My passion for teaching and the rewards I receive come from the students I teach. I enjoy seeing students discover and learn, grow in their appreciation of what they read and study, mature in their critical thinking skills, and come to a greater understanding of themselves and the world around and beyond them. Philosophy provides the perfect context for these tasks when it explores the history of both Western and Eastern ideas and asks students to discern the meaning, truth, justification, and significance of those ideas. Philosophy also prompts us to ask very personal questions about the meaning and significance of life and about our individual vocation, which is, in diverse ways, to serve others on behalf of God. I see my teaching role to stimulate students to consider, question, and carefully develop their own viewpoints. In class and conversation I challenge students to think, not only about the positions they hold, but the reasoning they use to support their views. Through this dialogue and with lots of support, students blossom into careful and creative thinkers, and I hope, into persons of faith.
Courses Taught: In addition to general courses in Introduction to Philosophy and Logic, I teach specialized courses in the History of Philosophy (Philosophy from Descartes to Nietzsche and Twentieth Century Philosophy), Philosophy of Religion, Asian Philosophy, and Ethics of Medicine and Health Care. I also enjoy teaching the final course/seminar in the Augsburg Honors Program.
Research Interests: I enjoy writing both books and articles. A list of them can be found below. Most recently I have completed a book on epistemic obligations, addressing the question whether we have the right and ability to believe what we want. Other recent projects include three lectures on the relation of religion and science published by Blackwell, book chapters on revelation and on a theory of atonement that focuses on healing, and on the Cosmological Argument published in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Other Interests: Professors also have a life outside the college. My interests extend beyond the classroom and writing to my family, doing volunteer teaching in other countries, engaging sports such as racquetball and canoeing, and camping and travel. I have spent time in almost every state, 66 countries, and on all the continents. I recently taught philosophy for a semester at United International College in Zhuhai, China. I also have lived and taught for a year in Lesotho at Morija Theological Seminary and in Kenya at Daystar University in Nairobi. I have participated in seminars in China, Korea, India, Pakistan, and Russia, have lectured in China and Slovenia, and have taken students to study Mesoamerican culture in Central America and faculty on a Fulbright-Hays study tour to Namibia. Travel makes it possible to meet interesting persons from different cultures and to experience the richness and diversity of cultures, geography, flora and fauna.
I am active in the Roseville Covenant church and am working with the Evangelical Covenant Church of Kenya to develop projects like chicken farming, small business microloans, a sewing project, and leadership training that further their mission in their community.
If you are exploring coming to Augsburg, whether or not you pursue philosophy, I would welcome your inquiry and once you come on campus your visit.
- B.A. Wheaton College
- M.A. Northwestern University
- Ph.D. Northwestern University
- Introduction to Critical Thinking. McGraw-Hill, 2001.
- Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings. Oxford University Press, 1996; 2nd ed. 2001; 3rd ed. 2007; 4th ed. 2010. (Co-author).
- On Behalf Of God: A Christian Ethic For Biology. William B. Eerdmans, 1995 (Co-author).
- Reason and Religious Belief: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press, 1991, 2nd ed. 1998; 3rd ed. 2003; 4th edition 2009. (Co-author).
- The Law of Karma: A Philosophical Study. The Macmillan Press Ltd. and University of Hawaii Press, 1990.
- Evil and a Good God. Fordham University Press, 1982.
- Is Man the Phoenix? A Study of Immortality. William b. Eerdmans, 1978; reprinted by University Press of America, 1983.
- The Cosmological Argument: A Reassessment. Charles Thomas, 1972.
- “The Cosmological Argument,” Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy (on-line) 2005, revised 2008.
- “Miracle Cure or Moral Quagmire,” THE COVENANT COMPANION (October 2004): 6-9.
- “Dialoging Around the Well,” TILL AND KEEP (2003): 32-4
- “Lutheran Identity and Diversity in Education,” INTERSECTIONS 17 (Summer 2003): 21-8.
- “Boulders, Native Prairie, and a Stewardship Ethic,” WORLDVIEWS 7, no. 1/ II (2003): 93-112.
- “The Hermeneutic Circle and Authorial Intention in Divine Revelation,” SOPHIA 42, no. 1 (May 2003): 47-60.
- “Genesis 1 as a Theological-Political Narrative of Kingdom Establishment,” BULLETIN FOR BIBLICAL RESEARCH 13, no. 1 (April 2003): 47-69.
- “Inclusivism and the Atonement,” FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY 16, no. 1 (January, 1999), 43-54.
- “By His Stripes We Are Healed,” JOURNAL OF THE EVANGELICAL THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY 41, no. 4 (Dec. 1998): 551-560. Translated into Russian, (International Scholar’s Publications, 1999).
- “The New Integrationists in Science and Religion,” CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR’S REVIEW 27, no. 3 (Spring 1998): 338-352.
- “Mission and Hiring Policies in the Christian College,” INTERSECTIONS, no. 3 (Summer 1997): 13-19.
- “On Being a Professor: The Case of Socrates,” FACULTY DIALOGUE, 1996. Winner of the Ted Ward writing award.
- “Justifying In-principle Nonpredictive Theories: The Case of Evolution,” CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR’S REVIEW 24, no. 3 (June 1995): 397-422.
- “On Obligations to Future Generations,” PUBLIC AFFAIRS QUARTERLY 6, no. 2 (April 1992), 207-225.
- “Simulating Latin American Economic Culture,” with Sharon Reichenbach, SOCIAL EDUCATION 55, no. 3 (March 1991): 188-191.
- “Imaged Through the Lens Darkly: Human Personhood and the Sciences,” with V. Elving Anderson, JOURNAL OF THE EVANGELICAL THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY 33, no. 2 (June 1990): 197-213.
- “Karma, Causation, and Divine Intervention,” PHILOSOPHY EAST AND WEST 39, no. 2 (Spring 1989): 135-149.
- “The Law of Karma and the Principle of Causation,” PHILOSOPHY EAST AND WEST 38, no. 4 (Oct. 1988): 399-410.
- “Evil and a Reformed View of God,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION 18 (1988): 67-85.
- “Fatalism and Freedom,” INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY 28, no. 3 (Sept. 1988): 271-285.
- “Est Ubi Gloria Nunc Babyloniae?” CHRISTIANITY AND LITERATURE 37, no. 4 (Summer 1988): 25-42.
- “Euthanasia and the Active-Passive Distinction,” BIOETHICS 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1987), 51-73. [Translated into German "Euthanasie and die aktiv/passiv-Unterscheidung," in Anton Leist, ed., UM LEBEN UND TOD. Frankfort am Main: Suhrkamp (1990): pp. 318-348.]
- “Hasker on Omniscience,” FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY 4. no. 1 (Jan. 1987): 86-93.
- “Cutting the Gift that Ties,” BRETHREN LIFE AND THOUGHT 31 (Spring 1986): 111-120.
- “Omniscience and Deliberation,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION 16 (1985): 225-236.
- “C.S. Lewis on the Desolation of De-valued Science,” CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR’S REVIEW 11, no. 2 (1982), 99-111. Reprinted in SEVEN 4 (Mar. 1983): 14-26.
- “The Captivity of Third World Churches,” EVANGELICAL MISSIONS QUARTERLY 18, no. 3 (July 1982): 166-179.
- “The Gift of Singleness,” THE REFORMED JOURNAL 32, no. 3 (March 1982): 4-5.
- “On Disembodied Resurrected Persons: A Reply,” RELIGIOUS STUDIES 18 (Spring 1982): 225-229.
- “The Deductive Argument from Evil,” SOPHIA 20, no. 1 (Apr. 1981): 25-42.
- “Basinger on Reichenbach and the Best Possible World,” INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY 20, no. 3 (Sept. 1980): 343-345.
- “The Inductive Argument from Evil,” AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY 17, no. 3 (July 1980): 221-227.
- “Mavrodes on Omnipotence,” PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES 37 (Feb. 1980), 211-214.
- “Why Is God Good?” THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 60, no. 1 (Jan. 1980): 51-66.
- “Price, Hick, and Disembodied Existence,” RELIGIOUS STUDIES 15 (Fall 1979): 381-389.
- “Must God Create the Best Possible World?” INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY 19, no. 2 (June 1979):, 203-212.
- “Monism and the Possibility of Life after Death,” RELIGIOUS STUDIES 14 (Mar. 1978): 27-34.
- “Resurrection of the Body, Re-Creation, and Interim Existence,” JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY FOR SOUTHERN AFRICA 21 (Dec. 1977): 33-42.
- “Natural Evils and Natural Laws: A Theodicy for Natural Evils,” INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUARTERLY 16, no. 2 (June 1976): 179-196.
- “Camus and Kierkegaard: A Contrast in Existential Authenticity,” CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR’S REVIEW 5, no. 3 (1976): 223-240.
- “The Cosmological Argument and the Causal Principle,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION 6, no. 3 (1975): 185-190.
- “Re-Creationism and Personal Identity,” CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR’S REVIEW 4, no. 4 (1975): 326-330.
- “Life After Death: Possible or Impossible?” CHRISTIAN SCHOLAR’S REVIEW 3, no. 3 (1974): 232-244.
- “How to Pull Your Family Together,” ETERNITY 25, no. 8 (Aug. 1974): 13-14.
- “Why Minister to the Dead,” THE LUTHERAN STANDARD 11, no. 13 (July 6, 1971), 8-9.
- “Divine Necessity and the Cosmological Argument,” THE MONIST 54, no. 3 (July 1970): 401-415.
- “Grandma’s Funeral: A Painful Post-Mortem,” ETERNITY 20, no. 10 (Oct. 1969): 16-17. Reprinted in Miriam G. Moran, ed., DEATH: JESUS MADE IT ALL DIFFERENT, (New Canaan, CN: Keats Publishing, 1977), 136-40.
Chapters in Books:
- “Scientific Realism,” “Religious Realism,” and “Experience and the Unobservable,” in Melville Y. Stewart, ed., SCIENCE AND RELIGION IN DIALOGUE, vol. 2. London: Blackwells; Beijing: Beijing University Press, 2009: 1011-1077
- “Evil,” and “Ontology,” in NEW DICTIONARY OF THEOLOGY (REVISED). Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press (2009).
- “Healing View,” in James Beilby and Paul R. Eddy, eds., THE NATURE OF THE ATONEMENT. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 2006,
- “Divine Revelation: Discernment and Interpretation” in James K. Beilby, eds., FOR FAITH AND CLARITY. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006: 85-112.
- “At Any Rate There’s No Humbug Here: Truth and Perspective,” in Gregory Bassham and Jerry L. Walls, eds., THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA AND PHILOSOPHY. Chicago: Open Court, 2005: 53-64.
- “Dances of Death: Self-Sacrifice and Atonement,” in Jorge J.E. Gracia, ed., MEL GIBSON’S PASSION AND PHILOSOPHY. Chicago: Open Court, 2004: 190-203.
- “Explanation and the Cosmological Argument,” in Michael L. Peterson and Raymond J. Vanarragon, ed., CONTEMPORARY DEBATES IN PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION. London: Blackwell Publishing, 2004: 97-114.
- “Epistemology: Theological;” “God: Philosophy;” “God: Arguments for the Existence of;” written and/or edited contribution to ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHRISTIANITY. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2001.
- “Karma and the Problem of Evil,” in Gary E. Kessler, ed., PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1999: 246-55. (reprint)
- “On Being a Professor: The Case of Socrates,” in David W. Gill, ed., SHOULD GOD GET TENURE? ESSAYS ON RELIGION AND HIGHER EDUCATION. William B. Eerdmans, 1997: 8-26. (reprint)
- “Implications of the Human Genome Project for Views of Morality,” (co-author with V. Elving Anderson), in James P. Hurd, ed., INVESTIGATING THE BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF HUMAN MORALITY. Queenston, Ontario: Edwin Mellen Press, 1996.
- “Monism and Immortality,” in Melville Y. Stewart, ed., PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY VIEWS. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1996: 673-90. (reprint)
- “Freedom, Justice, and Moral Responsibility,” in Clark Pinnock, ed., THE GRACE OF GOD, THE WILL OF MAN. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Press, 1989: 277-303.
- “Buddhism, Karma and Immortality,” in Paul Badham, ed., DEATH AND IMMORTALITY IN THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD. New York: Paragon Press, 1987: 141-157.
- “God Limits His Power,” in David Basinger and Randall Basinger, eds., PREDESTINATION AND FREE WILL. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1986: 101-124.
- “The Divine Command Theory and Objective Good,” in Rocco Porreco, ed., THE GEORGETOWN SYMPOSIUM ON ETHICS. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1984: 219-233.