Category Archives: Philosophy of Religion

One Perspective on Christianity and Disability

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Introduction
     In what follows, I will lay out some of the more problematic aspects of Christianity’s relationship with its members who are disabled. This will involve an exploration of Christian theology and a comparison with another, similarly harmful, approach to/worldview of disability known as the medical model.

NOTE: I realize that what is about to be said does not apply universally to all of Christianity or its denominations or its beliefs. But there are still people and denominations who hold to some of these beliefs or views, either directly or indirectly, and who propagate this mistreatment of people with disabilities, either purposefully or inadvertently. It it to these particular Christian individuals and groups that this article is predominantly addressed.

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A Historical Primer on Polygamous Marriage

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The history of polygamy is a rich and varied one. Dating back to 3000 BCE and continuing today, spanning the world from Asia to Europe, from Africa and the Middle East to North America. The ancient patriarchs of the Hebrews such as Abraham, Esau, and Jacob were the heads of polygamous households. Similarly, under Shari’ah Law in Islam, a man is allowed to marry up to four women so long as he treats them in an egalitarian manner. Even the father of early modern Protestantism, Martin Luther, admitted that Christianity and polygamy were not mutually exclusive ideals, noting that the practice did not contradict anything in the Holy Bible (Swisher 3-4). As a result, it is fair to say that there is a globally attested and historical tradition of polygamy and that it has been defended over time as a viable form of marriage.

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The Incompatible Properties Argument(s) by T.M. Drange

[This article was originally published by Dr. Theodore Drange in Philo 1998 (2), pp. 49-60. It has been re-purposed here, eliminating most of Drange’s accompanying comments to anticipated objections. The intention here is just to provide the outlines of his argument(s) in their logical form(s) and promote awareness of the argument’s overall strength.]

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Atheological arguments (arguments for the nonexistence of God) can be divided into two main groups. One group consists of arguments which aim to show an incompatibility between two of God’s properties. Let us call those “incompatible-properties arguments.” The other group consists of arguments which aim to show an incompatibility between God’s existence and the nature of the world. They may be called “God-vs.-world arguments.” A prime example of one of those would be the Evidential Argument from Evil. This paper will only survey arguments in the first group. Arguments in the second group are discussed elsewhere.[1]

To generate incompatible-properties arguments, it would be most helpful to have a list of divine attributes. I suggest the following. God is:

(a) perfect                       (g) personal

(b) immutable                (h) free

(c) transcendent            (i) all-loving

(d) nonphysical              (j) all-just

(e) omniscient                (k) all-merciful

(f) omnipresent              (l) the creator of the universe

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An Overview of Camus on the Absurd

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The Absurd (at least on Camus’s view) emphasizes “a fundamental disharmony” or “tragic incompatibility” in our finite existence. Camus ultimately argues that the Absurd is the product of a head-on collision between our seemingly universal human desire for objective order, meaning, and purpose in life and the bleak, indifferent, perhaps even soul-crushing “silence of the universe.” “The absurd is not in man nor in the world,” Camus writes, “but in their presence together…it is the only bond uniting them.”

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May the 4th Be with You

In honor of today’s holiday and the greatest movie saga of all time, I’m uploading a copy of a paper that I wrote for one of my graduate courses, Women in World Religions, with Dr. Lori Swick. 

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You can download the essay in its entirety here

2 Superb Introductions to Metaphysics!

The video above (albeit with corny transition effects — I’m thinking Prezy?) covers some of the fundamental ideas in Metaphysics. ~9 mins.

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A Critique of ‘The Argument from Desire’

Introduction
The Argument from Desire is an often overlooked argument that is both logically and emotionally appealing to theists. As Christian apologist Norman Geisler puts it, “it has a certain existential force.” 1 The Argument from Desire interprets seemingly universal desires and experiences of human beings, including those who may passionately declare themselves to be atheists, agnostics, or something else entirely, as evidence that points to the existence of Heaven specifically, but which is entailed by the existence of the Christian God more generally.

Though originally championed by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, Pilgrim’s Regress, and The Problem of Pain 2, there have been numerous forms of the argument advanced in contemporary times. Some scholars, such as Norman Geisler and Art Lindsley 3, argue that the desire is one for immortality. Others state that it is a desire for everlasting joy, as Lewis himself did. Still others, such as Peter Kreeft, argue that this universal yearning is a desire for an intimate and lasting relationship with God, which likely entails the other two desires. This paper will focus mostly on the version of the Argument from Desire put forth by Christian apologist Peter Kreeft. 4 In the remainder of this paper, I will explore Kreeft’s argument in detail, providing criticisms and clarifications where appropriate applicable. 

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Findings from a Dictionary of Philosophy

 

Recently I had the urge to read up on some terms and concepts from the philosophy of religion, for clarification purposes. The work I chose (because I had online access to it) was “The Dictionary of Philosophy of Religion” written by Charles Taliaferro. Most of the terms I already knew by description or experience but I didn’t know them by their proper names. So, I figured that I would share some of the more interesting finds.

 

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Biology Textbooks and the “God-Talk” Problem

“Another school year is around the corner. Undergraduate biology students will once again take up their textbooks on a quest to explore the intricacies of life. Of course, these students are rarely exposed to a balanced assessment of evolutionary theory, including its empirical challenges.

But that’s not all: biology students will likely use a textbook that incoherently presents the case for evolution. Surprisingly, this muddle emerges from textbooks’ unprincipled use of theology, of all things. In a recent journal article, “Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t: The Problem of God-talk in Biology Textbooks,” Stephen Dilley and Nicholas Tafacory argue that textbooks falls prey to an intractable dilemma. 

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Key Quotes from The AntiChrist by Friedrich Nietzsche

Though many things can be (and have been) said about Nietzsche’s polemic work, The Antichrist, this post is merely about some of the more coherent quotes, explanations, and thoughts contained within the work. As is commonly known, Nietzsche’s writing style was not crisp, clean, and precise like the styles of various analytical philosophers in contemporary times. Rather, Nietzsche wrote like he thought: like a madman. 

“What is good? All that enhances the feeling of power, the Will to Power, and power itself in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is increasing, that resistance has been overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency. The weak and the botched shall perish; first principle of our humanity. And they ought even to be helped to perish. What is more harmful than any vice? Practical sympathy with all the botched and the weak – Christianity.” -Section 2

“Mankind does not represent a development towards a better, stronger or higher type, in the sense in which this is supposed to occur today. “Progress” is merely a modern idea – that is to say, a false idea…The process of evolution does not by any means imply elevation, enhancement and increasing strength.” -Section 4

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