J. L. Schellenberg
NEWS (24/12/23): My next book isn't published yet, but it will be before the new year is half done, and advertisements have begun to appear. So I guess that counts as news. The book is called What God Would Have Known: How Human Intellectual and Moral Development Undermines Christian Doctrine, and it will be out in May from Oxford University Press (it could be July before it appears in North America). Here's the OUP ad. Anticipating a good deal of interest, OUP is making the hardback available at less than half their usual price. I'd be happy if the price were still lower, but relatively speaking, this is a very good deal!
What God Would Have Known is critical of classical Christian thought, but if all goes well it will be followed by a more constructive work on Christianity before long. The second volume will identify and discuss several ways of being Christian -- including some new ones -- that would remain viable even if all of my conclusions in the first book are correct.
I am Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University and adjunct in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University. Both universities are in Halifax, the capital city of beautiful Nova Scotia. I live in a rural, wooded part of the province, about 35 minutes from Halifax, with my artist wife Regina Coupar.
My doctorate is in philosophy and from Oxford, where I studied with Richard Swinburne, David Brown, Maurice Wiles, and Anthony Kenny in the late 1980s. The book that emerged from this study, Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason (Cornell, 1993), introduced a new argument against the existence of a personal God known as the hiddenness argument. This argument has enjoyed a good deal of attention in philosophy. But in a subsequent trilogy (also from Cornell) and in several later volumes, I’ve shown why, even if it is possible to show that there is no personal God, we should remain open to the truth of other, more general religious propositions. And I’ve argued for the viability of an associated form of religious faith grounded in imagination rather than belief. Much of the support for this hybrid stance in the philosophy of religion – part critical, part constructive – comes from the view I’ve formed about our early stage of development as a species. This neglected developmental fact provides a basis for what I’m calling early-stage relativism. Put bluntly, it tells us that since we’re at an early stage of species-level development, we humans should behave in a manner appropriate to that stage and not as though we’re already fully developed. Early-stage relativism seems to me to have important consequences across a range of philosophical concerns, not just those involving religion, and in the last few years I’ve been busy exploring them. Most recently, I’ve also been giving attention specifically to classical Christian claims about reality. Here my results are again both critical and constructive, though only the former have been brought into a publishable condition.