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Answering the 5 Objections to Proving God’s Existence

On Monday, I put forward five common objections regarding attempts to prove God's existence. Today, I'll respond to each of them. Objection 1: “Proof in general is impossible, since we must trust our brains.” Like A.J. Ayer’s principle of verification, this idea self-destructs. Can we trust this reasoning, which leads the objector to think that we must first run our brains through a thorough certification process before we can trust our own reasoning? If so, we can reason in a... Read More

5 Objections to Proving God’s Existence

Today, I put forward five common objections regarding attempts to prove God's existence. The first three typically come from skeptics and the last two from believers. Though I don't agree with these objections, I've tried to articulate them fairly and as strongly as possible. On Wednesday, I will share a follow-up article responding to each of them. Objection 1: “Proof in general is impossible, since we must trust our brains.” All our knowledge depends on trusting our senses and... Read More

Is a Proof Bad If It Fails to Convince Everyone?

Some atheists will object to arguments for God by observing, "If a particular proof for God is so strong, why doesn't it convince everyone?" This objection is perhaps the most prevalent, and the cheapest one to make, yet a complete answer to it involves several components and is also interesting in its own right. This objector presents the theist with a dilemma: either I must pretend to be a supergenius like none the world has ever seen, presenting new and amazing arguments for God’s... Read More

Why the Ultimate Cause of Everything in Existence Must be God

(NOTE: This it the third of a three part series on Bernard Lonergan's philosophical proof for God. Be sure to read the first part and second part.) V. The One Unrestrictedly Intelligible Uncaused Reality is an “Unrestricted Act of Thinking” We will now explain Lonergan’s contention that unrestricted intelligibility can only occur through an unrestricted idea, which in turn can only occur through an unrestricted act of thinking. As noted above, the one uncaused reality that exists... Read More

The One Cause Behind Everything Else in Reality

(NOTE: This it the second of a three part series on Bernard Lonergan's philosophical proof for God. Read the first part here. We'll share the third part on Friday.) III. A Reality which is Unrestricted in Intelligibility Must be Absolutely Unique The general argument is as follows: If there were more than one unrestrictedly intelligible reality, there would have to be a difference between the one and the other, and if there were such a difference, then one of the supposedly “unrestricted... Read More

Introducing Bernard Lonergan’s Philosophical Proof for God

(NOTE: This it the first of a three part series on Bernard Lonergan's philosophical proof for God. We'll share the second and third parts on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.) Introduction Bernard Lonergan was a Canadian Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian, regarded by many as one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century. He articulated a philosophical proof for God's existence which may be stated as follows: If all reality is completely intelligible, then God exists.   But... Read More

Can We Actually Know Anything About God?

Can we actually know anything about God? This is one of the most fundamental questions, and many people, particularly agnostics, will say “no.” The argument tends to go something like this: God, if there is a God, is so far removed from human experience and knowledge that there’s nothing that we can say about Him (or Her or It). Another variation: the only way to verify our knowledge about God would be to die and find out if Heaven and Hell exist; for those of us still alive,... Read More

Understanding Who God Really Is

NOTE: This is the third and final part of a three part series on classical theism by theologian Thomas M. Cothran. Be sure to read part one and part two.   Any defense against Stephen H. Webb’s critique of classical theism must, then, defend some particular form of classical theism that does have an ontology. Webb declares that “Aquinas is the best representative of what is often called classical theism,”1 and so for the remainder of this article, we will consider whether Webb’s... Read More

A Bad Case Against Classical Theism

NOTE: This is the second of a three part series on classical theism by theologian Thomas M. Cothran. Read part one here.   Stephen Webb not only misstates what classical theists believe, he misstates why they believe it. Consider, by way of example, Webb’s review of David Bentley Hart’s The Experience of God. Webb claims that Hart infers “the main tenets of classical theism … from the deceptively simple premise of God’s immateriality.” Webb attributes a similar line of... Read More

What is Classical Theism?

NOTE: This is the first of a three part series on classical theism by theologian Thomas M. Cothran.   Over the last few years, Stephen H. Webb has waged a crusade of sorts against classical theism, especially with respect to its notion of divine transcendence. Webb has authored, by my count, no less than 10 articles on the subject at First Things1, and similar critiques have also been central to his books Mormon Christianity and Jesus Christ, Eternal God. Perhaps surprisingly, Webb... Read More

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