Faith and steadfastness in the face of counter-evidence
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It is sometimes said that faith is recalcitrant in the face of new evidence, but it is puzzling how such recalcitrance could be rational or laudable. I explain this aspect of faith and why faith is not only rational, but in addition serves an important purpose in human life. Because faith requires maintaining a commitment to act on the claim one has faith in, even in the face of counter-evidence, faith allows us to carry out long-term, risky projects that we might otherwise abandon. Thus, faith allows us to maintain integrity over time.
KeywordsFaith Practical rationality Evidence Counter-evidence Belief
I am grateful for the insights of Nate King, John Pittard, Ryan Preston-Roedder, and Dan Speak. I am also grateful for comments and questions from audiences at Georgetown, Baylor, the Association for the Philosophy of Judaism, the Pacific-Mountain Division meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers 2013, Westmont, UC Merced, the Midwest Division meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers 2015, the Faith Summer Seminar 2015, the Pacific APA 2016, Azusa Pacific, and UCLA. This project was supported in part by a grant from the Templeton Religion Trust.
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