Edward Feser – From Atheist To Theist

Do philosophical arguments for the existence of God ever convince anyone? In the case of Edward Feser, they certainly did.

Feser was born and raised in a Catholic family but gave up his Catholicism, and then his theism, while still a young man. He went on to engage in intensive study of philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and various other philosophical issues. It was not until later in life, when he began to take a second look at the arguments for the existence of God, that he thought maybe they might have something to them. He describes the transition from atheism to theism as follows.
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I don’t know exactly when everything clicked. There was no single event, but a gradual transformation. As I taught and thought about the arguments for God’s existence, and in particular the cosmological argument, I went from thinking “These arguments are no good” to thinking “These arguments are a little better than they are given credit for” and then to “These arguments are actually kind of interesting.” Eventually it hit me: “Oh my goodness, these arguments are right after all!” By the summer of 2001 I would find myself trying to argue my wife’s skeptical physicist brother-in-law into philosophical theism on the train the four of us were taking through eastern Europe.

Speaking for myself, anyway, I can say this much. When I was an undergrad I came across the saying that learning a little philosophy leads you away from God, but learning a lot of philosophy leads you back. As a young man who had learned a little philosophy, I scoffed. But in later years and at least in my own case, I would come to see that it’s true.

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