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November 17, 2004


Fr. Bill


I'm pleased that you are familiar with Plantinga, and I accept your expansion of your earlier remark ("As the problem of evil has taught us, the answer to this question for most theists is absolutely nothing."). I reject your reading nevertheless.

If you have produced some argument about the invalidity of Plantinga's theodicy, by all means let me know where it has been published. If you are bothered that his argument succeeds, and want to wish away its success by claiming that it mererly amounts to a non-falisifiable theory, I don't see why I should concede the point.

As Plantinga himself concedes, the argument may not carry weight with people not inclined to religious belief from richer premises. Nevertheless, as part of an overall project for justifying the rationality of religious belief, it is perfectly a perfectly acceptable argument.

I'm not aware of a consensus in the academic philosophical community that thinks Plantinga has been disproven in this way, though I don't doubt that many share your assessment of his views. Distaste is not proof, assertion is not argument.



Jon Rowe, Esq.

"You might want to read Jeremy Waldron on Locke's notion of equality before you go replying."

"I do not think the Declaration of Independence was 'unethical' in its invocation of a Creator as the reason to believe in rights (indeed, as the author of those rights). I do not believe John Locke was 'unethical' by making explicitly Christian arguments for equality."

I look forward to reading Waldron's book. Of course, his thesis is quite controversial. One could also read the work of Leo Strauss, or any of his disciples -- Pangle, Berns, Bloom, Zuckert, and others -- to see why Locke made arguments that not only were NOT Christian, but in fact were in tension with revealed Christianity. I realize their thesis is controversial as well; but it goes to show that Waldron's notion is far from the accepted one.

My own personal opinion is while the Struassians overstate Locke's "secret hostility" towards revealed Christianity (his supposed attempt to secretly subvert the entire system), they make a valid point when they argue that most of what is innovative and distinctive about Locke's teachings -- for instance his state of nature theory -- has nothing to do with what is written in the Bible or Christianity as it was traditionally understood.

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