Christian philosopher honored with $1.4 million award for reshaping theism.
The man who brought belief in God back into the study of philosophy, Alvin Plantinga, has received the 2017 Templeton Prize.
The 84-year-old Christian philosopher is the latest in a line of dozens of laureates honored for their spiritual contributions to the world, including Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright, and Mother Teresa.
Plantinga made a name for himself as a philosophy professor at Calvin College and the University of Notre Dame. He reshaped the spiritual side of his discipline by insisting that Christian philosophers allow their convictions to drive their academic work.
“Plantinga recognized that not only did religious belief not conflict with serious philosophical work, but that it could make crucial contributions to addressing perennial problems in philosophy,” said Heather Templeton Dill, president of the John Templeton Foundation, which awarded the $1.4 million prize that has helped expand the evangelical mind.
Starting in the late 1950s, Plantinga countered the academic assumption that faith didn’t have a place in the field. Over decades of scholarship, he revolutionized how people view the relationship between religion and philosophy. Plantinga’s 1984 paper, “Advice to Christian Philosophers,” has shaped three generations of believers as well as religious philosophers across traditions.
Plantinga has received accolades “for his work in the philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics, and Christian apologetics.” Since 2000, he focused his study on the compatibility between religious belief and science—the subject of a 2011 interview with CT.
Among his seminal works were God and Other Minds: A Study of the Rational Justification of Belief in God (1967), …
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