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My own conversion experience agrees with William James' "Will to Believe" philosophy. To put it briefly, here's a snippet from Wikipedia:

""The Will to Believe" is a lecture by William James, first published in 1896,[1] which defends, in certain cases, the adoption of a belief without prior evidence of its truth. In particular, James is concerned in this lecture about defending the rationality of religious faith even lacking sufficient evidence of religious truth.

James' central argument in "The Will to Believe" hinges on the idea that access to the evidence for whether or not certain beliefs are true depends crucially upon first adopting those beliefs without evidence. As an example, James argues that it can be rational to have unsupported faith in one's own ability to accomplish tasks that require confidence. Importantly, James points out that this is the case even for pursuing scientific inquiry. James then argues that like belief in one's own ability to accomplish a difficult task, religious faith can also be rational even if one at the time lacks evidence for the truth of one's religious belief."

This also seems to go hand-in-hand with Jesus' parable about the mustard seed.

I would like to know if any contemporary Christian philosophers have expounded on this idea. Thank you.

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I don't know the answer to your question, but I am guessing that prob. Alvin Plantinga is going to get the closest to addressing that, perhaps Warranted Christian Belief or Knowledge of God –  aceinthehole Mar 7 '13 at 21:36
    
I am not sure how the quote is tied to Jesus' parable about the mustard seed. Care to explain? One might as well say that there is no will to believe and that the little mustard seed - resembling the human - is thrown by a man - resembling God. In this light, it is God who elects the human to have the will to believe. –  Anonymous Jun 28 '13 at 20:58
    
You're right, you could say that God elects us to have the will to believe. I don't know where God ends and we being, and I think it's best to leave it that way. –  Joebevo Jun 29 '13 at 8:19

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I am unsure whether other Christian philospohers have taken this farther, but I have heard several preachers say something of similar effect when talking about faith and believing. They say that we don't understand then believe, we believe then we begin to understand.

Pro 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

"James' central argument in "The Will to Believe" hinges on the idea that access to the evidence for whether or not certain beliefs are true depends crucially upon first adopting those beliefs without evidence."

This is seen in scripture When God speaks to Moses

Exo 3:12 And He said, I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you that I have sent you, when you bring out the people from Egypt: You shall serve God on this mountain.

The sign that it was indeed Him was the accomplished task. Moses had to believe then see. Echoed in Romans 12

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is the good and pleasing and perfect will of God.

Your transformation proves the will of God.

All that to say there is more in scripture if you are looking to research that idea more. Also you could look into Bill Johnson at Bethel in Redding CA. Possibly Kris Vallotton from same. I believe they were some that I heard speak on this idea.

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Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and find out how we are different than most sites. This is a pretty good first answer though! –  Affable Geek Oct 4 '13 at 4:16
    
Thanks Affable Geek. I just found this quote written on some old notes that is in line with this thinking. From St. Francis of Assisi "I believe so that I may understand" –  Benpatter Nov 1 '13 at 22:09

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