Christian Philosopher Takes on the New Atheists

Last week, there was a nice write up on Alvin Plantinga in the New York Times.  Plantinga, whom I’ve long admired, has a new book out, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism.  The Times throws some well-deserved bouquets his way:

Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’ ”

Mr. Plantinga readily admits that he has no proof that God exists. But he also thinks that doesn’t matter. Belief in God, he argues, is what philosophers call a basic belief: It is no more in need of proof than the belief that the past exists, or that other people have minds, or that one plus one equals two.

“You really can’t sensibly claim theistic belief is irrational without showing it isn’t true,” Mr. Plantinga said. And that, he argues, is simply beyond what science can do.

But let me also state, for the record, that I think Plantinga’s defense of Michael Behe and “intelligent design” in his new book is very unfortunate, and possibly undermines his argument entirely.

My 2012 Predictions

Every year, I visit the Doug Pagitt Radio Show to give my predictions about the upcoming year in religion.  I did so on Sunday, and here are my 2012 predictions:

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Best Song of the Year

I dug a lot of music this year.  In fact, I’d say that, with the help of The Current, I listened to more music than news for the first year since college.  I think that Bon Iver’s new album is brilliant.  Courtney and I went to see Sharon van Etten twice (get a free song by her here). And, with apologies to Rick, I even like Mylo Xyloto (by the official band of the emergent church).

But my favorite song of the year is

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Gay Marriage Is Good for Your Health

So says the BBC:

Legalising same-sex marriage may create a healthier environment for gay men, say US researchers.

The number of visits by gay men to health clinics dropped significantly after same-sex unions were allowed in the state Massachusetts.

This was regardless of whether the men were in a stable relationship, reported the American Journal of Public Health.

A UK HIV charity said there was a clear link between happiness and health.

Research has already suggested that gay men are more likely to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts than heterosexual men, and that social exclusion may be partly responsible.

For more, check out my $.99 ebook, There Are Two Marriages.