Write an essay, 5-6 pages long, with 12-point font, 1.5 spacing between lines, and standard margins, in which you respond to prompts (I) — (VI) below clearly and thoroughly.. Note: In this essay, you are NOT to include any information you find online. Restrict yourself entirely to our book. You may paraphrase or quote from any portion of Stephen Law, but you may NOT bring in any information obtained from the internet to write the essay.
(I) Briefly re-tell Plato?s Allegory of the Cave (pp. 78–79 in Law).
(II) How seriously should we take Plato?s allegory? For example, Plato insists only a small number of people can become philosophers (due to genetics and personal traits). So, will one who is led out of the cave to eventually become a philosopher ever want to return to the cave to live with the unenlightened? What are some reasons Plato?s philosopher may want to return to the cave and what are some reasons he wouldn?t want to? Could he be forced to return? How would that work and what would the consequences be? Explain. (b) Even if the philosopher does return to the cave to live with the masses, how is he supposed to help the prisoners (most of whom cannot ever be led out of the cave)? Carefully speculate on these questions.
(III) In a sentence, extract from the section ?The Nature of God? (p.139) Law?s definition of God (the God of the philosophers).
(IV) Law delves into religious experiences: ?those experiences in which individuals feel that they are directly aware of God? (p.150). (a) Philosophers have compared someone ?seeing? God to someone seeing a human judge. What are the similarities and differences between regular perception and religious experiences? (b) Law says that different people have had the same religious or mystical experience, and that this can be used to provide evidence for God?s existence. How? Explain. (c) William James denied that ?seeing? or ?hearing? God is a sensory perception, as seeing a car or hearing a lecture is. What, according to James, is the ?heart of religious experience? (p.151)? (d) Law criticizes religious experience as good grounds to infer God exists in the section ?Rare and False? (p.151). Summarize Law?s criticism.
(V) Law outlines Sigmund Freud?s diagnosis of religious experience on page 152. (i) According to Stephen Law, what is Freud?s view of religious experience? What is it and why does it arise, according to Freud? (ii) Law then provides a religious rejoinder to Freud?s view (p.152). What is it? (iii) What do you think a college psychology textbook would say if a father raised his daughter to always feel vulnerable and in need of his protection, even after she turns 50 (and he was successful, and this is how she felt)? Is this case different than the case of your creating a robot which always feels vulnerable and in need of your protection? Explain.
(VI) Law makes the case that the Problem of Evil provides excellent evidence that God, as defined by the philosophers, does not exist — in the section ?No Good Reason for Evil?? (p.154). Summarize Law?s views. Person A and Person B (who each lost a beloved son in 9-11) pass away from old age at the age of 90 and awake in heaven to find themselves standing before God Himself. Create a story in which God tells A and B why He allowed 9-11 to occur. The story should provide God?s ?higher purpose? explaining why He permitted it. God?s justification is then accepted by A but rejected by B. Explain why God?s higher purpose satisfies A but not B.
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