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1. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
David Burrell David Braine’s Project: The Human Person
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The author of The Reality of Time and the Existence of God turns his critical conceptual acumen to finding an intellectually viable path between the current polarities of dualism and materialism. By considering human beings as language-using animals he can critically appraise “representational” views of concept formation, as well as show how current “research programs” which presuppose a “materialist” basis stem from an unwitting adoption of a dualist picture of mind and body. His alternative is rooted in classical thinkerslike Aquinas and responsive to the critiques of Wittgenstein, yet constructive in ways in which those critiques failed to be. This essay aims to help readers undertake a taxing inquiry by guiding them through its main theses.
2. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Peter Forrest Physicalism and Classical Theism
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In this paper I compare two versions of non-eliminative physicalism (reductive physicalism and supervenience physicalism) with four of the five theses of classical theism: divine non-contingency, divine transcendence, divine simplicity, and the aseity thesis. I argue that:1. Both physicalism (either version) and classical theism require intuition-transcending identifications of some properties or possibilities.2. Among other identifications, both reductive physicalism and classical theism need to identify psychological with functional properties.3. Both reductive physicalism and classical theism have a problem with consciousness.4. Both reductive physicalists and classical theists should distinguish fine and coarse grained theories of properties.
3. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
David Basinger Pluralism and Justified Religious Belief: A Response to Gellman
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I have argued previously (in this journal) that the reality of pervasive religious pluralism obligates a believer to attempt to establish her perspective as the correct one. In a recent response, Jerome Gellman maintains that the believer who affirms a ‘religious epistemology’ is under no such obligation in that she need not subject her religious beliefs to any ‘rule of rationality’. In this paper I contend that there do exist some rules of rationality (some epistemic obligations) that must be acknowledged-and satisfied-within all epistemic systems (including all religious epistemic systems) and that for this reason Gellman’s critique of my position fails.
4. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
S. Mark Heim Orientational Pluralism in Religion
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Nicholas Rescher has advanced an account of philosophy which he calls orientational pluralism. It addresses the tension in philosophy between commitment to rational argument and the enduring lack of resolution of major issues. This article suggests that Rescher’s view can be fruitfully transposed into a discussion of religious pluralism, illuminating the status of theories about religious diversity and providing grounds both for recognizing the legitimacy of diverse religious convictions and making a consistent argument in favor of one’s own.
5. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
James S. Spiegel The Theological Orthodoxy of Berkeley’s Immaterialism
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Ever since George Berkeley first published Principles of Human Knowledge his metaphysics has been opposed by, among others, some Christian philosophers who allege that his ideas fly in the face of orthodox Christian belief. The irony is that Berkeley’s entire professional career is marked by an unwavering commitment to demonstrating the reasonableness of the Christian faith. In fact, Berkeley’s immaterialist metaphysical system can be seen as an apologetic device. In this paper, I inquire into the question whether Berkeley’s immaterialist metaphysics is congruent with the Christian scriptures. I conclude that not only are Berkeley’s principles consistent with scripture, a case can be made for the claim that certain biblical passages actually recommend his brand of immaterialism.
6. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Karen L. Carr The Offense of Reason and the Passion of Faith: Kierkegaard and Anti-Rationalism
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This essay considers and rejects both the irrationalist and the supra-rationalist interpretations of Kierkegaard, arguing that a new category---Kierkegaard as “anti-rationalist”---is needed. The irrationalist reading overemphasizes the subjectivism of Kierkegaard’s thought, while the suprarationalist reading underemphasizes the degree of tension between human reason (as corrupted by the will’s desire to be autonomous and self-sustaining) and Christian faith. An anti-rationalist reading, I argue, is both faithful to Kierkegaard’s metaphysical and alethiological realism, on the one hand, and his emphasis on the continuing opposition between reason and faith, on the other, as manifested in the ongoing possibility of offense (reason’s rejection of the Christian message) in the life of the Christian.
7. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
George F. Isham Is God Exclusively a Father?
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William Harper presents five reasons for concluding that God should be referred to exclusively in male terms. To the contrary, I argue that: (1) by devaluating the feminine gender, Harper is guilty of the same reductionist and dichotomous thinking as his protagonists, (2) Harper’s view of God is contrary to “the Biblical example,” and (3) Harper’s position rests on a number of logical confusions. I conclude that Harper’s view should be rejected by both men and women of Christian convictions.
8. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 2
Mark L. Thomas Robert Adams and the Best Possible World
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Robert Merrihew Adams argues that it is permissible for a perfectly good moral agent to create a world less good than the best one she could create. He argues that God would exhibit the important virtue of grace in creating less than the best and that this virtue is incompatible with the merit considerations required by the standard of creating the best. In this paper I give three arguments for the compatibility of merit consideration and graciousness of God toward creation. I conclude that grace would not release a perfect agent from responsibility to create the best.
9. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Rowan A. Greer Augustine’s Transformation of the Free Will Defence
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Augustine’s first conversion is to the Christian Platonism of his day, which brought along with it a free-will defence to the problem of evil. Formative as this philosophical influence was, however, Augustine’s own experience of sin combines with his sense of God’s sovereignty to lead him to modify the views he inherited in significant ways. This transformation is demonstrated by setting Augustine’s evolving position against that of Gregory of Nyssa.
10. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Robert Merrihew Adams Schleiermacher on Evil
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Schleiermacher’s theology of absolute dependence implies that absolutely everything, including evil, including even sin, is grounded in the divine causality. In addition to God’s general, creative causality, however, he thinks that Christian consciousness reveals a special, teleologically ordered divine causality which is at work in redemption but not in evil. He identifies good and evil, respectively, with what furthers and what obstructs the development of the religious consciousness in human beings. Mere pains and natural ills are not truly evil, in his view, apart from a connection with some obstruction of the God-consciousness. These themes are explored in the present essay.
11. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Ian T. E. Boyd The Problem of Self-Destroying Sin in John Milton’s Samson Agonistes
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In this paper, I argue that John Milton, in his tragedy Smason Agonistes, raises and offers a solution to a version of the problem of evil raised by Marilyn McCord Adams. Sections I and II are devoted to the presentation of Adams’s version of the problem and its place in the current discussion of the problem of evil. In section III, I present Milton’s version of the problem as it is raised in Samson Agonistes. The solution Milton offers to this problem is taken up in section IV and examined in section V. Last, in section VI, I explore briefly the existential aspect of Milton’s solution.
12. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Nicholas Wolterstorff Barth on Evil
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In this paper I offer an interpretation of Karl Barth’s discussion of evil in volume III/3 of his Church Dogmatics. It is, I contend, an extraordinarily rich, imaginative and provocative discussion, philosophically informed, yet very different from the mainline philosophical treatments of the topic---and from the mainline theological treatments as well. I argue that though Barth’s account is certainly subject to critique at various points, especially on ontological matters, nonetheless philosophers are well advised to take seriously what he says. It offers a powerful attack on many standard lines of thought.
13. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Derk Pereboom Kant on God, Evil, and Teleology
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In his mature period Kant maintained that human beings have never devised a theory that shows how the existence of God is compatible with the evil that actually exists. But he also held that an argument could be developed that we human beings might well not have the cognitive capacity to understand the relation between God and the world, and that therefore the existence of God might nevertheless be compatible with the evil that exists. At the core of Kant’s position lies the claim that God’s relation to the world might well not be purposive in the way we humans can genuinely understand such a relation. His strategy involves demonstrating that the teleological argument is unsound - for this argument would establish that the relation between God and the world is purposive in a way we can grasp - and showing that by way of a Spinozan conception we can catch an intellectual glimpse of an alternative picture of the relation between God and the world.
14. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 13 > Issue: 4
Jerry L. Walls “As the Waters Cover the Sea”: John Wesley on the Problem of Evil
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John Wesley explained the existence of evil in moral rather than metaphysical terms. His understanding of the fall was fairly typical of western theology and he also enthusiastically embraced a version of the felix culpa theme as essential for theodicy. Unlike many influential western theologians, he also relied heavily on libertarian freedom to account for evil. His most striking proposal for theodicy involves his eschatalogical vision of the future in which he believed the entire world living then will be converted. I argue that his theodicy is implicitly universalist, especially in its eschatalogical speculations, and show that this is in tension with his strong libertariancommitments.
15. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
James K. A. Smith The Art of Christian Atheism: Faith and Philosophy in Early Heidegger
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In his early work, Martin Heidegger argues for a rigorous methodological atheism in philosophy, which is not opposed to religious faith but only to the impact of faith when one is philosophizing. For the young Heidegger, the philosopher, even though possibly a religious person, must be an atheist when doing philosophy. Christian philosophy, then, is a round square. In this essay, I unpack Heidegger’s methodological considerations and attempt to draw parallels with other traditions which argue for the possibility of a Christian philosophy but at root concede Heidegger’s atheism. In conclusion, I propose that it is precisely Heidegger’s work which points to the inescapabiIity of and opens the door to religious philosophy.
16. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Lynn D. Cates Berkeley on the Work of the Six Days
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In the Three Dialogues, Hylas challenges Philonous to give a plausible account of the mosaic account of creation in subjective idealistic terms. Strangely, when faced with two alternative strategies, Berkeley chooses the less viable option and explicates the mosaic account of creation in terms of perceptibility. I shall show that Berkeley’s account of creation trivializes the affair, if it does not fail outright.
17. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Richard Cross Duns Scotus on Eternity and Timelessness
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Scotus consistently holds that eternity is to be understood as timelessness. In his early Lectura, he criticizes Aquinas’ account of eternity on the grounds that (1) it entails collapsing past and future into the present, and (2) it entails a B-theory of time, according to which past, present and future are all ontologically on a par with each other. Scotus later comes to accept something like Aquinas’ account of God’s timelessness and the B-theory of time which it entails. Scotus also offers a refutation of his earlier argument that Aquinas’ account of eternity entails collapsing past and future into the present.
18. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
John Sanders Why Simple Foreknowledge Offers No More Providential Control Than the Openness of God
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This paper examines the question of whether the theory of simply foreknowledge (SF) provides God with greater providential control than does the theory of present knowledge (PK). It is claimed by the proponents of SF that a deity lacking such knowledge would not be able to provide the sort of providential aid commonly thought by theists to be given by God. To see whether this is the case I first distinguish two different versions of how God’s foreknowledge is accessed according to simple foreknowledge. These two versions are then utilized to examine seven different areas of divine providence to assess the utility of simple foreknowledge. I conclude that SF affords no greater providential control than PK.
19. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Steven D. Crain Divine Action in a World Chaos: An Evaluation of John Polkinghorne’s Model of Special Divine Action
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John Polkinghorne, formerly a physicist and now an Anglican priest and theologian, has made a significant contribution to the current dialogue between Christian theology and the natural sciences. I examine here his reflection on what is commonly called the problem of special divine action in the world. Polkinghorne argues that God acts in the world via a “topdown” or “downward” mode of causation that exploits the indeterministic openness of chaotic systems without requiring that God violate natural laws. In response, I argue: (1) that divine intervention in response to human sin is theologically, as well as scientifically unobjectionable; and (2) that the belief that God is the transcendent creator of the world renders the “causal joint” between God and the world metaphysical in nature, thus obviating the need to uncover a physical feature of the world that God exploits in order to act in the world.
20. Faith and Philosophy: Volume > 14 > Issue: 1
Gordon Knight Universalism and the Greater Good: A Response to Talbott
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Thomas Talbott has recently argued in this journal that the three propositions 1) God wills universal salvation 2) God has the power to produce universal salvation and 3) some persons are not saved are inconsistent. I contend that this claim is only true if God has no overriding purposes that would place restrictions on the means God uses to achieve God’s ends. One possible example of such an overriding purpose would be God’s aim to produce the most good. I end by suggesting that while God’s purpose of universal salvation does render the achievement of this end probable, it is by no means necessary.