Conclusion

We have taken foundationalism to be the thesis that a belief is only to be judged rational if it is a belief of an epistemically favoured class, or is validly inferred from a belief of that favoured class. Its theological counterpart is the thesis that belief in God, or beliefs that presuppose the existence of God, are only rational if they are inferred fronx other beliefs that do not presuppose the existence of God. Natural theology is the attempt to infer God's existence, or doctrines that entail it, from premises that do not presuppose it; so the decline of foundationalism in contemporary thought has led to the claim that the rationality of belief in God does not depend on the success of natural theology. This claim can be accepted, however, without the apologetic significance of natural theology being much affected. For the rationality thus conceded to one religious faith must be conceded to other religious faiths, and to many of their secular competitors. To regard the apologetic role of philosophy as exhausted by this is to accept as ultimate a huge plurality of apparently exclusive world-views and associated doxastic practices, and to acquiesce in a fashionable relativism that denies the choice between them to be subject to rational evaluation. What natural theology, if successful, would show, is that one's faith is indeed rationally defensible by criteria not wholly internal to it. The search for this sort of justification is something the Christian philosopher should only abandon for the very strongest of reasons. The apparent demise of foundationalism does not, of itself, provide any such reason.

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