Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview

By J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig

 

 

 

Abstract: A compilation of the authors'earlier work, but no real worldview...

Difficulty: 3 (academic)

 

Contents

 


Bibliographic Data

 

J. P. Moreland, William Lane Craig. Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview. Downer Grove, IL. Intervarsity Press, 2003.
ISBN: 0830826947
Pages: 653.
Bibliographies, index.

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Contents

 

An Invitation to Christian Philosophy

Part 1: Introduction
1. What is Philosophy?
2. Argumentation and Logic

Part 2: Epistemology
3. Knowledge and Rationality
4.The Problem of Skepticism
5. The Structure of Justification
6. Theories of Truth and Postmodernism
7. Religious Epistemology

Part 3: Metaphysics
8. What Is Metaphysics?
9. General Ontology: Existence, Identity and Reductionism
10. General Ontology: Two Catagories--Property and Substance
11. The Mind-Body Problem: Dualism
12. The Mind-Body Problem: Alternatives to Dualism
13. Freewill and Determinism
14. Personal Identity and Life After Death

Part 4: Philosophy of Science
15. Scientific Methodology
16. The Realism-Antirealism Debate
17. Philosophy and the Integration of Science and Theology
18. Philosophy of Space and Time

Part 5: Ethics
19. Ethics, Morality and Metaethics
20. Ethical Relativism and Absolutism
21. Normative Ethical Theories: Egoism and Utilitarianism
22. Normative Ethical Theories: Deontological and Virtue Ethics

Part 6: Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology
23. The Existence of God (I)
24. The Existence of God (II)
25. The Coherence of Theism (I)
26. The Coherence of Theism (II)
27. The Problem of Evil
28. Creation, Providence and Miracle
29. Christian Doctrines (I): The Trinity
30. Christian Doctrines (II): The Incarnation
31. Christian Doctrines (III): Christian Particularism

Suggestions for Further Reading

Name Index

Subject Index

Scripture Index

 


Review by Bruno D. Gedressac

 

Copyright © April 2004, Bruno D. Gedressac, The Hague, The Netherlands

 

The authors are two Baptist professors of philosophy at the evangelical Talbot school of theology. The present thick book (654 p.) is mostly a compilation of summaries or passages from the authorsí earlier works in philosophy. For those like me who have already read their works, the potential interest of this book would be the successful integration of their earlier works into a worldview, that is a consistent view and in particular into a Christian one, given the commitment of the authors to the intellectual defense of Christianity. How do they succeed?

 

First of all let us think of the organisation of the book. In Anglo-Saxon countries the academic world is "organised" according to positivism, in the sense that all academic fields (except the natural and possibly social) fields have been excluded from "science", unlike Europe, where universities, due to a lesser positivist influence, still have faculties called "religious sciences", "human sciences", etc. In a similar manner, in Anglo-Saxon countries, in philosophy, the topic of "God" has been excluded from metaphysics, and is found in the field of "philosophy of religion". As the present book is directed at Christians and not mainstream readers, I was hoping the authors would not follow the positivist view. Unfortunately they failed by uncritically organising their book according to positivism, even to the point of restricting "science" to the "natural sciences", and moving out of the metaphysics section major metaphysical questions (realism, God, space and time...)!

Secondly let us look at the integration of views expressed in the book. Critical readers know that the different views emitted by Craig in his various apologetics arguments contradict each other. I was expecting Craig to have worked on solving this when making this book. Instead the book is replete with contradictions.

One example of inconsistency is about divine omniscience. Craig still rejects omniscience (favoring instead middle-knowledge, a doctrine I think wrong), but when trying to defend exclusivism (the view that humans who did not get a chance to hear the gospel go to hell!), he argues that God knows about each human if he/she will believe or not the gospel so that God places those would-be believers at a place where they will hear it... which requires God to be omniscient! (BTW exclusivism was not a belief of the early church, I would rather have expected some major Christian doctrines such as deification / theologal virtues).

Another example of inconsistency is about relativity. In his discussion of time, Craig rejects (wrongfully in my opinion) the B-Theory of time, and then also Einsteinís relativity!!! Yet he uses Einsteinís relativity in his cosmological argument!!!

Finally it is quite disappointing, not to say irritating, to see how little work Craig put into this book. Much of his contributions consists in cutting and pasting what he wrote elsewhere, even the introduction of the present book, taken from the introduction of his book Reasonable Faith. Moreover Craigís style is sometimes unworthy of a philosopher, being rather rhetorical (e. g. he writes that "fatalism INFECTED..."). Some of Craigís contributions are simply entirely misleading (the "philosophy of space and time" deals only with time!) or show no improvements. For example, why canít he see that proponents of the B-Theory of time donít have to see their experience as irrational, but only as relative to their moving along the time dimension in which they are stuck (unlike an omniscient creator who would see the time-line in an absolute manner). Or how can Craig still reject Einsteinís relativity and accept instead Lorentzian relativity, the latter implying a "mischievous" epistemology as he himself concedes (and why not then think that the world or our existence is an illusion if we are to be so deluded?). Another disappointement is they way Craig rejects fatalism (1) : he goes as far as to say that syllogisms do not imply logical necessity but certainty, confusing deductive and inductive reasoning!!

 

In conclusion, as Craig has not solved the contradictions between his different Christian apologetics arguments, nor solved some other problems, this book lacks consistency and credibility and therefore fails at providing a plausible worldview. After reading this book, I think even more that Craig is more interested in converting people than in making good philosophy, I am afraid to say. A better integration can be found in the works of the Baptist thinker Norman Geisler (even if I think he is wrong about issues such the making of the Christian canon and inerrancy), probably because Geisler has used the resources of thomistic philosophy, the cathedral of Christian thought built by Thomas Aquinas.

The present book may however be useful for those who want to get an overview of the authorsí works, before possibly reading their specific books or papers (but beware of the kinds of problems I mentioned above). I must add that I did not find Morelandís contributions problematic (but only Craigís), although Moreland is not as famous as Craig.

 

 

Notes

1. Fatalism is not to be confused with determinism, fatalism holds that propositional truths are atemporal, e. g. that for someone, such as an omniscient being, knowing "our future", then our future cannot be different ; there is no problem of compatibility with (free) will

 

 Copyright © 2004, 2000 Bruno D. Gedressac, The Hague, The Netherlands


 


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