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1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Craig Hazen Editor’s Introduction
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2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Hugh G. Gauch, Jr. Best Practices for Prophecy Arguments
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The argument for Christianity from fulfilled Bible prophecies, when implemented with best practices, can be public, impartial, empirical, significant, efficient, and promising. The competing hypotheses considered here are that Bible prophecies exhibit spectacular accuracy because of revelation from God, or else miserable accuracy because of merely occasional luck from unaided humans. A new statistical analysis can test these hypotheses efficiently with a manageable collection of fulfilled Bible prophecies, typically about five to twenty prophecies, and also can refute a charge that these successful prophecies result from mere luck and bias.
3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Paul M. Gould Theistic Activism and the Doctrine of Creation
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This paper provides a plausible answer to the question of how God created. In addition, it explores an additional reason, beyond those related to the debate over God’s relationship to abstract objects, for thinking theistic activism true. Specifically, a new model of God’s creative activity—the activist model—will be offered that satisfies key desiderata with respect to the nature of God’s perfect power to create.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Allen Gehring Truthmaking, Truthbearers, and Divine Simplicity
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Recent work using the idea of truthmaking to articulate the doctrine of divine simplicity has not paid enough attention to truthbearers. I address this issue by challenging the assumption that God’s simplicity needs to be conceived as an all-or-nothing matter. For it is possible to distinguish between a weak and a strong version of divine simplicity, and there are reasons regarding truthbearers that provide reason to uphold, at most, the weak version. The weak version of divine simplicity articulated here has some similarities with the view of God advocated by Modified Theistic Activists, but it has important differences as well.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Bruce Reichenbach God and Good Revisited: A Case for Contingency
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Treatments of God’s goodness almost always appeal to the traditional Christian doctrine that God is necessarily good, but this introduces the question whether God’s goodness properly can be understood as necessary. After considering an ontological conception of God’s goodness, I propose that God’s goodness is better understood as satisfying six criteria involving moral virtue, intellectual virtue, right actions, right motives, freedom of choice, and freedom of choice with respect to the rightness of the action. I defend the result—that God’s goodness must be understood contingently, not necessarily—against recent critics of this view.
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Loren Pankratz Mormonism’s “Great Secret,” Freedom, and Evil
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As Mormonism comes to the forefront of American culture, some people may be tempted to assume that the past philosophical victories of Christian theism can be equally applied to the version of theism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In this paper I attempt to show that there are differences in the LDS worldview, and in the LDS conception of the Divine Nature that make the problem of evil, both in its logical and probabilistic form, a very live threat to its brand of theism. This paper is a project of ramified natural theology that attempts to demonstrate that Christian theism is in a much better philosophical position than LDS theism with regards to the logical and probabilistic problem of evil.
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Curtis Rigsby An Evidentialist Critique of Evangelical Treatments of Non-Christian Religions: A Prolegomena to Dialogue
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In treating religious pluralism, Anglophone philosophical literature often turns to markedly general investigations—“meta-issues”—which by their generality minimize empirical content. On the other hand, more conservative Christian philosophers often do appeal to markedly empirical groundings for inquiry, particularly in the Bible. However, in this essay, I conclude that prominent evangelical Christian treatments of religious pluralism—because of their lack of attention to the extrabiblical data of non-Christian religions themselves—often risk being significantly irrelevant or inaccurate, or unclear in representing other religions. I further propose that excessive attention to philosophical “meta-issues” or neglect of the empirical details of particular religions threatens to obscure or to cause the overlooking of important data, such as significant continuities between prima facie very different traditions. As a corrective to such neglect, I undertake an evidentialist evaluation of religious pluralism, focusing especially on significant similarities and differences between Christianity and Pure Land Buddhism. This trajectory leads me to end with the question: if the doctrines of two or more religions are sufficiently similar to be mutually translatable, and if one of these religions issues true or soteriologically effective claims, then do its corresponding analogates similarly designate truth or promote soteriological efficacy, and if so, to what extent?
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Adam C. Pelser The Courage of Faith: Kierkegaardian Reflection on the Spiritual Danger of Enjoying Finite Goods
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In Fear and Trembling, Søren Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous character, Johannes de Silentio, highlights the spiritual danger inherent in the Christian life of enjoying finite goods (especially our relationships with other people) without giving into the temptation to idolize or become too dependent for our happiness on them. In light of this danger, de Silentio suggests that the life of faith depends on a special kind of courage—“the courage of faith.” Here, I offer an analysis of the courage of faith, underscoring its importance for the Christian life, and I explore the interdependence of courage, faith, and a third virtue—humility.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Michael Gurney Same-Sex Marriage and the Church: The Public Relevance of Theistic Morality
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The contentious debate over same-sex marriage raises significant questions about the public relevance of theistic ethics in addressing broad social issues beyond the moral boundaries of the Christian community. Using the issue of same-sex marriage as a case study, it is argued that “natural law” kinds of arguments can provide epistemic support as “public reasons” for cogent theological-based arguments against same-sex marriage and can be successfully defended against frequent objections to the use of religious reasons in a pluralistic context.
philosophical notes
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Robert Greg Cavin, Carlos A. Colombetti Negative Natural Theology and the Sinlessness, Incarnation, and Resurrection of Jesus: A Reply to Swinburne
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We respond to Swinburne’s reply to our critique of his argument for the Resurrection by defending the relevance of our counterexamples to his claim that God does not permit grand deception. We reaffirm and clarify our charge that Swinburne ignores two crucial items of negative natural theology (NNT)—that God has an exceptionally weak tendency to raise the dead and that even people with exemplary public records sometimes sin. We show, accordingly, that our total evidence makes it highly probable that Jesus was not sinless, incarnate, or resurrected and that God has permitted massive deception regarding these defining Christian dogmas.
11. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Richard Swinburne Jesus and the Total Available Evidence: Second Response to Cavin and Colombetti
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Cavin and Colombetti correctly affirm that in judging the probability of a hypothesis we should take into account “the total available evidence.” However, they neglect their own affirmation when they claim that I make an unwarranted assumption that God would not massively deceive the human race, when they claim that I do not take into account any evidence favoring hypotheses incompatible with the traditional account of what happened to the body of Jesus, and when they claim that I do not take into account the evidence that humans have a strong propensity to private sinning.
12. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Travis Dumsday Nominalist Dispositionalism and a Cosmological Argument
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Dispositionalism is most often paired with some form of realism about universals, whether moderate or Platonic. However, both historically and in the contemporary literature there have been advocates of nominalist dispositionalism. Here I argue that such a combination is likely to be workable only given the truth of theism (or some form of metaphysical nonnaturalism akin to theism). For those already inclined to favor nominalism and dispositionalism, a novel cosmological argument for theism results. Correspondingly, for nominalists already opposed to theism, it provides new reason to oppose dispositionalism, while for dispositionalists opposed to theism it provides new reason to reject nominalism.
13. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Jason Cruze Brains, Blame, and Excuses: A Reply to J. Daryl Charles
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In a recent article J. Daryl Charles argues that a neurobiological account of morality is significantly limited. Although there is something right about this claim, it’s unclear what Charles thinks neuroscience tells us about our ability to make moral judgments and to be held blameworthy as moral agents. Regarding the true case of the stepfather (“Smith”) who became a pedophile, I argue, against Charles, that it reveals the crucial role that the prefrontal cortex plays in the regulation of moral behavior. I offer additional evidence that brain damage can encroach on our moral capacities, and I argue that it’s unreasonable to hold Smith responsible since he temporarily lacked the ability to comply with the moral obligation to avoid fulfilling his desires.
14. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
J. Daryl Charles Still Blaming It on My Criminal Brain: A Reply to Jason Cruze
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This essay-response attempts to underscore the priority of broader moral-philosophical questions over specific “difficult” scenarios in which human behavior has been “determined” by genetic predilection or changes in brain structure. That is to say, a society must be capable of making basic moral distinctions—between good and evil, justice and injustice, acceptable and unacceptable behavior—before it can even begin to adjudicate the more “difficult” cases—cases such as those wherein brain structure has been chemically or surgically altered. In the end, at issue is whether human beings—all human beings, only some human beings, or no human being—can be held personally morally responsible for any actions. Notwithstanding the complexity of human behavior, in theological and moral-philosophical terms the matter is governed by our convictions about what it means to be truly “human” and how we understand the implications of being fashioned in the imago Dei.
book reviews
15. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Angus Menuge Debating Christian Theism
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16. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Frederick D. Aquino The Severity of God: Religion and Philosophy Reconceived
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17. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Paul Gould God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain
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18. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
Matthew T. Flummer Free Will
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19. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 16 > Issue: 2
News and Announcements
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