Recently Published Articles
Over the past three decades, Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has been appealing to the beginning of the universe in order to argue for the existence of God. This article quickly outlines a common objection (known as the quantum mechanics objection) to Craig's appeal and then examines Craig's typical rebuttal, concluding that Craig's rebuttal is not only irrelevant to the quantum mechanics objection--but comes with a whole host of other problems.
Is something good because it is pleasing to God, or is something pleasing to God because it is good? Is something good because God commands it, or is what is good inherently good regardless of what God or anyone else happens to think about it? If "the wages of sin is death," how does the death of an innocent satisfy such an obligation? How one answers these questions has profound implications.
A challenge often presented to Atheists by fundamentalist Christians and various Theists is that Atheists have no proof there is no God, therefore Atheism is just another faith. Although Atheists do not have the Burden of Proof, there are two main categories of evidence that can be used to provide philosophical justification for an atheistic worldview: evidential arguments and logical evidence against God's existence. I conclude that the mainstream concept of God is logically impossible; the problem of evil is proof positive for the nonexistence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God; the demographics of Theism are better explained by Atheism; and Theism does not have a good explanation for the problems of suffering and the arguments for Atheism.
Dave E. Matson
Bible-believers obstinately argue that the divinely sanctioned massacres in the Bible were morally justified--even an example of God's goodness and mercy! If, however, we begin with the assumption that God did, in fact, order those biblical massacres, then let us ask if God is truly good. If this is to be a reasoned inquiry, then we must begin with the possibility that God may or may not be morally perfect. All possibilities must be on the table at the start of an objective inquiry; the evidence must decide, not preconceived doctrine. Are these massacres more likely the work of a morally perfect god or are they more likely the work of a morally defective god?
James R. Henderson
Robin Collins argues for the existence of god based on the alleged fine tuning of the universe for life. To do so, he invokes the "Prime Principle of Confirmation." This principle is necessarily broad so that Collins may smuggle in supernatural agency as an explanation of the organized complexity of the universe, but it is so broad that all manner of completely implausible theories are deemed "supported by evidence." Further, the principle may be used to undercut parts of Collins' own argument.
As part of my coming out as an atheist, the pastor at my church challenged me to review the work of believer scientists, to look at how they had found Christianity compatible with their scientific work. What follows is my best shot, as a layman, at a difficult subject, based on careful thought and reflection. Its value, if any, is in showing how some well-known scientist-believers (John Polkinghorne, William Pollard, and Francis Collins) make the compatibility arguments in ways they would never accept in their scientific day jobs, and end up tangled up in, or in downright conflict with, the methods of science and the claims of theism.
James R. Henderson
Many believe Job is the most long-suffering human ever to have lived. If my theory of the Noah's Flood story is correct, that title may actually belong to Ham, Noah's youngest son. I discuss some of the problems with taking the Genesis 8 account literally and argue that confronting young-earth creationism is still an important activity.
The incredible story of a criminally convicted shyster convincing his parents and friends that he is a living prophet seems to be explained by Smith's well-documented charisma. People liked him as they like con men, trusted him as they trust tricksters, but more than that, and this is a key difference, Smith managed to con himself.
John J Ray
Job is the ultimate biblical hero. His long-suffering and unflinching faith is legendary and the stuff of great sermons and Sunday school lessons, and in the end Job is rewarded for his continued faith in the face of adversity. The standard interpretation of Job is that we should use him as a role model, accept adversity unquestionably, and never question God. But a critical interpretation reveals that God was the villain of the book, undeserving of Job's—or anyone's—devotion.
James R. Henderson
"Aquinas' Fourth Way of proving god's existence, the Argument from Degrees of Perfection (ADP), has a long history and dates back at least as far as Augustine of Hippo. It's crucial premise, that all sequences that may be ordered are embedded on a scale that has least and greatest elements, is called into question. I argue that this premise is stronger than is necessary for the ADP to carry the day, but even if one grants the truth of it, the ADP goes nowhere in showing that anything like a god as commonly conceived actually exists. Concentration is given to a modern form of the argument given by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli."
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