On Aristotle, classical theism, and the God of the Philosophers


To Aristotle and classical theists (a club which I am a proud member), God is the ultimate cause and necessity of which all contingent things depend. In the Aristotelian view, Wisdom relies on understanding causation which include material, efficient, formal, and final causes. God is pure Act, the final cause toward which all things move. The final cause, which Aristotle also labels the first cause, is often confused for the efficient cause, positing god as "a being" who simply set the world in m … [Read more...]

A Christian. An Atheist. Two Friends. On God and Government (Round 10)


Adam:Thanks for your reply.After much of our discussion on God's existence, character, the problem of evil and suffering, free will, and now consciousness, I think I've figured out our core disagreement: metaphysical first principles. Voila; the source of our impasse! You quote Democritus in your statement of principles: "By convention sweet is sweet, bitter is bitter, hot is hot, cold is cold, color is color; but in truth there are only atoms and the void." My metaphysical first … [Read more...]

David Bentley Hart on the Concept of God


A gem from author and philosopher David Bentley Hart on the concept of God and the shallowness of today's typical discussions: "While there has been a great deal of public debate about belief in God in recent years (much of it a little petulant, much of it positively ferocious), the concept of God around which the arguments have run their seemingly interminable courses has remained strangely obscure the whole time. The more scrutiny one accords these debates, moreover, the more evident it … [Read more...]

A Christian. An Atheist. Two Friends. On God and Government (Round 9)


Adam:Thanks so much for your eloquent reply! The character of God, heaven, free will, the problem of evil and suffering, consciousness... Deep my friend, deep. The topic of heaven is infinitely above my epistemological pay grade, but I'll come back to that in a moment.We agree that humans are not blank slates. The human condition carries immense potentiality with it - for love and evil. It would be difficult to throw stones at our physical inclinations without criticizing freedom, … [Read more...]

Descartes on Doubt


Descartes, one of the most celebrated mathematicians and philosophers of all time. A believer (Catholic), on the necessity of doubt (also the opening quote of my book Proof of Divine): "That in order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life, to doubt, as far as possible, of all things. As we were at one time children, and as we formed various judgments regarding the objects presented to our senses, when as yet we had not the entire use of our reason, numerous prejudices … [Read more...]

Karl Popper on Faith, Transcendence, and a Third World


One of my favorite philosophers, Karl Popper, on his belief in a "Third World". “I do think that all men, including myself, are religious. We do all believe in something more–and it is difficult to find the right words–than ourselves. While I do not want to set up a new kind of faith, what we really believe in is what we call a Third World, something which is beyond us and with which we do interact, in the literal sense of interaction, and through which we can transcend ourselves.” (Edward Zerin … [Read more...]