• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions

Religion After God: A Review of “Progressive Atheism”

“Atheism, we’ll say, for all we know may come at the beginning of religion rather than the end.” (173) That is not the kind of quote you’d expect to find in a typical book defending an atheistic perspective. But then again, J.L. Schellenberg did not write a typical atheistic book. Progressive Atheism: How Moral Evolution Changes the God Debate (Bloomsbury, 2019) is a manifesto of innovative and iconoclastic atheist thought in the manner of Ronald Dworkin’s Religion... Read More

Would America Be Better Off without Religion?

“Too much religion is bad for a country,” asserts Max Boot in a recent Washington Post op-ed. Boot cites a number of indicators—average GDP per capita, unemployment rates, poverty rates, homicide rates, life expectancy, infant mortality, education, and degree of political liberties—that suggest that “less religious nations are much better off.” Indeed, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Japan, some of the least religious nations in the world, rank... Read More

“Existential Inertia” vs. Almighty God

Materialist philosophers, starting in the fifth century B.C. with Leucippus and Democritus, have claimed that physical reality has simply existed without any temporal beginning, thereby avoiding need for any type of transcendent spiritual creator. With Christianity, though, came belief that the world began in time as well as the concurrent claim that a purely spiritual and utterly transcendent God was needed to explain its creation ex nihilo et utens nihilo. Since the Christian... Read More

Christ’s Resurrection: Bodily or Only Spiritual?

Some atheists reject the resurrection accounts because they say the first Christians only believed that Christ’s spirit rose from the dead. They then explain all the evidence for the resurrection as grief-induced visions or hallucinations while Jesus’ body rotted away in the tomb. For example, atheist Dan Barker claims: It is perfectly consistent with Christian theology to think that the spirit of Jesus, not his body, was awakened from the grave, as Christians today believe... Read More

Theism vs. Skepticism: The COVID-19 Pandemic

In an earlier Strange Notions essay, I addressed the problem of how an all-good God could be compatible with the existence of Hell. While that analysis befits the extreme case, the purpose of the present piece is to address the exact role of responsibility God has in terms of the very real and human tragedy posed by the Covid-19 virus which is presently raging throughout the world. This piece will not address the most ethical or medically correct methods with which to address this pandemic.... Read More

Why Humans Are More Than Mere Animals

Ever since the time of Charles Darwin’s thunderous appearance on the human stage, evolutionary materialists have envisioned a world in which man appears without any rational need either for the God of classical theism or for a spiritual and immortal human soul. Human beings are finally to be classed as merely highly-developed subhuman hominins, whose mental abilities do not differ in kind from those of other primates. Human intellectual activity is thought to be merely a highly-evolved... Read More

Materialism’s Failures: Hylemorphism’s Vindication

Scientific materialists propose certain epistemological and ontological claims, allegedly in the name of natural science, that conflict with man’s common sense experience of the world. This article will show (1)  that such claims are not based on sound natural science, but the assumed philosophy of materialism, (2) that the materialist/atomist worldview is fundamentally flawed, and (3) that hylemorphism offers scientifically-compatible alternatives that align with reality. Materialism's... Read More

“All Men Are Born Free By Nature”: Theological Conceptions of Freedom

The development of the concept of freedom as an inalienable human right is undoubtedly a hallmark of modernity and one of Western civilization’s most deservedly celebrated achievements. John Milton (1608-1674), the English poet and author of one of the masterpieces of the English language Paradise Lost, regarded freedom as a God-given right rather than as a privilege vouchsafed upon the subjects by their rulers at a whim. Freedom “is not Caesar’s,” Milton wrote, “but is a... Read More

Is an All-Evil God as Likely as an All-Good God?

In the combox to a post on another subject, reader Eric asked for my opinion of philosopher Stephen Law’s article “The evil-god challenge.” I had not then read the article and did not have time to do so at that moment, but I commented briefly on the summary of Law’s views that Eric provided. To my surprise, Law posted a response to my (somewhat dashed off) comments in the same combox a couple of weeks later. I did not bother to reply, because Law’s remarks seemed themselves obviously... Read More

Dressgate: Is Perception Reality?

Philosophers are a maligned group these days. Neil deGrasse Tyson, for example, suggested that the paradigmatic philosophical question is not “Why is there something rather than nothing?” but “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” (Cute idea, in other words, but let’s not waste our time.) So when the internet exploded into a full-blown panic over whether a dress was white and gold or black and blue, I know philosophers everywhere slept well that night. No one knew, because... Read More

Next Page »