Tag Archives: Glenn Peoples

William Lane Craig asks John Dominic Crossan: do you believe in God?

The answer is NO, Crossan does not believe in God.

And here is the proof from William Lane Craig. (H/T Glenn Peoples)

This exchange with Crossan occurred in their debate entitled “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?”.

The MP3 file of that debate is here.

Now look over this post about theological liberals, from philosopher Glenn Peoples.


Secondly there’s a palpable dishonesty at work here too. If you’re going to present ideas, it’s helpful to name them. But if you name them, you need to be conscious of the fact that some names are already taken, and already have meaning. Some of these names are covered by copyright (such as Coca Cola), so you wouldn’t be able to use those, but others aren’t. When you identify as a Christian theologian and say “I believe that God exists and that Jesus rose from the dead,” you’re using terminology and also theological phrases and concepts that have recognisable meaning. In a Christian context there’s an existing understanding of what those concepts are and what those terms mean. God is the being who created the Universe, and Jesus rose from the dead by coming back to life and exiting his tomb. That’s what Christians have always meant when they say those things. But how honest is it to say “I’m a Christian, God exists, and Jesus rose from the dead” when what you actually mean is “I have a healthy respect for the teachings of a man who was no saviour, I believe that there is such a thing as goodness, and Jesus’ teachings still have some relevance for today”? Surely the respectable thing to say is “Look, Christianity is false, there’s no God, but we can still gleam a thing or two from what Jesus said.”

And more:

I have no doubt that for people who – for whatever reason – have an emotional or wistful connection to chapels, ecclesiastical robes and moving liturgy but who cannot stomach the perceived balderdash about inconvenient things like God, liberal (or “progressive”) Christianity is perceived as more intellectually respectable and credible. But those on the outside are a little more discerning and quite frankly aren’t this easily duped. However wrong they might be, they are not uniformly stupid. The genuinely honest and self respecting thing would be to stop receiving the church salary or pension, stop using its land, buildings and resources, admit that you reject Christianity outright and be done with it. Do something a little less duplicitous with your life. Start your own religion if you must, but face the fact that a more respectable version of religion is not what you have created.

That’s an excellent assessment of theological liberalism.I would have liked it even more if Glenn had talked about Crossan’s other pre-supposition – of religious pluralism – which requires that nothing in Christianity be exclusive such that people in other religions would be mistaken in their view of God and face whatever consequences that entails.

By the way, if you like that kind of frankness, I really recommend getting hold of the Greer-Heard forums with John Dominic Crossan (2005), Bart Ehrman (2008) and Paul F. Knitter (2009) – three apostates who are strongly questioned by the other respondents to the debate. Especially by the philosophers, Paul Copan and Doug Geivett. That is one excellent thing about philosophers. While historians and theologians see to me to often what to cloud things over, philosophers (analytical philosophers anyway), seem to want to clear things up.

I do not yet have the 2010 MP3s yet, but will buy them this weekend. Greer-Heard does a great job on these MP3 recordings – $15 for an entire forum with respondents. You learn a ton, but it is definitely intermediate level material.

Disclaimer: I don’t agree with Glenn on some things – I believe in non-material souls and I believe in Hell, and he seems to be more for material body only and annihilationism. But he keeps writing these amazing posts, so I keep linking.

MUST-HEAR: Glenn Peoples debates Arif Ahmed on God and morality

Another good Unbelievable debate between theist Glenn Peoples and atheist Arif Ahmed.


Torturing children for fun – is that absolutely wrong?

The Moral Argument for God states that there are such things as objective moral facts, and that objective moral facts must have an immaterial source – namely God.  Therefore God Exists… Simple right?

However, atheist Cambridge Philosopher Arif Ahmed disagrees with the first two premises.  He debates with New Zealand’s Christian philosopher Glenn People’s on whether the argument proves the existence of God.

So, are moral beliefs nothing more than our “preferences”? What do we do with the intuition that certain things are absolutely wrong?  Are atheists who affirm moral facts but deny God, being inconsistent?

The MP3 file is here.

I would not really characterize Glenn as an orthodox “Christian” philosopher, although he claims to be – because he doesn’t hold to some beliefs that are essential. E-mail me if you want more info and links to his statements. But he makes good arguments for theism.


Are there moral facts?

Glenn Peoples:

  • Here is my argument:
  1. If there are moral facts, then they have a basis that is either supernatural or natural
  2. If there are moral facts, then there basis is not natural
  3. Therefore, if there are moral facts, then there basis is supernatural
  4. A supernatural person is the most plausible way to think of the the basis of moral facts
  5. If there are moral facts, then the best way to think about their basis is that they are grounded by a supernatural person

Arif Ahmed:

  • There are no moral facts
  • There is no sensory evidence for moral facts
  • I would only accept sensory evidence for the existence of moral facts
  • Each person has preferences for how to treat other people
  • I campaign for things I personally prefer
  • So morality for me is doing whatever I want

Glenn Peoples:

  • Well, that is not moral conduct, that’s “satisfaction conduct”
  • You are doing what satisfies you, but it’s not normative
  • There is no ought there
  • It’s not prescriptive of what you should do, it’s just descriptive of what you do

Arif Ahmed:

  • I would interfere with other people’s preferences if I didn’t prefer them

Glenn Peoples:

  • What do you mean you “ought to” impose your preferences on other people

Arif Ahmed:

  • I do this thing I prefer and this thing I prefer and this thing I prefer
  • I do certain things because I like the way I feel when I do them
  • Nothing defines moral standards because there are no moral standards

Glenn Peoples:

  • On Arif’s view, it is impossible that anyone’s preference could be “wrong”
  • Each person’s preferences are supreme and cannot be judged on Arif’s view
  • On his view, someone who tortures people for fun is as justified as someone who doesn’t because both act on the basis of preferences

Arif Ahmed:

  • We can’t prove the existence of moral facts because only things that can be perceived with the senses are real

Glenn Peoples:

  • But even sensory inputs cannot be proven to be reliable using the senses

Is Glenn’s argument valid?

Arif Ahmed

  • Well, what if I arbitrarily assert that harm is morally wrong without sensory evidence for that moral fact, thus breaking my own rule about what counts as true
  • that makes me look like less of sociopath than before, right?
  • so how about that?
  • even if there were moral facts, God doesn’t have to be the cause of them

Glenn Peoples:

  • If there are moral obligations, they must be owed to a person, not to a state of affairs

Arif Ahmed:

  • Human beings don’t have any proper function, no way we ought to be
  • Each person just decides what they want

Glenn Peoples:

  • What about purpose, is there any reason why we are here?
  • On atheism, you would have to say no

Arif Ahmed:

  • An atheist could have a purpose for your life in an accidental universe without a designer
  • I don’t believe there is a purpose to life though
  • But you can choose social justice, or yoga, or vegetarianism, or video games and have meaning in life
  • And an arbitrary, narcissistic, illusory purpose is just as valid as an objectively true purpose (and as healthy!)
  • It’s very liberating to be able to make up your own arbitrary purpose and arbitrary preferences
  • You can even pretend they are significant and meaningful and that you are a good person (but they aren’t!)

Glenn Peoples:

  • Just to be fair, the idea of objective meaning and objective purpose does require creativity and work – it’s not a cop out

Glenn Peoples lectures on religion and public policy

Here’s the first clip of the Religion in the Public Square lecture.

He goes through the thinking of John Rawls, and explains how religious people can argue for public policies on the basis of religion. Basically, he is responding to the idea that religious people should not be allowed to participate in public policy debates because specific religious convictions and motivations cannot be used to defend any public policy, since they are personal and private.

And the rest:

And another lecture on the New Atheism, science, and morality, where he examines the thinking of New Atheist Sam Harris and old atheist Michael Ruse. Glenn is pretty moderate, so I don’t agree with him on everything. But he teaches me lots of new things because he is so darn smart, and these lectures were perfect to watch. This is intermediate to advanced material. I send the second lecture to Transparent Eye, that horrible secular humanist who sometimes comments here… and he liked it! He also liked the Mark D. Linville paper I linked to on naturalism, evolution and moral facts a while back, which was also awesome.

These lectures are ECM-approved.