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Fideism, a term used by both Martin Gardner[2] and by some apologists, such as Alvin Plantinga,[3] is the position that faith supersedes the operation of reason, i.e., it's when someone chooses to believe in a god or gods because it is comforting, not because there is evidence. It is a form of special pleading that places the theist's belief outside rational modes of inquiry.

Many theists have frequent recourse to this position (for example, when presented with an argument against God or Gods they cannot personally refute, they respond with, "nevertheless, my salary psycho-socially constructed worldview faith still obliges me to believe in God(s) in the absence of evidence"), but some go so far as to hold it as a consistent position: the existence of God(s) is not an objective fact, but one is still obliged to believe he/she/it/they exists. Most respectable theologians disapprove of fideism in principle, holding that it is possible to objectively prove that God exists.

Fideism should not be confused with transcendentalism, a largely 19th century movement that held that intuition "transcends" the doctrines of the establishment as well as the results of rational enquiry.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Fideism at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


  1. “Apple Stores: So machen sie dich arm | WALULIS” (German YouTube video).
  2. Gardner, Martin (1999) The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener, St. Martin’s Press, p. 206
  3. Cf. Plantinga, Alvin, 1983. “Reason and Belief in God,” in Alvin Plantinga and Nicholas Wolterstorff (eds.), Faith and Rationality: Reason and Belief in God, Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.