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1. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Richard T. McClelland, Robert J. Deltete Divine Causation
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Quentin Smith has argued that it is logically impossible for there to be a divine cause of the universe. His argument is based on a Humean analysis of causation (confined to event causation, specifically excluding any consideration of agency) and a principle drawn from that analysis that he takes to be a logical requirement for every possibly valid theory of causation. He also thinks that all divine volitions are efficacious of logical necessity. We argue that all of these claims are faulty, and that theists can resist Smith’s arguments without merely begging the question in favor of a divine cause.
2. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Michael Plekon Kierkegaard at the End: His ‘Last’ Sermon, Eschatology and the Attack on the Church
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At the end of his life, in the public attack on the Church of Denmark, Kierkegaard was vicious in his criticism of the clergy and their preaching, ruthless in his condemnation of the abdication of the Church to bourgeois culture and society. So radical is his attack that some have read in this late Kierkegaard a wholesale rejection not only of the Church but of Christianity. In this essay it is argued that Kierkegaard might be understood differently, that his was an eschatological perspective, one which criticized the Church while holding on to a vision of the Kingdom present in her, despite her failings.
3. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Anthony Brueckner On an Attempt to Demonstrate the Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom
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Ted A. Warfield seeks to establish the compatibility in question by getting the incompatibilist to reject an unpersuasive argument from fatalism to the conclusion that a given action is not freely done. He maintains that such a rejection requires the the incompatibilist to hold that there is a possible world in which the fatalist’s premise is true and in which the conclusion is false (and so the given action is freely done). If a foreknowing God exists in that world, then incompatibilism must be rejected. I criticize this reasoning on the ground that one can reject a bad argument from true premises without countenancing a possible world in which the premises are true and yet the conclusion false.
4. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
C. Stephen Evans Kierkegaard on Religious Authority: The Problem of the Criterion
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This paper explores the important role authority plays in the religious thought of Søren Kierkegaard. In contrast to dominant modes of thought in both modern and postmodern philosophy, Kierkegaard considers the religious authority inherent in a special revelation from God to be the fundamental source of religious truth. The question as to how a genuine religious authority can be recognized is particularly difficult for Kierkegaard, since rational evaluation of authorities could be seen as a rejection of that authority in favor of the authority of reason. However, I argue that Kierkegaard does offer criteria for recognizing a genuine religious authority. I explore these criteria and try to show they are helpful, but I argue that there is no principled reason he should not accept other criteria he rejects, such as the criterion of miracles. In conclusion, I suggest that both the criteria offered by Kierkegaard and the method by which they are derived require us to question certain Enlightenment views as to what should count as “rational.”
5. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Bruce H. Kirmmse The Thunderstorm: Kierkegaard’s Ecclesiology
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The spectacular “attack upon Christendom” with which Kierkegaard concluded his career (and his life) was not an aberration. It was the culmination of an anticlerical---and, indeed, antiecclesial---tendency that had developed over a considerable period. This development can be followed quite clearly in Kierkegaard’s journals and papers, where we can observe Kierkegaard’s stance as it evolved through his often polemical engagement with the leading ecclesiastical figures of his time, and in particular with Bishop J. P. Mynster, Primate of the Danish Church. Of even greater importance, we can observe Kierkegaard’s increasing appreciation of the significance of the modernizing Revolution of 1848, particularly the ecclesiastical and political consequences of that revolution. But Kierkegaard’s critique also worked its way backward in time from 1848, and in the end it is doubtful whether he viewed any form of earthly congregation as compatible with what he believed to be “the Christianity of the New Testament.”
6. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Charles Seymour A Craigian Theodicy of Hell
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Problem: if God has middle knowledge, he should actualize a world containing only persons whom he knows would freely choose heaven. Thus there should be no hell. Craig offers an answer to this problem in his article “ ‘No Other Name’: a Middle Knowledge Perspective on the Exclusivity of Salvation Through Christ.” Craig is mainly concerned to give a logically possible defense of hell, though he thinks his suggestion does not lack the sort of plausibility needed for a theodicy. I consider various objections to the latter assessment. My conclusion is that, although Craig’s argument is implausible as a theodicy of conservative exclusivist soteriology, it is useful for less traditional ideas of hell.
7. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
John W. Cooper Supplemental but not Equal: Reply to Dell’Olio on Feminine Language for God
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This paper addresses central issues in the debate about inclusive language for God by responding to Andrew Dell’Olio, who offered biblical, theological, linguistic, and ethical reasons for a “supplemental” use of feminine language for God. Since he leaves unclear whether “supplemental” means “secondary to” or “fully equal to” the masculine language of the biblical tradition, it is difficult to determine whether he makes his case. While a secondary role for feminine language for God is legitimate, I argue that giving feminine language a status equal to the Bible’s masculine language for God is not warranted by the standard biblical and theological criteria of the Christian tradition.
8. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
William Hasker Orcid-ID Anti-Molinism is Undefeated!
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William Craig has recently objected to my defense of Robert Adams’ anti-Molinist argument. I argue that all of Craig’s objections fail, and anti-Molinism stands undefeated.
9. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 1
Erik J. Wielenberg Omnipotence Again
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One of the cornerstones of western theology is the doctrine of divine omnipotence. God is traditionally conceived of as an omnipotent or all-powerful being. However, satisfactory analyses of omnipotence are notoriously elusive. In this paper, I first consider some simple attempts to analyze omnipotence, showing how each fails. I then consider two more sophisticated accounts of omnipotence. The first of these is presented by Edward Wierenga; the second by Thomas Flint and Alfred Freddoso. I argue that both of these accounts fail. Finally, I propose and defend a novel account of omnipotence.
10. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Michael Scott Wittgenstein and Realism
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It is clear from both his writings and lectures on religion that Wittgenstein thought that there are many differences in the standards and forms of justification informing religious and scientific discourses. However, the evidence of such differences can be used to support two quite different and conflicting lines of argument. On one apparently realist argument, the differences are taken to show that religious discourse describes different kinds of fact (or offers different kinds of description) to scientific discourse; on the other seemingly antirealist argument, the differences show that religious discourse does not have a descriptive function at all. This paper evaluates these arguments both as contributions to the debate concerning religious realism and as interpretations of Wittgenstein.
11. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Thomas Williams Lying, Deception, and the Virtue of Truthfulness: A Reply to Garcia
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In “Lies and the Vices of Deception,” J. L. A. Garcia argues that lying is always immoral, since it always involves a motivation contrary to the proper discharge of a morally determinative role. I argue that Garcia fails to show (i) that anyone who fails in the sub-role of information-giver thereby fails in a morally determinative role, (ii) that the sub-role of information-giver is precisely that of “informing another truthfully,” (iii) that lying deviates from the motivation characteristic of someone with the virtue of truthfulness, and (iv) that lies always undermine the well-being of the person to whom they are told.
12. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
David Widerker Theological Fatalism and Frankfurt Counterexamples to the Principle of Alternative Possibilities
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In a recent article, David Hunt has proposed a theological counterexample to the principle of alternative possibilities involving divine foreknowledge (G-scenario). Hunt claims that this example is immune to my criticism of regular Frankfurt-type counterexamples to that principle, as God’s foreknowing an agent’s act does not causally determine that act. Furthermore, he claims that the considerations which support the claim that the agent is morally responsible for his act in a Frankfurt-type scenario also hold in a G-scenario. In reply, Icontest Hunt’s symmetry claim and also raise a worry whether, given theological fatalism, the agent’s act in a G-scenario can be deemed a free act in the libertarian sense. Finally, I offer an independent argument why in a G-scenario the agent should not regarded morally blameworthy for his act.
13. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Wes Morriston Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?: A Critical Examination of the Kalam Cosmological Argument
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The aim of this paper is to take a close look at some little discussed aspects of the kalam cosmological argument, with a view to deciding whether there is any reason to believe the causal principle on which it rests (“Whatever begins to exist must have a cause”), and also with a view to determining what conclusions can be drawn about the nature of the First Cause of the universe (supposing thatthere is one). I am particularly concerned with the problems that arise when it is assumed (as it often is) that that the First Cause is timeless and that it timelessly creates time. I argue that this forces the defender of the kalam argument to analyze the concept of “beginning to exist” in a way that raises series doubts about its main causal principle, and that it also undercuts the main argument for saying that the cause of the universe must be a person.
14. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Nicholas Adams The Present Made Future: Karl Rahner’s Eschatological Debt to Heidegger
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It is well-known that Karl Rahner studied with Heidegger, but although there has been some recent interest in Rahner’s eschatology, it is rarely recognised how substantially Rahner’s discussion of the future draws on Heidegger’s earlier writings on time. At the same time, it is increasingly desirable to show how technical issues in theology bear upon concrete political practice in the public sphere. This article shows the extent of Rahner’s use of Heidegger and explains how Rahner’s understanding of the future relates to concrete questions of ethics and Christian self-understanding.
15. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Michael Tooley Freedom and Foreknowledge
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In her book, The Dilemma of Freedom and Foreknowledge, Linda Zagzebski suggests that among the strongest ways of supporting the thesis that libertarian free will is incompatible with divine foreknowledge is what she refers to as the Accidental Necessity argument. Zagzebski contends, however, that at least three satisfactory responses to that argument are available.I argue that two of the proposed solutions are open to strong objections, and that the third, although it may very well handle the specific versions of the Accidental Necessity argument that Zagzebski considers, fails when confronted with a stronger version of the Accidental Necessity line of argument.
16. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig Omniscience, Tensed Facts, and Divine Eternity
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A difficulty for a view of divine eternity as timelessness is that if time is tensed, then God, in virtue of His omniscience, must know tensed facts. But tensed facts, such as It is now t, can only be known by a temporally located being.Defenders of divine atemporality may attempt to escape the force of this argument by contending either that a timeless being can know tensed facts or else that ignorance of tensed facts is compatible with divine omniscience. Kvanvig, Wierenga, and Leftow adopt both of these strategies in their various defenses of divine timelessness. Their respective solutions are analyzed in detail and shown to be untenable.Thus, if the theist holds to a tensed view of time, he should construe divine eternity in terms of omnitemporality.
17. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 2
Ted A. Warfield On Freedom and Foreknowledge: A Reply to Two Critics
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William Hasker and Anthony Brueckner have critically discussed my argument for the compatibility of divine foreknowledge and human freedom. I reply to their commentaries.
18. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 3
Mark D. Linville A Defense of Human Dignity
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The traditional doctrine of human dignity has fallen on hard times. It is said that that doctrine is “speciesist to the core” and “the moral effluvium of a discredited metaphysics.” Those of us who would defend the view that humans enjoy greater moral standing than nonhuman living things must answer the question, “What’s so special about humans?” In this paper, I argue that moral agency is a great-making property that confers special worth on its bearer.
19. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 3
Charles J. Klein On the Necessary Existence of an Object with Creative Power
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I present an argument which is related to the ontological argument which has a more plausible premise and a weaker conclusion. I assume two postulates concerning the meaning of ‘x creates y’. I then prove that the proposition possibly, something (non-vacuously) creates everything entails, in quantified S5, that there is a necessarily existing object with creative power - an object which creates all (and some) contingently existing objects in some possible world.
20. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 17 > Issue: 3
Nicholas Everitt Substance Dualism and Disembodied Existence
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In a number of places, Richard Swinburne has defended the logical possibility of perception without a body; and has inferred from this logical possibility that substance dualism is true. I challenge his defence of disembodied perception by arguing that a disembodied perceiver would not be able to distinguish between perceptions and hallucinations. I then claim that even if disembodied perception were possible, this could not be used to support substance dualism: such an inference would be either invalid or question-begging.