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To what extent is faith a legitimate basis for knowledge claims, in religion and different areas of knowledge

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Introduction

Some people say that religious beliefs can neither be justified nor refuted by reason. However, while sometimes this claim is used as a reason for rejecting religious beliefs, at other times it is used to conclude that these beliefs are established by faith. To what extent is faith a legitimate basis for knowledge claims, in religion and different areas of knowledge In this essay, I will attempt to establish conditions under which beliefs and faith can be considered legitimate basis for knowledge claims in religion and different areas of knowledge. I will assess the extent to which faith and reason can be used to make knowledge claims in both science and religion. In order to present my argument clearly and effectively I must establish my definition of faith in relation to this essay. That is faith is a way of knowing one can acquire through personal experience, faith is opening up to uncertain thought and ideas and using them as knowledge claims. Knowledge is a justified true belief. Faith is general belief or trust that comes from personal experience thus rendered subjective in nature. There are knowledge claims where belief is used a basis for the knowledge claim. ...read more.

Middle

After all, this is how we resolve disagreements in our ordinary affairs, as well as in science. They would use prayer as an example, where it has worked of course, as evidence to back their claim. When we claim to know that something is true, we are thereby claiming to have adequate evidence, proof or good reason for it. On the contrary a non-believer might claim that there is no justification (or inadequate justification) for believing the Bible's claim and God - or, in stronger cases, they might say that there is justification for disbelieving the Bible's claims. However, there is just as much evidence for justifying the belief as there is for refuting it. With this, we immediately begin to see the problems of knowledge, involved in knowing through faith. There is a great amount of uncertainty thus bringing the question; can there be knowledge claims with the amount of uncertainty present in knowing through faith? When formulating a knowledge claim based on faith and belief, one must acquire evidence to support this claim, in both religion and science the level of certainty is certainly not 100%. Through the Imperiacle process, one might be certain to some extent however, they cannot be completely satisfied. ...read more.

Conclusion

The decision lies in whether you believe in faith or are a sceptic. A legitimate basis can be considered a reliable source depending on the case, it can also be viewed as subjective, thus whether it is legitimate or not depends on the circumstances, or knowledge claims, for example a doctor gives an opinion on the condition of a patient and advises that patient. His experience and profession would be enough to be considered a legitimate basis, however if his opinion was based on faith that the remedy would work, then reluctance on the part of the patient would be justifiable. Faith pollutes the areas of knowledge due to its subjectivity; however, this is not true in all the areas of knowing. For example in my IB English class, we are required to be subjective to some extent. An example of this is studying a literary text in my English class we are asked to provide subjective opinions on the text. That is not to say that the opinions we formulate are no longer valid, although opinions often vary from person to person. As a student examining a certain text for example a scene from 'A Midsummer Nights Dream" by Shakespeare, for instance, I find that the text has a subliminal message, I might interpret it very differently from another student examining the same text under the same conditions. ...read more.

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