Alvin Plantinga's restatement of Augustine's freewill theodicy and its implications for his concept of "warranted" Christian belief.
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Johnson, John Joseph, 1964-
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In this dissertation, I attempt to show how Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga addresses a major stumbling block to Christian faith, the problem of evil, and how his approach could provide a foundation for his idea of "warranted" Christianity. I wish to do the following. One, to show how Plantinga departs from Augustine on the matter of evil and free will. Two, to show how Plantinga’s Christian epistemology could be strengthened. I believe that his approach, widely described as "Reformed epistemology," is a flawed epistemological edifice and could be improved upon if he would incorporate into it some of the same ideas that makes his free will defense so successful. Therefore, I will examine his free will defense, then analyze his Christian epistemology, and finally show how that epistemology could be made stronger, not by abandoning what is distinctive to it, but rather by incorporating other elements into it, some of which are found in Plantinga's own, earlier writings, and some of which are found in the "evidentialist" approach to Christian epistemology found in the writings of philosopher Richard Swinburne and sociologist of religion Rodney Stark.