Keith M. Parsons | January 1, 2011 |
If God is all-powerful, then he can prevent evil; and if he is as good as can be, then he will prevent it. Why, then, does evil exist? The existence of evil implies that either God is not all-powerful, or he is not perfectly good. And if the traditional God must be both, then the existence of evil entails that such a God does not exist. Unless, of course, God has some morally sufficient reason for permitting evil—to prevent even greater evils, perhaps, or to enable some greater good. But examples of apparently pointless evils could be multiplied indefinitely, and some evils are so egregiously awful that no conceivable attendant good would be great enough to justify permitting them. But perhaps there are attendant goods that we, with our finite minds, simply cannot conceive. Perhaps; but this solution comes at a price. If we can have no inkling of what God would permit to happen, then we can equally have no inkling of whether God does, or even could, exist.
Dan Ferrisi | January 1, 2011 |
(2011) Dan Ferrisi Review: Kevin Nelson. 2010. The Spiritual Doorway in the Brain: A Neurologist’s Search for the God Experience. New York, NY: Dutton. 326 pp. Those who are spiritually inclined diverge sharply from those with a strictly rationalist perspective over an afterlife, “the immortal soul,” and near-death experiences. Nevertheless, it seems probable that all […]
Ryan Stringer | September 25, 2010 |
If God is omniscient, it seems that he would have to know what it is like to learn. However, in order to know what it is like to learn, one must have learned something. This entails that at one time we were in a state of not-knowing a thing that was learned, then experienced what it is like to learn. But if God is essentially omniscient, he always is and has been omniscient, so was never in a state of not-knowing. Because being in a state of not-knowing is necessary to know what it is like to learn, we would seem to have to say that God does not know what it is like to learn. But this contradicts the original claim that he does know this based on his omniscience. Thus, it seems that God's omniscience generates a contradiction. Consequently an omniscient God cannot exist.
Richard Schoenig | August 9, 2010 |
In this paper Richard Schoenig argues that Christianity "can't live with" its doctrine of original sin insofar as it is implausible and morally indefensible, and that Christianity "can't live without" the doctrine because it has, in the course of nearly 2000 years, become so entrenched within Christianity that removing it at this stage could be fatal to the host.
Ryan Stringer | April 26, 2010 |
Supposing that atheism is true, is it important to defend its truth? Ryan Stringer emphatically answers in the affirmative. Stringer argues that if atheism is rationally held to be true, that alone is sufficient reason to defend it, for truth and rational belief are intrinsic goods, and it is generally noble to try to change others' minds when they seem to hold false beliefs. In addition, Stringer considers a number of secondary, supplementary reasons for defending atheism. These range from fighting religiously motivated mistreatment, developing beneficial public policies, redirecting resources going to religious institutions to benefit those in need, understanding our place in the world, and fostering thinking freely as rational and autonomous beings, among other things. Stringer wraps up by considering whether anything indispensable to the good life is lost when we abandon traditional theistic belief for atheism, concluding that the purported benefits of theistic belief over atheism typically evaporate on closer inspection.
Gabe Czobel | January 31, 2010 |
(2010) Gabe Czobel 1. The Argument 2. Where the Argument Fails 2.1 The Premises 2.2 Simplicity 2.3 Which God? 3. Conclusion Richard Swinburne is an icon of rational theism. He has been praised as being “perhaps the most significant proponent of argumentative theism today” and “one of the foremost rational Christian apologists.” These, among many […]
Jeffrey T. Allen | December 31, 2009 |
(2009) Jeffrey T. Allen In his recent work Darwin and Intelligent Design, evolutionary geneticist and philosopher Francisco J. Ayala argues that (i) intelligent design theory (ID) is “bad” science and “bad” theology, and (ii) religion and science are epistemologically independent of one another. The present work will focus on showing that if ID is scientifically […]
Gerald M. Woerlee | October 29, 2009 |
Since the publication of Raymond Moody's Life After Life in 1975, several investigators have performed outstanding studies of the incidence and properties of near-death experiences. Unfortunately, many authors have enticed readers to accept uncritical supernaturalistic or paranormal explanations for NDEs, causing many good studies to languish unread by mainstream scientists. Despite over 30 years of public interest and scientific endeavor, many promising lines of research have not even been touched upon, while others have not been followed up. This article considers a select inventory of the gaps in our current knowledge of the causes and genesis of the NDE, with particular emphasis on whether NDEs represent scientific confirmation of life after death, or simply manifestations of brain function. The latter is implied by what is germane to the NDE itself, the psychological and sociocultural influences on NDEs, and what it would take to make it possible for something to leave the body during out-of-body experiences and see and hear events going on in the physical world.
Stephen Sullivan | October 16, 2009 |
In Religion and Morality, Christian philosopher William J. Wainwright provides a thorough, thoughtful, and generally rigorous and fair-minded discussion of the relationship between religion and morality. He considers moral arguments for God's existence, divine command theories of morality, and possible tensions between "human morality and religious requirements," among other things. In this review Stephen Sullivan focuses his remarks on several of Wainwright's debatable claims concerning the divine command theory of ethics and the Euthyphro question, offering a few additional criticisms about Wainwright's methodology.
Evan Fales | August 20, 2009 |
In his recent opinion on the legality of teaching intelligent design in the classroom (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School Board), Judge John Jones correctly found against Dover, but did so by employing mistaken premises. Two unsound arguments appear in Section 4 of Kitzmiller, "Whether ID is Science." The first argument seeks to establish that ID is not a science by showing that it invokes supernatural causes outside of the purview of science. The second argument purports to show that even successful criticisms of Darwinism do not constitute evidence for ID. Neither flaw enhances the scientific credentials of ID, but each bolsters the erroneous perception that Darwinists assume as a matter of faith that either supernatural causes do not exist, or else cannot be investigated scientifically. A natural implication of this erroneous perception is that Darwinism is simply an alternative kind of faith, but in fact both Darwinism and many supernaturalistic hypotheses are amenable to empirical test.
Paul Herrick | May 2, 2009 |
In "No Creator Need Apply: A Reply to Roy Abraham Varghese," Keith Parsons argues that the success of science in explaining the world makes belief in God logically unnecessary, as science is fast approaching a point where everything has been explained by a completed and well-confirmed physics. As science progresses, he argues, we are left with less and less need to hypothesize the existence of a Creator. But to the contrary, Paul Herrick argues that philosophical theism rests on a rationally satisfying and philosophically attractive logical basis that cannot, in principle, be overturned by the continued progress of natural science.
On Paul's Theory of Resurrection: The Carrier-O'Connell Debate. Richard and Jake agreed to have four independent judges read and assess their debate upon its completion. Below those judges and their assessments will be presented, according to the The Rules We Followed, especially rules (7) and (8). Those judges present their assessments below. Total Assessment
Preface | One | Whitewash | Why (2009) An Ex-Believer Looks at the Synoptic Gospels and Their Evangelical Christian Whitewashers Introduction: The Evangelical Christian Whitewash of the Synoptic Gospels By “the evangelical Christian whitewash” I mean the ongoing attempt by evangelical Christian theologians and apologists to deny that there are errors, contradictions, inconsistencies, and other […]
Preface | One | Whitewash | Why (2009) An Ex-Believer Looks at the Synoptic Gospels and Their Evangelical Christian Whitewashers Why I Wrote This Book This is a book about the synoptic Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. They are called “synoptic” because they cover roughly the same ground from three different perspectives and thus provide […]
Bart Klink | January 1, 2009 |
The Untenability of Theistic Evolution (2009) Bart Klink Introduction No Scientific Conflicts? Philosophical Problems Theological Problems The Fall Adam was Not a Metaphor The Days of Creation are Literal Days And God Saw that It was Good? Ad Imaginem Dei The Soul The Flood The Literality of the Bible and Other Myths Some Other Alleged […]
Kenneth W. Daniels | January 1, 2009 |
(2009) Author Website Kenneth W. Daniels (1968-), former evangelical missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators, received his BS in computer science and engineering from LeTourneau University, Longview, Texas, and a one-year certificate in biblical studies from Columbia Biblical Seminary (now Columbia International University), Columbia, SC. He currently resides with his wife and three children in suburban […]
Jeffrey T. Allen | January 1, 2009 |
A crucial premise of William Lane Craig's kalam cosmological argument (KCA) is that the universe began to exist. Craig supplements the KCA itself with a secondary argument for this crucial premise. That secondary argument, in turn, presumes that an actual infinite cannot exist. In this essay, Jeffrey T. Allen argues that if an omniscient God exists, the premise that an actual infinite cannot exist is false, as an omniscient God would need to know an infinite number of truths about himself. Thus Craig's defense of his KCA appears to entail a premise that contradicts the conclusion of his KCA. As long as Craig does not offer some alternative defense of the KCA premise that the universe began to exist, and unless he can justify limiting to the physical world his KCA premise that whatever begins to exist has a cause, he must either concede that it is false that an actual infinite cannot exist, or else that God does not exist.
(2009) Preface | One | Whitewash | Why
Preface | One | Whitewash | Why (2009) An Ex-Believer Looks at the Synoptic Gospels and Their Evangelical Christian Whitewashers Chapter One: Approaching the Synoptic Gospels Before turning to the synoptic Gospels, two preliminary topics need to be discussed. The first is New Testament criticism, the second is the doctrine of the inspiration of the […]
Preface | One | Whitewash | Why (2009) An Ex-Believer Looks at the Synoptic Gospels and Their Evangelical Christian Whitewashers Preface This book is not written for scholars and is not offered as a contribution to scholarship. My goal is not to break new ground, but simply to present the results of mainstream New Testament […]
(2008) John Schellenberg I start with a disclaimer. To be persuaded by my argument, readers need not first accept that the previous arguments of the debate have left us with a draw, with both sides–theism and atheism–about equally well (or ill) supported. Given the banner of ‘faith and uncertainty’ that flies over the present section […]
(2008) John Schellenberg 1. Love is Not Love that without Love of Unity Unites 2. Ought-Nots and Will-Nots 3. Why a Pragmatic Solution Won’t Work Jeffrey Jordan’s response to my hiddenness argument is essentially an extension and application of his pragmatic stance on matters religious. The result is an interesting and original solution to the […]
(2008) John Schellenberg 1. The ‘Many Gods’ Objection Revived 2. The ‘Many Attitudes’ Objection Introduced 3. Conclusion: More Twists in the Tale Jeffrey Jordan’s pragmatic argument for the rational preferability of theistic belief in circumstances of indecisive evidence is resourceful and interesting, but I shall argue that it fails even if we assume–as I would […]
(2008) Jeffrey Jordan Decision Theory Pragmatic Arguments Evidentialism The Jamesian Wager A castaway builds a bonfire hoping to catch the attention of any ship or plane that might be passing nearby. Even with no evidence that a plane or ship is nearby, he still gathers driftwood and lights a fire, enhancing the possibility of rescue. […]
(2008) Jeffrey Jordan When approached about participating in a debate on the implications of “religious uncertainty” for religious commitment, I was asked to represent the theistic side. This I was happy to do. My opponent was asked to represent the atheistic side. Little did I imagine then that the debate would devolve into quibbles about […]
(2008) Jeffrey Jordan Assumptions of the Divine Hiddenness Argument Objection One Objection Two Objection Three John Schellenberg has presented an argument noteworthy in several respects. One interesting respect is that his “divine hiddenness” argument is a philosophically interesting innovation in a debate that has raged for millennia. Innovation in philosophy, especially an interesting innovation, is […]
John W. Loftus | November 8, 2008 |
Despite his seminary roots, John Loftus has come to conclude that Christianity cannot be reasonably defended on the basis of the available evidence. In this overview of his reasons for ultimately rejecting the Christian faith, Loftus considers a variety of sociological, philosophical, scientific, biblical, and historical facts, explaining why he is now an atheist and what it means for him to live life without God. His approach does not proceed from any internal theological inconsistencies, but rather from inconsistencies between theological ideas and the empirical reality in which we find ourselves. He ultimately concludes that all modern, civilized, educated, and scientifically literate persons should reject Christianity, and that a proper skeptical attitude toward religion, informed by modern science, yields a tentative naturalism subject to potential falsification by better evidence.
Keith Augustine | October 13, 2008 |
This essay has been significantly revised to reflect updates that were published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies in 2007. Several points have been streamlined for clarity and to remove unnecessary verbiage. The section on psychophysiological correlates has been rewritten to be much more accessible, and now ends on a discussion of what is implied by the influence of medical factors on NDE content. A discussion of circumstantial evidence of temporal lobe instability among NDErs has been added to the section on the role of the temporal lobe in NDEs. A few points have been incorporated into the main text from Augustine's replies to Journal commentaries where they elaborate on points in the lead essays, such as a discussion of why cross-cultural diversity undermines a survivalist interpretation of NDEs. That argument is followed up by a similar one, cut for space from the Journal discussions, about the meaning of the apparently random distribution of pleasant and distressing NDEs. Additionally, a large number of new endnotes have been added to this essay. Most of these summarize the most important points of the Journal exchanges (notes 1-6, 10, 17, 20, 23, 28, and 30-32), but a significant number also concern other issues or recent developments (notes 5, 7, 8, 11-16, and 22).
In his opening argument, Quentin Smith argued that universe explains its own existence, without remainder, even if the universe has a finite age, for the state of the universe at any particular moment is sufficiently caused by all of its preceding states. Since this complete explanation makes no reference to God, Smith argued, insofar as God is by definition a part of any complete explanation of the universe, God does not exist. In his response, Robin Collins cited the flight of a cannonball as a counterexample to Smith's line of reasoning, but the counterexample is not analogous; unlike the universe, the flight of the cannonball does not have a historically complete explanation in terms of earlier parts of that flight. Being charitable to Collins, however, it is possible that although the universe has no first moment in physical time, it may in some metaphysical time series, allowing one to make room for God in a complete metaphysical explanation of the universe. Smith's argument, then, might not demonstrate the nonexistence of God, but it nevertheless provides a probabilistic argument against the existence of God. And on Collins' own "likelihood principle," the fact that our best scientific theory of the origin and evolution of the universe supports a self-caused universe is much more likely on naturalism than on theism, and thus provides very strong evidence for naturalism over theism.
In this online debate historian Richard Carrier and theology scholar Jake O'Connell spar over whether Paul believed that Jesus rose from the dead in the same body that died, or in a new body, leaving his old body behind to rot in the grave.