Please note, due to essential maintenance online transactions will not be possible between 02:30 and 04:00 BST, on Tuesday 17th September 2019 (22:30-00:00 EDT, 17 Sep, 2019). We apologise for any inconvenience.
To send this article to your account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Ever since the time of Pascal men have feared that the ‘God’ worshipped by believers and the ‘God’ contemplated by philosophers were somehow different. The former was personal, historically active, slow to anger and plentiful in mercy: the latter was dubiously able to be described in personal terms at all, and infinite in such a way as to baffle the imagination. The ‘God’ of the former at least had the advantage of complying with what was alleged to be religious experience: and so it was not surprising that religious men feared that the ‘God’ of philosophy threatened that experience itself; whereas at times philosophers have fed such suspicions by denying to God various properties not on logical grounds but because close involvement with man seemed to them not to comport with the divine dignity.
In the continuing dialogue between Western philosophy and the Christian religion, the central issue has generally been the existence of God. There has however been a discernible shift in the focus of the discussion in recent years. Rather than the existence of God, the issue now seems to be the concept of God. It is increasingly argued by philosophers critical of religion that the concept of God is basically incoherent, and that therefore the question of God's existence or non-existence does not even arise. What cannot be conceived is not even a possible object of faith.
It has often been claimed by philosophical theologians that the concept of God functions as an ‘ultimate explanation’ of the nature of the universe. In recent years, various theologians have regarded this notion of ‘ultimate explanation’ as one which has a central place in religious belief; and they construe the concept of God, at least in part, and sometimes mainly, as a concept which provides such an explanation. On the other hand, from the time of David Hume there has been a long line of eminent philosophers who have found the whole idea of an ultimate explanation—something which completely explains absolutely everything—an incoherent one, analogous to the idea of the square of a circle. I think it worth trying to explore the possibilities and limits of the notion, and attempting to assess its importance for religious belief. First, I will briefly sketch the notion as it is found in recent work, and then offer an analysis of the notion of ‘explanation’ in general. Finally, I will try to ascertain the nature and limits of the notion in religion.
The great Falsification Debate about the logical status of religious beliefs seems fairly quiescent at present. Most philosophers of religion have opted for one or the other of two opposite responses to the falsificationists' challenge.
Will the answers to these questions allow one to compare and distinguish them on a common level? If this comparison and this distinction succeed and are to lead us to a better understanding of human knowledge, how do we have to conceive of that human knowledge itself? And, finally, if this is to be done in the light of a theory of values, what are values, and which values are there?
Bultmann has been charged by critics of both right and left with building a basic inconsistency into his position, in that he lays down a programme for intepreting the New Testament in terms free of mythological elements, but continues to talk about God's decisive act in Christ, the eschatological event. My enquiry here is occasioned by the appearance of an exposition of Bultmann's doctrine of history in which the claim is made that he is not inconsistent at all; on the contrary, the author Norman Young argues that Bultmann's understanding of Jesus Christ as eschatological event is consistent with and indeed shaped by his complex view of history. In this paper I want to examine that view of history to see whether it, at any rate, can be rendered consistent and to assess the adequacy of his account of historiography.
Bonhoeffer's fragments from prison are some of the few bits of thought which have caused real theological excitement and bewilderment in recent years. In these letters and papers Bonhoeffer explores the theological problem of Christian faith and ethics in the mid-twentieth century. In an attempt to understand these fragments, we shall first outline the ‘situation’ Bonhoeffer describes and in which he himself lives. Then we shall summarise the ‘problem’ which this situation presents to theology, and, finally, explore Bonhoeffer's hints at a ‘solution’.