Category Archives: Academic

Two Objections to Inferring a Personal Cause of the Universe

The Problem

The kalam cosmological argument proceeds in three stages:  first, it provides evidence that the universe had a beginning. Second, it maintains that the universe had a cause and that this cause must have existed in a spaceless, timeless, immaterial state. Third, it gives reasons for why the cause was a personal agent. [The kalam argument also presupposes a “relational” and “A-theory” of time[1]]

In today’s post, I will consider one of the reasons why William Lane Craig (1991) thinks a personal cause is the best explanation for Continue reading Two Objections to Inferring a Personal Cause of the Universe

Does Quantum Physics Undercut the Kalam Argument?

The Objection from Quantum Physics

In a previous post, I argued that the causal premise in the Kalam Cosmological Argument gains support from an Aristotelian understanding of possibility and actuality. We discovered that if the universe began to exist, then it must have been possible for it to begin to exist. Such a possibility is best understood as a potentiality or power residing in an actual thing – namely, a cause.

In today’s post, I’d like to address an objection to the idea that whatever begins to exist has a cause. By far, the most common objection is that Continue reading Does Quantum Physics Undercut the Kalam Argument?

Tackling the Kalam Cosmological Argument

Introduction

The Kalam cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of God defended most notably by William Lane Craig, research professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology. The argument has its roots in Islamic philosophy and can be stated as follows [1] :

slide_6

The purpose of this blog post is to focus on the premise (1) by providing a succinct defence of it and then responding to some objections. Continue reading Tackling the Kalam Cosmological Argument

What’s Behind It All? God, Science and the Universe

Here is the video of a debate recently attended at the University of Toronto on the question of cosmic and biological origins.  The three speakers in the debate were Lawrence Krauss (atheism), Stephen Meyer (intelligent design), and Denis Lamoureux (theistic evolution), and there were well over 1000 people (some hostile) in attendance during its filming in Convocation Hall, at Wycliff College. I hope you enjoy it!

Confirming Evidence in the Domain of Religion

For those of you interested in the topic of confirming evidence, particularly as it relates to evidence for religion and for competing views like naturalism, this lecture series is for you.  Dr. Phillip Wiebe is an expert on this subject and has done some great work on religious experience, specifically Christic Visions, Spirits, and the Shroud of Turin.  He is also my former logic professor!Phil-page-001

4 Themes in Historical Jesus Research

What can we know about the historical Jesus, and how can we know it? Anthony Le Donne addresses in these questions in his excellent book on the subject entitled, Historical Jesus.

Le Donne’s Historical Jesus has two important qualities that make it well worth the read. The first is the way the book models how scholarship should be written for Continue reading 4 Themes in Historical Jesus Research

Os Guinness on the Art of Faithful Persuasion in Politics

Eight years ago, I listened to Os Guinness speak on the topic of faith and political engagement at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. His lecture was entitled The Case for Civility and he argued that Christians need to learn the art of faithful persuasion if they want to be taken seriously in the political life of a pluralistic democracy like the United States or Canada.

Guinness’ main point is this: in a pluralistic democracy where Continue reading Os Guinness on the Art of Faithful Persuasion in Politics

How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed his Mind

Antony Flew’s book, There is a God (2007), is a helpful resource for someone trying to decide whether there are good grounds for believing in God. It requires some interest in philosophical topics, but it isn’t too technical and the storyline carries the reader forward despite some difficult spots. Flew insists that his conversion to deism (after being an atheist for most of his professional career) was the outcome of following Socrates’ dictum, ‘follow the evidence wherever it leads.’

blog_thereisaGod

Flew begins the book by tracing his early childhood years and the experiences of evil that convinced him to embrace atheism during his adolescence. He then recounts all the ways he used to argue against the existence of God during his career as a respected philosopher: e.g. the presumption of atheism, the incoherence of theism, the failure of theistic proofs, problems with falsifying theism, etc.

According to There Is a God (2007), Flew’s thinking about God changed upon finding adequate responses to his atheistic arguments and weighing new evidence from science, cosmology, and contingency. The conclusion of the book is that deism (not atheism) the most likely position to be true compared to its alternatives. He still denies belief in any revealed religion (due to the problem of evil) but he seems particularly impressed with the historical testimony to the bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

antony flew

I’d recommend this book to any serious seeker of truth – whether a believer, skeptic, or agnostic – if only because it is refreshing to see an academic giant of Flew’s caliber change his mind at the risk of being dismissed by his colleagues.

Losing Christianity

Dear followers,

I’ve decided to re-blog a book review by my friend and New Testament scholar Stephen Bedard, on Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus and Lost Christianities.

The review was published in the McMaster Journal of Theology and Ministry, and is entitled “Losing Christianity: A New Testament Scholar’s Fall From Faith.” It can be found here.

Enjoy! Thomas