John Locke on faith and reason

by Luke Muehlhauser on July 10, 2010 in Quotes


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Hermes July 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm

If the issues were dealt with using reason and facts, they wouldn’t need to be addressed every generation. Core beliefs are strong and slow to change, as they should normally be. Unfortunately, this normal and helpful cautious approach is not necessarily connected to reaching a better understanding of reality.

Along those lines, another good presentation by ProfMTH;

The Shifting Sands of Evidence & Argument” (Why Religious Arguments Fail to Persuade)–Part 1

The Shifting Sands of Evidence & Argument” (Why Religious Arguments Fail to Persuade)–Part 2

References: Jennifer Faust – “Can Religious Arguments Persuade?”

Excerpt (emphasis added);

“As anyone who has participated in or even just watched various religious arguments being presented and debated knows, religious arguments [by theists or atheists] tend to be persuasively inert and, usually, are found compelling only by those who already accept the conclusion of such arguments.”


TDC July 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm


That youtube presentation is fantastic. It is dispassionate, logical, and very even-handed.

I have a moderate interest in apologetics. When I first got into it, I was so excited that I had reasons to give for my beliefs. I’ve always had doubts, but I didn’t let them bother me until I realized that, at least for me, apologetics was merely a smokescreen. I was merely looking for things to confirm what I already thought, while mostly ignoring the other side.

Videos like that remind me why I can’t search for truth in that way, as much as I want to. It would be so much easier.


Hermes July 10, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Yep. ProfMTH also does a good job of taking in comments from others. Closing with his own uncertainties is not an unusual step for him, and many of his other videos are also very thoughtful.


MC July 10, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Proper citation, for anybody who is interested:

“I find every sect, as far as reason will help them, make use of it gladly: and where it fails them, they cry out, It is matter of faith, and above reason. And I do not see how they can argue with any one, or ever convince a gainsayer who makes use of the same plea, without setting down strict boundaries between faith and reason; which ought to be the first point established in all questions where faith has anything to do.’”

– John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) (Book IV, Chapter XVII, Section 2)

Also, Locke was no friend of atheists, it seems:


lukeprog July 10, 2010 at 8:55 pm


Indeed! :)


G'DIsraeli July 11, 2010 at 5:01 am

Do these have copyright?
Nice for the facebook profile! :)


lukeprog July 11, 2010 at 5:54 am


Nope. CC-licensed. Share as much as you like, as long as you acknowledge where it came from.


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