God: for or against?

I think its merely because I got drunk; and I found a really good article advertised.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/july/13.22.html

William Lane Craig is a philosopher who I have had the pleasure to meet in person; I must say that when I first met him, that I didn’t like him very much. But, seriously, however, I think this fellow has a lot of interesting work.

The phenomenon of Christian Analytic Philosophers is VERY VERY interesting. I am of the view that everyone in the world is full of shit except analytic philosophers. Analytic philosophers have training in logic, metaphyics, and history of philosophy. A lot of people who argue for or against God generally do not have the relevant philosophical background to truly appreciate the background arguments and history; for example. How powerful Hume’s arguments were, how important Aquinas’ five ways were, or the role of science in philosophy.

However, even philosophers I do not trust with credence to deal with Christianity. Because, one needs to have read the Christian historey, and works; like Aquinas; Augustine, Irenaeus, Pascal, Kant, Schliermacher, Barth, Rahner, Liberation theology, Black theology, Feminist theology, and Postmodern theology.

There are, however, a few philosophers who I have a deep sense of respect for; not because I agree or disagree with them, but because of the breath and strength of their intellectual pursuits. I mention here, the likes of William Lane Craig (outside of his apologetics, he is a proper philosopher, who writes very powerful and insightful articles; he believes, for instance, that the B-series of time is incompatible with Relativity); Alvin Plantinga (who has written on Modality and a lot of epistemology); William Alston (who is, in my knowledge of philosophy, a well-cited and well reputed epistemologist, on a par with the likes of people like Laurence BonJour).

I had a tutor at university who had this phrase “he’s no fool!”. I seriously believe that a person who has established the philosophical consensus of the view that the B-series is incompatible with relativity is no fool. I do not believe that non-fools talk nonsense; except if they are drunk, horny, or accidic; I believe these philosophers do not satisfy either of these conditions.

I have a few comments to make:

1. If you can prove S5 modality, you can give a successful proof of God’s existence. I have a friend in graduate school who believes in a view that is compatible with S5 modality; which proposes that there are no possible worlds that, in any circumstance, entertain actuality.

2. Philosophical arguments for the existence of God; if they are to be modern and sophisticated, engage in a philospohical language that the lay person cannot understand; these are serious arguments and a serious fight has to be made on both sides; this is not an appeal to authority; this is an appeal to sophia.

3. Philosophical arguments for the existence of God, assume advocation of the project of Natural philosophy (Cf. Aquinas); not too many protestants would accept this commitment; particulary those who advocate analogia fides; or sola Christus/sola fides. Natural philosophy is a view that (to my knowledge) is a big concession to Catholic philosophy/theology. This issue is an internal argument for Christian believers….

In short, I seriously say to you readers, that atheism is no obvious thesis to be true. Neither position, if seriously entertained, is the stock of fools.

Michael

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3 thoughts on “God: for or against?

  1. Enjoyed reading through your thoughts here.

    I’m unfamiliar with S5, but certainly if you can prove the existence of possible worlds, you can prove the existence of God, and I imagine this is in the vein of what you are saying.

    But on the matter of philosophical arguments for the existence of God, I’ve never really felt these were relevant (and neither did Kant, if I understand him correctly).

    If one has had a numinous experience and it is compatible with your God-concept, what further need of “proof”, let alone philosophical proof? And if you have not had a numinous experience of the wholly other, why would a philosophical proof have bearing?

    On the other hand, when the other ontological pole (“New Atheism”) is claiming self-evidence for the non-existence of valid God-concepts without even bothering to look at the philosophical groundings of such a bizarre claim, perhaps the value of new philosophical arguments for God is that it shows that one team of ontological basketball players is still turning up and scoring points while the other is simply denying the importance of basketball! 🙂

    Best wishes!

  2. S5, many believe, is compatible with (or should I say, SHOULD BE COMPATIBLE WITH) Spinoza’s position of modality. Spinoza himself believes that there are no such things as possible worlds (he’s a necessitarian); he also disagrees with the sentiment of Leibniz that ‘this is the best of all posssible worlds’; one, for the ontology of posing possible worlds, EVEN AS CONCEIVABILITY CASES; secondly, as his philosophical optimism is suggestive that things could be otherwise.

    I have a colleague who believes in a similar modern position; it is odd that of all the main theories of modality (Kripke, Lewis, Fine, and maybe G. Rosen); most of them believe that modality has a lot of work to do; and do not themselves commit to a ‘modal atheism’ (which, I would think to most normal people, would be the right position – namely, the view that this is the only world there is and possible worlds don’t hold any ontic significance).

    As for the S5 itself? As far as I understand it; S5 worlds are those posited that are in very close proximity to another; and concern the amount of access we have to other possible worlds.

    Most people think it’s too strong, and go more for S4 modality.

    The best kind of arguments for God’s existence are not so much “proof” in our normal scientific sense of confirmation or denial; but are demonstrations of conceptual necessity.

    The best kinds of argument are the ones which make the most ambitious claims; for example, God does not only exist, but belief in God (viz. definition of such and such…) is necessary for intellectual conduct. Conceptual necessity may do this. What is most interesting, that most people who have something to fight for in the argument (some ideology, or whatever); is how interesting the presuppositions are:

    existence is a predicate
    the status of necessity
    the principle of sufficient reason
    the primacy of experience
    the conditions of possibility and the metaphysics that underlie science and experience

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