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An Open Letter to Simon Critchley

An open letter to Simon Critchley, co-editor of The Stone Reader. Liveright, 2015.

In your introduction to The Stone Reader, you claim that the spirit of philosophy is rebellion against “the old gods,” as if most philosophers were atheists or did not accept received religion.

How wrong can you be? Socrates was likely, a theist. He challenged polytheism, but not theism or religious devotion. He was devoted to his concept of God. Plato believed in a God, as did Aristotle. Their views differ, but they argue for the existence of a supreme being. Augustine, no mean thinker, was an orthodox Christian. The medieval Muslim philosophers were, to a man, theists, as were the Christian philosophers Anselm and Aquinas. The greatest Jewish philosopher, Maimonides was an orthodox Jew. Blaise Pascal, the most brilliant man of his age, was a loyal Catholic. Descartes was one also. One could go on about Berkeley (a bishop of all things), Locke, and even Kant, who was a theist, but not an orthodox Christian. Hegel, whatever he was philosophically, remained a Lutheran, and believed in a Supreme Being or Geist. For remedial work, please read James Collin’s, God in Modern Philosophy.

Today, the Society of Christian philosophers has a well-regarded journal, Faith and Philosophy, and is the largest subsection of the American Philosophical Society. However, its most noteworthy members, such as Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne, are absent from your contributors for the sections on religion and philosophy. Not to be laughed at is the Evangelical Theological Society, sporting established philosophers such as William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland.

Mr. Critchley, your secularism has painted a false view of philosophy. Thus you have excluded some of the best minds of the ages and of today.

Sincerely, Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.

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