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 NaturalismIn 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.

Related Reading

Interview with Drew Marshall

Greg was interviewed by Drew Marshall on Saturday, November 2, on the topic of his new book Benefit of the Doubt, and we thought you might like to listen to what he had to say. You can find the interview here. Enjoy!

An Apology from Greg

Ken Ham, the head of Answers In Genesis has called on me to publicly apologize and “retract [my] false statement” when I insinuated that he “preaches a false Gospel” by requiring “people to declare war on science as a precondition to entering the kingdom.” Ken pointed out that his organization’s Statement of Faith states that,…

Look!

Heh peeps, For several years in college and seminary I was enamored with Ludwig Wittgenstein. In fact, the main reason I decided to attend Yale Divinity School was to study under Paul Holmer who was arguably the world’s foremost authority on Wittgenstein at the time. (He was also considered one of the leading authorities on Kierkegaard and C.S.Lewis,…

Inconceivable!

Though it’s now thirty-one years old, I’m willing to bet that the majority of you have watched the Princess Bride at least once. In fact, I’m willing to bet that a lot of you have seen it multiple times (I’ve seen at least parts of it dozens of times). It is truly one of the…

Podcast: Can a Person Come Back to God if They Lose Their Faith?

Greg considers the nature of faith and unbelief and offers some enlightening insight that may surprise you.    http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0316.mp3

Toasted Ham and Nye

So, the big debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye is history. We didn’t really pay a whole lot of attention to it, and here’s why.  In order for there to be a winner in this debate (because of the way it was framed) you had to choose between the false dichotomy of a believing the…