William Alston proposed an understanding of religious experience modeled after the triadic structure of sense perception. However, a perceptual model falters because of the unobservability of God as the object of religious experience. To reshape Alston’s model of religious experience as an observational practice we utilize Dudley Shapere’s distinction between the philosophical use of ‘observe’ in terms of sensory perception and scientists’ epistemic use of ‘observe’ as being evidential by providing information or justification leading to knowledge. This distinction helps us (...) to understand how religious experience of an unobservable God can be an epistemic practice that satisfies our epistemic obligations and justifies religious belief. (shrink)
What is the status of belief in God? Must a rational case be made or can such belief be properly basic? Is it possible to reconcile the concept of a good God with evil and suffering? In light of great differences among religions, can only one religion be true? The most comprehensive work of its kind, Reason and Religious Belief, now in its fourth edition, explores these and other perennial questions in the philosophy of religion. Drawing from the best in (...) both classical and contemporary discussions, the authors examine religious experience, faith and reason, the divine attributes, arguments for and against the existence of God, divine action (in various forms of theism), Reformed epistemology, religious language, religious diversity, religion and science, and much more. Retaining the engaging style and thorough coverage of previous editions, the fourth edition adds a critical new chapter on the ontological status of religion and the nature of religious claims. It also features revised treatments of omnipotence, miracles, and providence and updated suggestions for further reading. A sophisticated yet accessible introduction, Reason and Religious Belief, Fourth Edition, is ideally suited for use with the authors' companion anthology, Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings, Third Edition (OUP, 2006). (shrink)
Heidegger affirms that we find authenticity in resolutely affirming our own death; but how might the death of another provide meaning for one’s life? We explore how Mel Gibson portrays the meaning of Jesus’ death for others in his movie, ’The Passion of the Christ’, by considering the movie’s diverse views of atonement. The movie contains clear statements of the ancient ’Christus victor’ and moral transformation themes, though Gibson misses that moral transformation requires more than a resilient death. Although he (...) leaves other views of atonement, such as healing and compensation, undeveloped, Gibson emphasizes Mary’s relationship to Jesus as coredemptrix. (shrink)
In his recent book on revelation, Jorge Gracia rejects the authorial intention view of textual interpretation, arguing that the only interpretation that makes sense for texts regarded as divinely revealed is theological interpretation. Both his position and the authorial view face the problem of the Hermeneutical Circle. I contend that the arguments he provides in his own defense do not successfully avoid the circularity present in his own view. His thesis about expected behavior might provide resources for a solution, but (...) this thesis in turn can be used to respond to his own objections against the authorial intention view of interpreting divinely revealed texts. (shrink)
This text uses the educational objectives of Benjamin Bloom as six steps to critical thinking (namely: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation). The book starts with the absolute basics (for example, how to find the topic, issue, and thesis) vs. the usual "explaining and evaluating arguments" and fine distinctions that easily can lose students.
Richard Swinburne claims that Christ’s death has no efficacy unless people appropriate it. According to religious inclusivists, God can be encountered and his grace manifested in various ways through diverse religions. Salvation is available for everyone, regardless of whether they have heard about Christ’s sacrifice. This poses the question whether Swinburne’s view of atonement is available to the inclusivist. I develop an inclusivist interpretation of the atonement that incorporates his four features of atonement, along with a subjective dimension that need (...) not include specific knowledge of Christ’s sacrifice. (shrink)
I contend that William Hasker’s argument to show omniscience incompatible with human freedom trades on an ambiguity between altering and bringing about the past, and that it is the latter only which is invoked by one who thinks they are compatible. I then use his notion of precluding circumstances to suggest that what gives the appearance of our inability to freely bring about the future (and hence that omniscience is incompatible with freedom) is that, from God’s perspective of foreknowledge, it (...) is as if the event has already occurred, but that as if conditions do not tell us about the conditions under which the act was performed (whether it was free or not). (shrink)
To sum up, we have argued that if deliberation is incompatible with (fore)knowing what one is going to do at the time of the deliberation, then God cannot deliberate. However, this thesis cannot be used to show either that God cannot act intentionally or that human persons cannot deliberate. Further, we have suggested that though omniscience is incompatible with deliberation, it is not incompatible with either some speculation or knowing something on the grounds of inference. Funding for writing this article (...) was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities through its institute on human action conducted by Robert Audi at the University of Nebraska. (shrink)