A few weeks ago I published an article at Strange Notions titled “Does God Punish People Through Natural Weather Events?” For some time I’ve been thinking about writing a book on the topic of whether God punishes human populations by way of natural disasters. Well, this past week I finally got around to starting the […]
God, Serial Killers, and Natural Evil
Most of my readers will know of Stephen Law, the respected atheist philosopher who has made some perspicuous contributions to philosophy of religion, perhaps most notably in his evil God argument. (In the past I reviewed Law’s book Believing Bullshit and I’ve offered several critiques of his evil God argument, including here and here.) Today Law offered […]
On calling God a murderer (Part 2)
I ended part 1 of this discussion with two questions, the first of which I will begin to address here: “when does the death of an individual constitute God’s killing that individual?” Note that by addressing this question we are not yet discussing God’s murdering anybody since killing and murdering are not the same thing. To […]
Divine action, answered prayer, and a zero/sum game
The other day I was visiting a non-denominational charismatic church with my twelve year old daughter. At one point the pastor asked, “How many of you have witnessed the power of God?” A few hands went up. Then the pastor asked, “Did you ever have a child who was sick and then got better?” Heads around […]
Did God really harden Pharaoh’s heart?
I raised the issue in “Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? On the failure of a popular apologetic response“. As I said there; “if God is perfectly good, why would he act upon the will of a human being to lead that human being to engage in an act of evil?” That is, why would […]
Why a perfect God might have hardened Pharaoh’s heart
In “Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? On the failure of a popular apologetic response” I noted the theological and ethical problems that arise with God acting upon Pharaoh (i.e. “hardening his heart”) so that he will act in an evil and unwise manner. The question, as I noted, is simple: “if God is perfectly good, […]
Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? On the failure of a popular apologetic response
It is a well known problem. The book of Exodus describes God hardening Pharaoh’s heart on several occasions. For example, “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.” (Exodus 9:12) The problem is obvious: if God is perfectly good, why […]
Should miracles be defined as events that persuade skeptics?
The conversation on miracles continues with a question from David: “I recognize the weakness you [that is, Randal] pointed out in that God does not have to operate outside of the natural laws he created to cause a miracle. On the other hand, I’m thinking it may be difficult to convince people that God acted if […]
Responding to comments from “Are self-described skeptics reliable to evaluate miracle claims?”
I wrote the article “Are self-described skeptics reliable to evaluate miracle claims?” just as I was leaving for a conference. Consequently I wasn’t able to engage with the comments. And so I will be doing so in this aptly titled follow-up. The first comment comes from Erroll Treslan who writes: “I would like to object […]
Common misunderstandings of the concept of a miracle
Miracles. The topic came up in the discussion thread to “The signs of ideologically driven atheism” when David observed: “I suppose the challenge with miracle accounts is that most of us now have defeaters like “miracles do not occur” or “miracles are uncommon” or “people lie about miracles because they have an agenda.”” One does […]
Everything you ever wanted to know about divine action (except how it really works)
Yesterday I was asked about some good material to read on the topic of divine action and science. Right away I thought of Nicholas Saunders’ book Divine Action and Modern Science (Cambridge University Press, 2003). Saunders did a really interesting overview of the topic of divine action and the problems with current theories of it […]
God, miracles, and amazing Kentucky Blue
It is an oft heard complaint against theism: belief in God undermines your ability to say anything else is improbable. Why? This is the way Adam Hazzard put it in response to my essay “The Resurrection of Jesus, 52 Pickup, and Prior Probabilities“: you assume the existence of an omnipotent, invisible, immaterial being who can […]
Is Hurricane Isaac God’s judgment on the GOP?
Today (Monday, August 27th) the GOP (aka Grand Old Party, aka Republican Party) begins its nomination convention in Tampa. But things haven’t gone quite as planned. With Hurricane Isaac roaring past, travel plans have been upset, schedules have been reworked, and the convention has effectively been delayed for a day. To make matters worse, once the […]
What would count as evidence for naturalism?
One of the problems with those who describe themselves as naturalists (by which I mean as adherents to naturalism, not to be confused with outdoorsy types) is found in a persistent confusion as to what constitutes evidence for naturalism. In “See No Supernaturalism…” I made the following comment on the issue: When people stop explaining direct divine action […]