Theology: August 2004 Archives

Due to my work on tomorrow's Christian Carnival, I haven't had time to post anything today. Here's a book review I wrote on Amazon in November 2002. This book is currently out-of-print, but these academic books go in and out of print every few years, and I imagine used copies are much more available over the internet than it used to be. A good library with interlibrary loan connections with academic libraries should be able to get ahold of it fairly easily also.

Peter van Inwagen, God, Knowledge, and Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology

Peter van Inwagen is a first-class philosopher, widely respected as one of the best metaphysicians of our day. This book collects previously-published work in philosophy of religion. He is a sincere Christian thinker who began his philosophical career as a nonbeliever. The value, difficulty, and strengths and weaknesses in this book vary from paper to paper.

I got the following example from Ben Bradley about a completely different topic, but since it raises interesting issues about the afterlife I figured I'd steal it and ask some questions about it.

Suppose you had a terminal illness. You're given six months to live. There's a treatment that can save you, but it will lead to a total transformation of your personality and interests. For example, you might stop enjoying philosophy and the intellectual life and start enjoying bottle cap collecting. You would find complete fulfillment in bottle cap collecting and not miss the intellectual life, but the desires you currently have would no longer be fulfilled. Ben poses the case as a means to wondering whether it would be better to die in six months or to undergo the treatment and be transformed so drastically that your current desires and preferences would very likely go unfulfilled.

My question is this: what significance does this case have for the possibility or nature of an afterlife? More particularly, what should someone who is not a univeralist say about this sort of case? If I need to spell out the details of what I'm thinking to guide the discussion in the direction I've been thinking, I will, but I'd rather see what people want to say about it first.

Theology Posts

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Here's one more Favorite Posts filter. This time I'm collecting theology posts. I think some of these are among my all-time best.

Responses to a Friend

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I've finally given the originally-promised response, such as it is, to w1re's questions in my post Questions From a Friend from over a week ago. Those who might have been following that discussion who don't look at my Recent Comments list in the sidebar might miss it without a mention in a post, so here we are.

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