaped the judgment that they deserved ebook to arrive a much wider viewers and to guarantee a extra everlasting reeord. We invited Professor Harris to permit us to submit his lectures in Tulane reviews in Philosophy. On his half, he de veloped the subjects of the lectures right into a extra accomplished and lasting paintings. With Professor Harris's approval, we're taking the extraordinary step of devoting quantity XXVI of Tulane reports in Philosophy to the booklet of Atheism and Theism. we're yes that it'll boost the essentially philosophical argument surrounding theism and Christianity. we're additionally confident that it'll upload substantialIy to the status of our sequence of annua1 volumes of philosophy, now in its twenty-sixth yr. 'Ve desire to convey our due to the Franklin J. Matchette starting place for the unique provide sup porting the lectures and to Professor Harris for providing first the lectures after which the publication. R. C. W. A. J. R.
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But in saying this I am anticipating what should come later. In spite of his criticism of Descartes, Pascal is at one with him on this point, for Descartes, having discovered the indubitability of his own awareness of himself and the undeniability of the existcnce of his consciousness, at once registers his acute awareness of his finiteness.
The Future of an Illusion. 1 ATHE1SM AND THE1SM ploited, or subtly infiltrated into the socialorder, or it may be a subconscious psychological motivation. But how does this fact bear up on the truth of its doctrine? 1 On the other hand, if the religious teaching is true, or is a symbolic representation of the truth, its influence on sodety may be benefidal. We can say only 'may be', for the unscrupulous can always misuse sound doctrine for base ends. ' But the misuse of truth cannot, no more than its distortion, discredit the truth itself, and whether a religious belief is true or false cannot be decided according to the use made of it by political interests or social miscreants.
1 ef. Hegel's Philosophy of Nature, Tr. A. V. Miller (Oxford, 1970), p. 3. • Das Wesen des Christentums, Ch. I. , Preface to the Second Edition. CHAPTER III TRANSCENDENCE OF THE FINITE I The positian we have so far reached is that belief in God, regarded as something less than fully established knowledge, is not confronted by any belief which can rightly make claim to established knowledge, but only by counter-faith. Atheism, however, serves the positive function of negative criticism. It serves to purge religion of superstition and to make us aware of bigotry and hypocrisy, as weIl as of inconsistencies between profession and practice.