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1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Paul Copan Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?: The New Atheists and Old Testament Ethics
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The new atheists (Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens) level arguments against Old Testament morality as primitive and barbaric, presumably undercutting belief in the biblical God (Yahweh). Yet the Old Testament presents creational moral ideals in Genesis 1–2. Because of Israel’s embeddedness in the ancient Near East’s harsh, morally-problematic social milieu, Old Testament legislation is in places still morally inferior, though offering dramatic, incremental improvements upon such conditions. Mosaic Law attempts to regulate and limit tolerated structures (warfare, polygamy, patriarchalism, slavery), permitting various social structures because of human hardheartedness. Though falling short of the divine ideal, Mosaic laws often point to it.
3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Gregory E. Ganssle Dawkins’s Best Argument: The Case against God in The God Delusion
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Richard Dawkins’s best argument against the existence of God aims to show that the universe fits better with atheism than with theism. The fact that complex life developed gradually over a long period of time is required by an atheistic view but is not required by a theistic view. This fact, then, supports the atheistic view. This argument does raise the probability of atheism. I discuss four analogous arguments that point towards theism. I conclude that Dawkins’s argument lends some support for atheism, but his strategy suggests sufficient arguments to see that the total case points in the opposite direction.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
James Beilby Externalism, Skepticism, and Knowledge: An Argument against Internalism
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Debates between internalists and externalists hinge not only on different construals of justification and warrant, but also on different construals of the nature of the skeptical challenge, different intuitions regarding what constitutes an adequate answer to the skeptic, and, most fundamentally, the purpose for which theories of knowledge are articulated. In this paper, I defend externalist accounts of justification, arguing both that appropriately nuanced versions of externalism avoid the most pressing objections raised by internalists and that internalism is either conceptually flawed or fares no better than externalism.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Richard Davis God and Modal Concretism
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In this paper I examine Graham Oppy’s claim that all modal theistic arguments “must be question-begging,” since they presuppose a particular account of the nature of possible worlds “which can only be supported by the further claim that God actually exists.” I argue that Oppy is mistaken here. For even if theism implies the falsity of (say) David Lewis’s concretist account of worlds, a proof for God that starts from this assumption is not thereby ensnared in a vicious circularity. I go on to present some materials for a modal theistic proof immune to all of Oppy’s criticisms.
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Walter Hopp Minimalist Truth and Realist Truth
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I examine and reject Alston’s minimalist realism. According to minimalist realism, anyone who grasps the “conceptual necessity” of any arbitrary instance of the schema “The proposition that p is true if and only if p” will thereby have acquired a realist conception of truth. After clarifying the sense in which Alston’s theory is “minimal,” I argue that, given plausible constraints on a realist theory of truth, grasping the necessity of any instance of the T-schema is far from sufficient to qualify as an alethic realist. I conclude with a discussion of the motivations behind and desirability of a minimalist theory of truth.
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Richard Langer Humans, Commodities, and Humans-in-a-sense
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Biotechnology is blurring the metaphysical boundaries between humanity and commodity and many fear the moral consequences. Though the blurring is substantial, this article argues that there is still a long distance between humanity and commodity. Furthermore, the language of commoditization may blind us to certain more immediate moral concerns. When Aristotle discovered naturally occurring hybrids that blurred the boundaries of living substances, he coined the phrase “substances-in-a-sense.” The analogous phrase, “humans-in-a-sense,” might sensitize us to aspects of moral discourse that the language of commoditization tends to obscure and might also alert us to dangers that are already at hand.
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Angus Menuge Intelligent Design, Darwinism, and Psychological Unity
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Folk psychology affirms the existence of a persistent, unitary self at the center of each individual’s mental life. Darwinian psychologists have challenged this view with the selfish gene and selfish meme theories of the mind. Both theories claim that cognition arises from the interaction of blind, selfish replicators (genes or memes) and that the enduring self is an illusion. I argue that both theories suffer from an implausible atomism and an inability to explain human reasoning, subjectivity, points of view, and psychological unity. By contrast, a psychology premised on Intelligent Design is able to account for all these problems.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Travis Dumsday Neuroscience and the Evidential Force of Religious Experience
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The claim that religious experience provides evidence for the existence of God or the supernatural has come under heavy criticism, with the most compelling critique arising from neuroscience of the last half century. The work of Michael Persinger has been particularly significant in this context. He argues that religious experiences can be generated via stimulation of the temporal lobe, and consequently that they are best interpreted naturalistically. I argue that this interpretation is inadequate for a large and significant class of these experiences. Moreover, Aquinas’s theory of religious visions not only allows for these recent scientific findings but actually foreshadows them.
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Walter J. Schultz “No-Risk” Libertarian Freedom: A Refutation of the Free-Will Defense
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Free-will defenses and theodicies reason that since God’s purpose in creation requires libertarian free will, God cannot prevent every event which occurs as a consequence of the misuse of freedom. However, given libertarian free will and free-will theistic accounts of God’s purpose in creation, I describe (in terms of a dispositions/powers ontology) how it is logically possible for God to achieve his purposes while preventing moral evil. This, then, is a refutation of the free-will defense and related theodicies that should shift the focus of Christian theorizing from God’s ability to God’s goodness.
11. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Thomas Wayne Smythe Intersubjective Evidence and Religious Experience
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This paper critically examines the claim that supposed religious experiences of God are not based on “intersubjective evidence.” I examine how “intersubjective evidence” has been construed in the literature, and argue that those specifications do not succeed in marking off a way in which supposed experiences of God are not based on “intersubjective evidence.” I then specify a sense of “intersubjective evidence” that I think successfully shows how such experiences are not based on intersubjective evidence. I also show that “intersubjective evidence” does not mean the same thing as “public” but that God can be an object of “public” knowledge.
12. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
A. A. Howsepian What’s So Good about Libertarian Free Will?
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This essay has two primary theses: (1) we ought to desire libertarian free will if we want to be as good as we can possibly be, and (2) we can be as good as we can possibly be only if we possess libertarian free will. A libertarian free being, in virtue of being able to refrain from evil under certain epistemic conditions, has access to an order of goodness higher than his determined counterpart could possibly have. Libertarian freedom, therefore, is preferable to compatibilist free will mainly in virtue of its role in the making of optimally good people.
13. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
John DePoe Vindicating a Bayesian Approachto Confirming Miracles: A Response to Jordan Howard Sobel’s Reading of Hume
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This paper defends a Bayesian approach to confirming a miracle against Jordan Howard Sobel’s recent novel interpretation of Hume’s criticisms. In his book, Logic and Theism, Sobel offers an intriguing and original way to apply Hume’s criticisms against the possibility of having sufficient evidence to confirm a miracle. The key idea behind Sobel’s approach is to employ infinitesimal probabilities to neutralize the cumulative effects of positive evidence for any miracle. This paper aims to undermine Sobel’s use of infinitesimal probabilities to block a Bayesian approach to confirming a miracle.
14. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 1
Steven B. Cowan “It Would Have Been Good for That Man if He Had Not Been Born”: Human Sinfulness and Hell as a Horrendous Evil
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Critics of the doctrine of eternal punishment may charge that this doctrine constitutes a horrendous evil unworthy of a perfectly good and loving God in that those experiencing eternal torment have lives not worth living. I respond to the problem of hell as a horrendous evil by arguing, first, that it is not clear that eternal torment constitutes a horrendous evil; and, second, that by adding to the traditional doctrine of hell the Christian belief in human sinfulness and our just desert of eternal punishment, God’s existence is compatible with the existence of persons who have lives not worth living.
15. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Aaron Bunch The Resurrection of the Bodyas a “Practical Postulate”: Why Kant Is Committed toBelief in an Embodied Afterlife
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I argue that Kant’s own views—his commitment to happiness as part of a transcendent highest good, his view of the afterlife as a place of moral striving, and his conception of the “absolute unity” of rational and animal natures in a human person—commit him to belief in an embodied afterlife. This belief is just as necessary for conceiving the possibility of the highest good as the beliefs in personal immortality, freedom, and God’s existence, and thus it too is a “practical postulate” in Kant’s sense.
16. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
John B. Howell III Forgiveness and Kierkegaard’s Agapeistic Ethic
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In this essay I examine the notion of forgiveness as found in Søren Kierkegaard’s Works of Love. After detailing the work of forgiveness in hiding the multitude of sins, I examine forgiveness as an example of Kierkegaard’s concept of redoubling. Then I relate Kierkegaard’s concept of forgiveness to his concept of hope. Throughout I emphasize the relation between forgiveness and neighbor love, which Kierkegaard views as an essential component of forgiveness. This emphasis counters the prevailing notion in the literature on forgiveness, which views forgiveness as solely concerned with the relinquishing of negative emotions. For Kierkegaard, while this relinquishing is no doubt part of forgiveness, true forgiveness must include love for one’s neighbor.
17. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
18. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
R. J. Snell Thomism and Noetic Sin, Transposed: A Response to Neo-Calvinist Objections
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In this essay I argue that Thomas Aquinas is not as naively optimistic about the noetic effects of sin as is often portrayed by standard neo-Calvinist objections. Still, his metaphysics of the human person requires some development to better explain the mind’s impairment by sin, a development made possible by the work of Bernard Lonergan and the resulting Lonergan/Aquinas (L/A) model of the noetic effects of sin.
19. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Walter Schultz Toward a Realist Modal Structuralism: A Christian Philosophy of Mathematics
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The aim of this paper is to propose a philosophy of mathematics that takes structures to be basic. It distinguishes between mathematical structures and real structures. Mathematical structures are the propositional content either of consistent axiom systems or (algebraic or differential) equations. Thus, mathematical structures are logically possible structures. Real structures—and the mathematical structures that represent them—are related essentially to God’s plan in Christ and ultimately grounded in God’s awareness of his ability. However, not every mathematical structure has a correlative real structure. Mathematical structures are either true or fictional, yet all are possible.
20. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 12 > Issue: 1
Stephen Kershnar Hell, Threshold Deontology, and Abortion
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In this paper, I argue that Threshold-Hell Christianity conflicts with the pro-life position on abortion. The specific type of Christianity is that which also accepts threshold deontology and the existence of hell. Threshold deontology is the view that ordinarily moral duties consist of nonconsequentialist side-constraints on the pursuit of the good but that in some cases these side-constraints are overridden. My strategy is to establish that a person who brings about an abortion guarantees that the aborted individual goes to heaven and that it is morally permissible to guarantee someone goes to heaven. It follows that if Threshold-Hell Christianity is true, then abortion is morally permissible.