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Are Metaphysical First Principles Universally True?

Today, certain lines of attack against classical proofs for God’s existence, such as St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways, seek to undermine foundational metaphysical first principles such as causality, sufficient reason, or even non-contradiction.1 Such attacks employ, for example, claims that (1) David Hume’s critique of causality is definitive, (2) the existence of the cosmos is simply a “brute fact,” needing no explanation, and (3) modern physics shows that the principle of non-contradiction... Read More

What would you ask a Catholic philosopher about God? (#AMA with Dr. Edward Feser)

In a few days, Dr. Edward Feser will release his newest book, titled Five Proofs of the Existence of God (Ignatius Press, 2017). You probably know Dr. Feser from his sharply reasoned posts here at Strange Notions, or from his popular blog, which mainly focuses on the philosophy of religion. Dr. Feser is the author of several acclaimed books, including: Neo-Scholastic Essays (St. Augustine's Press, 2015) Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction (Scholastic Editions, 2014) The... Read More

Does Conscience Point Towards the Existence of God?

Throughout the wide world of creation God has left all sorts of signs that point right back at him. Often these clues tell us more than that a divine being exists; they often tell us what kind of divine being exists. Some of these clues lie right before our nose in the world around us, whereas others lie deep inside of us at the level of immediate subjective experience. Among these interior signs is the conscience, which points not merely toward the existence of God but the existence of... Read More

Do Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence?

Too often people have a parrot-like propensity to be seduced by a catchy saying, hold to it, and assert it repeatedly without thinking seriously about what they’re saying. They remember before they speak, but they don’t think before they speak. And the most astonishing fact is that all too often they really do believe they have said something wise. Chesterton provided an example when he critiqued the popular exhortation to “believe in yourself” in his classic Orthodoxy. “Thoroughly... Read More

The Most Famous Debate on the Existence of God

Filed under God, Morality

On January 28, 1948, the BBC brought together two of the century's brightest minds for a radio debate about the existence of God. To be sure, the debaters were not just lightweight showboats, blowing off steam. The two men represented the cream of the intellectual crop. Bertrand Russell was a renowned British philosopher, mathematician, historian, and perhaps the world's leading atheist at the time. He authored many skeptical essays and books, including the collection still popular today, Why... Read More

Would God Create Perfect Creatures? – A Christian/Atheist Dialogue

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today we share a conversation between Randal Rauser and Justin Schieber. Randal is a Christian author, apologist, and professor of theology at Taylor Seminary (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada). Justin is the founder and host of Real Atheology, a popular atheist Youtube channel, and he's the former cohost of the Reasonable Doubts Radio Show and Podcast. Together, the two just released a book-length dialogue titled An Atheist and a Christian Walk into a Bar: Talking about God,... Read More

Sean Carroll’s “Ten Considerations” for Naturalists

This is the final post in our long series exploring physicist Sean Carroll's new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, 2016). In the book's penultimate chapter, which in my view is the book's strangest, Carroll offers an alternative to the Bible's Ten Commandments, what he calls his "Ten Considerations." They read like a mushy collection of Oprah-isms: Life isn't forever. Desire is built into life. What matters is what matters to people. We... Read More

The Power and Danger of Bayes’ Theorem

I've noted many flaws and points of confusion in Sean Carroll's new book, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself (Dutton, 2016), but one of the strongest sections is its explanation of Bayes' Theorem. The Theorem is a quantitive way to express confidence in certain beliefs. It requires assigning credences (or probabilities) to events or statements, and then tweaking them based on new information. For example, suppose you're wondering whether a randomly... Read More

Why Wouldn’t God Perform More Miracles?

If God is a God of miracles as theists claim, then why doesn’t he perform more to stop evil? I must admit this is one question I’ve wrestled with in solidarity with my atheist friends. My initial response is to recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD” (Is. 55:8). While I acknowledge this as true, it leaves me dissatisfied. As a Christian I believe, with St. Paul, that God “works for good with... Read More

The Ultimate Jeopardy Question

“Why is there something rather than nothing?” In The Grand Design (2010), Stephen Hawking made headlines by denying the need for God to get matter to jump into being; the law of gravity was enough to do it. Then, Lawrence Krauss created a Youtube sensation and book called, A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing (2012), that made the same case, including an afterward by Richard Dawkins who heralded it as a death blow to the last proof for the existence of... Read More

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