12543RE: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Christian Philosphy (almost) mainstream?
- Mar 28, 2005Hi Riley,
Actually, Plantinga is a Calvinist. From what I understand, he doesn't
believe free will is philosophically incompatible with the absolute
predestination of God. However he goes about it, though, he is certainly
well-known in philosophical circles as a self-avowed Calvinist.
>From: "Dan Fraas" <fraasrd@...>
>Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Christian Philosphy (almost)
>Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 22:57:56 -0000
>Very interesting. This guy is saying some good things, but he falls
>flat near the end of the article with his denial of the Calvinism of
>his fathers, which leaves him stumped in explaining God's
>character. It looks like he could really benefit from reading Van
>--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Benjamin Hart
> > I'm suprised my local newspaper ran an article on my favorite
>philosopher, picture and all!
> > _____________________________________________________
> > Protestant finds niche at Catholic university
> > Magazine calls Notre Dame professor the best Christian philosopher
> > By RICHARD N. OSTLING, Associated Press
> > First published: Sunday, March 27, 2005
> > SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In a scientific era, is it still possible to
>believe in God and such events as the Easter miracle of Jesus'
> > Can a rational person see God as both all-powerful and benevolent
>despite horrendous suffering in disasters like the Asian tsunami?
> > //alert("NowAdAdvertiserName: " + "MorrisFordMercury")
>FEATURED ADVERTISERMy Grandpa is #1
> > 2005 FORD EXPLORER
> > SPORT TRAC
> > The most versatile, athletic
> > SUV in the Ford Line-up.
> > Rt. 50, Burnt Hills
> > 399-9188
> > - Click here for morrisfordmercury.com -
> > From the perspective of philosopher Alvin Plantinga the answers
>are emphatic: yes and yes.
> > A Protestant professor at the University of Notre Dame, Plantinga
>applies modern analytic philosophy to the age-old questions about
>God and the universe.
> > An assessment in Christianity Today magazine called him "not just
>the best Christian philosopher of his time ... (but) the most
>important philosopher of any stripe."
> > Even atheist opponents recognize his importance. William Rowe of
>Purdue University and Michael Tooley of the University of Colorado --
> who is co-authoring a book with Plantinga -- each consider him
>among the top two or three defenders of traditional belief in God.
> > A tongue-in-cheek lexicon edited by skeptic Daniel Dennett also
>handed Plantinga a couple of backhanded compliments, defining
>planting as "to use 20th-century fertilizer to encourage new shoots
>from 11th-century ideas which everyone thought had gone to seed."
>Meanwhile, to alvinize something is "to stimulate protracted
>discussion by making a bizarre claim."
> > Plantinga's best work is clear but hardly popular fare; it's
>filled with modal logic and letter formulas that summarize the steps
>in his rigorous arguments.
> > Modern philosophy ponders how we know things like this: that other
>people exist with thoughts and feelings like our own; that material
>objects we observe are real; that the world existed more than five
>minutes ago; that the future will resemble the past or that we can
>rely upon our minds.
> > Plantinga argues that common sense and science know that such
>things are true -- and that they employ personal sympathy, memory,
>perception and intuition in the process. Applying complex formulas,
>Plantinga asserts that belief in God is equally reasonable.
> > It's heavy stuff, but the philosopher tries to lighten the mood as
>much as he can.
> > He imagines Henry Kissinger swimming across the Atlantic in one
>text, a possible world where Raquel Welch is mousy and others where
>there never was a Raquel Welch. The actress, he notes, "enjoys very
>little greatness in those worlds in which she does not exist."
> > Plantinga's Roman Catholic campus, which decades ago hired no
>Protestant philosophers, provides congenial surroundings for his
>work. Notre Dame boasts the nation's largest philosophy faculty, and
>scholars surveyed by PhilosophicalGourmet.com rate it first in the
>English-speaking world for graduate study in the philosophy of
>religion. Plantinga long led its graduate center in that field.
> > At age 72, he still takes an hour most days for a workout to keep
>his wiry 6-foot-2 frame in shape for his chief avocation, rock
> > Back in 1951, Plantinga was a Harvard University scholarship
>student surrounded by scoffers when one evening he experienced
>a "persuasion and conviction that the Lord was really there and was
>all I had thought."
> > Shortly thereafter, he transferred to Michigan's faith-affirming
>Calvin College, affiliated with his lifelong denomination, the
>Christian Reformed Church. "As good a decision as I've ever made,"
>he says. He then did graduate work at Michigan and Yale and taught
>at Calvin before moving to Notre Dame in 1982.
> > In his student days "everybody was predicting and giving lots of
>learned reasons for Christianity just dying out."
> > "Christianity didn't have any future in the academy," he said,
>recalling what he himself felt at the time. "It seemed the thing to
> > But now, "in philosophy, at least, Christianity is doing vastly
>better than it did 40 or 50 years ago and that's probably true in
>academia in general." One index: In 1978, Plantinga and five
>colleagues founded the Society of Christian Philosophers. Today it's
>an 1,100-member subgroup of the American Philosophical Association
>that publishes a respected quarterly.
> > Plantinga modestly avoids mentioning his own influence in
>nurturing younger Christian thinkers.
> > He notes that Christianity faces two intellectual competitors
>today. Postmodern thought claims "there basically isn't any truth at
>all," while atheistic naturalism says there is such a thing as
>truth, but only empirical science delivers it.
> > Plantinga sees "superficial conflict but deep concord between
>Christian belief and science" and "superficial concord but deep
>conflict" between science and atheism.
> > He argues that if evolution was godless and operated only to
>enhance reproductive fitness, there's no particular reason to think
>the results of humanity's thinking processes are reliable. But with
>God, he says, our minds are geared to discover truth, including
> > Plantinga addressed science and God last fall at Beijing and
>Cambridge universities, and continues the theme in Scotland's
>Gifford Lectures beginning April 12, a rare second invitation to
>that prestigious forum.
> > "As far as I can see there aren't any scientific results that are
>incompatible with miracles," he asserts. Nor has any thinker,
>ancient or modern, provided reasons why intelligent persons can't
>believe in them, he says.
> > Scientific laws state "the way in which God ordinarily treats the
>stuff he's made. That doesn't mean he always has to treat it the
>same way," Plantinga says.
> > Especially in an era of quantum mechanics, science "doesn't
>preclude someone's rising from the dead or turning water into wine,"
>he continues. "These things are very unlikely, but of course we
>already knew that." In fact, highly improbable events happen all the
>time, he says.
> > But if miracles in general are possible, how do we substantiate a
>specific miracle like Jesus' resurrection?
> > According to Plantinga, the initial probability of any such claim
>is low, though it would obviously rise if Christians are right that
>Jesus "is the incarnate second person of the Trinity."
> > The external evidence, assessed by Oxford's Richard Swinburne and
>others, includes the apostles' Easter testimonies and the dramatic
>spread of their belief. Plantinga finds this convincing: "Maybe it's
>not knockdown, drag-out 100 percent conclusive evidence, but it's
>pretty strong evidence."
> > Plantinga adds a factor emphasized by Aquinas and Calvin --
>internal knowledge from the Holy Spirit that convinces an individual
>such things are really true.
> > For decades, Plantinga has argued it is reasonable to believe in
>the monotheistic God affirmed by Christians, Jews and Muslims. He
>focuses on his own Christian faith in the career-capping
>work "Warranted Christian Belief" (Oxford).
> > In Plantingese, warrant refers to the things we can really know,
>as opposed to a "lucky guess" -- like thinking against all
>probability that a hapless Detroit Tigers club will win the pennant,
>and then they actually do. He also distinguishes between belief in
>God and following an unwarranted idea (something we'd have no good
>reason to believe), answering what he calls atheism's Great Pumpkin
> > Ultimately, Plantinga sees a couple dozen good arguments for God's
>existence, but admits nobody has airtight proof. That doesn't faze
>him a bit.
> > "There are plenty of other things we rationally accept without
>argument," he said.
> > Plantinga has beaten down many older cases made in favor of
>atheism, which leaves the perennial problem of evil: How can God be
>all-powerful and all-loving if he allows suffering?
> > Plantinga says this also poses a problem for atheism, under which
>it is hard to see how there can really be such a thing as evil if
>the cosmos lacks a moral structure, besides which everyone believes
>evil and good are real.
> > The philosopher also contends that, logically, a good God could
>have created a world without suffering only by denying the benefit
>of free will to humans and supernatural demons.
> > Tooley thinks Plantinga has won that part of the argument, but
>still finds a benevolent God unlikely when we contemplate the actual
>extent of suffering, for example in the tsunami. Plantinga considers
>this atheism's strongest argument -- and understands the incredible
>horrors wrought by such disasters and man-made evils like
>totalitarian regimes -- but still thinks his logical arguments for
> > In particular, he believes Christianity's unique message about the
>crucified Son of God can calm these anxieties.
> > "You may not know why God permits a given evil, and you're not
>going to find out in most cases. But you do know this: He's in it
>with us. He's willing to put up with suffering, too. ... He himself
>pays a price. Maybe a price greater than any of us pays. Maybe a
>price we can't even grasp." On the Net: http://www.nd.edu/~ndphilo/
> > ---------------------------------
> > Do you Yahoo!?
> > Yahoo! Mail - Helps protect you from nasty viruses.
>Yahoo! Groups Links
- << Previous post in topic Next post in topic >>