It is not too much to say that the providence of God prepared two sources of light—one human and one divine—and both are needed to defend and preserve our civilization and our faith. Of all of the points that I will make, this is the easiest to understand because it is so visible: we see its evidence every day. The power and beauty of classical architecture is everywhere, from grand buildings like our Supreme Court to our humble everyday homes.
Scale, mass, proportion, and symmetry—the principles of classical architecture—were worked out by the Greeks in great detail and built upon in succeeding generations. They still apply today, and regardless of the style of architecture—whether you are building a farmhouse or a church—these ratios will be the most pleasing to the human eye, and observing the principles first laid down by the Greeks will ensure that your building will be most beautiful.
The principles of classical architecture can be applied to any style, whether Tudor, Cape Cod, or Asian pagoda. The principles are true, and they have never been overturned. Today, they are mostly ignored, which is why we have such ugly buildings. Modern architecture, for the most part, is soulless because it has rejected the principles of classical architecture—not because they are untrue, and not because they are outdated, but for no reason other than that they perhaps are inconvenient.
This pattern, morever, illustrates why a careful reading of the pagan classics is so important for a classical education that aspires to give a firm foundation in wisdom and truth. De Architectura, written by Vitruvius around 15 B. Vitruvius was a Roman and, like all of the Romans, his work was not especially original, but rather based on the Greeks.
De Architectura was a compilation of Greek principles and Roman engineering, accompanied by his detailed drawings, which unfortunately have been lost. De Architectura became the basis for the second most influential architecture book in history, The Four Books of Architecture by Andrea Palladio, published in Palladio as in Palladian windows called Vitruvius his master. Palladio went to Rome, studied the remnants of Roman architecture, studied Vitruvius, and thereafter designed churches, villas, palaces, and other public buildings, all in Venice. When he published his great work on architecture, his principles of neoclassical design spread all over Europe and the New World and have had immeasurable impact over the last years.
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It is often conceded that the teleological argument does not demonstrate that one or more designers are required; it seeks rather to establish that positing such purposive intelligence is reasonable and preferable to naturalism. It is rejected by J. Mackie, Michael Martin, Nicholas Everitt, and many others. One feature of the teleological argument currently receiving increased attention focuses on epistemology.
It has been argued by Richard Taylor , Alvin Plantinga and in Beilby , and others that if we reasonably rely on our cognitive faculties, it is reasonable to believe that these are not brought about by naturalistic forces—forces that are entirely driven by chance or are the outcome of processes not formed by an overriding intelligence. An illustration may help to understand the argument. Imagine Tom coming across what appears to be a sign reporting some information about his current altitude some rocks in a configuration giving him his current location and precise height above sea-level in meters.
Some theists argue that it would not be reasonable, and that trusting our cognitive faculties requires us to accept that they were formed by an overarching, good, creative agent. Objections to this argument center on naturalistic explanations, especially those friendly to evolution. In evolutionary epistemology, one tries to account for the reliability of cognitive faculties in terms of trial and error leading to survival.
A rejoinder by theists is that survival alone is not necessarily linked to true beliefs.
It could, in principle, be false beliefs that enhance survival. Evolutionary epistemologists reply that the lack of a necessary link between beliefs that promote survival and truth and the fact that some false beliefs or unreliable belief producing mechanisms promote survival nor falls far short of undermining evolutionary epistemology. Another recent development in teleological argumentation has involved an argument from fine-tuning. Fine tuning arguments contend that life would not exist were it not for the fact that multiple physical parameters e.
For example, even minor changes to the nuclear weak force would not have allowed for stars, nor would stars have endured if the ratio of electromagnetism to gravity had been much different. John Leslie observes:. Alterations by less than one part in a billion to the expansion speed early in the Big Bang would have led to runaway expansion, everything quickly becoming so dilute that no stars could have formed, or else to gravitational collapse inside under a second. Leslie For a collection of articles covering both sides of the debate and both biological and cosmological design arguments, see Manson A more sustained objection against virtually all versions of the teleological argument takes issue with the assumption that the cosmos is good or that it is the sort of thing that would be brought about by an intelligent, completely benevolent being.
yapchecker.com/3825.php This leads us directly to the next central concern of the philosophy of God. If there is a God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and completely good, why is there evil? The problem of evil is the most widely considered objection to theism in both Western and Eastern philosophy. The deductive problem is currently less commonly debated because many but not all philosophers acknowledge that a thoroughly good being might allow or inflict some harm under certain morally compelling conditions such as causing a child pain when removing a splinter.
More intense debate concerns the likelihood or even possibility that there is a completely good God given the vast amount of evil in the cosmos.
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Such evidential arguments from evil may be deductive or inductive arguments but they include some attempt to show that some known fact about evil bears a negative evidence relation to theism e. Consider how often those who suffer are innocent.
Why should there be so much gratuitous, apparently pointless evil? In the face of the problem of evil, some philosophers and theologians deny that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. John Stuart Mill took this line, and panentheist theologians today also question the traditional treatments of Divine power.
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Another response is to think of God as being very different from a moral agent. Brian Davies and others have contended that what it means for God to be good is different from what it means for an agent to be morally good Davies A different, more substantial strategy is to deny the existence of evil, but it is difficult to reconcile traditional monotheism with moral skepticism.
Also, insofar as we believe there to be a God worthy of worship and a fitting object of human love, the appeal to moral skepticism will carry little weight. Searing pain and endless suffering seem altogether real even if they are analyzed as being philosophically parasitic on something valuable. The three great monotheistic, Abrahamic traditions, with their ample insistence on the reality of evil, offer little reason to try to defuse the problem of evil by this route. Indeed, classical Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are so committed to the existence of evil that a reason to reject evil would be a reason to reject these religious traditions.
What would be the point of the Judaic teaching about the Exodus God liberating the people of Israel from slavery , or the Christian teaching about the incarnation Christ revealing God as love and releasing a Divine power that will, in the end, conquer death , or the Islamic teaching of Mohammed the holy prophet of Allah, whom is all-just and all-merciful if slavery, hate, death, and injustice did not exist?
If in ethics you hold that there should be no preventable suffering for any reason, regardless of the cause or consequence, then the problem of evil will conflict with your acceptance of traditional theism. Debate has largely centered on the legitimacy of adopting some middle position: a theory of values that would preserve a clear assessment of the profound evil in the cosmos as well as some understanding of how this might be compatible with the existence of an all powerful, completely good Creator. Could there be reasons why God would permit cosmic ills? If we do not know what those reasons might be, are we in a position to conclude that there are none or that there could not be any?
For example, if you do not believe there is free will, then you will not be moved by any appeal to the positive value of free will and its role in bringing about good as offsetting its role in bringing about evil. Theistic responses to the problem of evil distinguish between a defense and a theodicy. A defense seeks to establish that rational belief that God exists is still possible when the defense is employed against the logical version of the problem of evil and that the existence of evil does not make it improbable that God exists when used against the probabilistic version.
Some have adopted the defense strategy while arguing that we are in a position to have rational belief in the existence of evil and in a completely good God who hates this evil, even though we may be unable to see how these two beliefs are compatible. A theodicy is more ambitious and is typically part of a broader project, arguing that it is reasonable to believe that God exists on the basis of the good as well as the evident evil of the cosmos.
In a theodicy, the project is not to account for each and every evil, but to provide an overarching framework within which to understand at least roughly how the evil that occurs is part of some overall good—for instance, the overcoming of evil is itself a great good. In practice, a defense and a theodicy often appeal to similar factors, the first and foremost being what many call the Greater Good Defense. In the Greater Good Defense, it is contended that evil can be understood as either a necessary accompaniment to bringing about greater goods or an integral part of these goods.
For this good to be realized, it is argued, there must be the bona fide possibility of persons harming each other. The free will defense is sometimes used narrowly only to cover evil that occurs as a result, direct or indirect, of human action. But it has been speculatively extended by those proposing a defense rather than a theodicy to cover other evils which might be brought about by supernatural agents other than God. According to the Greater Good case, evil provides an opportunity to realize great values, such as the virtues of courage and the pursuit of justice.
Reichenbach , Tennant , Swinburne , and van Inwagen have also underscored the good of a stable world of natural laws in which animals and humans learn about the cosmos and develop autonomously, independent of the certainty that God exists.