Search results for: god-suffering-and-the-value-of-free-will

God Suffering and the Value of Free Will

Author : Laura W. Ekstrom
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"This book focuses on arguments from suffering against the existence of God and on a variety of issues concerning agency and value that they bring out. The central aim is to show the extent and power of arguments from evil. The book provides a close investigation of an under-defended claim at the heart of the major free-will-based responses to such arguments, namely that free will is sufficiently valuable to serve as the good, or prominently among the goods, that provides a God-justifying reason for permitting evil in our world. Offering a fresh examination of traditional theodicies, it also develops an alternative line the author calls a divine intimacy theodicy. It makes an extended case for rejection of the position of skeptical theism. The book expands upon an argument from evil concerning a traditional doctrine of hell, which reveals a number of interesting issues concerning fault, agency, and blameworthiness. In response to recent work contending that the problem of evil is defanged since God's baseline attitude toward human beings is indifference, the book defends the essential perfect moral goodness of God. Finally it takes up the question of whether or not it makes sense to live a religious life as an agnostic or as an atheist"--

God Suffering and the Value of Free Will

Author : LAURA W. EKSTROM
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God Suffering and the Value of Free Will

Author : Laura W. Ekstrom
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For many of us, the question of whether or not God exists is one of the most perplexing and profound questions of our lives, and numerous philosophers and theologians have debated it for centuries. Laura Ekstrom here takes a new look at the issue of God's existence by examining it against the reality of human suffering, bringing to the fore contentious presuppositions concerning agency and value at the core of the matter. When we survey the world, we observe an enormous amount of pain, including virtually unspeakable kinds of maltreatment and agony, many instances of which seem patently unfair, unearned, and pointless. This book argues that, in light of these observations, it is reasonable to conclude that God does not exist. The book unravels the extent and power of arguments from evil. Ekstrom provides a close investigation of a largely overlooked claim at the heart of major free-will-based responses to such arguments, namely that free will is worth it: sufficiently valuable to serve as the good that provides a God-justifying reason for permitting evil in the world. Through fresh examinations of traditional theodicies, Ekstrom develops an alternative line called divine intimacy theodicy, and makes an extended case for rejecting skeptical theism. The book takes up an argument from evil concerning a traditional doctrine of hell, which reveals a number of compelling issues concerning fault, agency, and blameworthiness. In response to recent work contending that the problem of evil is toothless because God is indifferent to human beings, Ekstrom defends the essential perfect moral goodness of God. She further tackles the question of whether or not it is possible to live a religious life as an agnostic or as an atheist. Through rigorous reflection, with deep respect for religious thought and experience, and with sensitivity to the range and kinds of suffering so many endure, Ekstrom firmly advances discussion of the problem of evil and paves the way for further scholarship in the philosophy of religion.

God Suffering and Solipsism

Author : Clement Dore
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'Solipsism' refers to the radically skeptical thesis that no one is justified in believing that there is a world beyond present, subjective states of consciousness. The French philosopher, Rene Descartes, undertook to overcome solipsism by setting out some proofs of God's existence and then arguing that, since God is perfectly good, he would not permit enlightened common sense to be deceived about the existence of an enduring external world.

God Suffering and Solipsism

Author : Clement Dore
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God

Author : William Lane Craig
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The question of whether or not God exists is profoundly fascinating and important. Now two articulate spokesmen--one a Christian, the other an atheist--duel over God's existence in an illuminating battle of ideas. In God? A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist, William Lane Craig and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong bring to the printed page two debates they held before live audiences, preserving all the wit, clarity, and immediacy of their public exchanges. Avoiding overly esoteric arguments, they directly address issues such as religious experience, the Bible, evil, eternity, the origin of the universe, design, and the supposed connection between morality and the existence of God. Employing sharp and humorous arguments, each philosopher strikes quickly to the heart of his opponent's case. For example, Craig claims that we must believe in God in order to explain objective moral values, such as why rape is wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong responds that what makes rape wrong is the harm to victims of rape, so rape is immoral even if there is no God. By assuming a traditional concept of God in their discussion, the authors ensure that they are truly addressing each other's viewpoints and engaging in a disagreement over a unified issue. The book is composed of six chapters that alternate between Craig and Sinnott-Armstrong, so that each separate point can be discussed as it arises. Ideal for courses in the philosophy of religion and introduction to philosophy, this lively and direct dialogue will stimulate students and anyone interested in the existence of God, regardless of whether or not they believe in God.

God Probability and Life after Death

Author : William Hunt
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This book explores the probability of human resurrection based upon the existence of God and a set of evidential elements, namely, the Resurrection of Jesus, near-death experiences, and apparitions. William Hunt's argument employs subjective probability theory using Bayes' theorem in a cumulative process.

The Rationality of Belief and the Plurality of Faith

Author : Thomas D. Senor
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A veritable who's who in the field of contemporary philosophy of religion here considers various issues in the epistemology of religious beliefs. The writings of William P. Alston, the leading figure in the revival of the Anglo-American philosophy of religion, provide the focus of these essays, all but two previously unpublished. Philosophers of religion, meta-physicians, epistemologists, and theologians will find in this volume some of the most important work available in the theory of knowledge and the epistemic status of religious belief.

William L Rowe on Philosophy of Religion

Author : William L. Rowe
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William Rowe is one of the leading thinkers in contemporary philosophy of religion. Although he is best known for his contributions to the problem of evil, he has produced innovative and influential work across a wide array of subjects at the interface between philosophy and religion. He has, for example, written extensively on the existentialist theologian, Paul Tillich, on the challenging problem of divine freedom, and on the traditional arguments in support of the existence of God. His work in these areas is distinguished by its clarity, rigour, originality, and sensitivity towards the claims of his theistic opponents. Indeed, Rowe's work has played a pivotal role in the remarkable revival of analytic philosophy of religion since the 1970s. The present collection brings together for the first time Rowe's most significant contributions to the philosophy of religion. This diverse but representative selection of Rowe's writings will provide students, professional scholars as well as general readers with stimulating and accessible discussions on such topics as the philosophical theology of Paul Tillich, the problem of evil, divine freedom, arguments for the existence of God, religious experience, life after death, and religious pluralism.

Good God

Author : David Baggett
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This book aims to reinvigorate discussions of moral arguments for God's existence. To open this debate, Baggett and Walls argue that God's love and moral goodness are perfect, without defect, necessary, and recognizable. After integrating insights from the literature of both moral apologetics and theistic ethics, they defend theistic ethics against a variety of objections and, in so doing, bolster the case for the moral argument for God's existence. It is the intention of the authors to see this aspect of natural theology resume its rightful place of prominence, by showing how a worldview predicated on the God of both classical theism and historical Christian orthodoxy has more than adequate resources to answer the Euthyphro Dilemma, speak to the problem of evil, illumine natural law, and highlight the moral significance of the incarnation and resurrection of Christ. Ultimately, the authors argue, there is principled reason to believe that morality itself provides excellent reasons to look for a transcendent source of its authority and reality, and a source that is more than an abstract principle.

The Wisdom to Doubt

Author : J. L. Schellenberg
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The Wisdom to Doubt is a major contribution to the contemporary literature on the epistemology of religious belief. Continuing the inquiry begun in his previous book, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, J. L. Schellenberg here argues that given our limitations and especially our immaturity as a species, there is no reasonable choice but to withhold judgment about the existence of an ultimate salvific reality. Schellenberg defends this conclusion against arguments from religious experience and naturalistic arguments that might seem to make either religious belief or religious disbelief preferable to his skeptical stance. In so doing, he canvasses virtually all of the important recent work on the epistemology of religion. Of particular interest is his call for at least skepticism about theism, the most common religious claim among philosophers. The Wisdom to Doubt expands the author's well-known hiddenness argument against theism and situates it within a larger atheistic argument, itself made to serve the purposes of his broader skeptical case. That case need not, on Schellenberg's view, lead to a dead end but rather functions as a gateway to important new insights about intellectual tasks and religious possibilities.

The Resurrection of Immortality

Author : Mark S. McLeod-Harrison
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If humans are not capable of immortality, then eschatological doctrines of heaven and hell make little sense. On that Christians agree. But not all Christians agree on whether humans are essentially immortal. Some hold that the early church was right to borrow from the ancient Greek philosophers and to bring their sense of immortality to bear on the interpretation of biblical passages about the afterlife. Others, however, suggest that we are inherently mortal, and only conditionally immortal. This latter view is usually associated with an annihilationist interpretation of the doctrine of hell and a rejection of eternal torment. In a philosophical analysis and argument, McLeod-Harrison proposes that humans are, indeed, immortal, but not essentially so. But neither are we immortal accidentally or conditionally. Instead, immortality is an enduring property—a property we cannot lose once created. McLeod-Harrison carefully delineates the sense of immortality he defends and provides a broadly Christian philosophical argument for it. The argument, if correct, leaves the recent suggestion that the unredeemed are annihilated on unsteady metaphysical feet. However, McLeod-Harrison does not defend eternal conscious punishment for the unredeemed, but suggests some ways to think about the possibility of a universal salvation.

The Free Will Delusion

Author : James B. Miles
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Poverty is not accident, but design. We are not all equal before the law. And the central message of contemporary ethics is that only some people matter. Expanding on work described as “crucial” and “very fine and provocative” by the Editor of The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, author James Miles now shows not only that free will is a delusion but that it is this delusion that has left us with only the illusion of morality. Belief in free will means never having to acknowledge your own great good fortune, or recognise the far greater misfortune of others. It is the conceit of freedom of the will that today ensures that so many at the bottom are denied any chance of social and economic advancement. Some free will theorists even argue that we need not be concerned with ideals of equality, fair play and opportunity. Is this fair? “Is it fair...? Life isn’t fair”, shrugs the free will philosopher Dan Dennett. Yes, life is not fair, and if we leave it up to the priests and the philosophers, it never will be. The Free Will Delusion is an eloquent and rousing call to arms that we can be, we must be, better than this.

God the Best and Evil

Author : Bruce Langtry
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God, the Best, and Evil is an original treatment of some longstanding problems about God and his actions towards human beings. First, Bruce Langtry explores some implications of divine omnipotence, omniscience, and perfect goodness for God's providence. In particular, he investigates whether God is in some sense a maximizer. Second, he assesses the strength of objections to the existence of God that are based on the apparent fact that God could have created a better world than this one. Finally, he assesses the strength of objections to the existence of God that focus on the problem of evil. To create a (possible) world is to strongly or weakly actualize it. A world is prime if God can create it, and he cannot create a world better than it. This book's conclusions include the following: (1) If there is at least one prime world, then if God does create some world he will create a prime world. (2) If there are no prime worlds, then it does not follow that God does not exist. Instead, what follows is that if God creates a world he will create one that is good enough, despite the fact that he could create a world which is better. (3) This conclusion does not give rise to a good objection to theism, based on the apparent fact that the actual world is improvable and yet it is not good enough (4) Even if there is a best world, or several equal-best worlds, God cannot create any of them. (5) A good partial theodicy for evil can be provided, appealing to goods bound up with human free will, moral responsibility, and the roles of individuals' own personal traits in shaping their own and other people's lives. The partial theodicy is neutral between Theological Compatibilism and libertarianism. (6) The problem of evil does not provide a very strong objection to the existence of God.

Analytic Philosophy of Religion

Author : James Franklin Harris
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When Gene Long, editor of Kluwer's Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion Series, first invited me to write the volume on Analytic Philosophy of Religion, I accepted with great enthusiasm. My only explanation for that enthusiasm now is that I was younger and more naive at the time. Soon after starting work on the volume, my enthusiasm was dampened by the daunting magnitude of the task. I began as a sprinter and quickly settled into the pace of a long-distance runner. Although I considered myself well read in the subject, I soon discovered that I had a great deal of research to do to be confident that I had considered all of the major contributions to the various discussions, issues, and of religion. As I read more and more problems found within analytic philosophy books and articles, I realized that I had rushed into a territory already well trodden by the angels. I am greatly impressed by the sophistication and subtlety of philosophical argument that characterize the different debates in contemporary analytic philosophy of religion. This volume covers a vast amount of material. I have endeavored to provide the fairest possible reading of different authors, and, in cases where I include my own critical evaluations and develop my own positions, I have endeavored to provide the strongest possible interpretations of the positions I criticize.

Providence Evil and the Openness of God

Author : William Hasker
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Providence, Evil and the Openness of God is a timely exploration of the philosophical implications of the rapidly-growing theological movement known as open theism, or the 'openness of God'. William Hasker, one of the philosophers prominently associated with this movement, presents the strengths of this position in comparison with its main competitors: Calvinism, process theism, and the theory of divine middle knowledge, or Molinism. The author develops alternative approaches to the problem of evil and to the problem of divine action in the world. In particular, he argues that believers should not maintain the view that each and every evil that occurs is permitted by God as a means to a 'greater good'. He contends that open theism makes possible an emphasis on the personalism of divine-human interaction in a way that traditional views, with their heavy emphasis on divine control, cannot easily match. The book concludes with a section of replies to critics, in which many of the objections levelled against open theism are addressed.

The Wonder of the Cross

Author : Richard A. Shenk
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When considering and confronting the problem of evil, we may be asking the wrong question: Why is there evil in the world if God is good and powerful? It may be wrong because it smuggles in an unbiblical premise: God can and should use his coercive power to relieve suffering since he is both good and able. But what if coercive power does not work to accomplish God's goals? This book is an investigation into the possibility that the noncoercive power of the Cross must be at the center of this issue, and that the Cross could reform this question. We could ask, instead, How is God destroying evil and suffering--and why is he taking so long? The answer to this reframed question might be: He is using evil and suffering to destroy evil and suffering for His People; this is how long it takes. While not a "solution" to the problem of evil, could this help us learn to delight in God in a world in which evil and suffering seem at times so relentless?

The Problem of Evil

Author : N. N. Trakakis
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Eight leading philosophers of religion debate 'the problem of evil' - the problem of reconciling the existence of a perfectly good and loving God with the existence of sin and suffering in the world. Their dialogues explore a range of imaginative and innovative approaches to the nature of divinity and its relationship to evil.

Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil

Author : Nicola Hoggard Creegan
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Nicola Hoggard Creegan offers a compelling examination of the problem of evil in the context of animal suffering, disease, and extinction and the violence of the evolutionary process. Using the parable of the wheat and the tares as a hermeneutical lens for understanding the tragedy and beauty of evolutionary history, she shows how evolutionary theory has deconstructed the primary theodicy of historic Christianity—-the Adamic fall—-while scientific research on animals has increased appreciation of animal sentience and capacity for suffering. Animal Suffering and the Problem of Evil responds to this new theodic challenge. Hoggard Creegan argues that nature can be understood as an interrelated mix of the perfect and the corrupted: the wheat and the tares. At times the good is glimpsed, but never easily nor unequivocally. She then argues that humans are not to blame for all evil because so much evil preceded human becoming. Finally, she demonstrates that faith requires a confidence in the visibility of the work of God in nature, regardless of how infinitely subtle and almost hidden it is, affirming that there are ways of perceiving the evolutionary process beyond that 'nature is red in tooth and claw.'

A Companion to Atheism and Philosophy

Author : Graham Oppy
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Philosophers throughout history have debated the existence of gods, but it is only in recent years that the absence of such a belief has become a significant topic of philosophical analysis, in particular for philosophers of religion. Although it is difficult to trace the historical contours of atheism as the lack of belief in a higher power, the reasoned, reflective, and thoughtful rejection of theism has become commonplace in many modern intellectual circles, including academic philosophy where disciplinary data indicates that a large majority of philosophers self-identify as atheists. As the first book of its kind to bring together a collection of writing on the philosophical aspects of atheism both historical and contemporary, the Companion to Atheism and Philosophy stages an explicit, constructive, and comprehensive conversation between philosophy and atheism to examine the ways in which atheist thought intersects with ideas and positions from a variety of philosophical and theological sub-disciplines. The Companion begins by addressing the foundational questions and lingering controversies which underpin philosophical thought about atheism, exploring the implications of major developments in the history of philosophy for the modern atheistic worldview. Divided into eight distinct sections, essays consider a range of thinkers who were widely believed to have been atheists—including David Hume, Mary Wollstonecraft, Karl Marx, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton—and survey different kinds of objections to theism and atheism, including logical, evidential, normative, and prudential. Later chapters trace the relationship between atheism and metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy oriented around topics such as pragmatism, postmodernism, freedom, education, violence, and happiness. Deftly curated and thoughtfully composed, A Companion to Atheism and Philosophy is the most ambitious and authoritative account of philosophical thinking on atheism available, and is a first-rate resource for academics, professionals, and students of philosophy, religious studies, and theology.