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What Do You Think of the Fine-Tuning Argument for God?

NOTE: We recently kicked off a new series of posts on popular arguments for God. Each post lays out the argument and is followed by open-ended discussion. The goal is not to offer a thorough defense or refutation of the argument in the original post, but to unpack it together, as a community, in the comment boxes. So far we've covered Alvin Plantinga's modal ontological argument for God, the Kalam cosmological argument, and the moral argument for God. Today, we'll look at the argument... Read More

Does Science Make God Irrelevant?

Does God still matter? This is the question that seems to be at the heart of the modern debate about God’s existence. Many unbelievers who label themselves agnostic-atheists do not claim definitively that God does not exist. They take the softer position that God probably does not exist, and even if he does exist, he is irrelevant in explaining the universe. As Dr. Richard Dawkins stated in a 2013 Cambridge debate with the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, “Religion... Read More

Can Something Actually Cause Itself to Exist?

"There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible." - Summa Theologiae I.2.3 "If, then, something were its own cause of being, it would be understood to be before it had being – which is impossible…" - Summa Contra Gentiles I.22.6     Was Aquinas mistaken? Could something be its own cause? Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow seem to think so. In... Read More

The Theory of Everything: A God-Haunted Film

The great British physicist Stephen Hawking has emerged in recent years as a poster boy for atheism, and his heroic struggles against the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease have made him something of a secular saint. The new biopic “The Theory of Everything” does indeed engage in a fair amount of Hawking-hagiography, but it is also, curiously, a God-haunted movie. In one of the opening scenes, the young Hawking meets Jane, his future wife, in a bar and tells her that he is a cosmologist.... Read More

The Dying of the Brights

“We have to make this planet as good as we possibly can and try to leave it a better place than we found it.” The crowd, gathered to hear Richard Dawkins debate the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, responds to the trite apothegm with unsurprising applause. But off-stage, after the cameras are turned off, the proverbial devil of the details rears his ugly head. A weary Dawkins—one almost gets the sense that he’d rather not talk to anybody at all—kneels besides... Read More

Free-Thinking: Doctrine or Illusion?

Recently there was an excellent question in the Strange Notions comment boxes from Rob Tish. He wanted to know what the Bible means when it says God created man in His own image: "If God is so fundamentally and essentially different from us, then in what sense are we made in His image?" In a word: We are free-thinkers. Since invoking that word requires some explanation, the response is three-fold. First is the answer to Rob's question, with explanation and reference to the Catechism of... Read More

Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s Inadvertent Proof for God

Stephen Hawking

There's an old saying about giving a man enough rope, and he'll hang himself. The idea is that if someone is wrong or lying, the longer they go on, the more obvious this becomes.  Well, Bantam Books gave Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow all the rope they wanted, and the result is The Grand Design, a new book in which they argue against the necessity (and existence) of God.  Here's the core of their argument:   “[Just] as Darwin and Wallace explained how the apparently miraculous... Read More

Has Stephen Hawking Made God Unnecessary?

A few weeks ago, Stephen Hawking delivered a lecture at the California Institute of Technology titled "The Origin of the Universe," and you’re likely to have heard about it because, according to mainstream media outlets, Hawking has put God out of a job. In an article headlined “Stephen Hawking lays out case for Big Bang without God,” NBC News describes the presentation:   Stephen Hawking began the event by reciting an African creation myth, and rapidly moved on to big questions... Read More

Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing?

Creation

Why is there something rather than nothing? This question, usually thought to fall strictly within the purview of philosophy and theology, has recently received attention in the world of popular science thanks to books by Stephen Hawking and Lawrence M. Krauss. Interestingly, these authors propose something similar to what Christians have always believed—that the universe came into existence out of nothing, or ex nihilo—but they think this could have happened spontaneously, or without... Read More