[This is a continuation of Section Two, Reason and the First Person. An index with links to all parts of the work as they are posted can be found [url=https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/sword-to-the-heart-reason-and-the-first-person/1081/1]here.]
[This series concludes Chapter 17, “Atheism and the Justification of Justification Ability”.]
Reed (the theist, picking up from the end of the previous series): Evidently, we both share some kind of criteria as a fairly reliable clue when we’re no longer talking about our human ability in general, but about particular instances of that ability instead. Let us see if we can put our common agreement into play. I claim that Christianity is true; and let us say that I claim this because of automatic knee-jerk reactions to the cultural stimuli that have pummeled my mind since childhood. Any comments?
Chase (the atheist): I seem to recall already addressing this example.
R: Indeed, you yourself introduced it earlier! What did you say back then? Or what would you say now? Would you say my belief, under these conditions, is rational or non-rational?
C: As a rational agent myself, I would judge your belief to be, at best, irrational, and maybe non-rational.
R: Are you at least ready to stoutly presume I am in principle capable of rational behavior, just like you presume about yourself?
C: Yes. But you are not being rational within these circumstances. So you wouldn’t be behaving non-rationally, perhaps (presuming you are a rational agent), but you would be behaving irrationally (as if you were not a rational agent).
R: Given this explanation for my belief, would you accept my offer to go to church next Sunday and be baptized?
C: Certainly not!
R: And why not?
C: I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do; I’m a free person!