Philosopher of religion Keith Parsons calls it quits

From Religion Dispatches:

After a decade teaching philosophy of religion at the University of Houston, during which time he founded the philosophy of religion journal Philo and published over twenty books and articles in the field, Parsons hung up his hat on September 1st:
I have to confess that I now regard “the case for theism” as a fraud and I can no longer take it seriously enough to present it to a class as a respectable philosophical position—no more than I could present intelligent design as a legitimate biological theory. BTW, in saying that I now consider the case for theism to be a fraud, I do not mean to charge that the people making that case are frauds who aim to fool us with claims they know to be empty. No, theistic philosophers and apologists are almost painfully earnest and honest... I just cannot take their arguments seriously any more, and if you cannot take something seriously, you should not try to devote serious academic attention to it.
Notable snippets from the article:
To philosophers who feel like the case against God was settled hundreds of years ago, philosophy of religion often seems like apologetics, an effort to rationalize preexisting beliefs. [emphasis mine]
Compared to more esoteric subfields like philosophy of language or metaphysics, philosophy of religion is much more likely to attract people with deep-seated, lifelong beliefs about the topic. Because viewpoints in philosophy of religion are so emotionally fraught and bound up with a person’s lifestyle, values, and relationships, changing one’s mind is a daunting prospect.
“Philosophy of religion,” says Parsons, “is inevitably speculative and inconclusive.” Although he has no doubt that the theistic arguments for God’s existence have been thoroughly rebutted, he allows that the atheistic arguments he finds persuasive might not be nearly as persuasive to another rational person who happens to have different intuitions.
“There are certain things William Lane Craig takes to be metaphysical intuitions, like that it’s undeniable that the universe must have had a cause—and for me it’s not. My intuitions are quite different,” Parsons says. And what then? He adds, “And then, once we’ve reached that point, there’s just no further to go.”
Of course, if the history of modern physics is any indication, our limited frame of reference reveals that what we often believe to be intuitively true isn't necessarily an accurate description of reality.


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