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81. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
William Lane Craig Dale Allison on Jesus’s Empty Tomb, His Postmortem Appearances, and the Origin of the Disciples’ Belief in His Resurrection
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I limit myself principally to a discussion of Dale Allison’s treatment of what I take to be the three central facts undergirding a historical inference to Jesus’s resurrection, namely, the discovery of his empty tomb, his postmortem appearances, and the origin of the disciples’ belief that God had raised Jesus from the dead. I am not here concerned with the question of which hypothesis best explains these three facts but rather with the historicity of the events themselves. I argue that Allison’s handling of the evidence, particularly for the empty tomb, is uneven and overly sceptical, while his case against the empty tomb is surprisingly weak. I close with some reflections on why worldview considerations need not lead to a suspension of judgment on the best explanation of these facts.
82. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Gary R. Habermas Dale Allison’s Resurrection Skepticism: A Critique
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The chief purpose of this essay is to address the alternative scenarios that Dale Allison suggests regarding the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. Do other options explain viably the New Testament accounts? Special attention is paid to Allison’s treatment of apparitions of the dead, as well as listing several unique qualities of Jesus’s appearances. Throughout, attention is drawn to Allison’s own conclusions that support the disciples really having seen Jesus again after his death.
83. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Dale C. Allison, Jr. The Resurrection of Jesus and Rational Apologetics
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The apologetical case for the resurrection of Jesus faces at least three difficulties. The first is that the literal resurrection of Jesus from his tomb cannot be the prototype for the eschatological fate of those whose physical bodies no longer exist. The second is that the argument for the historicity of the empty tomb is less certain than often thought. The third is that the resurrection appearances of Jesus are, in several important respects, not so different from reports of apparitions of the dead in general.
84. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
D. Stephen Long Abraham’s Threshold: Crossing with Caution
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William Abraham seeks to free Western Christianity from its epistemological captivity, at least as that captivity takes the form of a “criterion” that seeks certainty. To do so, he has developed “canonical theism,” an intriguing argument that draws on diverse means of grace for knowledge of God as justified belief. In Crossing the Threshold he gives us the epistemology for that project. Yet questions remains as to why it still needs an epistemology, why knowledge remains justified belief, and why it cannot find more allies in other contemporary theological sensibilities.
85. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
James K. A. Smith Epistemology for the Rest of Us: Hints of a Paradigm Shift in Abraham’s Crossing the Threshold
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William Abraham’s “canonical theism” calls into question standard strategies in philosophy of religion which (1) strain out the particularities of Christian faith, distilling a “mere theism” and (2) position Christian faith within a broader, “general” epistemology. I evaluate Abraham’s call for a philosophical approach that honors the thick particularity of Christian faith and makes room for the unique epistemological status of revelation. I conclude that Abraham’s promising project could be extended to more radically call into question the “intellectualism” that characterizes contemporary philosophy of religion.
86. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
James Beilby On Revelation and Divine Perception: A Response to William J. Abraham
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While there is much to be valued in William Abraham’s book, Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation, in this article I develop a couple lines of critique using Alvin Plantinga’s religious epistemology as a point of comparison. While Abraham clearly wants to avoid what he sees as methodological and theological mistakes in Plantinga’s project, I suggest that he both misconstrues Plantinga’s project and, in fact, falls prey to some of the same problems that purportedly plague Plantinga’s approach.
87. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Arnold T. Guminski A Critical Examination of Mark R. Nowacki’s Novel Version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument
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This article examines Nowacki’s novel version of the kalam cosmological argument (N-KCA), and finds it seriously flawed. The N-KCA purportedly shows the factual impossibility of a denumerably infinite set of coexisting concrete entities; and that there would be such a set were an infinite temporal series of events to obtain because each existing substance bears its own necessarily permanent temporal marks and those of its ancestors. Nowacki, professing the A-theory of time, nevertheless maintains that truth-makers of past-event propositions are not tensed facts, according to some correspondence theory of truth, but rather the temporal marks borne by existing substances.
88. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Glenn Andrew Peoples William Hasker at the Bridge of Death: Emergent Dualism and the Prospects of Survival
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William Hasker thinks that his emergent dualism provides a plausible account of the mind’s survival of bodily death, giving it a crucial advantage over physicalism. I do not share this appraisal. Emergentism by its very nature works against the (immediate) survival of death. The analogies that Hasker employs to overcome this initial implausibility fail due to factual errors, and his position ends up in no less a difficult position than the physicalism that Hasker rejects. Hasker’s attempt to escape this difficulty results in what is effectively an abandonment of emergentism, and the adoption of a more traditional dualism.
89. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
William J. Abraham Response to Professors Long, Smith, and Beilby
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Canonical theists insist that the Church initially canonized a Trinitarian ontology, leaving epistemic convictions to speak for themselves. Pursuing epistemology is a vital exercise in its own right. Within this, particularism is compatible with metaknowledge, with a doctrine of analogy, and with the propositional content of Christian theism. We can also build on past insights and accommodate ordinary believers who have no idea what epistemology is. This program overlaps with the work of Plantinga but differs in its analysis of the Holy Spirit and argues that a diachronic account of warrant can better handle the problems to be faced.
90. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Mark McLeod-Harrison Hales’s Argument for Philosophical Relativism
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Steven Hales defends philosophical relativism by arguing that rational intuition, Christian revelation, and shamanistic use of hallucinogens generate true but conflicting propositions. The alternatives to relativism are naturalistic nihilism and skepticism, both of which he rejects, leaving us with a limited, philosophical relativism. I summarize Hales’s position and undermine its defense by criticizing the handling of skepticism, proposing another way out of the trilemma.
91. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Graham Oppy Paley’s Argument Revisited: Reply to Schupbach
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In “Paley’s Argument for Design,” I argued for the view that, contrary to received opinion, Paley’s argument for design is a deductive argument that is subject to decisive objections. In “Paley’s Inductive Inference to Design,” Schupbach argues that I fail to show that Paley’s argument for design is a deductive argument, whence it surely follows that the objections that I raised are irrelevant. While I think that Schupbach overstates the case against the view that Paley’s argument for design is a deductive argument, I am persuaded that, at best, it is unclear whether or not we should hold that Paley’s argument is deductive. However, I insist that it does not matter whether Paley’s argument is deductive or inductive: what matters is that the kinds of objections that I raised in “Paley’s Argument for Design” serve to defeat Paley’s argument even if it is properly taken to be an inductive argument.
92. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Paul Copan Comments and Questions on Evil and the Justice of God: A Friendly Response to N. T. Wright
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Theologian N. T. Wright’s book Evil and the Justice of God offers a biblical response to the problem of evil without attempting to “solve” the issue, but to shed light on the problem from a Christian theological perspective. This essay affirms Wright’s approach, but notes the need for greater clarity of the ontological language related to evil. The essay also seeks further answers to questions regarding animal suffering and the fall as well as the role of (just) force in preventing gross evils and restoring peace.
93. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 10 > Issue: 2
Michael C. Rea Wright on Theodicy: Reflections on Evil and the Justice of God
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In Evil and the Justice of God, N. T. Wright raises two objections against the project of theodicy: that it minimizes the badness of evil, and that it manifests a kind of hubris. In addition to recommending the abandonment of theodical efforts, Wright suggests that we turn our attention instead to biblical narratives in an attempt to more fully understand and appreciate what God is doing to deal with the evil we find in this world. In this paper, I deny that theodical efforts minimize the badness of evil, and I argue (drawing on recent work by Eleonore Stump) that following Wright’s advice and attending more closely to biblical narratives might actually provide a way of pursuing theodicy without the sort of hubris that Wright decries.
94. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Wesley Morriston Did God Command Genocide?: A Challenge to the Biblical Inerrantist
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Thoughtful Christians who hold the Old Testament in high regard must at some point come to terms with those passages in which God is said to command what appear (to us) to be moral atrocities. In the present paper, I argue that the genocide passages in the Old Testament provide us with a strong prima facie reason to reject biblical inerrancy—that in the absence of better reasons for thinking that the Bible is inerrant, a Christian should conclude that God did not in fact command genocide. I shall also consider and reject the attempts of two prominent Christian philosophers to show that God had morally sufficient reasons for commanding the Israelites to engage in genocidal attacks against foreign peoples.
95. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
96. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Randal Rauser “Let Nothing that Breathes Remain Alive”: On the Problem of Divinely Commanded Genocide
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In this essay I argue that God did not command the Canaanite genocide. I begin by critiquing Paul Copan’s defense of Canaanite genocide. Next, I develop four counterarguments. First, we know intuitively that it is always wrong to bludgeon babies. Second, even if killing babies were morally praiseworthy, the soul-destroying effect these actions would have on the perpetrators would constitute a moral atrocity. Third, I develop an undercutting defeater to the claim that Yahweh commanded genocide. Finally, I argue that we ought to repudiate divinely commanded genocide given the justification this provides for ongoing moral atrocities.
97. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Joseph A. Buijs Atheism and the Argument from Harm
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One line of argument commonly lodged against religion is that it is usually or always harmful, individually and socially, and for that reason should be abolished from our cultural landscape. I consider two variations of the argument: one that appeals to direct harm caused by religion and another that appeals to indirect harm on the basis of attitudes instilled by religion. Both versions, I contend, are seriously flawed. Hence, this so-called harm argument fails, both as a critique of theism and as a defense of atheism.
98. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Clay Jones We Don’t Hate Sin So We Don’t Understand What Happened to the Canaanites: An Addendum to“Divine Genocide” Arguments
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Skeptics challenge God’s fairness for ordering Israel to destroy the Canaanites, but a close look at the horror of Canaanite sinfulness, the corruptive and seductive power of their sin as seen in the Canaanization of Israel, and God’s subsequently instituting Israel’s own destruction because of Israel’s committing Canaanite sin reveals that God was just in His ordering the Canaanite’s destruction. But Western culture’s embrace of “Canaanite sin” inoculates it against the seriousness of that sin and so renders it incapable of responding to Canaanite sin with the appropriate moral outrage.
99. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Paul Copan Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites: Divinely-Mandated Genocide or Corporate Capital Punishment?
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The divine command to kill the Canaanites is the most problematic of all Old Testament ethical issues. This article responds to challenges raised by Wes Morriston and Randal Rauser. It argues that biblical and extrabiblical evidence suggests that the Canaanites who were killed were combatants rather than noncombatants (“Scenario 1”) and that, given the profound moral corruption of Canaan, this divinely-directed act was just. Even if it turns out that non­combatants were directly targeted (“Scenario 2”), the overarching Old Testament narrative is directed toward the salvation of all nations—including the Canaanites.
100. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Angus Menuge Is Downward Causation Possible?: How the Mind Can Make a Physical Difference
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Downward causation (mental to physical causation) is controversial in the philosophy of mind. Some materialists argue that such causation is impossible because it (1) violates the causal closure of the physical; (2) is incompatible with natural law; and (3) cannot be reconciled with the empirical evidence from neuroscience. This paper responds to these objections by arguing that (1) there is no good reason to believe that the physical is causally closed; (2) properly understood, natural laws are compatible with downward causation; and (3) recent findings in neuroscience reported by Schwartz, Beauregard, and others provide strong empirical support for downward causation.