Nancey Murphy and Jeffrey P. Schloss
This article tries to deal with the issues of biology versus religion. This relates to a conflict between evolutionary and biblical accounts of Earth's history. The most important area involves the question of a transcendent. The second involves the almost universally affirmed but differently joined religious responses to the human suffering. The third area of intersection between evolutionary and religious understandings of human nature involves the biblical notion of human uniqueness. All religions entail some notion of transcendent purpose or sacred meaning. There are developments in biology with important implications for religion because of the vast increase in knowledge of the workings of the brain. This does not prove the nonexistence of the soul, but suggests that the concept of soul as an explanatory construct has outlived its usefulness. This also plays a valuable role in ethics. Biology will prove to be a help in this case.
Alexander R. Pruss and Richard M. Gale
Unlike the ontological argument, which appeals only to highly sophisticated philosophers who delight in highly abstract deductive reasoning, cosmological and design arguments figure prominently in the argumentative support that everyday working theists give for their faith. The reason for this broad pastoral appeal is that these arguments begin with commonplace facts about the world and then, by appeal to principles that look plausible, establish the existence of a being who, while not shown to have all of God's essential properties, properties that God must have to exist, is at least a close cousin of the God of traditional Western theism. This article begins with a preliminary botanization of these arguments, indicating their similarities and differences, and then discusses each of them separately, giving prominence to the many different forms they take. Each of the two arguments begins with a contingent existential fact.
Stuart J. Youngner
Two factors, medical science's growing control over the timing of death and the increasingly desperate need for organs, have led to a reopening of the debate about the definition of death and have forced a consideration of aspects of the determination of death that had never been addressed before. Without the pressing need for organs, the definition of death would have remained on the back shelf, the conversation of a few interested philosophers or theologians. This article examines some new questions raised by medical technology and the frantic search for new, morally acceptable sources of human organs over the past thirty years. This examination concludes that death itself is a social construct and that, in a pluralistic society such as ours, a conclusive definition of death or determination of the moment of death is out of the reach of both medical science and philosophy.