Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let this Goodbye be a Hello

Does the name Alvin Plantinga ring a bell? Probably not (though I am sure not for all of you). Plantinga is basically the world's foremost Christian philosopher. And he's retiring.

Plantinga has basically spent a majority of his philosophical career making Christianity a plausible philosophical position, and has done so by basically tearing down the arrogance of secular philosophy in the process.

Plantinga's wikipedia has some brief highlights of some of his most famous arguments  including one that is dear to my heart, "Reformed Epistemology."

Why don't we know more about Plantinga? Well it's kind of sad really. Everyone knows Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens because of their charismatic personalities that have a bit of wit with their arguments. But Plantinga is not nearly the force as Dawkins and Hitchens, and thus much of his arguing really truly comes by reason and not by force of emotion.

Several atheist philosophers have noticed that while Dawkins and Hitchens are quite popular, their arguments are not anywhere sustainable compared to much of Plantinga's arguments. Further, we must note the "new atheists" as they are called are "winning" their arguments by attacking popular Christianity. They refuse to touch or acknowledge the Christian philosophers and theologians such as Plantinga or William Lane Craig who openly wrestle with the material that the "new atheists" present.

If you get a chance, you should check out Plantinga's debate with Dennett on youtube. It's quite fascinating if you have the time.

1 comment:

Nick said...

"Why don't we know more about Plantinga?" - I think people (Apostolic or otherwise) have very little familiarity with 20th/21st century philosophers. Within academia, people might know Dawkins and Hitchens better, but in the general populace, I imagine they fare similarly to Plantinga. I would guess that this extends to Philosophers of many generations. These days, I imagine you would get some interesting identifications of "Locke" and "Rousseau."

It's my hope that Philosophy will become more accessible to people in general and Apostolics in particular. However, I'm not holding my breath, since it's the rare philosopher who makes entrée into any mainstream environment for her philosophy alone.

For me, higher education provided my introduction to and expertise in Philosophy. As higher education becomes more widely accessible, it's my hope that more people are introduced to the philosophies that stand behind so many of the "practical" things they learn and practice. UGST is a step in the right direction within the Apostolic environment.