April 30, 2020

Added Same Old, Same Old: Dallas Willard and the Unending Quest to Prove the Existence of God (2020) by Keith Parsons to the Theistic Cosmological Arguments and Argument to Design pages under Arguments for the Existence of a God, as well as the Biblical Criticism page under Christianity and the Dallas Willard section of Criticisms of Christian Apologetics and Apologists, in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

As skeptics see it, recent theistic arguments are pretty much old hat. Their basic modus operandi has always been the same: represent some aspect of the universe as requiring an explanation that no naturalistic hypothesis can provide, and then propose God as the only possible or most satisfactory solution. Skeptics retort that either no explanation is required, naturalistic accounts suffice, or God provides no uniquely satisfactory explanation. The details may change, but the pattern remains the same. The theistic pattern is exemplified in the work of Dallas Willard, particularly his three-stage argument for the existence of God. Willard argues that God is needed because the natural universe is not enough. In this response, Keith Parsons provides the standard retort: naturalism suffices to answer all legitimate questions, and the appeal to God is either useless or obscurantist.

New in the Kiosk: The World’s Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death (2020) by Robert Shaw

The current COVID-19 pandemic has led many, whether believers or not, to consider how widespread suffering can be reconciled with a belief in a loving God. In this article, Robert Shaw considers the arguments advanced by people of faith to square this circle, such as the idea that the novel coronavirus has been sent by God as a punishment.

Recommended reading from the Bookstore: C. S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion (2007) by John Beversluis

C. S. Lewis was one of the most influential Christian apologists of the 20th century. An Oxford don and former atheist who converted to Christianity in 1931, he gained a wide following during the 1940s as the author of a number of popular apologetic books, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. But do Lewis’ arguments survive critical scrutiny? In this revised and expanded edition of the 1985 book, philosopher John Beversluis concludes that Lewis’ “case for Christianity” fails. Beversluis examines Lewis’ argument from desire, moral argument, and argument from reason for God’s existence, as well as his attempt to come to terms with the argument from evil against the existence of God. In addition, Beversluis considers Antony Flew’s criticisms of Christian theology, which were developed late in Lewis’ life, and Lewis’ crisis of faith after the death of his wife. Finally, in this second edition, Beversluis replies to critics of the first edition. As the only critical study of C. S. Lewis’ apologetic writings, this readable and intellectually stimulating book should be on the bookshelves of anyone interested in the philosophy of religion.