In a debate with Rabbi David Wolpe in 2008, the late Christopher Hitchens inveighed against Wolpe’s claim to have knowledge of God:
By what right, rabbi, do you say that you know God better than they do, that your God is better than theirs, that you have an access that I can’t claim to have, to knowing not just that there is a God, but that you know his mind. You put it modestly, but it is a fantastically arrogant claim that you make — an incredibly immodest claim.
I was reminded of Hitchens’ objection, and similar ones in his exchanges with Douglas Wilson, when I saw the following tweet by proselytizing atheist Peter Boghossian (retweeted, presumably with approval, by Richard Dawkins):
I take it Boghossian doesn’t mean exactly what he says here, because as a matter of fact some people have made both claims. Rather, his point is that one cannot consistently make both claims. Why? Apparently because he thinks it’s inherently prideful or arrogant to claim to know God’s will. The same would go for the claim to know other things about God, such as his purposes for us and for the universe as a whole. And of all things what could be more arrogant than the claim of Christians to know God personally?
A short article I wrote for Tabletalk magazine, entitled “On Worldviews”, is available online, along with some other articles from the December 2014 issue. Check them out! (And while you’re at it, consider a subscription to Tabletalk. It’s an excellent resource.)
For a couple of years now, I’ve taught a course entitled Christian Encounter with Islam. One of the major themes of the course, as you might expect, is the contrast between the Christian worldview and its distinctive view of God, and the Islamic worldview and its distinctive view of God. In light of that contrast I was particularly struck by the following section (pp. 220-22) from the recently published book Dispatches From the Front, a missions travelogue by Tim Keesee. (Pay close attention to the third paragraph.) Continue reading
A correspondent asks:
Could you recommend the best books for me to read on a Reformed perspective on the problem of evil?
I’d recommend the following:
- John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I, chapters 16-18.
- D. A. Carson, How Long, O Lord? (Baker, 2006).
- John M. Frame, The Doctrine of God (P&R, 2002), chapter 9.
- Paul Helm, The Providence of God (IVP, 1994), chapters 7 & 8.
- James S. Spiegel, The Benefits of Providence (Crossway, 2005), chapter 6.
Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway, 2006) is very good for a more pastoral perspective.
I’ve heard good things about John Feinberg’s The Many Faces of Evil, but it’s still on my to-read list, so I can’t give a personal recommendation.
Also look out for a forthcoming multi-author volume, Calvinism and the Problem of Evil, edited by David E. Alexander and Daniel M. Johnson (Wipf and Stock). I don’t know exactly when it will be published.
Crossway invited me to write a series of articles for their blog to coincide with the release of What’s Your Worldview?. Since all five articles have now been posted, I thought it would be a good idea to assemble the series here:
I’m pleased to announce that my new book What’s Your Worldview? is now available in paperback (from Amazon or direct from Crossway) and also in Kindle format. Here’s the publisher’s description:
How Do You View the World?
It’s a big question. And how you answer is one of the most important things about you.
Not sure what you’d say? Join James Anderson on an interactive journey of discovery aimed at helping you understand and evaluate the options when it comes to identifying your worldview. Cast in the mold of a classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, What’s Your Worldview? will guide you toward finding intellectually satisfying answers to life’s biggest questions—equipping you to think carefully about not only what you believe but why you believe it and how it impacts the rest of your life.
Mike Kruger had some very kind things to say about it on his blog.
My review of Thomas Nagel’s Mind and Cosmos has been posted on the Reformation 21 website.
Also check out:
I’ve posted quite a few times on the argument for God from logic. Philosophia Christi received a number of submissions in response to the original Anderson-Welty article and decided to post three of them on the EPS blog, along with our response. Go here to read all four articles.
Every so often a scientific study appears purporting to show an inverse correlation between intelligence and religiosity; in other words, the smarter you are, the less likely you are to be religious. The latest offering is a meta-analysis of such studies which confirms the now-familiar story. Not surprisingly, a hearty cheer goes up from the atheist camp every time a report like this one appears. The insinuation is often that such studies provide evidence that religious beliefs are untrue or unreasonable. The more intelligent you are, so the logic runs, the better your chances of figuring out the right answers — and the most intelligent folk are those with non-religious answers!
Should Christians be disturbed by such studies? Let’s assume for the sake of argument that these studies are based on reliable data, and that there really is a correlation between intelligence and non-religiosity. Do the studies give evidence that Christian beliefs are epistemically subpar? No, for a number of reasons.