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.
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.’
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.
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.
When the origin of religious belief is a topic of debate between Christian apologists and atheists, their arguments follow a predictable thread. The atheist usually claims that religious beliefs arose because they were advantageous for our evolutionary ancestors, or were the by-product of adaptations that conferred such advantages. Then, the apologist responds to the atheist by accusing him of committing “the genetic fallacy.” But what is the genetic fallacy, exactly? Continue reading How Not to Invoke the “Genetic Fallacy”→
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?→
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.
This video is about how theories of knowledge like positivism, verificationism and falsificationism might be used to rule out belief in God. I hope you find the video challenging and stimulating! It’s by Dr. William Lane Craig from his website ReasonableFaith.org
Today’s blog post is about religious violence – in particular the claim that most wars and conflicts in the world are caused by religion. This claim is often made by so-called New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris who argue that violence is an inevitable corollary of religion’s being irrational, anti-science, and Continue reading Is Religion the Main Cause of Wars?→
Apologetics – like any area of study – has its pros and cons. One of the pros of studying apologetics is that one quickly gains a birds-eye-view of the many positions that are out there, as well as the tension-points in each position. Seeing the bigger picture helps one to assess different worldviews by checking how they fit with particular facts. Unfortunately, one of the cons of apologetics has been Continue reading Apologists, Please Stop Lumping Agnostics Together With Atheists→