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12545[Covenanted Reformation] Re: Christian Philosphy (almost) mainstream?

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  • sn_phillip
    Mar 29, 2005
      I did not know that plantinga was still a calvinist I heard at one
      time he claimed to be a calvinist but that he had left calvinism (
      he might still attend a reformed denomination) --- In
      covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Dan Fraas" <fraasrd@y...>
      wrote:
      >
      > He sounds to me like a cultural Calvinist by heritage in the same
      > sense that Jacobus Arminius was a Dutch Calvinist.
      >
      > Riley
      > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "JOHN PUTZ"
      > <putzfamily@m...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi 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.
      > >
      > > Sincerely,
      > > John
      > >
      > > >From: "Dan Fraas" <fraasrd@y...>
      > > >Reply-To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
      > > >To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
      > > >Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Christian Philosphy
      > (almost)
      > > >mainstream?
      > > >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
      > > >Til.
      > > >
      > > >Riley
      > > >--- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Benjamin Hart
      > > ><benhartmail@y...> wrote:
      > > > > 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'
      > > >Resurrection?
      > > > > Can a rational person see God as both all-powerful and
      > benevolent
      > > >despite horrendous suffering in disasters like the Asian tsunami?
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      > > > > 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
      > > >climbing.
      > > > > 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
      > > >think."
      > > > > 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
      > > >scientific truth.
      > > > > 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
      > > >Objection.
      > > > > 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
      > > >God prevail.
      > > > > 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/
      > > >faculty/apl.htm
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > ---------------------------------
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      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >Yahoo! Groups Links
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
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