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The Moral Argument, Existential Problems Of Evil, And A Non-Existential Alternative, Jonathan Smith Apr 2019

The Moral Argument, Existential Problems Of Evil, And A Non-Existential Alternative, Jonathan Smith

Senior Honors Theses

Within this paper, it is shown that certain ethical assumptions are implicit within the claim that certain kinds of evil exist. When taken in tandem with the moral argument for the existence of God, these assumptions can be arranged in such a way as to provide a contradiction. To avoid this contradiction, I posit a non-existential alternative to direct inductive arguments from evil, but the non-existential alternative gives rise to novel objections. When considering their respective ethical implications, both the existential and non-existential variations of direct inductive arguments fail. Since any direct inductive problem of evil must be either existential ...


Anthropology Embedded In Worldview Studies: Modernity’S Failure And The Response Of Christian Philosophy Of Life In A Postmodern Age Of Expressivism, Nathan Sexten Apr 2019

Anthropology Embedded In Worldview Studies: Modernity’S Failure And The Response Of Christian Philosophy Of Life In A Postmodern Age Of Expressivism, Nathan Sexten

Senior Honors Theses

This thesis examines two divergent streams of thought in Christian philosophy of life represented by the works of Francis Schaeffer and James K. A. Smith in an effort to help Christians live in a postmodern culture. Schaeffer and Smith ultimately address differing, but complementary, realms of anthropology and the human experience. To see how these two authors might complement each other effectively, this thesis will analyze each author’s work and then explore whether or not the application of Smith's liturgical anthropology and utilization of phenomenology can improve Schaeffer’s system of thought and the worldview concept.


Enchantment: A Teleology, Nathanael S. Toth Apr 2019

Enchantment: A Teleology, Nathanael S. Toth

Senior Honors Theses

Despite the highly developed nature of his fictional world, Middle-earth, Tolkien never formally laid out a tabulated magic system for his fantasy creation. Nevertheless, unlike many stories by others in the fantasy genre, the magic he does include is far from just a shallow, world-building mechanism. Instead, it encapsulates the core theme of his fiction and the purposes which Ilúvatar (the God of Middle-earth) has given to the story’s many characters.

This paper will examine the nature and function of this magic from many angles: the identification of good magic with art and evil magic with domination; the delineation ...


Mythology, Morality, And The Messiah: How Natural Moral Law And Hero Myth Entail That Jesus Christ Is The Best Possible Hero, Matthew J. Coombe Feb 2019

Mythology, Morality, And The Messiah: How Natural Moral Law And Hero Myth Entail That Jesus Christ Is The Best Possible Hero, Matthew J. Coombe

Doctoral Dissertations and Projects

Essentially this dissertation is an abductive argument for Jesus Christ being the best possible hero. The abductive argument is concerned with the synthesis of several different disciplines: natural theology, general revelation, ethics, natural law (meta-ethics), literary criticism, Biblical criticism, and mythology. When synthesized the most reasonable conclusion for the data is that Jesus Christ is the best possible hero. All of the disciplines work together: Natural theology establishes the axiological basis for moral realism and moral knowledge. General revelation acts as a universal imprinter, which not only imbeds man with moral knowledge, but also with inherent notions of heroism—heroism ...


Mackie's Arguement For The Infinite Man, Abigail J. Basile Jan 2019

Mackie's Arguement For The Infinite Man, Abigail J. Basile

Quaerens Deum: The Liberty Undergraduate Journal for Philosophy of Religion

Theists and non-theists alike have toiled with the characteristics of the Judeo-Christian God and how they may or may not be contradictory with the existence of evil. Some philosophers, such as J. L. Mackie, have decided that God and evil cannot coexist, mainly because the existence of evil means that any God is unable to keep evil and suffering away from His beloved creation, and such a limited God is no God at all. But Mackie’s argument rests on flawed foundation. Mankind is necessarily finite because even the infinite God cannot do the logically impossible and create the infinite ...


Truth-Makers And The "Grounding Objection" To Molinism, Tyler Crown Jan 2019

Truth-Makers And The "Grounding Objection" To Molinism, Tyler Crown

Quaerens Deum: The Liberty Undergraduate Journal for Philosophy of Religion

One of the most discussed topics on the nature of God, in Christian circles today, is the subject of God’s knowledge. There are a few popular positions today that are engaged in a serious debate as to what the true biblical and philosophical position on the nature of God’s knowledge is. One such position, which has become increasingly popular and has found support among many leading Christian philosophers, such as Alvin Plantinga, Thomas Flint, and William Lane Craig, is called Molinism. While Molinism does have an abundance of supporters, there are many detractors as well. Calvinist’s, Thomists ...


The Ideologies And Outcomes Of The French And American Revolutions, Donald D. Palmer Jun 2018

The Ideologies And Outcomes Of The French And American Revolutions, Donald D. Palmer

Masters Theses

One effective way to compare the fruits of biblical Christianity with modernism is to contrast the ideologies and outcomes of the American and French Revolutions. Pre-revolutionary America was rich with biblical influence. Adherents of both Protestantism and Deism sought a “Christian society,” and while revolutionaries drew from both biblical Reformation and secular Enlightenment thought, much of the latter was biblical thought in secular form. Ministers employed the Bible extensively to support the Revolution. This relative theological consensus encouraged religious practice and a political system that accommodated dispute. Human rights were secure thanks to man’s subordinate position under God. Even ...


Sensibility And Self-Denial: A Christian Evaluation Of Journalistic Care Ethics And Traditional Ethics, Valerie Pors May 2018

Sensibility And Self-Denial: A Christian Evaluation Of Journalistic Care Ethics And Traditional Ethics, Valerie Pors

Senior Honors Theses

Traditional ethical models within journalism have upheld truth and objectivity as the highest standard, based on a conglomeration of Western ethical traditions. However, as the age of subjective moral reasoning ushered in skepticism and independently subjective philosophies, ethicists have examined the application of care ethics to the field of journalism. Scholars have viewed care ethics and traditional ethics as conflicting theories, but both contain elements of God’s nature as revealed in the Bible. Both models also harbor secularized elements. In a biblical analysis of the two systems and their underlying assumptions, this thesis identifies crucial biblical differences in their ...


Is God The Necessary Being?, Bryce E. Hardy Oct 2017

Is God The Necessary Being?, Bryce E. Hardy

Quaerens Deum: The Liberty Undergraduate Journal for Philosophy of Religion

This paper briefly presents and engages with four competing hypotheses as to the most plausible explanation for the beginning of the universe. After clarifying some terminology, I will first establish both scientific and philosophical reasons for accepting the notion of an absolute beginning over a past eternal universe. Next, I will interact with Lawrence Krauss’ two versions of “nothing” and speculation of a multiverse as possible suggestions for what that first cause might be. In response, I will demonstrate the logical inadequacy of this approach, and by extension all other non-metaphysical theories. Ultimately, I will determine that, due to the ...


Behind The Veil: Mysticism And The Reply To Hiddenness In The Work Of Travis Dumsday, Catherine Mccrary Oct 2017

Behind The Veil: Mysticism And The Reply To Hiddenness In The Work Of Travis Dumsday, Catherine Mccrary

Quaerens Deum: The Liberty Undergraduate Journal for Philosophy of Religion

Ever since J. L. Schellenberg formulated his infamous atheistic argument from hiddenness in his 1993 book Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason, the problem of divine hiddenness--the question of why a good God would hide Himself, even from those actively seeking Him--has troubled theists. Schellenberg's argument from hiddenness has proven notoriously difficult for theists to answer, and perhaps this is why it is now second only to the problem of evil in popularity with atheists. While many theists have tried to find an adequate answer to the problem of hiddenness, and many have made good attempts, no response has been ...


Can God Know What Time It Is? A Working Paper, Caleb Brown Oct 2017

Can God Know What Time It Is? A Working Paper, Caleb Brown

Quaerens Deum: The Liberty Undergraduate Journal for Philosophy of Religion

Many thinkers hold the following five propositions are inconsistent:

  1. The dynamic theory of time (McTaggart’s “A-theory”) is correct
  2. God is atemporal
  3. God knows tensed facts
  4. Free human actions are possible
  5. God interacts responsively with humans

This working paper uses the discussion in Four Views: God and Time as a starting-point and moves towards explaining how these propositions are consistent.


Differentiating Averroes’ Accounts Of The Metaphysics Of Human Epistemology In His Middle And Long Commentaries On Aristotle’S De Anima, Caleb H A Brown Jun 2017

Differentiating Averroes’ Accounts Of The Metaphysics Of Human Epistemology In His Middle And Long Commentaries On Aristotle’S De Anima, Caleb H A Brown

Montview Liberty University Journal of Undergraduate Research

Averroes (an Islamic Andalusian philosopher in the 12th century) discusses the metaphysics of human epistemology extensively, and his socio-religious context sheds light on this discussion. Several of his works, most prominently his three commentaries on Aristotle’s De Anima, attempt to explain how finite, particular minds interact with universal, eternal intelligibles. Current scholarship focuses on the two longer commentaries, the Middle Commentary and the Long Commentary, but there is no consensus regarding which of these presents Averroes’ final articulation of the metaphysics of human epistemology. Those who maintain that Averroes wrote the Middle Commentary last tend to minimize the ...


Arminianism And Molinism On Divine Foreknowledge, Nathan S. Justice Apr 2017

Arminianism And Molinism On Divine Foreknowledge, Nathan S. Justice

Senior Honors Theses

Evidence is examined concerning the coherence of divine foreknowledge as defined by Arminianism and Molinism. Arminianism argues that God has complete and infallible knowledge of the future, and attempts to simultaneously maintain a strong view of libertarian freedom. Molinism agrees with the Arminian stance on foreknowledge and human freedom, but argues that middle knowledge must also be posited for God to have strong providential control over His creation. It is argued that Molinism better accounts for the biblical data and provides a more coherent theological and philosophical position, since Arminianism cannot provide a strong theory of providential control. Subsequently, a ...


“Recognizable Goodness” A Response To Beversluis’ Understanding Of God’S Goodness, Emily Mccarty May 2016

“Recognizable Goodness” A Response To Beversluis’ Understanding Of God’S Goodness, Emily Mccarty

Montview Liberty University Journal of Undergraduate Research

In her rebuttal to John Beversluis’ C. S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion, Emily McCarty makes the following arguments. Lewis maintains throughout these three works that God’s goodness is recognizable. In The Problem of Pain, what seems unlike or even not good to us, is upon reflection, good. In fact, there are similar human examples that show God’s goodness is not so very unlike our own. In “The Poison of Subjectivism,” Lewis does not empty good of meaning: rather he sources that meaning in the divine so that our morals have enduring meaning. In A Grief ...


Letter From The Editor, Managing Editor Dec 2015

Letter From The Editor, Managing Editor

Eleutheria

Letter from the Editor


Book Reviews, Various Authors Dec 2015

Book Reviews, Various Authors

Eleutheria

Book Reviews


A Critical Analysis Of Neural Buddhism's Explanation Of Moral Transformation, Jeffrey R. Dickson Dec 2015

A Critical Analysis Of Neural Buddhism's Explanation Of Moral Transformation, Jeffrey R. Dickson

Eleutheria

As non-theistic arguments for morality become increasingly sophisticated and complex, they are harder to criticize without first admiring their skillful design and near-artistry. One such argument involves a relatively new innovation that is the child of naturalism and eastern philosophy—Neural Buddhism. Like two world-renowned designers collaborating on a new garment, Naturalism and Buddhism have come together in this distinct program to offer something inventive, especially in its explanation of moral transformation. However, this critical analysis will ultimately reveal that Neural Buddhism’s explanation of moral transformation is incapable of providing good answers to several compelling criticisms.


An Incongruent Amalgamation: John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism On Naturalism, Jeffrey M. Robinson Dec 2015

An Incongruent Amalgamation: John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism On Naturalism, Jeffrey M. Robinson

Eleutheria

John Stuart Mill's utilitarian principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number, often surfaces in cultural debates in the contemporary West over the extent and foundations of moral duties. Given the drift from its historical Judeo-Christian moorings, naturalism now provides much of the epistemic grounding in Western culture in relation to moral duties. The amalgamation of Mill’s utilitarianism and naturalism has resulted in a cultural and epistemic disconnect. Naturalism is hard-pressed to provide consistent epistemic support for Mill’s utilitarian principle. This essay provides a number of suggestions as to why Mill’s utilitarianism may be inconsistent ...


Unique History, Unique Opportunity: Evangelicalism In Austria Since 1945, John D. Doss M.Div. Dec 2015

Unique History, Unique Opportunity: Evangelicalism In Austria Since 1945, John D. Doss M.Div.

Eleutheria

The article deals with the history of evangelicalism in Austria, a subject on which there is hardly any scholarly research. In focus is the development of the newly recognized baptist, charismatic, mainline evangelical, mennonite and pentecostal denominations since 1945. The role of immigration in the growth of evangelicalism is examined, especially during two periods: the decade after WWII (1945-55) as well as the massive immigration from Eastern Europe (particularly from Romania) after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. The article also presents examples of indigenous church movements among the Austrian people themselves, especially during the 1970's and ...


A Teleological Exploration Of The Plausibility Of Moral Knowledge, Kevin Lebel King Jr. Jun 2015

A Teleological Exploration Of The Plausibility Of Moral Knowledge, Kevin Lebel King Jr.

Masters Theses

Natural selection seems to offer a compelling case for the development of evaluative judgments independent of evaluative facts. If such a case can be made, then how do moral judgments correlate to moral facts? It seems that there would be no tight connection from judgments to truth and moral judgments would be unwarranted. Gilbert Harman realized the implications of a probable non-moral genealogy. Richard Joyce goes on to provide a probable non-moral genealogy that would epistemically undermine moral judgments as Harman thought. Joyce argues that in a naturalistic world natural selection can account for moral judgments, but that the truth ...


Aquinas The Pacifist? A Comparative Study, Lloyd George Pemberton Jun 2015

Aquinas The Pacifist? A Comparative Study, Lloyd George Pemberton

Masters Theses

It is claimed by some scholars that when recent analytical tools of interpretation are placed upon the Summa Theologica, a presumption against harm emerges from the mind of Thomas Aquinas as he formulated his just war theory. This presumption against harm is thereby construed as Aquinas having an affinity toward pacifism. The present thesis offers a comparative study between two scholars, Richard Miller and Gregory Reichberg. Miller supports this claim while Reichberg finds it unjustifiable. The thesis lays out the arguments put forth by both, ultimately siding with Reichberg as making the better case. In addition, I offer my own ...


Letter From The Editor May 2015

Letter From The Editor

Eleutheria

Letter From the Editor


Defeating Naturalism: Defending And Reformulating Plantinga's Eaan, Tyler D. Mcnabb May 2015

Defeating Naturalism: Defending And Reformulating Plantinga's Eaan, Tyler D. Mcnabb

Eleutheria

Abstract: During the past two decades, Alvin Plantinga has formulated an argument against naturalism that focuses on naturalism’s acceptance of contemporary evolutionary theory. Plantinga argues that given naturalism and evolution, our cognitive faculties have been developed to produce beliefs that meet the Darwinian requirement of survival and reproduction. Plantinga argues that accepting this will lead a naturalist to have a defeater for all of their beliefs, including their belief in naturalism. In this paper, I survey and respond to two types of objections that have been given as a response to Plantinga’s argument. The first objection that I ...


Jesus And Tiberius: An Examination Of Source Reliability, Timothy B. Chrisman May 2015

Jesus And Tiberius: An Examination Of Source Reliability, Timothy B. Chrisman

Eleutheria

Since the introduction to the critical method of studying the Old and New Testament in the nineteenth century, doubt has been thrown on the historical reliability of the biblical narrative accounts, especially the four Gospels. Yet, far less scrutiny and denigration have been applied to historical sources written during the time of the Roman Empire. A comparison, then, is proposed. It would be beneficial to compare the sources that detailed the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the four sources which chronicled the life of Tiberius, emperor of the Roman Empire during ...


Book Reviews, Various Authors May 2015

Book Reviews, Various Authors

Eleutheria

Review by Timothy N. Mitchell of Inside Roman Libraries: Book Collections and Their Management in Antiquity. By George W. Houston. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 2014, 327 pp., $59.95.

Review by Timothy N. Mitchell of Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christian Contexts: Reconsidering the Bauer Thesis. Edited by Paul A. Hartog. Eugene: Pickwick, 2015, 276 pp., $25.60.

Review by Nicholas Dodson of Oral Tradition and the New Testament: A Guide for the Perplexed. Rafael Rodriguez. New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015, 184 pp., $27.95.


Why William Rowe’S Argument From Natural Evil Fails, Douglas Taylor Jan 2015

Why William Rowe’S Argument From Natural Evil Fails, Douglas Taylor

Other Graduate Scholarship

Atheists in the vein of William Rowe have put forth arguments suggesting that the presence of evil counts against the existence of God. In particular, Rowe has advanced two lines of reasoning for his position, one being taken from an actual historical case of moral evil, and one case being a hypothetical natural evil. This paper seeks to interact with the proffered fictitious case whereby Rowe contends that even nature argues against the existence of God. If it is possible to demonstrate that Rowe’s argumentation fails, namely that if a greater good can be identified in relation to his ...


The Eternal Progression Argument Against Mormonism, Jonathan R. Pruitt Dec 2014

The Eternal Progression Argument Against Mormonism, Jonathan R. Pruitt

Eleutheria

This paper argues that Mormon cosmology plus the Mormon view of the origin of human persons results in an undercutting defeater for Mormonism. The approach is modeled after Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism. The first step is to show that Mormon cosmology is relevantly like naturalism. The second step is to show that the origin of human persons ins relevantly similar to naturalistic evolution so that it faces the same kind of defeaters as the conjunction of naturalism and naturalistic evolution.


Letter From The Editor Dec 2014

Letter From The Editor

Eleutheria

Letter from the Editor


Codex Sinaiticus As A Window Into Early Christian Worship, Timothy N. Mitchell Dec 2014

Codex Sinaiticus As A Window Into Early Christian Worship, Timothy N. Mitchell

Eleutheria

Codex Sinaiticus is the oldest and most complete New Testament in Greek known to exist. Its two colophons at the end of 2 Esdras and Esther indicate a possible connection with Pamphilus’ famous library at Caesarea in Palestine. Origen was head of a school for catechumens during his days in Alexandria in Egypt and later began a similar school in Caesarea. Pamphilus was Origen’s star pupil and later directed his school in Caesarea. These colophons may connect Sinaiticus with an ancient tradition of early Christian worship and instruction of new converts, possibly exhibited in particular scribal features. These scribal ...


Common Sense Theology: An Analysis Of T. L. Carter's Interpretation Of Romans 13:1-7, Joshua Alley Nov 2014

Common Sense Theology: An Analysis Of T. L. Carter's Interpretation Of Romans 13:1-7, Joshua Alley

Senior Honors Theses

Common sense theology has been a part of American theology since the time of the Revolution when Evangelicals incorporated ideals from the Scottish didactic Enlightenment into their thought. This paper deals with the work of one particular author, T. L. Carter, and his interpretation and exegetical work on Romans 13:1-7. It deals with the two major presuppositions of his common sense theology, namely that interpretations of any passage of Scripture will adhere to common sense and will result in a value-based ethic. Following this is an analysis of both the strengths and weaknesses of Carter's methodology.