Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Argument from Reason by Paul Gould


The Argument from Reason (AFR) has fascinated me since I read the works of C.S. Lewis several years ago.  Brian Auten and I recently interviewed Travis Dickinson about his book Logic and the Way of Jesus.  In his book, Dickinson offers a fresh look at the AFR. You can hear that interview here.

For those who are unfamiliar with the argument, philosopher Paul Gould has written a very accessible post on the AFR that can be found here.  In the post, Gould presents the argument as follows:

(1) If the natural world is intelligible, then God exists.

(2) The natural world is intelligible.

(3) Therefore, God exists.

This is a great introduction to the argument.  Checkout how Gould argues for each premise here.  

For those who want to take a more in-depth look at the argument and its rich history, I recommend Victor Reppert's book C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: In Defense of the Argument from Reason.  Our review is here.

Courage and Godspeed,

1. For those interested, Dickinson's formation of the AFR is as follows:

(1) If God does not exist, then either logical principles do not exist (naturalism) or they exist as brute abstract objects (Platonism).
(2) It's not the case that logical principles do not exist because this is self-defeating.
(3) It's not the case that they exist as brute abstract objects since this is ad hoc.
(4) Therefore, God exists. 

He unpacks the argument in Chapter 4 of his book, p. 77-100. 

Monday, March 14, 2022

Christian Life and Human Suffering

 In 1963, the German pastor-theologian Helmut Thielicke toured the United States.  During this time, he was asked by a journalist what he considered the most important question at that time for Americans.  Below was his response.

I would rather- if you will permit me to make a judgment- mention an entirely different problem as being the most important question which you are facing.  Not a single person raised it in any discussion I had in this country (it would therefore appear that people are astonishingly unconscious of it); and whenever I raised it myself, it seemed to evoke a kind of disconcerted amazement, I might almost say, a kind of embarrassment, which was probably the reason why nobody ever broached the subject.  I mean the question of how Americans deal with suffering.  Yes, you have heard it aright; I mean the problem of suffering.  If I have not been totally blind on this journey, I believe I have seen that Americans do not have this color on their otherwise so richly furnished palette...

Again and again I have the feeling that suffering is regarded as something which is fundamentally inadmissible, distressing, embarrassing, and not to be endured. Naturally, we are called upon to combat and diminish suffering.  All medical and social action is motivated by the perfectly justified passion for this goal.  But the idea that suffering is a burden which can or even should be fundamentally radically exterminated can only lead to disastrous illusions.  One perhaps does not even have to be a Christian to know that suffering belongs to the very nature of this world and will not pass away until this world passes away.  And beyond this, we Christians know that in a hidden way it is connected with man's reaching for the forbidden fruit, but that God can transform even this burden of a fallen world into a blessing and fill it with meaning.

Helmut  Thielicke- Between Heaven and Earth pp. 185-186