God and moral obligations -- What is a divine command theory of moral obligation? -- The relation of divine command theory to natural law and virtue ethics -- Objections to divine command theory -- Alternatives to a divine command theory -- Conclusions: The inescapability of moral obligations.
Is there such a thing as natural knowledge of God? C. Stephen Evans presents the case for understanding theistic arguments as expressions of natural signs in order to gain a new perspective both on their strengths and weaknesses. Three classical, much-discussed theistic arguments - cosmological, teleological, and moral - are examined for the natural signs they embody. At the heart of this book lie several relatively simple ideas. One is that if there is a God of the kind accepted by (...) Christians, Jews, and Muslims, then it is likely that a 'natural' knowledge of God is possible. Another is that this knowledge will have two characteristics: it will be both widely available to humans and yet easy to resist. If these principles are right, a new perspective on many of the classical arguments for God's existence becomes possible. We understand why these arguments have for many people a continued appeal but also why they do not constitute conclusive 'proofs' that settle the debate once and for all. Touching on the interplay between these ideas and contemporary scientific theories about the origins of religious belief, particularly the role of natural selection in predisposing humans to form beliefs in God or gods, Evans concludes that these scientific accounts of religious belief are fully consistent, even supportive, of the truth of religious convictions. (shrink)
C. Stephen Evans explains and defends Kierkegaard's account of moral obligations as rooted in God's commands, the fundamental command being `You shall love your neighbour as yourself'. The work will be of interest not only to those interested in Kierkegaard, but also to those interested in the relation between ethics and religion, especially questions about whether morality can or must have a religious foundation. As well as providing a comprehensive reading of Kierkegaard as an ethical thinker, Evans puts him into (...) conversation with contemporary moral theorists. Kierkegaard's divine command theory is shown to be an account that safeguards human flourishing, as well as protecting the proper relations between religion and state in a pluralistic society. (shrink)
Attempts to unlock the Climacus section of Kierkegaard's pseudonymous literature. This book offers a sustained analysis of the key concepts discussed in the works: existence and the ethical, truth and subjectivity, indirect communication, guilt and suffering, irony and humour, reason and paradox, and faith and history.
General preface -- Preface to the second edition -- What is philosophy of religion? -- Philosophy of religion and other disciplines -- Philosophy of religion and philosophy -- Can thinking about religion be neutral? -- Fideism -- Neutralism -- Critical dialogue -- The theistic God : the project of natural theology -- Concepts of God -- The theistic concept of God -- A case study : divine foreknowledge and human freedom -- The problem of religious language -- Natural theology -- (...) Proofs of God's existence -- Classical arguments for God's existence -- Ontological arguments -- Cosmological arguments -- Teleological arguments -- Moral arguments -- Conclusions: The value of theistic argument -- Religious experience -- Types of religious experience -- Models for understanding experience -- Experience of God as direct and mediated -- Are religious experiences veridical? -- Checking experiential claims -- Special acts of God : revelation and miracles -- Special acts -- Theories of revelation -- Is the traditional view defensible? -- What is a miracle? -- Is it reasonable to believe in miracles? -- Can a revelation have special authority? -- Religion, modernity, and science -- Modernity and religious belief -- Naturalism -- Do the natural sciences undermine religious belief? -- Objections from the social sciences -- Religious uses of modern atheism -- The problem of evil -- Types of evil, versions of the problem, and types of response -- The logical form of the problem -- The evidential form of the problem -- Horrendous evils and the problem of hell -- Divine hiddenness -- Faith(s) and reason -- Faith : subjectivity in religious arguments -- The evidentialist challenge to religious belief -- Reformed epistemology -- The place of subjectivity in forming beliefs -- Interpretive judgments and the nature of a cumulative case -- Can faith be certain? -- Faith and doubt : can religious faith be tested? -- What is faith? -- Could one religion be true? (shrink)
This book is an explanation and defence of a veiw of faith and reason that is found in the writings of Kierkegaard, a view often termed as fideism. The author distinguishes indefensible forms of fideism that involve a rejection of reason from a fideism that requires that reason becomeself-critical. An understanding of the limits of reason requires both an understanding of faith as above reason, as in Aquinas and Kant, and also as against what is taken as rational by most (...) human beings.The fiedeistic view of faith as involving a critique of reason is illustrated by concrete discussions of three traditional topics in the philosophy of religion: knowledge of God's existence, the problem of evil and the question as to how someone could know that a particular religion could be basedon a revelation from God.The book presents a careful distinction between different kinds of fideism, with a critical rejection of some kinds and a defence of others. The author shows that fideism does not have to be understood as a rejection of reason, rather as a critique of the limits of reason. (shrink)
This volume in the Reason & Religion series provides an explanation and defense of a view of faith and reason found in the writings of Soren Kierkegaard and others that is often called "fideism", a belief in faith beyond reason.
Johannes Climacus, Søren Kierkegaard's pseudonymous author of Philosophical Fragments, "invents" a religion suspiciously resembling Christianity as an alternative to the assumption that humans possess the Truth within themselves. Through this literary device, Climacus raises in a fresh and audacious way age-old questions about the relation of Christian faith to human reason. Is the idea of a human incarnation of God logically coherent? Is religious faith the product of a voluntary choice? In a comprehensive discussion of one of Kierkegaard's most important (...) books, C. Stephen Evans elucidates Kierkegaard's novel explanation that the tension between faith and reason must be understood as a consequence of the passionate character of reason itself. Passionate Reason situates Kierkegaard's philosophy in the context of postmodern religious thought, providing a contemporary reading of Fragments as a challenge to both the modern Enlightenment critique of reason and the postmodern abandonment of truth. (shrink)
A compelling account of Kierkegaard's ethical views, seeing him against the backdrop of nineteenth-century European society but showing the relevance of his thought for the twenty-first century. Kierkegaard's view of morality as grounded in God's command to love our neighbours as ourselves has clear advantages over contemporary secular rivals.
C. Stephen Evans provides a clear, readable introduction to Søren Kierkegaard as a philosopher and thinker. His book is organised around Kierkegaard's concept of the three 'stages' or 'spheres' of human existence, which provide both a developmental account of the human self and an understanding of three rival views of human life and its meaning. Evans also discusses such important Kierkegaardian concepts as 'indirect communication', 'truth as subjectivity', and the Incarnation understood as 'the Absolute Paradox'. Although his discussion emphasises the (...) importance of Christianity for understanding Kierkgaard, it shows him to be a writer of great interest to a secular as well as a religious audience. Evans' book brings Kierkegaard into conversation with western philosophers past and present, presenting him as one who gives powerful answers to the questions which philosophers ask. (shrink)
Evangelical scholars have recently offered criticisms of mind-body dualism from the disciplines of theology, philosophy, and neuroscience. We offer several arguments as to why these reasons for abandoning mind-body dualism fail. Additionally, we offer a positive thesis, a dualism that brings together the best aspects of the Cartesian view and the Thomistic view of human persons. The result is a substance dualism that treats the nature of embodiment quite seriously. This view explains why we, as souls, require a resurrected body (...) as well as accounting for the great good of our embodiment in general. A human person is at the same time wholly soul and yet fully bodily. (shrink)
This book contains a vigorous argument, constructed with the help of Kierkegaard, that the Kantian ideal of autonomy in ethics is misplaced, and that the most adequate forms of the ethical life see ethics as requiring a religious foundation. The ideal of an ethic that is grounded in "pure, impartial reason" is a chimera; no justification for ethical living can be given that does not see ethical knowledge as stemming from a "committed" or "situated" perspective that eschews the disengaged "view (...) from nowhere." The ideal of disengagement, when universalized, produces skepticism in epistemology and amoralism in ethics. Since this ideal is itself a type of ethical stance, Rudd agrees with Kierkegaard that it cannot be "objectively" refuted, but can and must be rejected. In exploring Kierkegaard’s epistemology, Rudd correctly sees that this Kierkegaardian emphasis on "subjectivity" as necessary for knowledge by no means implies any kind of relativism or subjectivism about truth. (shrink)
This paper argues that Kierkegaard is not an irrationalist, but a "responsible fideist." Responsible fideism attempts to answer two important philosophical questions: "Are there limits to reason?" and "How can the limits of reason be recognized?" Kierkegaard's account of the incarnation as "the absolute paradox" does not see the incarnation as a logical contradiction, but rather functions in a way similar to a Kantian antimony. Faith in the incarnation both helps us recognize the limits of reason and also to a (...) degree overcomes those limits. /// O artigo defende que Kierkegaard não é um irracionalista, mas antes um "fideísta responsável". Como tal, o "fideísmo responsável" tenta responder a duas questões fllosóficas particularmente importantes: "Existem limites para a razão?" e "Como podem os limites da razão ser reconhecidos?" Na sua interpretação da incarnação como "paradoxo absoluto", Kierkegaard não interpreta a incarnação como uma contradição lógica, mas antes a vê funcionando de um modo similar à antinomia kantiana. Fé na incarnação ajuda-nos não só a reconhecer os limites da razão, mas também nos ajuda, pelo menos até um certo ponto, a ultrapassar estes limites. (shrink)
In this paper we compare Kierkegaard’s and Marx’s views on social reform. Then we argue that Kierkegaard’s own reasoning is consistent with the expression of neighbor-love through collective action, i.e. social reform. However, Kierkegaard’s approach to social reform would be vastly different than Marx’s. We end by reviewing several questions that Kierkegaardian social reformers would ask themselves. Our hope is that this exploration will provide helpful insights into how those who genuinely love their neighbors ought to seek the common good (...) through collective action. (shrink)
The link between human nature and human flourishing is undeniable. "A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit" (Matt. 7:18). The ontology of the human person will, therefore, ground the nature of human flourishing and thereby sanctification. Spiritual formation is the area of Christian theology that studies sanctification, the Spirit-guided process whereby disciples of Jesus are formed into the image of Jesus (Rom. 8:28-29; 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Peter 3:18). Until the nineteenth century, (...) there was an overwhelming consensus among Christian thinkers that some form of mind-body (or soul-body) dualism is true of human beings. Recently, that consensus has eroded, and with it the availability of a shared body of knowledge about spiritual formation. Some Christian physicalists argue that dualism is incompatible with central elements of spiritual formation. Neuroscientist Warren Brown and psychologist Brad Strawn offer the only substantive account of spiritual formation from the view of Christian physicalism and its accompanying objections to dualism. It is on their arguments that this chapter focuses. We argue that Brown and Strawn fail to support their incompatibility thesis. Additionally, we argue that Christian physicalism stands in tension with important philosophical and theological foundations of Christian spiritual formation. In doing so we offer a specific form of dualism, the bodily soul view, and explain how this view illuminates the importance of embodiment, our neurological and social development, and hence the important physical aspects of Christian spiritual formation. (shrink)
This paper explores the important role authority plays in the religious thought of Søren Kierkegaard. In contrast to dominant modes of thought in both modern and postmodern philosophy, Kierkegaard considers the religious authority inherent in a special revelation from God to be the fundamental source of religious truth. The question as to how a genuine religious authority can be recognized is particularly difficult for Kierkegaard, since rational evaluation of authorities could be seen as a rejection of that authority in favor (...) of the authority of reason. However, I argue that Kierkegaard does offer criteria for recognizing a genuine religious authority. I explore these criteria and try to show they are helpful, but I argue that there is no principled reason he should not accept other criteria he rejects, such as the criterion of miracles. In conclusion, I suggest that both the criteria offered by Kierkegaard and the method by which they are derived require us to question certain Enlightenment views as to what should count as “rational.”. (shrink)
Christian miller invites further clarification about the relationship between accountability and autonomy. Whereas embracing accountability to others for one’s responsibilities in those relationships emphasizes relationality, autonomy accents the individual’s own capacities to exhibit agency in enacting one’s decisions. Accordingly, we theorize that relational capacities for empathic concern and perspective-taking are especially important in the virtue of accountability. The capacity for self-regulation may serve both one’s autonomous pursuits and accountability for carrying out one’s responsibilities...
In this rich and resonant work, Soren Kierkegaard reflects poetically and philosophically on the biblical story of God's command to Abraham, that he sacrifice his son Isaac as a test of faith. Was Abraham's proposed action morally and religiously justified or murder? Is there an absolute duty to God? Was Abraham justified in remaining silent? In pondering these questions, Kierkegaard presents faith as a paradox that cannot be understood by reason and conventional morality, and he challenges the universalist ethics and (...) immanental philosophy of modern German idealism, especially as represented by Kant and Hegel. This volume, first published in 2006, presents the first new English translation for twenty years, by Sylvia Walsh, together with an introduction by C. Stephen Evans which examines the ethical and religious issues raised by the text. (shrink)
Why did the Biblical writers see the fear of the Lord as a virtue that is conducive to human flourishing? It is difficult for contemporary readers to understand how fear of anything can be virtuous. I propose that the fear of the Lord should be understood as accountability to God. I defend the claim that someone who displays excellence in an accountability relationship does display a virtue, and that this virtue is particularly valuable when exercised in relation to God. If (...) we reject an individualistic view of moral motivation inspired by Kant, we can see that being held accountable does not necessarily diminish personal autonomy. The primary motivation for the person who has the virtue of accountability is not fear of punishment, but a desire to do what is right because it is right, rooted in an appreciation of the standing of one to whom one is accountable. (shrink)
Philosophers such as Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud have developed “global hermeneutical perspectives” on human nature. This paper argues that Christian faith also provides such a perspective, which is termed the “no-neutrality thesis.” Humans were created to serve God, but they have rebelled against their rightful sovereign, and this rebellion may show itself in morality. If moral obligations are God’s requirements, then the human rebellion might provide motivation for rejecting objective moral obligations. Thus the noneutrality thesis may help us understand some (...) forms of antirealism. It may even shed light on some forms of nontheistic realism. (shrink)
This paper compares the views and arguments of Alvin Plantinga and Søren Kierkegaard on the question of belief in God. Kierkegaard’s view of belief in God is shown to be surprisinglysimilar to Plantinga’s claim that belief in God can be properly basic. Two of Plantinga’s arguments for taking belief in God as properly basic are shown to have analogues in Kierkegaard.Plantinga claims that though properly basic beliefs are not based on evidence they are nevertheless grounded. In the latter part of (...) the paper I show how the Kierkegaardian notion of inwardness or subjectivity must be an essential element in any plausible account of the ground of such belief in God. (shrink)
This article provides a survey of types of moral arguments for the existence of God. The article begins by defending this type of arguments against some common criticisms, and then distinguishes practical moral arguments from theoretical moral arguments, before looking at the strengths and weaknesses of various versions of each type. The philosophers who are discussed include Immanuel Kant, Philip Quinn, Robert Adams, and George Mavrodes. The article defends the claim that such arguments can be an important part of a (...) cumulative case for theism. (shrink)
At the risk of a tremendous over-simplification, I believe it is helpful to categorize views of Christianity which have appeared in the west in the last two hundred years into three major groups. First there are the unbelievers, those for whom Christianity is straightforwardly untrue, unknowable, or unbelievable . This group would include those who try to salvage some form of essentially humanistic religion as well as those who simply turn away from religious belief altogether, either to put their ultimate (...) hopes in political ideology, or science, or simply to attempt to limit themselves to hopes which are finite and non-ultimate in character. (shrink)
Many people view humor and a serious religious life as antithetical. This paper attempts to elucidate Kierkegaard’s view of humor, and thereby to explain his claims that humor is essentially linked to a religious life, and that the capacity for humor resides in a deep structure of human existence. A distinction is drawn between humor as a general element in life, and a special sense of humor as a “boundary zone” of the religious life. The latter kind of “humorist” embodies (...) a religious perspective which is not Christian, but is closely related to Christianity. Humor itself is a fundamental aspect of Christian faith. (shrink)
A 2016 article in the Journal of Consumer Research argues that busyness has become a status symbol. In earlier societies, such as the 19th century Thorstein Veblen describes in his Theory of the Leisure Class, the wealthy conspicuously avoided work. They saw idleness as an ideal. By contrast, contemporary Americans praise being overworked. They see busy individuals as possessing rare and desirable characteristics, such as competence and ambition. -/- To respond philosophically to our new overworked overlords and status icons, we (...) need only return to the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard is known for his philosophical account of boredom, which is often associated with idleness. If busyness is the opposite of idleness, perhaps he can diagnose busyness also. (shrink)
In this article I compare the kryptic model of the Incarnation, developed by Andrew Loke, with two other models, the “two-minds” model and the kenotic model. All three models succeed in showing the logical coherence of the doctrine of the Incarnation, and I concede that Loke’s model has some of the advantages of both of the other two, while avoiding some perceived disadvantages. However, I argue that Loke’s model also has some of the disadvantages of both of the other models. (...) In conclusion I argue that the alleged superiority of the kryptic model over a kenotic model vanishes if one is willing to question the reliability of our a priori rational intuitions about the nature of God on the basis of a view of the divine nature that seems to fit better with the biblical picture of God. (shrink)
This article argues that Platonism provides a plausible account of wisdom, one that is especially attractive for Christians. Christian Platonism sees wisdom as conceptual understanding; it is a “knowledge of the Forms.” To be convincing this view requires us to see understanding as including an appreciation of the relations between concepts as well as the value of the possible ways of being that concepts disclose. If the Forms are Divine Ideas, then we can see why God is both supremely wise (...) and the source of all human wisdom. The account of wisdom provided helps explain the relation between wisdom and knowledge, the connection between wisdom and emotion, and much about how wisdom is acquired. The view also helps explain why someone who lacks extensive propositional knowledge can still be wise, and it helps us see why an understanding of the Biblical narrative and participation in the life of the Church can be important aids in the development of wisdom. (shrink)