Sunday, March 24, 2013
Your God Is Too Small
I recall how the ultraconservative Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga tried to deal with the problem of evil with an analogy: If you run out of gas on a lonely road on a stormy night, it doesn't mean your friend is a bad person if he fails to help you, because he didn't know you needed help. (This was published in 1974, before cell phones.) Plantinga really seemed to believe this move would work. But if you run out of gas on a lonely road on a stormy night, the God of Christianity knows it. He could add some gas to your tank without leaving his throne. Or he could inspire another driver to take a detour down your road and notice your plight. There are other arguments which might work better, but Plantinga used this one, and it's typical of the ways theistic philosophers have dealt with knotty problems in the philosophy of religion.