Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Along the lines of any CD left in your glove box for any length of time turns into a Queen CD…

At any time of the day or night somewhere on cable TV they are showing the movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray and Andy McDowell…

Did Bill Murray hear or read Peter van Inwagen’s lecture on God and omnipotence?

Van Inwagen suggested that there could be more than one god.  God is traditionally thought of (by theists) as being omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.  What if there was a second god, who was all three of these, only he couldn’t do everything instantaneously.  He could perform any feat only it would take him longer than God.

Bill Murray says to Andy McDowell, “Well maybe the *real* God uses tricks, you know? Maybe he's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long he knows everything?”[1]

I would have thought that Murray had listened to van Inwagen’s lecture I had heard in Oxford in, though he wasn’t there.  I didn’t have the audacity to object to van Inwagen’s lecture, but I was one of those who was convinced that this sort of analytic philosophy was incapable of discussing God seriously.  Murray, on the other hand, or his script writers seem to have thought of this idea earlier.  “Groundhog Day” came out in 1993.  Van Inwagen gave his lecture in Oxford at the British Society for Philosophy of Religion conference in 2007.  It’s possible that van Inwagen had written about schmod earlier.  It seems he mentioned him in an article which was incorporated in an anthology of his articles in 1995.[2]

Probably what all this proves is that some philosophy major found a job as a screen writer in California… It’s better than “Do you want fries with that?”

[2] Peter van Inwagen, God Knowledge & and Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press,1995 

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