Buchreview: Plantinga und der Glaube als basale Überzeugung

Ich suche gezielt nach guten Besprechungen, um mich an grosse Werke heran zu wagen. Douglas Groothuis rezensierte 2000 das Werk des US-amerikanischen Philosophen Alvin Plantinga „Warranted Christian Belief“.

Plantinga is the leading thinker in a movement known as Reformed epistemology, although not all Reformed philosophers or theologians endorse his views on religious knowledge. Plantinga, however, takes his cue from comments in Calvin and other Reformed thinkers to the effect that the knowledge of God does not require support from other beliefs that we hold because it is directly given by the Holy Spirit.

Plantinga’s key philosophical move in light of the failure of classical foundationalism is to argue that belief in God is one kind of belief that may be properly basic. If it is, we need not argue for God’s existence on the basis of things we already know through differing forms of arguments (reasoning from premise to conclusion). Rather, we come to believe in God “in the basic way.”

He believes that Christian belief can have warrant when our faculty for sensing the divine—what Calvin called the sensus divinitatis—is functioning properly (through the “internal instigation of the Holy Spirit”) such that we believe in “the great things of the gospel”  (Jonathan Edwards) and these truths are “sealed in our hearts” (Calvin) experientially.

If one doesn’t have to play the evidence game, so to speak, one need not be threatened by some anti-Christian arguments. Plantinga goes further in claiming that if one’s Christian belief requires outside evidence for God’s existence and the specifics of Christian orthodoxy, one is at an epistemological disadvantage.

Christian belief is more like memory beliefs: “Everyone . . . accepts memory beliefs. We all remember such things as what we had for breakfast, and we never or almost never propose such beliefs as good explanations of present experience and phenomena. And the same holds for theism and Christian belief in the suggested [A/C] model” (p. 330).

Zu einer näheren Beschäftigung mit Plantinga empfiehlt sich die Dissertation von Ralf-Thomas Klein „Können christliche Glaubensüberzeugungen Wissen sein?“ (2010).

Das Buch von Plantinga ist in die CCEL aufgenommen und kann von dort heruntergeladen werden.