Introduction to Philosophy of Religion

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info.gif Philosophy of Religion: "The branch of philosophy that seeks to understand and critically evaluate the beliefs and practices of religions. Philosophers of religion debate the existence of God, the nature of religion, the possibility of life after death (and specific views about life after death such as reincarnation and resurrection) and many other questions raised by the great world religions."

Evans, C. (2002) Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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    Craig, William L.

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    The Resurrection of Theism

    "Back in the mid-1960's Time magazine ran a cover story for which the magazine's cover was completely black, except for three words emblazoned against the dark background in bright, red letters: 'IS GOD DEAD?' The article described the then current 'Death-of-God' movement in American theology. But, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it seemed that the news of God's death was premature. At the same time that theologians were writing God's obituary, philosophers were re-discovering His vitality."
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    Craig, William L. & J. P. Moreland

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    What is Philosophy?

    "While there is no airtight definition for philosophy, nevertheless, three features of philosophy help us understand what it is. The term philosophy means love of wisdom, and philosophy is an attempt to think rationally and critically about life’s most important questions...From a Christian perspective, philosophy can be an aid to apologetics, polemics and systematic theology. Further, work in philosophy can be a central expression of the image of God and can be a spiritual discipline. Finally, philosophy can help to extend biblical teaching to areas not explicitly mentioned in Scripture, it can enhance the self-image of the believing community, and it can aid in the task of integrating theology with other disciplines in forming a Christian worldview." - Philosophical Foundations for a Christian World View
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    Craig, William L. & J.P. Moreland

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    An Invitation to Christian Philosophy

    "The problem...is that while evangelicals have for the most part correct Christian beliefs, for far too many these beliefs lie at the periphery of their existence rather than at the center of their identity. At core they are hollow men, empty selves. If we as the church are to engender a current of reform throughout our culture, then we need laypeople who are intellectually engaged with their faith and take their Christian identity to be definitive for their self conception." - Philosophical Foundations for a Christian World View
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    DeWeese, Garrett J. & J.P. Moreland

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    Where Do I Start?

    "Indeed your philosophical thinking probably started long ago. At some time you asked yourself whether or not something was real or what was real. You asked what or how you know something. And you asked what was the right thing to do in some situation or how you should live your life. These questions lie at the heart of philosophy. So what is philosophy? Philosophy is thinking critically about questions that matter. Conceived this way, philosophy is something everyone does. Everyone has beliefs about what is real, what is valuable and how we come to know such things. For most people, such fundamental beliefs are largely unexamined and perhaps even mutually inconsistent, but in forming such beliefs and acting on them, everyone is doing philosophy." - Making Philosophy Slightly Less Difficult
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    Laughery, Gregory J.

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    Evangelicalism and Philosophy

    "I believe, more strongly than ever, that evangelicals need a clear understanding of historical and contemporary philosophical thought if they are to meaningfully evaluate their tradition and challenge their culture for the sake of Christ. The aim of this chapter is threefold: Firstly, to provide an overview of a striking resurgence of Christian involvement in philosophy in North America. Second, to trace out three core issues that are pivotal for the present and future of the evangelical faith and philosophy...Third, to outline a number of trajectories for future philosophical investigation."
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    Moreland, J.P.

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    Philosophical Apologetics, the Church and Contemporary Culture

    "I shall do three things: (1) clarify the nature and tasks of philosophical apologetics, (2) describe the current scene in order to surface areas where we need to focus our attention as a community, and (3) oˆer some brief remarks about a strategy for the future. I hope that my discussion of these three desiderata will show, even if only implicitly, just why we need to be more intentional and intense about promoting philosophical apologetics within our ranks."
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    Murray, Michael J.

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    Philosophy and Christian Theology

    "Many of the doctrines and concepts central to Christianity have important philosophical implications or presuppositions. In this article we will take a closer look at some of the central doctrines and concepts, and their philosophical relevance. Of course, many philosophically laden doctrines and concepts are relevant to Christianity, and we cannot discuss them all here. Rather, our focus will be on those concepts and doctrines that are distinctively Christian, and which have been the focus of a good deal of recent discussion in the philosophical literature."
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    Plantinga, Alvin

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    Advice to Christian Philosophers

    "My aim, in this talk, is to give some advice to philosophers who are Christians. And although my advice is directed specifically to Christian philosophers, it is relevant to all philosophers who believe in God, whether Christian, Jewish or Moslem. I propose to give some advice to the Christian or theistic philosophical community: some advice relevant to the situation in which in fact we find ourselves. "Who are you," you say, "to give the rest of us advice?" That's a good question to which one doesn't know the answer: I shall ignore it. My counsel can be summed up on two connected suggestions, along with a codicil. First, Christian philosophers and Christian intellectuals generally must display more autonomy-more independence of the rest of philosophical world. Second, Christian philosophers must display more integrity-integrity in the sense of integral wholeness, or oneness, or unity, being all of one piece. Perhaps 'integrality' would be the better word here. And necessary to these two is a third: Christian courage, or boldness, or strength, or perhaps Christian self-confidence. We Christian philosophers must display more faith, more trust in the Lord; we must put on the whole armor of God. Let me explain in a brief and preliminary way what I have in mind; then I shall go on to consider some examples in more detail."
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    Swinburne, Richard

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    "Philosophical Theism", Chapter 1 of Philosophy of Religion in the 21st Century

    "I shall understand by ‘philosophical theism’ the programme of giving a clear coherent account of the nature of God (broadly consonant with what has been believed about him by Christian, Islamic and Jewish thinkers of the past two millennia), and providing cogent arguments for the existence of such a God. Providing arguments – or, more loosely, reasons – for the existence of God has been a concern of many theologians of the Christian tradition...How is it pursued today and what are its prospects? A lot of very thorough, detailed and rigorous work has been done with the aid of all the tools of analytical philosophy in attempting to clarify what would be involved in there being a God, and attempting to show the claim that there is a God to be coherent or incoherent. As regards positive arguments for the existence of God, different philosophers of today have revived different kinds of argument from the past."
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    Taliaferro, Charles

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    Philosophy of Religion

    "Philosophy of religion is the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions. It involves all the main areas of philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, logic, ethics and value theory, the philosophy of language, philosophy of science, law, sociology, politics, history, and so on. Philosophy of religion also includes an investigation into the religious significance of historical events (e.g., the Holocaust) and general features of the cosmos (e.g., laws of nature, the emergence of conscious life, widespread testimony of religious significance, and so on). Section one offers an overview of the field and its significance, with subsequent sections covering developments in the field since the mid-twentieth century. These sections will address philosophy of religion as studied primarily in analytic departments of philosophy and religious studies in English speaking countries."