The Logic of the Trilemma

Here is the logic of Josh McDowell's version of the Trilemma argument found in Chapter 7 of Evidence that Demands a Verdict and Chapter 2 of More Than a Carpenter:1. Jesus claimed to be God.2. If Jesus claimed to be God, and Jesus was not God, and Jesus knew that he was not God, then Jesus was a liar.3. If Jesus claimed to be God, and Jesus was not God, and Jesus did not know that he was not God, then Jesus was mentally ill.Therefore:4. Either Jesus was a liar, or Jesus was mentally ill, or … [Read more...]

Recent Posts on the Trilemma

For those interested in the Trilemma, I have made two recent posts criticizing Josh McDowell's trilemma argument on my blog: focus of the recent posts is on the key assumption that Jesus claimed to be God. … [Read more...]

The Trilemma – How Old? part 2

I have not been able, so far, to find any references prior to the 1800s to a Latin sentence presenting a dilemma (e.g. aut deus aut homo non bonus - either God or a bad man) that could have been the original basis for the Trilemma. Because of this, I am skeptical that the Latin statement of the dilemma is of medieval or ancient origin. I don't know the origin of the Trilemma, but I have a plausible hypothesis about how it came to be.First, a very brief summary of historical apologetics, … [Read more...]

The Trilemma – How Old?

The trilemma argument goes something like this:Jesus claimed to be God. Therefore, either Jesus was in fact God, or else he was a liar or a lunatic. But clearly Jesus was neither a liar, nor a lunatic, so he must in fact be God.C. S. Lewis presented the trilemma argument in a 1943 BBC radio program, and in 1952 he published the argument in his widely read book Mere Christianity. The Christian apologist Josh McDowell promoted this argument further in 1972, in his bestseller Evidence that … [Read more...]

New paper against cosmological argument

J. Brian Pitts has just published an article in the latest issue of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science: "Why the Big Bang Singularity Does Not Help the Kalam Cosmological Argument for Theism." Here's the abstract:The cosmic singularity provides negligible evidence for creation in the finite past, and hence theism. A physical theory might have no metric or multiple metrics, so a ‘beginning’ must involve a first moment, not just finite age. Whether one dismisses singularities or tak … [Read more...]

Ky. law requires Homeland Security to credit God

I did a double-take when an article came in through the News Wire containing this:State Rep. Tom Riner, a Southern Baptist minister who was instrumental in establishing that requirement in 2006, disapproves of the fact that Homeland Security doesn't currently mention God in its mission statement or on its Web site ...The law that organized the Homeland Security office first lists Homeland Security's duty to recognize that government itself can't secure the state without God, even before … [Read more...]

An Argument for Atheism – Part 5

In Chapter 2 of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins gives an argument for atheism. The argument is a chain of reasoning consisting of five inferences. The first inference is a non sequitur, but I have attempted to rescue the argument by making explicit an unstated assumption, and by clarifying the first two premises:1a. Any creative intelligence, of sufficient complexity to design anything, comes into existence only as the end product of at least one million years of gradual evolution. A. The … [Read more...]

Purtill’s Definition of “Miracle” – Part 7

A miracle is an event (1) brought about by the power of God that is (2) a temporary (3) exception (4) to the ordinary course of nature (5) for the purpose of showing that God has acted in history. (“Defining Miracles” in In Defense of Miracles, IVP, 1997, p.72).I have proposed two improvements to Purtill's definition so far:A miracle is an event that is (1a) brought about by the power of a person who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfectly good, and that is (2) a temporary (3) exception (4) t … [Read more...]