Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 4

Does the utterance of the words 'God exists' amount to a meaningful utterance? Does this utterance express a statement?  Two considerations support the claim that this is a meaningful utterance:1. 'God exists' is a grammatical sentence.2. The word 'exists' has an established meaning.The main question to consider is whether the word 'God' has a meaning.Many utterances of the form 'X exists' are obviously meaningful utterances that express a statement:Chickens exist.The Earth … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 19

One of the major alleged wounds inflicted upon Jesus during the crucifixion is a deep spear wound:DSW = On Friday of Passover week, just before the first Easter Sunday, Jesus received a deep spear wound to his chest (i.e. the tip of the spear penetrated at least 3” deep, measured perpendicular to the surface where the spear entered his chest).This claim is based on a couple of passages from the Fourth Gospel.  One passage concerns the Doubting Thomas story, that I previously argued was f … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 3

In the first of five phases of his case for God, Swinburne argues that the assertion 'God exists' makes a coherent factual statement.  What is a coherent factual statement?  More specifically, what is a statement? and when is a statement a coherent statement?First, it is clear that when someone says 'God exists', that person is uttering a string of words.  In this case, two words: 'God' and 'exists'.  But not every utterance of a string of words constitutes a meaningful … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 18

There are reasonable doubts about each of the major wounds allegedly inflicted upon Jesus. This in turn leads to reasonable doubt about the claim that Jesus died on the cross on the same day that he was crucified.  Because the occurrence of each alleged major wound significantly increases the probability that Jesus died on the cross on the same day he was crucified, the non-occurrence of each major wound significantly decreases the probability that Jesus died on the cross on … [Read more...]

More secular (and obnoxious, and stupid) Millennials

I've been looking at some social psychology research concerning the so-called "Millennial" generation, in their twenties today. (I figure it doesn't hurt to know more about my students.)Often, the research finds that the Millennials are an obnoxious, shallow, and stupid bunch. (OK, that's my take on it. But basically, reading the survey results, my usual reaction is that I hate most of them.)But since Millennials tend towards self-centered consumerism and moral individualism (even more than the … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 2

The purpose of the first of five phases of Swinburne's case for God is to show that the statement 'God exists' makes a coherent factual (logically contingent) statement.  He thinks he has accomplished this in his book The Coherence of Theism (revised edition, hereafter: COT) for a somewhat pared-down concept of God, that he calls a 'contingent God'.  A 'contingent God' is one that has most of the usual divine attributes, except for necessary being.The meat of COT is in Part … [Read more...]

Secular Scandinavia

Well, I'm back from my trip to Norway and Sweden, and when you add this to my previous trip to Denmark, I can now pretend to be an expert on all things Scandinavian.Still, I did have a chance to ask locals (humanities and social science types, mostly) about whether the Scandinavian reputation for secularity and irrelevance of religion to much of the population is accurate. The answers I got were mostly yes. Some observed that newagey paranormal beliefs can be very popular, but it's also true … [Read more...]

Swinburne’s Case for God – Part 1

Richard Swinburne's case for God can be broken down into five phases:I.  The Coherence of TheismII.  The Nature of the Universe as Evidence for GodIII. The Nature of Human Life as Evidence for GodIV.  Religious Experience as Evidence for GodV.  The Life of Jesus as Evidence for GodPhase I is presented in Swinburne's book The Coherence of Theism (revised edition, hereafter: COT).  He argues that the assertion 'God exists' makes a coherent and contingent factual … [Read more...]