Fine tuning arguments contend that the existenceof our cosmos with its suns, planets, life, et al. would nothave come about or continued in existence without the constancy ofmultiple factors. Even minor changes to the nuclear weak force wouldnot have allowed for stars, nor would stars have endured if the ratioof electromagnetism to gravity had been different. John Leslieobserves: “Alterations by less than one part in a billion to theexpansion speed early in the Big Bang would have led to runawayexpansion, everything quickly becoming so dilute that no stars couldhave formed, or else to gravitational collapse inside under asecond” (Leslie 2007, 76). Robin Collins and others have arguedthat theism better accounts for the fine tuning than naturalism(see Collins 2003; for criticism of the argument, see Craig &Smith 1993).
In the face of the problem of evil, some philosophers and theologiansdeny that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. John Stuart Mill tookthis line, and panentheist theologians today also question thetraditional treatments of Divine power. According to panentheism, Godis immanent in the world, suffering with the oppressed and working tobring good out of evil, although in spite of God's efforts, evil willinvariably mar the created order. Another response is to think of Godas being very different from a moral agent. Brian Davies and othershave contended that what it means for God to be good is different fromwhat it means for an agent to be morally good (Davies 2006). A moredesperate strategy is to deny the existence of evil, but it isdifficult to reconcile traditional monotheism with moralskepticism. Also, insofar as we believe there to be a God worthy ofworship and a fitting object of human love, the appeal to moralskepticism will carry little weight. The idea that evil is a privationor twisting of the good may have some currency inthinking through the problem of evil, but it is difficult to see howit alone could go very far to vindicate belief in God'sgoodness. Searing pain and endless suffering seem altogether real evenif they are analyzed as being philosophically parasitic on somethingvaluable. The three great monotheistic traditions, with their ampleinsistence on the reality of evil, offer little reason to try todefuse the problem of evil by this route. Indeed, classical Judaism,Christianity and Islam are so committed to the existence of evil thata reason to reject evil would be a reason to reject these religioustraditions. What would be the point of the Judaic teaching about theExodus (God liberating the people of Israel from slavery), or the Christianteaching about the incarnation (Christ revealing God as love andreleasing a Divine power that will, in the end, conquer death), or theIslamic teaching of Mohammed (the holy prophet of Allah who isall-just and all-merciful) if slavery, hate, death, and injustice didnot exist?
Who has the burden of proof in a debate between a theist and anatheist? Antony Flew (1984) thinks it is the theist. By his lights,the theist and atheist can agree on a whole base line of truths (suchas the findings of the physical sciences). The question thenbecomes, Why go any further? Flew wields a version ofOckham's razor, arguing that if one has no reason to go further, onehas reason not to go further. (As it happens, Flew has subsequentlyclaimed that there are good reasons for going beyond the naturalworld, and he is currently a theist; see Flew 2008.) His challenge hasbeen met on various fronts, with some critics claiming that Flew'sburden of proof argument is wedded to an outmoded foundationalism,that any burden of proof is shared equally by atheists and theists, orthat the theist has an array of arguments to help shoulder a greaterburden of proof. The position of fideism is a further option. Fideismis the view that religious belief does not require evidence and thatreligious faith is self-vindicating. Karl Barth (1886–1968)advocated a fideistic philosophy. (For a critical assessment offideism, see Moser 2010, chapter 2.) Hick and Plantinga need not beconsidered fideists because of the high role each gives to experience,coherence, and reflection.
One way of carrying out philosophy of religion alongnon-foundationalist lines has been to build a case for the comparativerationality of a religious view of the world. It has been argued thatthe intellectual integrity of a religious world view can be secured ifit can be shown to be no less rational than the availablealternatives. It need only achieve intellectual parity. John Hick andothers emphasize the integrity of religious ways of seeing the worldthat are holistic, internally coherent, and open to criticism alongvarious external lines (see Hick 2004, 2006). On the latter front, ifa religious way of conceiving the world is at complete odds withcontemporary science, that would count as grounds for revising thereligious outlook. The case for religion need not, however, bescientific or even analogous to science. If Hick is right, religiousways of seeing the world are not incompatible with science, butcomplementary. Independent of Hick but in the same spirit, Plantingahas proposed that belief in God's existence may be taken as properlybasic and fully warranted without having to be justified in relationto standard arguments for God from design, miracles, and soon. Plantinga argues that the tendency to believe in God followsnatural tendencies of the human mind. This stance comprises what iscommonly referred to as Reformed Epistemology because of itsconnection to the work of the Reformed theologian John Calvin(1509–1564) who maintained that we have a sense of God(sensus divinitatis) leading us to see God in the worldaround us. Plantinga has thereby couched the question ofjustification within the larger arena of metaphysics. By advancing anintricate, comprehensive picture of how beliefs can be warranted whenthey function as God designed them, he has provided what some believeto be a combined metaphysical and epistemic case for the rationalityof religious convictions (see Beilby (ed.) 2002).
Religious Issues The Constitution made no reference to religious liberties of United States citizens during ratification of states; the Bill of Rights does address religious freedom but over the past decade the conflict betw...
These arguments focus oncharacteristics of the cosmos that seem to reflect the design orintentionality of God or, more modestly, of one or more powerful,intelligent God-like agents. Part of the argument may be formulated asproviding evidence that the cosmos is the sort of reality that wouldbe produced by an intelligent being, and then arguing that positingthis source is more reasonable than agnosticism or denying it. As inthe case of the cosmological argument, the defender of theteleological argument may want to claim only to be giving us somereason for thinking there is a God. Note the way the various argumentsmight then be brought to bear on each other. If successful, theteleological argument may provide some reason for thinking that theFirst Cause of the cosmological argument is purposive, while theontological argument provides some reason for thinking that it makessense to posit a being that has Divine attributes and necessarilyexists. Behind all of them an argument from religious experience mayprovide some initial reasons to seek further support for a religiousconception of the cosmos and to question the adequacy ofnaturalism.
Seven years later, Air Force leaders are still struggling to find an appropriate balance that will continue to allow airmen their religious freedom while honoring their commitment to duty.
Modern examples include the pedophile priest scandal, the endless line of Islamists ready to blow themselves up in the market place, the machete wielding Nigerian who hacks up his neighbors, the junta beating monks in Myanmar, the countries which have or want nuclear weapons and are ready to use them against religions enemies.
Some theists come close to concluding that it was indeed essentialthat God created the cosmos. If God is supremely good, there had to besome overflowing of goodness in the form of a cosmos (see Kretzmannand Stump in Morris 1987, on the ideas of Dionysius the Areopagite;see Rowe 2004 for arguments that God is not free). But theiststypically reserve some role for the freedom of God and thus seek toretain the idea that the cosmos is contingent. Defenders of thecosmological argument still contend that its account of the cosmos hasa comprehensive simplicity lacking in alternative views. God's choicesmay be contingent, but not God's existence and the Divine choice ofcreating the cosmos can be understood to be profoundly simple in itssupreme, overriding endeavor, namely to create somethinggood. Swinburne has argued that accounting for natural laws in termsof God's will provides for a simple, overarching framework withinwhich to comprehend the order and purposive character of the cosmos(see also Foster 2004). At this point we move from the cosmological tothe teleological arguments.
She summarizes and analyzes key Supreme Court rulings over the course of the 20th century as they pertain to religious expression in public schools....
The definition meaning a “religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that supports the existence of supernatural power/ magic and both male and females deities who inherent in nature, and that highlights a ritual ceremony of seasonal and life.” In 1950, Gerald Gardner publicly introduced Wicca....
Nearly all public schools, up to the 1960’s incorporated religion and prayer in their classrooms; however, in the last 50 years, prayer and religion in public schools has been debated over countless times.