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PAR 101: Invitation to Philosophical Thinking

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PAR 101: Invitation to Philosophical Thinking Intro to Philosophy of Religion Walter Thomas Schmid, Ph.D. Philosophy and Religion, UNCW What does Athens have to do ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: PAR 101: Invitation to Philosophical Thinking


1
PAR 101 Invitation to Philosophical Thinking
Intro to Philosophy of Religion Walter Thomas
Schmid, Ph.D.Philosophy and Religion, UNCW
2
What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?
  • Philo of Alexandria began religious philosophy
  • Among his questions
  • How to understand miracles? scripture/science
  • the soul/afterlife?
  • 2 critical questions
  • How to conceptualize God
  • could man know God exists?
  • 500 years after Socrates, Christianity began to
    spread in Roman Empire.
  • Christianity 1st religion to seek to bring
    pagans into faith
  • Abrahamic religious philosophers
  • J Philo, Moses Maimonides
  • C Augustine, Thomas Aquinas
  • I Al-Farabi, Averroes

3
What does God mean?
  • God is what? who?
  • God as concept vs.
  • God as personal name
  • Gods attributes include
  • One
  • All powerful
  • All knowing
  • All good
  • Transcendent
  • Creator

4
Divine Attributes
  • How are we to conceptualize the divine
    attributes? What does
  • incorporeal imply? eternal?
  • omnipotence? Problem of the Stone and two
    concepts of omnipotence
  • omniscience? Problem of knowledge of the future
  • omnibenevolence? Problem of evil
  • oneness and transcendence? Is Gods existence
    separate from his essence?

5
Can we know if God exists?
  • Revealed Theology we know that God exists by
    faith, e.g. we know everything said of God in
    Holy Scripture
  • Natural Theology can know if God exists by
    reason, i.e. can understand proofs every
    rational person should agree to

6
4 proofs for the existence of God
  • ONTOLOGICAL
  • God is the greatest possible being.
  • We conceive of God.
  • If we conceive of God existing in the mind, not
    reality, we do not conceive the greatest
    possible being.
  • Therefore, God exists.
  • COSMOLOGICAL
  • Everything in the universe has a prior cause.
  • But this cannot go back infinitely.
  • Therefore there is a first God
  • DESIGN
  • Wherever there is evidence of design, there is a
    designer
  • The universe shows great evidence of design
  • There is a Designer God
  • MORAL (modern argument)
  • The moral laws are absolute, not contingent like
    natural laws.
  • There is no source of absolute laws in nature or
    society .
  • Therefore the source of the moral laws God.

7
Two Atheist Arguments
  • Problem of Evil
  • cf. Book of Job
  • Why does God let the innocent suffer?
  • Divine Omniscience
  • If God exists, he knows everything that will
    happen.
  • If he knows now, what Peter will do, Peter cannot
    fail to do it.
  • Therefore if God exists, there can be no human
    freedom.
  • But there is human freedom, therefore no God.

8
Fire in the trailer park
  • Ms. Smith went over to Ms. Jones to have coffee,
    as was her habit.
  • But when the Smith kids made toast, the toaster
    caught fire.
  • The fire spread quickly, and the children ran to
    their mom.
  • In their panic, they forgot the baby.

9
Newswoman at the scene
  • The fire was too intense they couldnt get the
    baby out.
  • Little Cara, 8 months old, burned to death.
  • After the fire trucks arrived, newsmen came to
    interview anyone who would talk.
  • Ms. Smith was too upset.

10
The man who saw it all
  • The woman from WECT saw a man later identified
    as Mr. Brown - standing at a fence, between his
    trailer and the one that burned.
  • A gate opened from his side to the other.
  • Did you see anything? she asked.
  • Yup. Saw the fire, heard the baby crying, he
    answered.

11
Was this wrong?
  • You saw it all I guess too late? she asked.
  • The window was open. I guess I coulda lifted
    her out, he added.
  • You could have saved the baby, and you didnt?!
    WHY NOT? she cried.
  • I dont mess with other peoples business, he
    answered, and walked away.

12
Argument vs. Mr. Brown
  • Evil (suffering) is wrong.
  • As moral beings, we have a responsibility to
    prevent evil (harm from occurring), if it (a) is
    not hard to do and (b) does not put us at risk.
  • Mr. Brown could have saved the baby (a) fairly
    easily and (b) without risk to himself.
  • Therefore, Mr. Brown had a moral duty to try to
    save the child and it was wrong of him not to.
  • WHO IS MR. BROWN ?

13
The problem of evil
14
ARGUMENT FROM EVIL
  • If God is all good and all powerful, there would
    be no evil (understood as the suffering of
    innocents).
  • For if God is all good, he wouldnt want it
  • And if God is all-powerful, he could prevent it
  • But evil exists.
  • Therefore there is no all-good, all-powerful God.

15
Two forms of evil
  • Moral evil suffering of innocent beings caused
    by rational agents, e.g. human beings, Satan (?),
    etc.
  • Includes individual and collective crimes
  • Non-moral evil suffering of innocent beings
    caused by natural events or agents, e.g. disease,
    fire, hurricanes, predators, etc.

16
Did this disprove the existence of God?
  • Andrei Chicatilo, the butcher of Rostov, is
    estimated to have murdered over 100 women and
    young boys in the Ukraine in the 1970s, 80s and
    90s. Driven by his sexual fetish, he ritually
    raped, tortured and cannibalized his victims.

17
Did this disprove the existence of God?
  • After WWII, the Allied armies discovered dozens
    of Nazi extermination camps, in which over five
    million people were exterminated. It is believed
    100,000,000 human beings have killed in a
    similar manner in history (though with hatchets
    and guns, not poison).

18
Does this disprove the existence of God?
  • Every year hundreds of thousands of little baby
    bats die, eaten by cockroaches, after falling
    from the tops of their caves into the seething
    mass of bat guano at the floor of the cave.

19
Theodicy justify God to man
  • God Love, cannot prevent all evil
  • Satan is the cause of evil
  • Gods Ways are beyond us
  • Divine Authority (cf. Job)
  • Justified Punishment (Adam and Eve)
  • Free Will world is better w/freedom
  • Soul-making evil is necessary for growth
  • Afterlife makes it all right in the end

20
Theodicies I
  • God Love, cannot prevent all evil
  • Problem?
  • Satan is the cause of evil
  • Problem?
  • Gods Ways are beyond us
  • Problem?
  • Divine Authority (cf. Job)
  • Problem?

21
Theodicies II
  • Justified Punishment (two versions)
  • Myth problem? Individual victim problem?
  • Free Will world is better w/freedom
  • Developed by Hick addresses problem of moral
    evil
  • Could God make humans free and good?
  • Soul-making evil is necessary for growth
  • Discussed by Hick (pro) and BCJohnson (con)
  • Non-human suffering relevant?
  • Afterlife corrects injustice
  • Doestoeyefskys Ivan I reject the ticket
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