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4 Errors About the Burden of Proof for God

I used to be a lawyer before entering seminary to prepare for the Catholic priesthood. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that I’m fascinated by questions about the “burden of proof” in religious questions. For example, does the burden of proof fall on the believer or the atheist? What sort of evidence is permissible to meet this burden of proof? Do “extraordinary” claims require extraordinary evidence? Should they meet an extraordinary burden of proof, above the burden... Read More

Reassessing Plantinga’s Ontological Argument for God

Alvin Plantinga famously defends a version of the ontological argument that makes use of the notion of possible worlds. As is typically done, we might think of a “possible world” as a complete way that things might have been. In the actual world I am writing up this blog post, but I could have decided instead to go pour myself a Scotch. (Since it’s still morning, I won’t—I can wait an hour.) So, we might say that there is a possible world more or less like the actual world—Obama... Read More

Is the Modal Ontological Argument for God a Sound Proof?

Over the coming weeks, instead of exclusively posting articles asserting and defending a particular view, we'd also like to feature open-ended discussion posts that lay on the table a popular argument for or against God and then invite us to discuss it together, as a community, in the comment boxes. Today, we'll begin with Alvin Plantinga's modal ontological argument for God. Plantinga is one of the most respected and influential philosophers today. He's the John A. O'Brien Professor of... Read More

Does “Atheology” Exist?

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Filed under God

In his brief and (mostly) tightly argued book God, Freedom, and Evil, Alvin Plantinga writes: "[S]ome theologians and theistic philosophers have tried to give successful arguments or proofs for the existence of God.  This enterprise is called natural theology… Other philosophers, of course, have presented arguments for the falsehood of theistic beliefs; these philosophers conclude that belief in God is demonstrably irrational or unreasonable.  We might call this enterprise natural... Read More

The 6 Varieties of Atheism (and Which Are Most Defensible)

A religion typically has both practical and theoretical aspects.  The former concern its moral teachings and rituals, the latter its metaphysical commitments and the way in which its practical teachings are systematically articulated. An atheist will naturally reject not only the theoretical aspects, but also the practical ones, at least to the extent that they presuppose the theoretical aspects.  But different atheists will take different attitudes to each of the two aspects, ranging... Read More

Why Evil and Suffering Don’t Disprove God

NOTE: Today's post is in response to Steven Dillon's post, "Why I Don't Think God Exists."   I’d like to begin responding to Steven Dillon’s guest post on God’s existence by complimenting his thoughtful and candid writing. I especially appreciated his opening paragraph where, with great vulnerability, Steven acknowledged that he wished God existed. Some atheists desire just the opposite. The philosopher Thomas Nagel admitted in his book, The Last Word: “I want atheism to... Read More

A Manual for Creating Atheists: A Critical Review

Since its release last November, Peter Boghossian’s A Manual for Creating Atheists has quickly become one of the most popular new books on atheism (as of now it has 200 reviews on amazon.com). As someone who has also recently written a book on atheism, though from a far different perspective, I was eager to see Boghossian’s method for “creating an atheist.” In this book review I’ll cover the good, the bad, and the ugly in A Manual for Creating Atheists. The Good   Surprisingly,... Read More

The Road from Atheism: Dr. Edward Feser’s Conversion (Part 1 of 3)

NOTE: Today we share the first part of Dr. Edward Feser's conversion story from atheism to theism. We'll post Part 2 this Friday and Part 3 on Monday. We'd also like to note that Dr. Feser's contributions at Strange Notions were originally posted on his own blog, and therefore lose some of their context when reprinted here. Dr. Feser explains why that matters.     As many friends and readers know, I was an atheist for about a decade—roughly the 1990s, give or... Read More