عصير كتاب: مناظرات حول اللاهوت المسيحي Debating Christian Theism

Posted: نوفمبر 28, 2015 in لاهوت عقيدي, اللاهوت الدفاعي, النقد الكتابي, عصير الكتب

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Debating Christian Theism

Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis

Debating-Christian-Theism

Introduction

· In a recent article in the journal Philo (an academic journal that examines philosophical issues from an explicitly naturalist perspective), Quentin Smith laments what he calls “the de-secularization of academia that evolved in philosophy departments since the late 1960s.” He bemoans, Naturalists passively watched as realist versions of theism . . . began to sweep through the philosophical community, until today perhaps one-quarter or one-third of philosophy professors are theists, with most being orthodox Christians . . . in philosophy, it became, almost overnight, “academically respectable” to argue for theism, making philosophy a favored field of entry for the most intelligent and talented theists entering academia today. (Quentin Smith, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism,” Philo 4 , no. 2 (2001): 3–4.) Smith then concludes, “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.” (Smith, “The Metaphilosophy of Naturalism,” 4.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 1.]

· Richard Dawkins, for example, boldly proclaims: “I am attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented.” (Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion ( New York : Houghton Mifflin , 2006), 36 .) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 1.]

1. The Kalam Argument (William Lane Craig)

· Kasner and Newman strongly distinguish the two when they assert, “‘Existence’ in the mathematical sense is wholly different from the existence of objects in the physical world.” (Edward Kasner and James Newman, Mathematics and the Imagination (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1940), 61.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 8.]

· As Barrow and Tipler emphasize, “At this singularity, space and time came into existence; literally nothing existed before the singularity, so, if the Universe originated at such a singularity, we would truly have a creation ex nihilo.” (John Barrow and Frank Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), 442.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 13.]

· In their recent, popular The Grand Design, Hawking and Mlodinow explain: “Suppose the beginning of the universe was like the South Pole of the earth, with degrees of latitude playing the role of time. As one moves north, the circles of constant latitude, representing the size of the universe, would expand. The universe would start as a point at the South Pole, but the South Pole is much like any other point. To ask what happened before the beginning of the universe would become a meaningless question, because there is nothing south of the South Pole.” (Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York: Bantam Books, 2010), 134–135.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 14.]

· Vilenkin pulls no punches: “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.” (Alex Vilenkin, Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 176.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 15.]

· Kanitscheider observes, “the most successful ontological commitment that was a guiding line of research since Epicurus and Lucretius” is the principle out of nothing, nothing comes, which Kanitscheider calls “a metaphysical hypothesis that has proved so fruitful in every corner of science that we are surely well advised to try as hard as we can to eschew processes of absolute origin.” (Bernulf Kanitscheider, “Does Physical Cosmology Transcend the Limits of Naturalistic Reasoning?” in Studies on Mario Bunge’s “Treatise,” ed. P. Weingartner and G. J. W. Dorn (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1990), 344.) Rightly so. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 16.]

2. Doubts About the Kalam Argument (Wes Morriston)

· In order, for example, to show that the cause of the universe is a timeless, unchanging, and immaterial being who created it out of nothing, we need to know that it is the cause—not just of the space, time, and matt er of our universe, but of the space, time, and matter of any universe that might ever have existed. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 20.]

· Even if we could extrapolate all the way back to a time zero, this would establish merely that the space-time of our universe has a beginning. It would give us no reason to conclude that there is nothing on the other side of that beginning (an earlier universe operating in accordance with quite different physical laws, perhaps?), and no reason therefore to think that the whole order of nature (physical reality as a whole) has an absolute beginning. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 21.]

· Until the physicists have sorted things out on empirical grounds, I do not think we should rush to judgment. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 21.]

· The most we are therefore entitled to conclude is that the history of entropy has a beginning. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 21.]

· To the philosophically unsophisticated reader, it sounds rather as if Craig is equating the denial of premise 1 with the suggestion that once upon a time (“prior to the existence of the universe”) there was a situation in which nothing at all (not even time) existed—and then, “out of” that black hole of nothingness, the universe “popped into existence.” This is, to be sure, utter nonsense. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 28.]

· Here are some other well-attested empirical generalizations, each of which is incompatible with that hypothesis about the origin of the universe: (1) Material things come from material things. (2) Nothing is ever created out of nothing. (3) Nothing is ever caused by anything that is not itself in time. (4) The mental lives of all persons have temporal duration. (5) All persons are embodied. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 30.]

· I do not claim to have shown that either premise is false—merely that they are not adequately supported by the arguments I have discussed. This is, to be sure, a somewhat disappointing conclusion. But (in the spirit of Socrates) I have long thought it important to know when we don’t know. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 30.]

7. Ethics Needs God Paul Copan

· Jean-Paul Sartre: “It [is] very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him.” (Jean Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions (New York: Philosophical Library, 1957), 22.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 86.]

· Friedrich Nietzsche: “There are altogether no moral facts”; indeed, morality “has truth only if God is the truth—it stands or falls with faith in God.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols and the Anti-Christ (New York. Penguin Books, 1968), 55, 70.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 86.]

· Bertrand Russell rejected moral realism and retained the depressing view that humanity with all its achievements is nothing “but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms”; so we must safely build our lives on “the firm foundation of unyielding despair.” (Bertrand Russell, “A Free Man’s Worship,” in Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays (London: Allen & Unwin, 1963), 41.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 86.]

·  J . L. Mackie: “Moral properties constitute so odd a cluster of properties and relations that they are most unlikely to have arisen in the ordinary course of events without an all-powerful god to create them.” (J. L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 115.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 86.]

· Richard Dawkins concludes that a universe of “just electrons and selfish genes” would mean “there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (New York: Basic Books/Harper Collins, 1995), 132–133.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 86.]

· Russell, Nietzsche, Sartre, Mackie, and Dawkins are just a few fish in the larger naturalistic pond who recognize naturalism’s inability to generate objective values such as universal benevolence and human rights. Theism has no such problem. [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 87.]

· So naturalism’s context doesn’t inspire confidence in (a) the emergence of objective moral values; (b) the actual existence of human dignity, duty, and rights (however strongly we are wired to believe in their existence); or (c) in the trustworthiness of our belief-forming structures since naturalistic evolution is interested in survival, not truth (more below). [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 89.]

· Colin McGinn: “We know that brains are the de facto causal basis of consciousness, but we have, it seems, no understanding of how this can be so. It strikes us as miraculous, eerie, even faintly comic.” (Colin McGinn, The Problem of Consciousness (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 10–11.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 90.]

· Geoffrey Madell: “The emergence of consciousness, then is a mystery, and one to which materialism signally fails to provide an answer.” (Geoffrey Madell, Mind and Materialism (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1988), 141.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 90.]

· David Papineau: As to why consciousness emerges in certain cases, “to this question physicalists ‘theories of consciousness’ seem to provide no answer.” (David Papineau, Philosophical Naturalism (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), 119.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 90.]

· Patricia Churchland: “Boiled down to its essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F’s: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing … Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.” (Patricia Churchland, “Epistemology in the Age of Neuroscience,” Journal of Philosophy 84 (October 1987): 548–549.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 90.]

· Richard Rorty: Truth is “un-Darwinian.” (Richard Rorty, “Untruth and Consequences,” New Republic (31 July 1995): 32–36.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 90.]

· Michael Ruse: Morality is a “corporate” illusion that has been “fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate.” (Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson, “The Evolution of Ethics,” in Religion and the Natural Sciences, ed. J. E. Huchingson (Orlando: Harcourt Brace, 1993), 310–311.) That is, “we think it has an objective status.” (Michael Ruse, “Evolutionary Ethics: A Phoenix Arisen,” in Issues in Evolutionary Ethics, ed. Paul Thompson (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1995), 236.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 90.]

· James Rachels: “Man is a moral (altruistic) being, not because he intuits the rightness of loving his neighbor, or because he responds to some noble ideal, but because his behavior is comprised of tendencies which natural selection has favored.” (James Rachels, Created From Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 77.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 90.]

· William Provine: “Free will as traditionally conceived—the freedom to make un-coerced and unpredictable choices among alternative courses of action—simply does not exist. There is no way the evolutionary process as currently conceived can produce a being that is truly free to make choices.” (William Provine, “Evolution and the Foundation of Ethics,” Marine Biological Laboratory Science 3 (1988): 27–28.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 91.]

· Francis Crick: Our sense of identity and free will is “nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” (Francis Crick, The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1994), 3.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 91.]

· Thomas Nagel: “There is no room for agency in a world of neural impulses, chemical reactions, and bone and muscle movements.” Given naturalism, it’s hard not to conclude that we’re “helpless” and “not responsible” for our actions. (Thomas Nagel, The View from Nowhere (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 111, 113.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 91.]

· John Searle: We believe “we could have done something else” and that human freedom is “just a fact of experience.” However, “the scientific” approach to reality undermines the notion of a self that could potentially interfere with “the causal order of nature.” (John Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986 reprint) 87, 88, 92.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 91.]

· John Bishop: Our scientific understanding of human behavior seems to be in tension with a presupposition of the ethical stance we adopt toward it.” (John Bishop, Natural Agency (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 1.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 91.]

9. The Argument from Consciousness (J. P. Moreland)

· Consciousness is among the most mystifying features of the cosmos. Colin McGinn claims that its arrival borders on sheer magic because there seems to be no naturalistic explanation for it: “How can mere matter originate consciousness? How did evolution convert the water of biological tissue into the wine of consciousness? Consciousness seems like a radical novelty in the universe, not prefigured by the after-effects of the Big Bang; so how did it contrive to spring into being from what preceded it?” (Colin McGinn, The Mysterious Flame (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 13–14.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 119.]

· Even the atheist J. L. Mackie admitted that the emergence of moral properties provided evidence for a moral argument for God’s existence analogous to AC: “Moral properties constitute so odd a cluster of properties and relations that they are most unlikely to have arisen in the ordinary course of events without an all-powerful god to create them.” (J. L. Mackie, The Miracle of Theism (Oxford: Clarendon, 1982), 115.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 123.]

19. Human Persons are Material and Immaterial (Stewart Goetz)

· As the philosopher William Lyons has recently stated, the view “that humans are bodies inhabited and governed in some intimate if mysterious way by minds (souls), seemed and still seems to be nothing more than good common sense.” (William Lyons, Matters of the Mind (New York: Routledge, 2001), 9.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 263.]

· Some thoughts of the philosopher René Descartes about his awareness of himself as a soul can serve as our guide at this point: When I consider the mind [soul], that is to say, myself inasmuch as I am only a thinking thing, I cannot distinguish in myself any parts, but apprehend myself to be clearly one and entire; and although the whole mind seems to be united to the whole body, yet if a foot, or an arm, or some other part, is separated from my body, I am aware that nothing has been taken away from my mind. And the faculties [powers and capacities] of willing, feeling, conceiving, etc. cannot be properly speaking said to be parts, for it is one and the same mind which employs itself in willing and in feeling and understanding. (René Descartes, “Meditation VI,” in The Philosophical Works of Descartes, vol. 1, trans. Elizabeth S. Haldane and G. R. T. Ross (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911), 196.) [Debating Christian Theism, Edited by: J.P Moreland, Chad Meister, and Khaldoun Sweis, Oxford University Press 2013, Page 263.]

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