Continuing discussion.

EPS Blog

This is the blog area for the Evangelical Philosophical Society and its journal, Philosophia Christi.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Closer to Truth

For anyone teaching philosophy, I've found the content at www.closertotruth.com to be a great resource to "kick off" my classes. This sight is especially helpful for discussions in the philosophy of religion, as it includes interviews on teleology, cosmology, consciousness, morality, natural theology, Reformed epistemology, and much more. The interviews are with first rate thinkers (Plantinga, Craig, Tooley, Linde, Davies, Swinburne, Murphy, and more). In case you have not seen this sight, or the series on television, it is worth the time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Believing Primate

EPS member Michael J. Murray, a Professor of Philosophy at Franklin and Marshall College, and also Vice President of Philosophy and Theology at the Templeton Foundation, recently edited a collection of writings (with Jeffrey Schloss) titled, The Believing Primate: Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion (OUP, 2009)

In Evolution of Religion: Studies, Theories, and Critiques, he has a chapter titled, "Four Arguments that the Cognitive Psychology of Religion Undermines the Justification of Religious Belief."

Michael recently interacted with Paul Bloom (Yale) about much of the topics in the above mentioned book. The below interview is from Bloggingheads.tv:


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Monday, May 18, 2009

Welcome Steve Cowan and Jim Spiegel

We are pleased to have Steven Cowan and Jim Spiegel as contributors to the EPS blog. Stay tuned for a forthcoming interview about their recently released book, The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy (Broadman & Holman).

Steve Cowan is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Apologetics at Southeastern Bible College. He is also the Associate Director of the Apologetics Resource Center and the Editor of the Areopagus Journal. Within the EPS, he oversees our regional meetings and he is a frequent contributor to Philosophia Christi. For example, see his recent discussion on molinism in our Summer 2009 issue. More of Steve can be found at his Cowan Chronicles blog. We are pleased to have his thoughtful and unique contribution at the EPS blog in the areas of philosophy of religion, ethics and apologetics.

Jim Spiegel is a professor of philosophy at Taylor University. He has written, edited or contributed to a range of books and articles at the intersection of philosophy of religion, theology, ethics and aesthetics, including break-out titles like Faith, Film and Philosophy (with R. Douglas Geivett), Hypocrisy and his award-winning How to Be Good in a World Gone Bad. Jim is also a contributor to Philosophia Christi and a member of the EPS Executive Committee. In addition to his scholarly work, Jim is a devout music and recording enthusiast. More about Jim can be found at www.jimspiegel.com and also at his blog where he and his wife contribute. We are pleased to have his perspective and creative thinking at the EPS blog.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Ways are not Your Ways: The Character of the God of the Hebrew Bible

Given that a tremendous amount of attention is being given to the moral implications of divine commands in the Old Testament, I thought many of our readers will be interested in attending this event at the University of Notre Dame, from September 10-12. For any other information, including speakers, times, and such, please see the following link:

http://www.nd.edu/~cprelig/conferences/HebrewBible/shtml

I think the docket of speakers is first rate, and expect much fruit from this event.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Symposium: Did God Mandate Genocide?

Philosophia Christi (Summer 2009) features a fascinating symposium that diversely addresses the theme, "Did God Mandate Genocide?" Primarily in view is the Old Testament destruction of the Canaanites.

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Contributors to this discussion include: Wesley Morriston, Randal Rauser, Joseph Buijs, Clay Jones and Paul Copan.

This discussion was originally prompted by Copan's Philosophia Christi 10:1 (Summer 2008) article, "Is Yahweh a Moral Monster? The New Atheists and Old Testament Ethics."

Below is a snapshot of each of the contributions:

Did God Command Genocide? A Challenge to the Biblical Inerrantist
by Wesley Morriston

Abstract: Thoughtful Christians who hold the Old Testament in high regard must at some point come to terms with those passages in which God is said to command what appear (to us) to be moral atrocities. In the present paper, I argue that the genocide passages in the Old Testament provide us with a strong prima facie reason to reject biblical inerrancy—that in the absence of better reasons for thinking that the Bible is inerrant, a Christian should conclude that God did not in fact command genocide. I shall also consider and reject the attempts of two prominent Christian philosophers to show that God had morally sufficient reasons for commanding the Israelites to engage in genocidal attacks against foreign peoples.


"Let Nothing that Breathes Remain Alive": On the Problem of Divinely Commanded Genocide
by Randal Rauser

Abstract: In this essay I argue that God did not command the Canaanite genocide. I begin by critiquing Paul Copan’s defense of Canaanite genocide. Next, I develop four counter-arguments. First, we know intuitively that it is always wrong to bludgeon babies. Second, even if killing babies were morally praiseworthy, the soul-destroying effect these actions would have on the perpetrators would constitute a moral atrocity. Third, I develop an undercutting defeater to the claim that Yahweh commanded genocide. Finally, I argue that we ought to repudiate divinely commanded genocide given the justification this provides for ongoing moral atrocities.

Atheism and the Argument from Harm
by Joseph Buijs

Abstract: One line of argument commonly lodged against religion is that it is usually or alway sharmful, individually and socially, and for that reason should be abolished from our cultural landscape. I consider two variations of the argument: one that appeals to direct harm caused by religion and another that appeals to indirect harm on the basis of attitudes instilled by religion. Both versions, I contend, are seriously flawed. Hence, this so-called harm argument fails, both as a critique of theism and as a defense of atheism.

We Don't Hate Sin So We Don't Understand What Happened to the Canaanites: An Addendum to "Divine Genocide" Arguments
by Clay Jones

Abstract: Skeptics challenge God’s fairness for ordering Israel to destroy the Canaanites, but a close look at the horror of Canaanite sinfulness, the corruptive and seductive power of their sin as seen in the Canaanization of Israel, and God’s subsequently instituting Israel’s own destruction because of Israel’s committing Canaanite sin reveals that God was just in His ordering the Canaanite’s destruction. But Western culture’s embrace of “Canaanite sin” inoculates it against the seriousness of that sin and so renders it incapable of responding to Canaanite sin with the appropriate moral outrage.

Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites: Divinely-Mandated Genocide or Corporate Capital Punishment? Response to Critics
by Paul Copan

Abstract: The divine command to kill the Canaanites is the most problematic of all Old Testament ethical issues. This article responds to challenges raised by Wes Morriston and Randal Rauser. It argues that biblical and extrabiblical evidence suggests that the Canaanites who were killed were combatants rather than noncombatants (“Scenario 1”) and that, given the profound moral corruption of Canaan, this divinely-directed act was just. Even if it turns out that noncombatants were directly targeted (“Scenario 2”), the overarching Old Testament narrative is directed toward the salvation of all nations—including the Canaanites.

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