Category Archives: Theology

Debating an Atheist in a Speedo

The university of Guelph pool is a great place to swim laps and chat with folks in the hot tub. On one occasion, a boisterous young man named John joined us and started chatting up a female student named Dina sitting next to me. Dina shared that she was a Catholic exchange student from Mexico and John responded in no uncertain words that he was an atheist.

“So you’re Catholic?” inquired John.

“Yes,” replied Dina.

“So let me get this straight. You believe that Continue reading Debating an Atheist in a Speedo

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

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

Reflections on Anthony Le Donne’s Book ‘Historical Jesus’

Historical Jesus2
A great book on this topic, by Anthony Le Donne

Blogging about the historical Jesus is something I hesitate to do, and for several reasons:

First, I am not a Jesus historian. While I do have a layperson’s interest in the methodology and practice of Jesus research, my academic training is in philosophy of religion, epistemology, phenomenology, and religious studies (broadly construed). I do not specialize in New Testament studies or in Second Temple Judaism.

Second, I am a Christian. This title doesn’t disqualify me from writing about Jesus, of course, but it does Continue reading Reflections on Anthony Le Donne’s Book ‘Historical Jesus’

Is Theodicy At Odds with Humanitarianism?

Introduction

Lately I have been writing about the argument from evil against the existence of God. This argument claims that the occurrence of evil in the world is more likely if atheism is true than if theism is true. Theists typically respond that while God hates evil, he nevertheless has morally sufficient reasons for permitting it. And God’s reasons are only sufficient if He has no better way of securing Continue reading Is Theodicy At Odds with Humanitarianism?

Striving for Excellence in a World without Moral Evil

Introduction

Lately I have been writing about the argument from evil against the existence God. This argument is meant to show that God’s existence is unlikely given the fact that we suffer at the hands of nature and our fellow creatures.

One reply to the problem of evil is to argue that acquaintance with suffering is necessary for Continue reading Striving for Excellence in a World without Moral Evil

Evaluating the Free Will Response to Evil

Introduction

Theists who use the free will response to the problem of evil argue that the existence of moral and natural suffering is unsurprising if God exists. God, they claim, has good reason to create free creatures who play a significant role in shaping their own lives and the lives of others – for good or for ill. Moreover, free will depends on a system of natural laws that enable predictions of the outcomes of one’s behavior; therefore, the suffering that issues from living in such a system becomes inevitable. To sum up, we should not be surprised to find moral and natural suffering in a world created by God.

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The Free Will Response: God has good reason to create free creatures who play a significant role in shaping their own lives and the lives of others – for good or for ill.

That’s a summary of the free will response from my previous post. But does this response have any weaknesses? Yes it does. Today I will consider five objections that Continue reading Evaluating the Free Will Response to Evil

Is Soul-Making Contrary To Justification By Faith?

In my last post, we considered two standard objections to the soul-making response to the problem of evil.

According to the first objection, God would prefer that I shape my character within the confines of a virtual reality machine since doing so would nullify any potential harm to real people. This objection failed because Continue reading Is Soul-Making Contrary To Justification By Faith?

2 Objections to the Soul-Making Theodicy

In a previous post, I outlined four components of the soul-making response to the problem of evil. This response argues that moral and natural suffering are allowed by God so that humans can play an intentional role in developing the good character which God will fully endow them with in heaven. In the afterlife, those humans who have intentionally shaped their characters in the direction of goodness, and who have confirmed their intention in the face of suffering and temptation to the contrary, will be endowed by God with Continue reading 2 Objections to the Soul-Making Theodicy