Evolution vs. The Argument from Providence

In the Existence of God (2nd edition, hereafter: EOG) Richard Swinburne lays out a carefully constructed, systematically presented case for the the claim that it is more likely than not that God exists.  I have previously argued that there is a big problem with this case that arises with the third argument.  In order to know that the premise of the third argument is true, one must know a lot of information about science and about the evolution of life and the evolution of human beings.Here is … [Read more...]

Lessing’s Broad Ditch and Brad’s Lesser Ditch

LESSING'S BROAD DITCHQuotations are from Lessing's essay "On the Proof of the Spirit and of Power" from Lessing's Theological Writings (hereafter: LTW), edited by Henry Chadwick.Reports of Miracles are not the same as Direct Observation of Miracles"The problem is that reports of fulfilled prophecies are not fulfilled prophecies; that reports of miracles are not miracles." (LTW,p.52)"What is asserted is only that the reports which we have of these prophecies and miracles are as r … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 6

Here is the "Doubting Thomas" story from Chapter 20 of the Gospel of John:24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, t … [Read more...]

“A Leap of Faith”

In a comment on my most recent post about Jesus' use of the word "faith", Stig Martinsen points to the phrase "a leap of faith" as evidence that Christians sometimes speak of "faith" in a way that implies belief that goes beyond reason or evidence.  I don't plan to reply to his point here, but I think this phrase has an interesting history that is worth reading and thinking about.According to the Wikipedia article on "Leap of Faith", this phrase is generally associated with the philosopher … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 5

Stig Martinsen made a plausible objection to my argument for the idea that Jesus viewed giving EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS as compatible with promoting FAITH: ============== I have seen the story of doubting Thomas in John 20 interpreted as an example of Jesus endorsing faith as opposed to belief grounded in evidence. I.e. 20:29: Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. =============== I have t … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 4

Stig Martinsen made a plausible objection to my argument for the idea that Jesus viewed giving EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS as compatible with promoting FAITH:============I have seen the story of doubting Thomas in John 20 interpreted as an example of Jesus endorsing faith as opposed to belief grounded in evidence. I.e. 20:29:Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.Though other i … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 3

Jesus talks about "faith" in Matthew Chapter 6 and also in Matthew Chapter 16 (Mat. 6:25-33 and  16:5-12).  In both of these passages, Jesus tells his followers that they have "little faith", and then Jesus puts forward an ARGUMENT or REASONS in order to INCREASE the FAITH of his followers.  But this makes no sense if we interpret these passages using the definition of "faith" proposed by Bertrand Russell: firm belief for which one has no evidence.  And this makes no sense if we interpret the … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 2

In my previous post on this subject, I argued that the comments of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-33 concerning faith  show that Jesus did NOT think that faith means firmly believing something for which one  has no evidence (Bertrand Russell's def. of "faith") nor that faith means believing in the face of contrary evidence (A.C. Grayling's def. of "faith").  Thus, Russell and Grayling FAILED to capture the meaning of the word "faith" as used by Jesus, at least in the passage quoted from Chapter 6 of Matt … [Read more...]


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