According to classical theism, God is an omniscient, omnipotent and morally perfect being who is ontologically distinct from the cosmos and created it out of nothing. This view is presupposed in nearly all debates in analytic philosophy of religion and analytic theology. In our pilot project ‘Exploring Alternative Concepts of God’ (funded by the Templeton Foundation between 2011 and 2013; Grant ID#: 20308) we tried to shed light on a wide range of alternatives to classical theism. The pilot project was successful in attracting attention to alternative views, particularly through our edited volume Alternative Concepts of God: Essays on the Metaphysics of the Divine, which was published by Oxford University Press. The book collects articles written by leading philosophers defending or criticizing numerous alternative concepts of divinity. We feel that the philosophy of religion and analytic theology would benefit from an additional, larger-scale project, which aims at drawing attention to and promoting research examining some of the most promising alternatives to classical theism. In the proposed project, we will focus on pantheism and panentheism, which many philosophers and scientists consider to be the most attractive alternatives. We will focus on three of the most pressing challenges for pantheism and panentheism: the problem of personhood, the problem of unity, and the problem of evil. The project proposes the following activities: (i) the organization of workshops; (ii) the organization of public lectures; (iii) the publication of a special free online issue of Philosophy Compass; (iv) the publication of an edited volume published by a leading academic publisher; (v) the publication of journal articles; (vi) the organization of a summer stipend program. The project aims to widen the scope of analytic philosophy of religion and analytic theology significantly and deepen our understanding of the nature of the divine and its relationship to the cosmos.
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