The other day, I woke up and lay in bed reflecting, which is rare for me...normally, I just lie there, doing nothing in particular. But this reflection was particularly interesting...I was thinking about the issues on which I find myself disagreeing with my mentor, Dr. Leithart...issues of ecclesiology, sacramentology, this whole question of holiness, etc. And I realized that, objectively, I believe that, on those issues, it is more likely that he is correct than that I am correct. But I do not therefore cease to disagree and to hold my beliefs.
This was a very striking realization, for it calls into question a fundamental assumption of much epistemology. Richard Swinburne, in particular, in his analysis of Christian belief, argues that to believe in something is to believe that it is more likely to be true than any of the alternatives. If faced with the options of opinion X, and opinion Y, although there may be all kinds of irrational factors influencing my conclusion, I will ultimately judge that, say, opinion Y is more likely to be true than opinion X, and I will thus believe Y. Or, alternatively, I will be unable to judge that either is more likely than the other, and so will withhold belief. For me, at least, this analysis simply doesn't work, and I am highly suspicious that I am not the only one who has encountered such counterexamples.
This suggests that, as I long felt, Kierkegaard is right to insist that faith is a passion, a much more sophisticated bundle of emotion and reason and will than Swinburne's cut-and-dried probability judgments. Way to go Soren!