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Abortion, Souls, and the Atheist Conundrum

In a recent post here, I asked, “Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?” I was prompted by two things: on the one hand, a series of articles defending the idea that we can be moral without God; and on the other, articles like this one, suggesting that opposition to abortion can only be “because God.” Those two positions don't work together. As I explained in the post, The pro-life argument is simple: (1) human beings are alive from the moment of fertilization, and (2)... Read More

Why Materialism and Dualism Both Fail to Explain Your Mind

NOTE: This is a follow-up article to Patrick's post on Wednesday titled, "Body, Soul, and the Mind/Brain Question".     Having laid the foundation of the human soul in Wednesday's post, let us now turn to its proper character and function. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, man’s soul comprises all those powers proper to lower organisms, namely metabolism, sensation, and locomotion; however, a still higher power remains that is non-existent in all other soul-possessors—intellection.... Read More

Body, Soul, and the Mind/Brain Question

In addition to my recent article, “Atheism and the Personal Pronoun,” Strange Notions has featured several related pieces, “Exorcizing the Ghost from the Machine” by Matthew Allen Newland, and more recently “Exorcising Epistemology” by Matthew Becklo. True to the spirit of the Areopagus and mission of Strange Notions, these authors and I have approached the much-debated topics of the mind-brain problem and consciousness from different perspectives, arriving at subtle and nuanced... Read More

Whatever Happened to the Soul?

Bad news, friends. You have no soul, according to a few professors at Fuller Theological Seminary. I say this after happening upon a copy of Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature, edited by Warren Brown, Nancey Murphy, and H. Newton Malony, all full-fledged Fullerian professors. They say the soul is now scientifically, and hence theologically passé. What happened to the poor soul, that it should suddenly be shuffled away? According to Murphy,... Read More

Atheism and the Personal Pronoun

The overwhelming majority of atheists today are also materialists. Ousting God implies an evacuation of all things “spiritual,” leaving behind only blind, brute, bits of matter. Whichever one arrives at first—whether materialism or atheism—is really inconsequential; one usually follows the other. Concerning galaxies and stars, materialism seems unthreatening. After all, these are material, natural phenomena that we can understand, explain, and model according to material causes;... Read More

What is a Soul?

What is a soul? Or to be more precise, what is a human soul?  Or to be even more precise, what is a human being?  For that is really the key question; and I sometimes think that the biggest obstacle to understanding what the soul is is the word “soul.”  People too readily read into it various erroneous notions (erroneous from an Aristotelian-Thomistic point of view, anyway)—ghosts, ectoplasm, or Cartesian immaterial substances.  Even the Aristotelian characterization of the... Read More

Seven Proofs for the Natural Immortality of the Human Soul

The late Dr. Antony Flew—perhaps the greatest atheist thinker of the last hundred years—came to faith in God largely through his studies in philosophy and, most especially, science, as he recounted in his book written with Roy Abraham Varghese, There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind. It was in 2004 that Dr. Flew rocked the world with his confession that he had come to believe in God. He made clear that he accepted deism, and not the God... Read More

The Case for Life After Death

Life After Death

Can you prove life after death?   Whenever we argue about whether a thing can be proved, we should distinguish five different questions about that thing: Does it really exist or not? "To be or not to be, that is the question." If it does exist, do we know that it exists? A thing can obviously exist without our knowing it. If we know that it exists, can we be certain of this knowledge? Our knowledge might be true but uncertain; it might be "right opinion." If it is certain, is there... Read More

What Is the Soul?

"For the world is broken, sundered, busted down the middle, self ripped from self and man pasted back together as mythical monster, half angel, half beast, but no man..." — Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins Last year, I found myself unexpectedly marveling at an album by Tom “It's Not Unusual” Jones, which featured covers of songs by Tom Waits, Paul Simon, and The Low Anthem. One track, "Soul of a Man," revived a bluesy 1930 song by Blind Willie Johnson that asks one my favorite philosophical... Read More