Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Professor David A. Pailin (PhD Edit)

Manchester University, trekearth: I attended briefly but walked by the impressive buildings for two years and following...












Preface

Although I earned my PhD thesis research degree at Wales, Trinity Saint David at Lampeter, preceded by my MPhil thesis research degree at Bangor University, I briefly previously worked at Manchester University and my advisor was Professor David Pailin.

I lived in Manchester for my most of my stay in the United Kingdom. I did visit the campus at Wales on other visits and like Wales very much.

As discussed in articles previously, the Professor I had agreed to work with was away for a year and the two Professors that had advised me were not supportive of my Reformed views in regard to God and the problem of evil.

As the environment was totally negative from the start, by their creation, I reasoned I was not going to succeed under the political circumstances and I tried to transfer to an affiliated Christian college for the same sanctioned Manchester University PhD.

An academic board was informed I could (supposedly) not do the work required and it was blocked.

Admitting life is not black and white; I will admit that my brief time with Professor Pailin did demonstrate he did have an Encyclopedia like knowledge of philosophy of religion, which I do respect.

By God’s grace, I soon did the academic work required on two occasions with MPhil and PhD theses at Wales.

Potential employers within academia have informed me on many occasions that based on my Curriculum Vitae, even though I am not the right fit for the position offered that my credentials within Theology and Philosophy of Religion are very impressive.

I may or may not find the right fit as far as employment, as my fields of expertise are limited; but case closed, the argument is over, I have the same level British PhD that Manchester offered.

Defence/Defense versus Theodicy

I reason Professor Pailin was correct in stating that the academic defence versus theodicy difference was minimal, contrary to what I read from Alvin C. Plantinga, although I found Plantinga's work very useful in my MPhil and PhD research.

I came to this conclusion myself as both approaches largely speculate in regard to the problem of evil, as human beings have finite knowledge, in comparison to God’s infinite knowledge, although a theodicy is expected to be more robust and dogmatic.

I cautiously embedded a theodicy within my PhD relying on Bible, philosophical theology and philosophy of religion.

Process Theology

David A Pailin (1999) explains that within some process theology approaches, God’s existence may be viewed as absolute, necessary and unchanging. However, God’s character can change and is determined through interaction with his creation. Pailin postulates that God’s character can change, as he loves his creatures. Pailin (1999: 469)

In my view, the divine nature does not have a physical body that can be altered, changed or die, as in John 4:24 where Jesus stated that God is spirit. God does not change as infinite.

Enlightenment

Pailin (1999) writes that since the Enlightenment era, the traditional propositional view of revelation has widely, but not completely, been replaced by the understanding that divine revelation comes through events. Pailin (1999: 505).

Enlightenment thinkers tended to reject external sources of knowledge and elevated human reasoning. Biblical doctrines were therefore under suspicion.

Deism

Pailin, defines deism as coming from the Latin word deus and parallels the Greek which is theos. Pailin (1999: 148). In modern times deism is used to define a supreme being who is the ultimate source of reality, but does not intervene in the natural and historical processes through revelation or salvific acts. Pailin (1999: 148).

Pailin writes that the common use of the term ‘theism’ does not carry the same negative implications. Pailin (1999: 148). He explains that historically deism is not so much a set of doctrines, but a movement, largely British, that became popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Pailin (1999: 148).

Many within deism will have doubts concerning concepts of supernatural religious doctrines, revelation and the authority of the Bible. Pailin (1999: 148). Pailin notes that some within deism desire to replace Christianity with a more ‘reasonable’ faith, and for others it is an attempt to produce a more ‘reasonable’ version of Christianity. Pailin (1999: 149).

PAILIN, DAVID A. (1999) ‘Deism’, in Alan Richardson and John Bowden (eds.), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, Kent, SCM Press Ltd.

PAILIN, DAVID A. (1999) ‘Enlightenment’, in Alan Richardson and John Bowden (eds.), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, Kent, SCM Press Ltd.

PAILIN, DAVID A. (1999) ‘Process Theology’, in Alan Richardson and John Bowden (eds.), A New Dictionary of Christian Theology, Kent, SCM Press Ltd.

River Taff, Wales, trekearth

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Plato (PhD Edit)

Greece-Corfu from Earth Sciences



Platonic Philosophy

Platonic philosophy was largely created by Plato (427-347 B.C.).[1]  Richard Kraut (1996) notes Plato was a preeminent Greek philosopher who conceived the observable world as an imperfect image of the realm of the unobservable and unchanging forms.[2]  Plato, in Timaeus, written in 360 B.C, viewed these forms as divinely moved objects.[3] 

Neoplatonism

Mark D. Jordan (1996) notes Augustine was primarily affected by Neoplatonism before his conversion to Christianity.[4]  Augustine (398-399)(1992) states in Confessions he examined Platonist writings that supported his Biblical understanding of the nature of God.[5]  Jordan states the Platonic writings helped Augustine to conceive of a cosmic hierarchy in the universe in which God was immaterial and had sovereign control over his material creation.[6]  However, Jordan states Augustine saw philosophy alone as being unable to change his life as only God himself could do.[7]  Augustine’s use of Plato does not in itself invalidate his understanding of Biblical writings where the two may happen to be in agreement.[8]

Platonic Demiurge

Mill theorized of a God that resembled the ‘Platonic Demiurge.’[9] A demiurge is a Greek term meaning ‘artisan’, ‘craftsman.’  It is a deity that develops the material world from ‘preexisting chaos.’ Plato introduced the concept and term in his text Timaeus. The perfectly good demiurge wishes to present his goodness and shapes the chaos as best he can, and the present world results. Wainwright (1996: 188).  The demiurge is a limited, non-omnipotent God, that did not create original matter. Wainwright (1996: 188).  Blackburn (1996: 98).

AUGUSTINE (388-395)(1964) On Free Choice of the Will, Translated by Anna S.Benjamin and L.H. Hackstaff, Upper Saddle River, N.J., Prentice Hall.     

AUGUSTINE (398-399)(1992) Confessions, Translated by Henry Chadwick, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

AUGUSTINE (400-416)(1987)(2004) On the Trinity, Translated by Reverend Arthur West Haddan, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series One, Volume 3, Denver, The Catholic Encyclopedia.

AUGUSTINE (421)(1998) Enchiridion, Translated by J.F. Shaw,  Denver, The Catholic Encyclopedia.

AUGUSTINE (426)(1958) The City of God, Translated by Gerald G. Walsh, Garden City, New York, Image Books.

AUGUSTINE (427)(1997) On Christian Doctrine, Translated by D.W. Robertson Jr., Upper Saddle River, N.J., Prentice Hall.

AUGUSTINE (427b)(1997) On Christian Teaching, Translated by R.P.H. Green, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

CAREY, GEORGE W. (2002) ‘The Authoritarian Secularism of John Stuart Mill’, in On Raeder’s Mill and the Religion of Humanity, Volume 15, Number 1, Columbia, University of Missouri Press.

JORDAN, MARK D. (1996) ‘Augustine’, in Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, pp. 52-53. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

KRAUT, RICHARD (1996) ‘Plato’, in Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge, pp. 619-629. Cambridge University Press.

MILL, JOHN STUART (1789-1861)(2003) Utilitarianism and On Liberty, Mary Warnock (ed.), Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

MILL, JOHN STUART (1825-1868)(1984) Essays on Equality, Law, and Education, John M. Robson (ed.), University of Toronto Press, Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

MILL, JOHN STUART (1833)(1985)(2009) Theism: John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume X - Essays on Ethics, Religion, and Society, Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

MILL, JOHN STUART (1874)(2002) The Utility of Religion, London, Longman, Green, and Reader.

MILL, JOHN STUART (1874)(1885)  Nature the Utility of Religion and TheismLondon, Longmans, Green and Co. 

POJMAN, LOUIS P. (1996) Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, New York, Wadsworth Publishing Company. 



[1] Pojman (1996: 6).
[2] Kraut (1996: 619-620).
[3] Plato (360 B.C.)(1982: 35).    
[4] Jordan (1996: 52).
[5] Augustine (398-399)(1992).
[6] Jordan (1996: 53).
[7] Jordan (1996: 53).
[8] Augustine (398-399)(1992).
[9] Carey (2002: 116).