Skip to main content

Premier Christian Radio - two upcoming interviews

Two upcoming shows which I just recorded - link to shows is here:

Sat 10th December: "The Evil God Challenge"

I discuss the challenge with Christian philosopher Glenn Peoples. Glenn is based out in New Zealand. His blog is here.

This was a useful discussion as it allowed me to deal with several common misunderstandings about the challenge - including "But Christians don't base their belief about God's goodness on empirical evidence" (this is a complete red herring: it's irrelevant to the challenge, in fact, as I explain in this interview).

Saturday 18th December "Is Christianity an intellectual black hole?"

Second recording is based on my book "Believing Bullshit". Discussion with James Orr - a graduate philosophy student at Cambridge. We discuss whether its rational to believe in things like the miraculous. BTW I don't claim Christianity is an Intellectual black hole, or bullshit. As everyone on the show agrees. Take note Martin Cohen.

Also available as podcasts (post transmission) on itunes. Search premier christian unbelievable.

Comments

Liam Kirkham said…
First link doesnt seem to work?
Stephen Law said…
worked just now. Odd....
Anonymous said…
Hi Stephen, I enjoyed your discussion with Glenn Peoples and I've written up a little analysis of it. If you're interested give it a look - tell me if you think I'm on the mark or not if you want.
http://apologiapad.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/stephen-law-and-glenn-peoples-revisit-the-evil-god-challenge/
Stephen Law said…
Thanks Martin - excellent job.
Curt Cameron said…
I listened to the conversation you had with Glenn Peoples, and I'm continually surprised that people have such a hard time grasping your point with the Challenge. On the Unbelievable radio program after your debate with WLC, a listener had written in triumphantly pointing out that the Evil God Challenge doesn't actually disprove their Good God belief, and Justin Brierley seemed to go along with that thought completely.

Isn't the point that the EGC is a parity argument, using the exact same form as Craig's argument for a Good God, but the EGC leads to an obviously absurd conclusion, therefore the form of Craig's argument is invalid? I see the EGC being similar to the parody of the Ontological Argument, where you can use that same argument to "prove" the existence of the Perfect Island, therefore we know the argument has to be invalid, without having to show exactly where it goes wrong.
Curt Cameron said…
From listening to Peoples struggling with it, I had a thought about how you may be able to present it in a way that may make it sink into their heads better.

Instead of positioning your view, for the sake of the argument, as a believer in this Evil God, what if you instead proposed a hypothetical third person in the debate, and this third person believes that the evil in the world proves that there is an Evil God, using the exact same structure as the believer's case for their Good God. Then you, as the rational person in this debate, can point out that neither side has a valid argument, therefore the only reasonable position is to reject belief in either.

Peoples and Brierley kept falling into the trap that it was your Evil God against their Good God, and the featherweight Moral Argument would then be enough to tip the scales in their favor. Now I don't think the Moral Argument has any weight at all (objective morals? What could that even mean?), but setting this up as a hypothetical three-way just might keep them from thinking that all they have to do is to be slightly more rational than the Evil God argument, while your point is that's not nearly good enough.
Ari Goldberg said…
It may be true that the arguments of natural theology for God's existence can be flipped to permit an evil God. However, the historical arguments cannot, in my opinion. I will consider them in three parts: 1) the OT’s record of future prophecies regarding the life and mission of the Messiah, 2) the person of Jesus, and 3) the future fulfillment of the remaining prophecies after Jesus returns.

1) The OT has many specific references to characteristics the Messiah must have, which make it coincidental in the extreme for them all to be fulfilled in any one person. For example, he would be of the tribe of Judah, a prophet like Moses to whom the people must give an account, a king, of the line of David, born in Bethlehem, born of a virgin, born a precise number of years Persian decree to rebuild Jerusalem, that he would die for the sins of the people, that he would live in Galilee and in Nazareth, that he would die by crucifixion, on Passover, that he would inaugurate a new covenant of the spirit, that he would be a light to the nations, and many others - some say around 300. Now, granted, taken individually, it's difficult to say in every case that they must refer to Jesus. However, in many cases he is the only possible candidate, and their cumulative weight to a discerning mind is, I believe, overwhelming. One might even compare the odds of any person fulfilling even the major ones as rivaling the improbabilities of the fine-tuning of the constants of physics to permit intelligent life, or the accidental arrangement of atoms to form DNA. The nature of the person described by the Old Testament prophecies is unquestionably good, not evil. The people of Israel looked forward to his coming - they did not dread it. He was a savior, redeemer, liberator. There is no set of prophecies anywhere else in history that I know of that relate to an evil one who will come, and which have been fulfilled to the same extent in a living person, as the prophecies of Jesus the Messiah.

2). Jesus life was unquestionably good. He gave sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk, freed those who were demon-possessed, fed the hungry, calmed the storms, raised Lazarus from the dead, and taught people the meaning of life and how to be in right relationship to God and others. Although he had done nothing wrong, he willingly suffered a criminal's death to make a way for all of mankind to be reconciled to God, when they were helpless to do so on their own. He validated all his actions and teachings when God raised him from the dead to inhabit a new, immortal body. There is no counterpart to this in the evil God hypothesis.

3) The future events to take place when Jesus returns. Due to Jesus' impeccable credentials, as the one who fulfilled detailed prophecies recorded 400 - 1200 years before his birth; and given his record of accomplishing so much good and not any evil during his life, then it's quite reasonable, even compelling, to believe that he will fulfill the remaining prophecies about the Messiah in the Bible. And, you guessed it - those prophecies are about him doing good, not evil. He will bring the Jewish people back to their own land to dwell in safety, to recognize him as their Messiah, and to believe in him. He will defeat all the genocidal and oppressive dictators of the world, and all those who do evil, bringing about world peace under his rule. He will recreate the natural order - the lion will lay down by the lamb, the child will play by the viper's den, and no creature will hurt or destroy another creature. He will raise up the dead and judge them in righteousness, righting all the wrongs that were done under the old order. He will give eternal life and rewards to those who loved him, and banish those who hated or dismissed him.

Once these things have all taken place, the evil God challenge will have been met.

Popular posts from this blog

EVIDENCE, MIRACLES AND THE EXISTENCE OF JESUS

(Published in Faith and Philosophy 2011. Volume 28, Issue 2, April 2011. Stephen Law. Pages 129-151) EVIDENCE, MIRACLES AND THE EXISTENCE OF JESUS Stephen Law Abstract The vast majority of Biblical historians believe there is evidence sufficient to place Jesus’ existence beyond reasonable doubt. Many believe the New Testament documents alone suffice firmly to establish Jesus as an actual, historical figure. I question these views. In particular, I argue (i) that the three most popular criteria by which various non-miraculous New Testament claims made about Jesus are supposedly corroborated are not sufficient, either singly or jointly, to place his existence beyond reasonable doubt, and (ii) that a prima facie plausible principle concerning how evidence should be assessed – a principle I call the contamination principle – entails that, given the large proportion of uncorroborated miracle claims made about Jesus in the New Testament documents, we should, in the absence of indepen

What is Humanism?

What is Humanism? “Humanism” is a word that has had and continues to have a number of meanings. The focus here is on kind of atheistic world-view espoused by those who organize and campaign under that banner in the UK and abroad. We should acknowledge that there remain other uses of term. In one of the loosest senses of the expression, a “Humanist” is someone whose world-view gives special importance to human concerns, values and dignity. If that is what a Humanist is, then of course most of us qualify as Humanists, including many religious theists. But the fact remains that, around the world, those who organize under the label “Humanism” tend to sign up to a narrower, atheistic view. What does Humanism, understood in this narrower way, involve? The boundaries of the concept remain somewhat vague and ambiguous. However, most of those who organize under the banner of Humanism would accept the following minimal seven-point characterization of their world-view.

Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism refuted

Here's my central criticism of Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (EAAN). It's novel and was published in Analysis last year. Here's the gist. Plantinga argues that if naturalism and evolution are true, then semantic epiphenomenalism is very probably true - that's to say, the content of our beliefs does not causally impinge on our behaviour. And if semantic properties such as having such-and-such content or being true cannot causally impinge on behaviour, then they cannot be selected for by unguided evolution. Plantinga's argument requires, crucially, that there be no conceptual links between belief content and behaviour of a sort that it's actually very plausible to suppose exist (note that to suppose there are such conceptual links is not necessarily to suppose that content can be exhaustively captured in terms of behaviour or functional role, etc. in the way logical behaviourists or functionalists suppose). It turns o