Date

5-2022

Department

Rawlings School of Divinity

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)

Chair

Ed Martin

Keywords

Apologetics, Theology, Personalism, Reason, Abductive Argumentation

Disciplines

Christianity | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

Abstract

Motivated by a desire to understand better and articulate matters touching on how beliefs are formed, this research considers the possibility of a religious epistemological nexus, a connection between the rational and affective capacities possessed by persons, human dignity and self-determination, and the method of argumentation used by apologists. The thesis defended is that through the means of the concomitance of the human intellect, emotions, and will (passional reason), the whole person is engaged in the process of passional reason whereby one can perceive, assess, and decide to believe in matters of religious faith (Thomistic doxastic voluntarism). Further, at the foundation of passional reason’s role in an apologetic encounter entails profound personalist respect for the hearer’s dignity and self-determination (Christian personalism). Finally, abductive argumentation with its appeal to likely explanation, inference, conclusion, hypothesis, or best guess, and its cumulatively layered case-making approach provides an effective means of engagement when appealing to the hearer’s passional reason in a manner consistent with personalism’s tenets. The thought of the following persons will be investigated in support of this thesis: Paul, Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, and William Wainwright concerning passional reason; John Paul II and personalism; and David Baggett and Jerry Walls regarding abductive argumentation as utilized in moral apologetics applied to evangelistic apologetic preaching using the CRUCIS framework.

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