Search Results for: Michael Rea

The 2012 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology

The 2012 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology

Recent PhDs and current graduate students are invited to apply to participate in the 2012 St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology, a three-week long seminar organized by Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers) and Michael Rota (University of St. Thomas). The seminar will be held at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota, from June 17th to July 6th, 2012. Participants will receive a stipend of $3000, as well as room and board.

Topics and speakers:

  • Dualism and Materialism Chris Hill (Brown)
  • Hud Hudson (Western Washington); Dean Zimmerman (Rutgers)
  • Freedom and Foreknowledge Linda Zagzebski (Oklahoma); David Hunt (Whittier)
  • The Atonement Eleonore Stump (Saint Louis University); Michael Rea (Notre Dame)
  • Resurrection Timothy O’Connor (Indiana)
  • Pascal’s Wager Thomas Kelly (Princeton); Michael Rota (St. Thomas)
  • Neuroscience and Philosophy Hans Halvorson (Princeton); Jeffrey Schwartz (UCLA School of Medicine)

The deadline for receipt of applications is December 1, 2011.

For more information, including information on how to apply, go to

This seminar program is funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

EPS in Atlanta: Highlights

EPS Reception: Wednesday, 8:30 pm in room Salon A (Atlanta Hilton)

Conference registered EPS members and interested ETS members are welcome to come and enjoy fellowship with a word of encouragement from Taylor University’s Dr. James Spiegel.

EPS Plenary Session: Thursday, 3:00 pm in East Ballroom (Atlanta Hilton)

Come hear Dr. Alvin Plantinga present on an argument against materialism.

EPS Business Meeting: Thursday, 4:30 pm in East Ballroom (Atlanta Hilton)

Come hear about the latest happenings with the EPS, including who are the newest elected members of the EPS Executive Committee.

EPS Apologetics Conference (JFBC)

Thursday and Friday night (at 7:00 pm) and also Saturday morning (8:30 am)
Location: Johnson Ferry Baptist Church (Marietta)

Come join over 20 philosophers, theologians and apologists as they help equip people to think through tough challenges and objections to the Christian worldview.

More info at:

EPS at the Society of Biblical Literature Meeting: Saturday, 7:00-10:00pm at the Atlanta Hilton

Dr. Michael Rea will chair a session titled, “Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?” with participation from Paul Copan, Matthew Flannagan, Randal Rauser, and Richard Hess.

Templeton Dissertation Fellowship Program, 2011-2012

The Templeton Dissertation Fellowships program in Evil, Pain, and Contemporary Philosophy of Mind, hosted by the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame, will provide up to three one-year residential fellowships for the 2011 – 2012 academic year, with the possibility of a second year renewal in 2012. These Fellowships fund research focused on the biological and psychological nature and utility of pain and suffering, and/or the relations between pain and suffering and the problem of evil.

Fellows will be expected to spend the year in residence at the University of Notre Dame. Each successful applicant will receive a $25,000 fellowship award, plus up to $5,000 for relocation, travel and research. In addition, fellows will have joint access to funding to bring in outside speakers and visitors for short periods during their tenure, under the oversight of the fellowship directors (Logistical and administrative details will be handled by the Center’s administrative staff.)

For further details, including information about appropriate topics of research, please visit and follow the “Fellowships” and “Dissertation” links.

To apply, please submit the following materials electronically (except letters), if possible, to, or by mail to Michael Rea, Director, Center for Philosophy of Religion, 418 Malloy Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556:

  • A complete curriculum vitae
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the thesis director (Letters should be sent by the recommenders themselves or by a placement service.)
  • A project abstract of no more than 150 words
  • A project description of no more than 1200 words
  • One published or unpublished paper

All application materials must be received by January 15, 2011 to assure full consideration. Questions may be addressed to Michael Rea.

EPS Annual Events

November is fast approaching.

There are three great EPS events that you don’t want to miss the week before Thanksgiving, November 17-20th, in Atlanta, Georgia.

1. EPS annual meeting with Alvin Plantinga as our plenary speaker along with dozens of other presenters doing papers in philosophy of religion, philosophical theology, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and so much more! Register now.

2. EPS annual apologetics conference with Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas and Randy Newman as plenary speakers along with over 20 other great speakers on apologetics and contemporary objections. Take advantage of the discounted pricing before it expires on September 30th.

3. EPS annual session at the Society of Biblical Literature on the topic of “Is Yahweh a Moral Monster?” with Michael Rea, Paul Copan, Matthew Flannagan, Randal Rauser, and Richard Hess. More info here.

We welcome your participation at any of these events!

Honoring Alvin Plantinga

Many ideas have consequences.

How someone chooses to steward their ideas, influence and care  through institutions, networks of relationships, indeed among friendships, over time can be as consequential, if not more so, than sometimes even the ideas themselves.

Alvin Plantinga’s ideas, and his leadership with those ideas, have been deeply impactful for a whole generation of Christian philosophers. Moreover, his work has also been significantly appropriated by theologians, scientists, historians, psychologists and other Christian scholars working in various disciplines and fields.

“Alvin Plantinga is one of the most important and influential philosophers of the 20th and early 21st centuries,” says Michael Rea in a recent press release. Rea is a Professor of Philosophy at Notre Dame and Director of Notre Dame’s Center for Philosophy of Religion. “His [Plantinga’s] publications range over a wide variety of fields, but his most enduring contributions have been in metaphysics, epistemology, and, especially, the philosophy of religion.”

Besides introducing important arguments into the literature on the philosophy of religion, however, Plantinga has also played an important role in shaping the way in which many religious philosophers now approach topics in their own fields of specialization …

Of all the teachers I had the privilege of learning from at Notre Dame, none seemed more effective in the classroom than Plantinga. Furthermore, Plantinga takes his role as a teacher of graduate students very seriously.

I treasure the time I spent working with him and the friendship that grew out of it, and I know that my experience was not unique. Several friends of mine were and are students of Plantinga’s, and I know that all of them would have very similar things to say about their own experiences….

In light of the recent “Retirement Conference” (May 20-22) at Notre Dame, with deep gratitude the Evangelical Philosophical Society celebrates and honors our friend and colleague, Alvin Plantinga. Below are comments of appreciation that we received from Tom Crisp, Jim Beilby,  Paul Copan, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland,  and Chad Meister.

“This was, for me, a deeply moving conference,” said Tom Crisp, Biola University’s Professor of Philosophy. “Al means an enormous amount to me as a mentor and friend; the chance to be part of the conference, to hear the various tributes to Al (Nick Wolterstorff’s in particular–there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the time he finished), to thank him, to see so many dear friends–all tremendous blessings.”
Plantinga’s wise, Christian life is especially noted by Crisp:
One quick reminiscence about my time studying under Al. He once shared this (or something close) with a class: “In professional philosophy, you’ll find a sort of hierarchy or totem pole, a pecking order of power and influence. If you find yourself somewhere on that totem pole, my recommendation is that you go out of your way to be generous, kind, and helpful to those below you in the ordering, and that you attempt to be somewhat feisty to those above you.” This bit of advice has always struck me as wise and deeply Christian; I’ve seen Al put it into practice on many occasions.

William Lane Craig, Biola’s Research Professor of Philosophy, recalls something similar as Crisp concerning Plantinga’s character:

One of my first contacts with Alvin Plantinga was at a conference in Dallas in 1985. As a young philosopher, I was eager (though somewhat intimidated) to sit down with him and ask him some questions.  We arranged a time together in a section of the hotel lounge and began to talk. At that point, a woman came to him and said, “Prof. Plantinga, the press is here and asking to interview you.”  I figured that was the end of our conversation.  But to my shock, Plantinga said to her, “Well, tell them to go away!  Tell them I’m doing something more important: I’m talking philosophy.” Those words were burned into my memory. Imagine how I felt:  Alvin Plantinga considered it more important to talk to a nobody like me than be interviewed for an article that thousands would read! It spoke volumes to me of the character of this gracious man, who has over the years been such an inspiration to me.

At that time, Craig was also teaching at Trinity Seminary (Deerfield, IL). One of his students was Paul Copan, who is now the current President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and Professor and Pledger Family Chairperson of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

“I was first exposed to his writings as an M.A. student, when I took an Alvin Plantinga seminar class with Bill Craig in early 1986 at Trinity Seminary,” says Copan.

Al has been a tremendous influence on my thinking ever since.  I am very grateful for his astonishing contribution to the philosophy of religion for the last 45 years and his key role in helping to create a truly historic movement for such a time as this.  Al’s articulation of a robustly Christian outlook, his strength of conviction to resist certain fashionable philosophical trends, and his warm-hearted commitment to Christ and to biblical authority have have encouraged and guided so many of us.  He has truly inspired a generation of Christian philosophers; indeed, we stand on the shoulders of a great warrior for the gospel.  “Blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.”

“Alvin Plantinga is, of course, one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century,” says James Beilby, professor of philosophy at Bethel University. “His work has greatly influenced my academic work.  He was the subject of my dissertation and I’ve written or edited two books on aspects of his thought.  But his influence on me long predates my dissertation topic.”

During my senior year of college (1990-91) my faith fell completely apart. My crisis of faith was driven by the death of my football coach and a host of other things.  On my road back to faith, reading Plantinga’s God and Other Minds was a milestone.  Not the content, although that helped — honestly, I’m not sure I understood much more than a tithe of what he was really getting at.  It was Plantinga’s openness to dig deep, to question traditional ways of thinking, his clarity of thought, and his wit and humor that grabbed me.  “Christians can’t be all bad if there are some like this guy out there”, I thought.  Around this time, I wrote Al a letter, thanking him and asking what advice he might give to a young would-be theologian/philosopher.  I never really expected to receive a reply, but I did — promptly, two-and-a-half pages, single-spaced.  In the years since, he has encouraged and influenced me in a number of ways — through shared academic projects, personal conversations, games of disc golf, and showing up to my dissertation defense.

I tell this story not because I think my experience is unique, but because I think that it is not.  Al’s scholarly influence, as impressive as it is, is dwarfed by his personal influence.  Sure … he’s probably the best philosopher of our time.  But he’s a better person.

Congratulations, Al, on your retirement.  You said recently that after your retirement celebration that “I’ll be very happy if I don’t hear anything else about myself for, say, the next 20 years.”  I’m afraid that hearing these sorts of complements is the cross you will have to bear.  They are the fruit of your labors and the sign of your influence on so many.

Biola’s Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, J.P. Moreland, notes that “It is, indeed, hard to overestimate the impact of Plantinga’s life; clearly, his writings and lectures are central to this impact.”

But he has been a role model to an entire generation of younger Christian scholars of excellence, courage, faithfulness to Christ, and humility. I have been especially gratified by his critique of certain forms of physicalism and his defense of substance dualism, along with his identification of it as the Christian view. It has been an honor to be in the battle of ideas with him as our general. 

Surely, “Through Alvin Plantinga’s scholarship and his life, he has been the exemplar philosopher and Christian,” says Chad Meister

He is an inspiration to me and countless others-philosophers, theologians, pastors, and laypersons.  Through his framework-shifting articles and books in metaphysics and epistemology, for example, he reset the discussions and debates among philosophers and theologians.  He provided fresh ways of thinking about evil, free will, naturalism, and divine foreknowledge, to name a few key issues, and my own thinking about these matters has in many ways been structured around his profound insights.  He has demonstrated that being a devoted Christian and being a philosopher are not at odds; in fact, quite the contrary.  I am certain that among future generations he will continue to be regarded as one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  I thank God for Al and all what he has accomplished in his productive career.
Clearly, an understanding of Alvin Plantinga’s character and spirituality are not to be divorced from an understanding of his scholarly productivity and the sort of intellectual impact that his work continues to make. (To learn more, see Plantinga’s “Spiritual Autobiography”, which was also featured in Kelly James Clark’s edited book, Philosophers Who Believe)

Although retired from Notre Dame, Alvin Plantinga will not be disappearing anytime soon. He is currently working on a book related to philosophy, science and theology, and he will occasionally teach at Calvin College.

We are pleased to have Alvin Plantinga as our EPS plenary speaker for both the annual conference and the apologetics conference in November. Over the years, Philosophia Christi has been privileged to publish Plantinga’s work, along with important discussions of his work, such as our theme issue on his Warranted Christian Belief.

We welcome your further personal appreciations on Plantinga’s life, leadership and work. Please comment below.

Take Advantage of the New Subscriber Discount Before it Expires!

Only a few more weeks before we expire our first-time subscriber discount to Philosophia Christi.

Now is time to purchase a subscription to Philosophia Christi!

Regardless if you are full-time professor, a student, or you want a subscription for your library, here’s the deal that we are running, which is set to expire 12/31/2008:

$30 = current issue + 2 year subscription (4 issues).

Order now before this opportunity expires!

The current issue has two major symposiums; one on Allison’s Resurrecting Jesus and the other on Abraham’s Crossing the Threshold of Divine Revelation. Of course, there’s other great articles, notes and book reviews by such authors like Graham Oppy, William Lane Craig, Paul Copan, and Michael Rea — and yes, Antony Flew reviews Dawkins’ God Delusion!

EPS Sponsored Apologetics Training in New England

Nearly 800 people came out for the
“Earnestly Contending” apologetics
conference held at New Life Worship Center
— this was a record amount of people to attend such a conference in this region.

Attendees received first-hand training from
William Lane Craig
, Paul Copan,
Gary Habermas, Craig Evans,
Daniel B. Wallace,
Greg Koukl,
Michael Rea, Michael
, and several other featured speakers, including
Brett Kunkle who spoke to over 100 youth.

And perhaps even more encouraging is that over 100 area pastors came to a luncheon
and seminar in order to better grasp the pastoral significance of apologetics training
and ministry in the local church.

There was more than just interest in apologetics and Christian worldview training
— there was downright hunger for Christian knowledge and understanding.

Some have blogged about the conference, including comments at
Stirred Neurons,

Confident Christianity
, and even over at John Loftus’

Debunking Christianity

Audio of the conference presentations will be available in early 2009. You can currently
purchase all of the audio from last year by going

Because of the generous support of our donors, the EPS
continues to make an impact regionally and nationally. Please consider making a
tax-deductible, end-of-year donation to the EPS.

Subscribe to our free e-newsletter
and stay tuned for further info about next year’s conference in New Orleans!

Virtual Conference: Cosmic Mind, Divine Action, and Design-Engaged Theology

Date: April 14th, 10 am (GMT-05:00) Central Time (US & Canada).

Register today!

Goal: This virtual conference draws on intelligent design theory to make the case for a God who cares—and for what that means as humans seek to join God’s redemptive mission in crucial areas of human thinking, responsibility, and life. The conference speakers and participants will center on one unifying question: “What are the implications of Intelligent Design for science-engaged theology?”

Featured Speakers

  • Steve Meyer: Evidence from Cosmology, Physics, and Origin of Life
  • Joshua Farris: Evidence for a Cosmic Mind from individual humans
  • Michael Egnor: Evidence from Neuroscience for Neurotheology
  • J.P. Moreland: The Soul, ID Research and Science-Engaged Theology
  • Charles Taliaferro: Cosmic Mind and Implications for Creation & Vocation

Learn more at

The ‘Virtue of Obedience’ in Hudson’s Fallenness and Flourishing

Philosophers Michael Austin (Eastern Kentucky), Charity Anderson (Baylor), and Kent Dunnington (Biola) reflect on Hud Hudson’s Fallenness and Flourishing (Oxford, 2021) in a recent book symposia discussion (introduced by James Arcadi) at the Henry Center’s Sapientia.

Hud Hudson is Professor of Philosophy at Western Washington University, and the author of multiple books, including A Grotesque in the Garden (Eerdmans, 2020).

In his essay, Kent Dunnington shows that Hudson’s story can be ‘compressed’ as follows

(1) The world is bleak and most everybody is ill-off and unhappy.

(2) This is a consequence of human sin, especially our prideful efforts to pursue happiness independently of God.

(3) Such efforts mire us in unhappiness, particularly in the deadly sin of sloth: apathetic resistance to the demands of love.

(4) Since sloth diminishes human agency, we need God’s atoning grace to extricate ourselves from our unhappiness.

(5) The virtue of obedience opens us up to this grace.

While Dunnington shares Hudson’s “penchant for pessimism” he is, “less confident than [Hudson] that pessimism as a philosophy of life is warranted or beneficial.” Among other important questions, Dunnington wonders “how essential, really, is Hudson’s pessimism to his overall argument?” What if, Dunnington raises, (1) were replaced by

(1*) The world is brimming with gratuitous goodness, yet most of us persistently ignore, reject, and efface it.

in Hudson’s story?

Mike Austin praises Hudson’s book for “its philosophical quality but also for its deep insight into issues that relate to spiritual and moral formation.”

A slow and reflective reading on the nature of sloth as it is analyzed in the pages of this book would be potentially very useful for such purposes. This is moral philosophy and moral theology at its best, offering wisdom that can be lived.

Austin thinks that Hudson has made a “strong prima facie case for understanding obedience as a virtue. ” How does Hudson conceive of obedience? According to Austin (quoting Hudson), obedience is conceived as

an abiding and deeply seated pro-attitude towards uniting one’s will with God’s will and a robust and stable set of dispositions aimed at combatting . . . our perpetual state of concupiscence which is daily fueled by self-love . . . self-deceit . . . the lesser goods of pleasure, knowledge, and power in the world.” It includes the positive “disposition to commit oneself to God’s revealed word by faith, to persevere in the hope for the realization of the promises of that word, and to promote that realization in the exercise of charity through properly grounded love of God and neighbor (pp. 162–63). 

Austin’s essay goes on to examine “some important ways that hope can and ought to play in relation to Hudson’s four components of obedience: humility, restraint, response, and love.”

Charity Anderson commends Hudson’s book as an “engaging and creative attempt to diagnose one of the most important problems that human beings face—the failure to flourish—and offer a path forward . . .”

Anderson’s essay engages with two different parts of the book: First, she examines theodicy and “its impact on the pessimistic worldview that Hudson advocates.” Second, she “raises several questions about Hudson’s proposal that obedience is the key to unlocking happiness and well-being” (e.g., whether those who have cultivated obedience are in fact happier?).

Anderson concludes:

Suppose we grant that cultivating the virtue of obedience is a metaphorical ‘primer’ for the paint colors of well-being to display themselves more vividly. If it seems to us that in those who—to the best of our knowledge—have cultivated the virtue of obedience, the colors still don’t show all that vividly, what should we think? Are those who cultivate obedience only flourishing slightly more by comparison with those who lack obedience? It is unclear to what extent Hudson thinks we can expect to flourish on this earth even if we manage to cultivate the virtue of obedience. But it’s difficult to judge the thesis of the book—that obedience is the key to flourishing—without a better appreciation of what Hudson thinks about the prospects of the obedient flourishing now.

Theologian Olli-Pekka Vainio (Helsinki) also contributes to the book symposia, along with a reply from Hudson.