Three Ontological Arguments

I have been trying to provide some clear and plausible versions of the ontological argument for one of my classes. This is a lot harder than it sounds. Below is what I have so far. The first argument is an attempt to capture what Anselm was arguing in his first version in Proslogion. The second tries to do the same thing for Descartes's version in Meditations V. The third tries to capture the essence of the Malcolm/Hartshorne version, which, they say, is based on Anselm's second version. Any … [Read more...]

What Could God do about Evil?

My post “Evil: Still no Good Answers” has provoked a lively discussion with over 200 comments. Theistic commentators naturally want to argue that there are indeed plausible reasons for God to permit evil, even evils of the magnitude, extent, and variety that we find in the actual world. A common theme of these replies is to demand that those who pose atheological arguments from evil must state realistic alternatives. How, specifically, might God have eliminated or alleviated the moral or natural … [Read more...]

Evil: Still no Good Answers

Here is an essay written by my friend Eddie Tabash. He is a Constitutional lawyer, legal scholar, and one hell of a defense attorney. Here he tells of his experiences growing up as the son of an Auschwitz survivor. also provides enlightening and incisive comments on evil and theism. When confronted with instances of atrocious evil, and asked how this squares with the belief in a God who is both all-powerful and perfectly good, … [Read more...]

Message to Moderate Muslims

The position of the moderate Muslim is unenviable. Conservative Muslims castigate you as apostates and heretics. Right-wing Americans lump you with the terrorists and fanatics. So extreme has the anti-Muslim fervor become in the United States that Donald Trump can call for temporarily banning all Muslims from entering the country—and his poll numbers go up! Governors of states such as Texas oppose the settlement of Syrian refugees in their states, adding insult to the injury suffered by these v … [Read more...]

Norms as Hypothetical Imperatives

Note: This may be a tad technical for some readers. In my postings here at SO I recognize that many readers are not academic philosophers, so I try to walk a line that balances philosophical accuracy with accessibility. Here I go into somewhat greater detail and depth on an issue that non-philosophers may regard as esoteric. The issue is actually quite important, dealing with the sources and justification of ethical and moral norms. My reflections here spring from recently going over Hilary … [Read more...]

Violence Against Religion?

Victor Reppert posted this on his Dangerous Idea blog under the title “Why Not?”: “OK, suppose you think that religion really does harm, and we really have to do what we can to stamp it out. Most of us don't have the opportunity to help establish or eliminate religion by the use of violence. But suppose an opportunity arises. Through a violent act, we can, as we see it, greatly decrease the influence of religion on the world. Now what do you do? Do you say "No, violence is wrong, we … [Read more...]

Jesus End: The Formal Possibilities

There is often discussion of the resurrection apologetic here at SO. Some newcomers to the conversation may be put off by the complexity of it all. In hopes of providing a user-friendly introduction to the context of the debates, I offer the following:Innumerable scenarios could be and have been advanced about the fate of Jesus of Nazareth. Even in ancient times there were many different accounts. For instance, the Gnostic Basilides’ scenario was that Jesus was not crucified, but someone e … [Read more...]

Moses and Myth

I got a correspondence this morning from a reader who identified himself as having been raised in a strictly orthodox Jewish environment. One argument that he had often heard concerned the historicity of the stories about Moses, the Exodus, and the delivery of the Law at Mt. Sinai. I cannot reproduce these arguments here since they were quite detailed. However, the basically amounted to saying that it is unreasonable to hold that these stories were fabrications and that there just is no … [Read more...]