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Philosophia Christi

Volume 11, Issue 1, 2009
Symposium: Did God Mandate Genocide?

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Displaying: 1-20 of 26 documents


1. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Craig J. Hazen Editor’s Introduction
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symposium: did god mandate genocide?
2. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Wesley Morriston Did God Command Genocide?: A Challenge to the Biblical Inerrantist
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Thoughtful Christians who hold the Old Testament in high regard must at some point come to terms with those passages in which God is said to command what appear (to us) to be moral atrocities. In the present paper, I argue that the genocide passages in the Old Testament provide us with a strong prima facie reason to reject biblical inerrancy—that in the absence of better reasons for thinking that the Bible is inerrant, a Christian should conclude that God did not in fact command genocide. I shall also consider and reject the attempts of two prominent Christian philosophers to show that God had morally sufficient reasons for commanding the Israelites to engage in genocidal attacks against foreign peoples.
3. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Randal Rauser “Let Nothing that Breathes Remain Alive”: On the Problem of Divinely Commanded Genocide
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In this essay I argue that God did not command the Canaanite genocide. I begin by critiquing Paul Copan’s defense of Canaanite genocide. Next, I develop four counterarguments. First, we know intuitively that it is always wrong to bludgeon babies. Second, even if killing babies were morally praiseworthy, the soul-destroying effect these actions would have on the perpetrators would constitute a moral atrocity. Third, I develop an undercutting defeater to the claim that Yahweh commanded genocide. Finally, I argue that we ought to repudiate divinely commanded genocide given the justification this provides for ongoing moral atrocities.
4. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Joseph A. Buijs Atheism and the Argument from Harm
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One line of argument commonly lodged against religion is that it is usually or always harmful, individually and socially, and for that reason should be abolished from our cultural landscape. I consider two variations of the argument: one that appeals to direct harm caused by religion and another that appeals to indirect harm on the basis of attitudes instilled by religion. Both versions, I contend, are seriously flawed. Hence, this so-called harm argument fails, both as a critique of theism and as a defense of atheism.
5. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Clay Jones We Don’t Hate Sin So We Don’t Understand What Happened to the Canaanites: An Addendum to“Divine Genocide” Arguments
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Skeptics challenge God’s fairness for ordering Israel to destroy the Canaanites, but a close look at the horror of Canaanite sinfulness, the corruptive and seductive power of their sin as seen in the Canaanization of Israel, and God’s subsequently instituting Israel’s own destruction because of Israel’s committing Canaanite sin reveals that God was just in His ordering the Canaanite’s destruction. But Western culture’s embrace of “Canaanite sin” inoculates it against the seriousness of that sin and so renders it incapable of responding to Canaanite sin with the appropriate moral outrage.
6. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Paul Copan Yahweh Wars and the Canaanites: Divinely-Mandated Genocide or Corporate Capital Punishment?
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The divine command to kill the Canaanites is the most problematic of all Old Testament ethical issues. This article responds to challenges raised by Wes Morriston and Randal Rauser. It argues that biblical and extrabiblical evidence suggests that the Canaanites who were killed were combatants rather than noncombatants (“Scenario 1”) and that, given the profound moral corruption of Canaan, this divinely-directed act was just. Even if it turns out that non­combatants were directly targeted (“Scenario 2”), the overarching Old Testament narrative is directed toward the salvation of all nations—including the Canaanites.
articles
7. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Angus Menuge Is Downward Causation Possible?: How the Mind Can Make a Physical Difference
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Downward causation (mental to physical causation) is controversial in the philosophy of mind. Some materialists argue that such causation is impossible because it (1) violates the causal closure of the physical; (2) is incompatible with natural law; and (3) cannot be reconciled with the empirical evidence from neuroscience. This paper responds to these objections by arguing that (1) there is no good reason to believe that the physical is causally closed; (2) properly understood, natural laws are compatible with downward causation; and (3) recent findings in neuroscience reported by Schwartz, Beauregard, and others provide strong empirical support for downward causation.
8. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Erik Wielenberg Dawkins’s Gambit, Hume’s Aroma, and God’s Simplicity
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I examine the central atheistic argument of Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion (“Dawkins’s Gambit”) and illustrate its failure. I further show that Dawkins’s Gambit is a fragment of a more comprehensive critique of theism found in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Among the failings of Dawkins’s Gambit is that it is directed against a version of the God Hypothesis that few traditional monotheists hold. Hume’s critique is more challenging in that it targets versions of the God Hypothesis that are central to tradi­tional monotheism. Theists and atheists should put away The God Delusion and pick up Hume’s Dialogues.
9. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Gordon Pettit Moral Objectivity, Simplicity, and the Identity View of God
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I argue that one can consistently affirm that fundamental moral principles are objec­tive, universal, nonarbitrary, and invariable and yet are dependent on God. I explore and reject appealing to divine simplicity as a basis for affirming this conjunction. Rather, I develop the thesis that God is identical to the Good (the Identity View or IV) and argue that the IV does not fall to the criticisms of simplicity. I then consider a divine will theory (DWT) that claims moral principles are grounded in God’s will. The IV conjoined with the DWT show the consistency of the initial conjunctive claim.
10. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
John Milliken Euthyphro, the Good, and the Right
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The Euthyphro dilemma is widely deployed as an argument against theistic accounts of ethics. The argument proceeds by trying to derive strongly counterintuitive implications from the view that God is the source of morality. I argue here that a general crudeness with which both the dilemma and its theistic targets are described accounts for the seeming force of the argument. Proper attention to details, among them the distinction between the good and the right, reveals that a nuanced theism is quite unscathed by it.
11. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Steven B. Cowan Molinism, Meticulous Providence, and Luck
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Molinism entails that God cannot actualize just any possible world because God has no control over what counterfactuals of freedom (CFs) are true. This fact confronts the Molinist with a dilemma. If God has a plan for the course of history logically antecedent to his cognizance of the true CFs, then God would have been implausibly lucky if any actualizable world corresponded to his plan. If, on the other hand, God did not have a plan for the course of history antecedent to his cognizance of the true CFs, then Molinism is incommensurate with a meticulous view of providence.
12. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Scott A. Davison Cowan on Molinism and Luck
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In “Molinism, Meticulous Providence, and Luck,” Steven Cowan argues that the doctrine of meticulous providence creates a damaging dilemma for Molinists. I argue that Molinists can overcome this dilemma without giving up the doctrine of meticulous providence.
13. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Steven B. Cowan On Target with “Molinism, Meticulous Providence, and Luck”: A Rejoinder to Scott A. Davison
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Scott Davison has raised some challenges to my case against the commensurability of meticulous providence and what I call Scheme-B Molinism, the view that God formulates his plan for the course of history consequent to his cognizance of the true counterfactuals of freedom. In this rejoinder, I attempt to clarify certain points of my argument and respond to his criticisms by showing that he has not dealt adequately with the relevant biblical texts or alleviated the worry that the Molinist view of providence reduces God to just “choosing which movie to play.”
philosophical notes
14. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
J. P. Moreland Searle’s Rapprochement between Naturalism and Libertarian Agency: A Review Essay on Freedom and Neurobiology
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Most philosophers agree that libertarian freedom and the ontology most naturally associated with it is not easily harmonized with epistemically robust versions of naturalism. And while he continues to remain a bit skeptical of such harmonizations efforts, John Searle has recently proffered hope for such reconciliation and the general contours to which any such attempt must conform. I state Searle’s views, criticize each step in his argument, and conclude that his attempt at a rapprochement is a failure.
15. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
William Hasker Hasker on the Banks of the Styx: A Reply to Glenn Andrew Peoples
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Glenn Andrew Peoples has criticized my mind-body theory, emergentism or emergent dualism, on the grounds that it does not, as claimed, allow for the possibility of disembodied survival. I show that his criticisms are misplaced. His objections to my scientific analogies for mind-body emergence misstate what was said by the scientific authorities (Roger Penrose and Kip Thorne) on which I rely. And his philosophical argument relies on a definition of emergentism to which I do not subscribe.
16. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Steven D. Hales What to Do about Incommensurable Doxastic Perspectives: Reply to Mark McLeod-Harrison
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The present paper is a response to the criticisms that Mark McLeod-Harrison makes of my book Relativism and the Foundations of Philosophy. If secular, intuition-driven rationalist philosophy yields a belief that p, and Christian, revelation-driven epistemic methods yield a belief that not-p, what should we do? Following Alston, McLeod-Harrison argues that Christian philosophers need do nothing, and remains confident that their way is the best. I argue that this is a serious epistemic mistake, and that relativism about philosophical propositions is a superior approach. McLeod-Harrison also raises two objections to my account of relativism, the first against my rejection of the skeptical alternative, and the second attempting to show that I am committed to an epistemic theory of truth. I rebut both arguments.
17. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Mark S. McLeod-Harrison Much “To-Do” about Nothing: Hales’s Skeptical Relativism, and Basic Doxastic Perspectives
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Steven Hales’s defense of his philosophical relativism in “What to Do about Incommensurable Doxastic Perspectives” challenges a number of my criticisms made in my “Hales’s Argument for Philosophical Relativism.” I respond to each of these challenges and make a number of further observations about Hales’s position.
18. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Gary R. Habermas God’s Activity in Today’s World: A Review Essay on Kingdom Triangle
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In this review essay, I consider J. P. Moreland’s Kingdom Triangle as a recent example that takes seriously the incursion of God’s Kingdom into the human realm. Among other things, Moreland’s book helpfully provides some needed leadership and modeling for Christian philosophers as we reflect upon what it means to know and indeed experience first-hand the supernatural in-breaking of God’s power. Moreland’s approach locates the experience of God’s miraculous activity within the panoply of the Christian knowledge tradition and alongside what it means for Christ to be formed in our interior. I conclude with some of my own research examples of God’s healing power.
19. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
Charles Taliaferro Philosophers without God: A Review Essay
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An overview and critical evaluation of personal testimonies and arguments by some contemporary atheist philosophers. Feldman’s case that epistemic parity (where equally intelligent persons adopt incompatible beliefs) should lead to agnosticism is examined and found to be self-refuting.
20. Philosophia Christi: Volume > 11 > Issue: 1
William Lane Craig Vilenkin’s Cosmic Vision: A Review Essay on Many Worlds in One
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Alexander Vilenkin’s recent book is a wonderful popular introduction to contempo­rary cosmology. It contains provocative discussions of both the beginning of the universe and of the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life. Vilenkin is a prominent exponent of the multiverse hypothesis, which features in the book’s title. His defense of this hypothesis depends in a crucial and interesting way on conflating time and space. His claim that his theory of the quantum creation of the universe explains the origin of the universe from nothing trades on a misunderstanding of “nothing.”