A Rational Defense of Belief in God
The New York Times recently posted a review of Alvin Plantinga’s book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism. In it, Plantinga argues on philosophical grounds that, among other things, theism is not in conflict with science, that a belief in naturalism along with evolution is contradictory, and that “Faith…is another basic way of forming beliefs, distinct from but not in competition with reason, perception, memory, and the others.” It’s a dense, but great read. The video above is a short interview with Plantinga that is also illuminating.
From the book review:
Plantinga holds that miracles are not incompatible with the laws of physics, because those laws determine only what happens in closed systems, without external intervention, and the proposition that the physical universe is a closed system is not itself a law of physics, but a naturalist assumption. Newton did not believe it: he even believed that God intervened to keep the planets in their orbits. Plantinga has a lengthy discussion of the relation of miracles to quantum theory: its probabilistic character, he believes, may allow not only miracles but human free will. And he considers the different interpretations that have been given to the fine-tuning of the physical constants, concluding that the support it offers for theism is modest, because of the difficulty of assigning probabilities to the alternatives. All these discussions make a serious effort to engage with the data of current science. The arguments are often ingenious and, given Plantinga’s premises, the overall view is thorough and consistent.
The interest of this book, especially for secular readers, is its presentation from the inside of the point of view of a philosophically subtle and scientifically informed theist—an outlook with which many of them will not be familiar. Plantinga writes clearly and accessibly, and sometimes acidly—in response to aggressive critics of religion like Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. His comprehensive stand is a valuable contribution to this debate.
OK, we don’t really think this is the difference between theology and philosophy, but how does this guy not get that not believing in believing is, itself, a belief?
Biologos posted a three part reflection on Pre-Modern readings of Genesis 1 that are worth a closer look. And no matter what your particular way of reading this portion of Scripture, let’s pay attention to what edifies the Church and whether our reading contributes to that. From Part I of the series: Key theologians of…
Image by michael_swan via Flickr In sharp contrast to many today who seek the comfortable feeling of certainty as a way of feeling at peace with God, biblical heroes are better known for their willingness to be uncomfortable and to honestly wrestle with God. Like Jacob who wrestled with God through the night (Gen 32), the heroes…
This is the third of several videos Greg put together to refute Bart Ehrman’s claims published in the article What Do We Really Know About Jesus? If you missed the first two installments you can find them here and here.
This is the seventh of several videos Greg put together to refute Bart Ehrman’s claims published in the article What Do We Really Know About Jesus? In this segment, Greg argues against Ehrman’s claim that the Roman census in the birth narrative was fabricated. If you missed the first six installments you can find them here, here, here, here, here and here.
You will never see another book quite like this one. Filled with pictures and creative dialogue, this title wrestles with questions about how science and theology relate to each other so that we might better understand God and our world. This is the kind of book you will want to show your friends, even if…