Advice to Christian Philosophers


Professor Alvin Plantinga

Preface.

In the paper that follows I write from the perspective of a philosopher, and of course I
have detailed knowledge of (at best) only my own field. I am convinced, however, that
many other disciplines resemble philosophy with respect to things I say below. (It will be
up to the practitioners of those other disciplines to see whether or not I am right.)

First, it isn't just in philosophy that we Christians are heavily influenced by the practice
and procedures of our non-Christian peers. (Indeed, given the cantankerousness of
philosophers and the rampant disagreement in philosophy it is probably easier to be a
maverick there than in most other disciplines.) The same holds for nearly any important
contemporary intellectual discipline: history, literary and artistic criticism, musicology,
and the sciences, both social and natural. In all of these areas there are ways of
proceeding, pervasive assumptions about the nature of the discipline (for example,
assumptions about the nature of science and its place in our intellectual economy),
assumptions about how the discipline should be carried on and what a valuable or
worthwhile contribution is like and so on; we imbibe these assumptions, if not with our
mother's milk, at any rate in learning to pursue our disciplines. In all these areas we learn
how to pursue our disciplines under the direction and influence of our peers.

But in many cases these assumptions and presumptions do not easily mesh with a
Christian or theistic way of looking at the world. This is obvious in many areas: in
literary criticism and film theory, where creative anti-realism (see below) runs riot; in
sociology and psychology and the other human sciences; in history; and even in a good
deal of contemporary (liberal) theology. It is less obvious but nonetheless present in the
so-called natural sciences.
The Australian philosopher J. J. C. Smart once remarked that
an argument useful (from his naturalistic point of view) for convincing believers in
human freedom of the error of their ways is to point out that contemporary mechanistic
biology seems to leave no room for human free will: how, for example, could such a
thing have developed in the evolutionary course of things? Even in physics and
mathematics, those austere bastions of pure reason, similar questions arise. These
questions have to do with the content of these sciences and the way in which they have
developed. They also have to do with the way in which (as they are ordinarily taught and practiced) these disciplines are artificially separated from questions concerning the nature
of the objects they study-a separation determined, not by what is most natural to the
subject matter in question, but by a broadly positivist conception of the nature of
knowledge and the nature of human intellectual activity.

Continue Reading --->

Christianity needs Philosophy?!?

"Philosophy is simply this: 
thinking deeply about the things that matter most."
- Dr. Plantinga

Dr. Alvin Plantinga, one of the brightest Christian Philosophers today, comments here on the benefit and the potency of Philosophy when discussing religious ideas and concepts.

His perspective, as seen in this video, should give good motivation to any serious thinking Christian and non-Christian to engage in a decent amount of training in philosophy.  It surely is one of the best tools available to mankind to be able to distinguish between truth and error, between what is logically impossible, necessary, or simply logically possible in reality.  As you will discover, philosophy always has and always will be vitally important to the study of metaphysics, logic, and ethics, and of course, religion as well.

Enjoy Dr. Plantinga's lucid insights and light hearted comments!

- Pastor J.




Does Evil Disprove God? - Dr. Alvin Plantinga

Is God's existence incompatible with great amount of suffering and evil in the world? 

Dr. Alvin Plantinga, one of the brightest and most effective Christian philosophers today, offers some interesting reasons why there is no logical incompatibility between the existence of "Evil and Suffering" in the world and simultaneously a God that is All-Good, All-Knowing, and All Powerful.

Contrary to common opinion, since there is no logical incompatibility, there only remains an atheistic argument against God based on "improbability".  Unfortunately, atheists are in no position to make such bold metaphysical claims, not having access to the information necessary to issue such judgments.

The only Worldview that gives an emotionally satisfying and philosophically adequate answer to the problem and solution to the origin, explanation, and answer to the "Problem of Evil and Suffering" is that of Christian Theism - Biblical Christianity.  

All other Worldviews (Atheism, Agnosticism, Pantheism, etc....) must also grapple with and answer with this profound problem..... but they fail to do so successfully.

Have an Intelligent Faith..... and don't have the blind faith of Atheism!

- Pastor J.

Evolution Disproves Naturalism?!? - Dr. Alvin Plantinga

Is Naturalism a self-defeating idea 

for a Darwinian Evolutionist to hold?

One of the most prominent and effective Christian philosophers alive today,

Dr. Alvin Plantinga

, has developed and interesting and potent argument against the idea of Naturalism using the supposition of biological evolution.

This line of reasoning, termed

"An Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism"

presents a  significant challenge to the intellectual consistency and credibility of  a person claiming to believe in both of these ideas simultaneously.

If you haven't yet read any of Dr. Plantinga's work on the

"Free Will Defense"

for the Problem of Evil, the explanation of

Properly Basic Beliefs

, and his formulation of the

Ontological Argument

for God's Existence using Modal Logic - purchase some of his works immediately.  He has made tremendous contributions in each of these areas, has been called "the Greatest Christian Philosopher of our Time", and also happens to be the favorite Christian intellectual of William Lane Craig!

- Pastor J. 

Dr. Alvin Plantinga - "Is A Person Only Material and Physical?"

Are atheists correct that the soul/mind of a human is only an illusion? 

One of the brightest minds on the intellectual and philosophical landscape today, Dr. Alvin Plantinga, gives some great insights and perspectives on this hot topic of what is commonly referred to as "the Mind/Body problem".

The challenging aspect for the atheist/naturalist/materialist is that they must be able to demonstrate that a wide hosts of immaterial objects don't exist, even though the vast majority of philosophers hold that they do.  These would include memories, mathematical concepts, objective morality, laws of logic, geometrical shapes to name only a few.  If even one of these immaterial/non-physical realities exist, it would seem that naturalism/materialism is out of a job, philosophically speaking!

Among these immaterial objects that we believe exists (and can demonstrate empirically through reliably documented Near Death Experiences) is the human soul, often referred to as "the mind" or "consciousness".

Listen to the insight of Dr. Alvin Plantinga, one of the greatest Christian philosophers of our times, and see what you think.

Have an Intelligent Faith!

- Pastor J. 

Can God Change?

Is God an eternal being?

Does God change over time?

PBS' Closer To Truth host Robert Lawrence Kuhn interviews Dr. Alvin Plantinga (often named as the most important living philosopher of religion today) about whether God can change or not.



Check out more video's of Dr. Plantinga at closertotruth.com

Have an Intelligent Faith!!

"If GOD, Why Evil?" - Multiple Answers

If GOD exists, how can He allow evil?

Is GOD not powerful enough, or not good enough to vanquish it?

Does GOD not know the future, and therefore blind to the evil that will occur?

Here are some good answers to consider when examining the so called

"Problem of Evil and Suffering".  It's important to note that Dr. Alvin Plantinga, arguably the greatest Christian philosopher of the 20th century, demolished the idea that the co-existence of GOD and evil are logically incompatible with his now well-known "Free Will Defense".

So we must then ask ourselves, are there morally sufficient reasons that GOD could have to the pain that we encounter in the world?  Is it possible that we don't know all the answers, being finite creatures?  Is it possible that moral evil is a necessary possibility in order for moral good to exist?  Is it logical to think that an All-Good Creator could

MAKE his creatures FREELY choose Him?

Watch this short video and share your thoughts with me..... and read Dr. Alvin  Plantinga's "Free Will Defense"

. - Pastor J

Is A Human Being Only Material?

Is a human being composed of more than just matter?

Is Materialism a sufficient philosophy to explain 
what we know to be true of humans?

Is there any way that we can intuitively distinguish 
between 'us' and our bodies?


In this short but penetrating video, Dr. Alvin Plantinga, regarded as the most influential Christian philosopher of the 20th century, gives a concise and penetrating look into the controversial question of materialism.  

Here, Dr. Plantinga makes the point that if we can find just one point where the body is not identical to 'us' then according to the Law of Identity, we are not our bodies.  Since materialism is one of the greatest philosophical challenges to the Christian worldview today (along with Relativism and Pluralism), we would be wise to listen to the words of this great Christian thinker.

Feel free to comment on the video, and to pass it on to anyone who would benefit from it, especially a materialist, atheist, or naturalist!  

Until next time.......have an Intelligent Faith!

- Pastor J.