Graham Oppy: Yes, There Really Is Such a Thing as Expertise in Philosophy of Religion, and, No, You Can’t Get it from Pop Philosophy of Religion Books

Note: The following post is written by Graham Oppy and posted with his permission.Suppose I wanted to learn all about quantum gravity, starting from a position of total ignorance. How likely is it that there is a book that physicists could recommend to me that I could read, and that would give me the knowledge that I'd like to have? On the one hand, I have to be able to understand the book; on the other hand, the book has to be sufficiently sophisticated for me to acquire genuine knowledge … [Read more...]

Geisler’s Five Ways – Part 13: Existence and Attributes of a Necessary Being

In Phase 1 of his case for the existence of God, Geisler reformulates the argument from being as follows:Argument from Being #2 - Initial Version 50. If God exists, [then] we conceive of Him [God] as a necessary Being.   51. By definition, a necessary Being must exist and cannot not exist.   THEREFORE 52. ...if God exists, then He [God] must exist and cannot not exist. (WSA, p.25) PHASE 3 ARGUMENTBoth premise (50) and the conclusion (52) are conditional statements with t … [Read more...]

Geisler’s Five Ways – Part 12: Is the Creator a Necessary Being?

PHASE 3: THE EXISTENCE OF A NECESSARY BEINGGeisler abuses the word “God” yet again in Phase 3 of his case for the existence of God.  The argument in Phase 3 is on page 27.  It makes use of the conclusion from “The Argument from Being” in Phase 1 (pages 24-26). Here is the conclusion of this part of his case:God is a necessary being.He is NOT using the word “God” in its ordinary sense here.  Perhaps, he actually means something like this:Whatever caused the universe is a necessar … [Read more...]

Geisler’s Five Ways – Part 11: The Structure of Geisler’s Case

I'm going to take a step back in this post and look at the overall structure of Geisler's case for the existence of God, a presented in When Skeptics Ask (hereafter: WSA).PHASE 1: GEISLER's FIVE WAYSOn pages 15 through 26, Geisler presents five arguments for five conclusions.  I call this Phase  1 of this case.  Here are the five conclusions of the five initial arguments:Something other than the universe caused the universe to begin to exist. Something is a first uncaused cause of … [Read more...]

Geisler’s Five Ways – Part 10: The Goodness of the Creator

REVIEW OF MY EVALUATION OF GEISLER'S CASE (SO FAR)In Phase 1 of his case for the existence of God, Norman Geisler presents five arguments for five different conclusions:There is exactly one being that caused the universe to begin to exist. There is exactly one being that has sustained the universe in existence until now. There is exactly one being that is the designer of the universe. There is exactly one being that is the supreme moral lawgiver. There is exactly one being that … [Read more...]

Unapologetic Review – Part 5: The Meaning of “Faith”

The Beating Heart of UnapologeticThe heart of the book Unapologetic is Chapter 5:  "Why Philosophy of Religion Must End", and the heart of Chapter 5 is the Ten Reasons that Loftus gives for this conclusion (in the subsection of Chapter 5  titled "Why Philosophy of Relgion Must End," on pages 131-135), and the heart of the Ten Reasons is in Reason #9 (on page 135).  And at the heart of the argument given as Reason #9 is this premise:...faith-based reasoning must end.  (Unapologetic, p.1 … [Read more...]

Unapologetic Review – Part 4: More Effort Required

"Communication is Hard"My wife is a very intelligent woman.  I enjoy discussing religion, politics, and philosophy with her.  When I lay out an argument, either for my own viewpoint or (as the devil's advocate) for some alternative viewpoint, she almost always raises one or two sharp objections to the argument.  She is also a person of good common sense and practical wisdom.   One of her bits of wisdom that comes up often is this:"Communication is hard." This little mantra has a coup … [Read more...]

Unapologetic Review – Part 3: The Main Argument

I cannot recommend the book Unapologetic by John Loftus, because I have not carefully read the whole book yet.  But I have read Chapter 5, which I take to be the heart of the book, and I can recommend reading Chapter 5 of Unapologetic.  It is an interesting, informative, and thought-provoking chapter about the philosophy of religion.  I disagree with the main conclusion for which Loftus argues, but there are plenty of interesting ideas to ponder in Chapter 5, including the summary of ten reasons … [Read more...]