Dale Tuggy

Dale Tuggy is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Fredonia, where he teaches courses in analytic theology, philosophy of religion, religious studies, and the history of philosophy.


  1. Benjamin Scott
    September 8, 2017 @ 1:44 am

    “My second concern is that Dale’s method seems at times to be rather individualistic and rationalistic… [He advises that] “You must read the sources for yourself, with mind and spirit open. You must ask the one God to clarify his revelation to you…”

    Why don’t we all just become Catholic, or Orthodox and stop debating this altogether? Of course it would be difficult to choose which to become, Catholic or Orthodox? We have no authority to guide us in this matter other than something like the very thing implicitly criticized above. I’m not sure how to make the decision? Any suggestions?

    Let’s see, do I like icons or statuary better? No, maybe the decision is best made by geography? Geography has always been a major authority on these matters, has it not? I know I must believe in the Holy Trinity but should I believe God is one self or three selves? Well how far to the west do I live? I know that God is one self, but in Ukraine He’s three selves. Oh blessed property markers, tell me, do I live in Spain or Slovakia?

    “I go through life believing things because trusted authorities told me so. And that kind of deference to authority is fully rational and indeed necessary. So I trust my medical doctor, I trust my meteorologist, I trust my architect, and so on.”

    How do we know which authority to trust when authorities disagree? Those who choose to trust authority x or authority y are in disagreement with each other as to which authority is reasonably trustworthy. The decision between which authority to trust must be made on purely rational and individualist grounds since there is no authority other than God who can decide between them.

    Yet how do we know it’s reasonable to trust any authority in the first place? How many people trust their politicians? And how many people understand how political all authority is, including in the churches?

    Yet to go farther, what if authority is often just an established disinformation service, as we know it often was presented to be throughout Biblical history? Did Jesus trust the authorities of His day? And did Jesus or the Apostles teach that authorities would remain in place which we could continue to trust? I think the answers to these questions should be fairly easy to answer. “Our forefathers killed the prophets and the heretics.”

    Moving further on in history, should Martin Luther have trusted the authorities of his day? How about Martin Luther King Jr.? And can we measure authority by the calendar anyway, since the views of authorities change with time? Should I trust Origin more or Augustine?

    And is Christianity really founded on trusting authorities in the first place, or is it rather about defying them? The authorities made Christianity possible by crucifying Jesus, but I don’t think that’s because they were trying to support His mission.

    How do you know your doctor isn’t just a nicely dressed and licensed professional drug dealer? Or your meteorologist just an atheist who’s speaking beyond his real knowledge? Do you really trust these people or is it just a more comforting and casual way to live to pretend you can? Should George Washington have trusted his doctor? Do you trust your adult children’s College Professor? Do you trust architects or building code inspectors more? My doctor medicated me to the point of insanity but I’m not insane to trust him.

    “To be sure, I’m not saying one must simply accede to ancient and venerable traditions because they’re old and venerable: “Ecclesia semper reformanda est!” Rather, the issue is a matter of balance. There is a time to seek to critique our beliefs and traditions, but there is also a time to yield to them. And I see nothing wrong with a Christian deferring to the wisdom of a tradition on such a central matter, even when many problems undoubtedly remain.”

    Oh yes now time to backtrack on everything just stated in favor of… “balance.” Oh balance glorious balance! And what does that vague concept even begin to mean? Except perhaps “I’m right; you’re wrong. I’m attaching good words to my beliefs and bad words to yours.” This is doublespeak and the height of precarious imbalance. Yes, I am a Protestant Catholic but thank God that I’m not a Catholic Protestant. I think it’s reasonable to agree with the Pope about x, but I think it’s unreasonable to agree with the Pope about y. And the reason I think this…, “balance, and certainly not individualistic rationalism.” My tradition is the correct one because, “balance”. This is little better than saying that “random chance” created the universe. People I entirely disagree with are entirely right about “central matters.”

    “Oh mystical balance, always guide us with thy multifarious light and may be find the unity of the faith in thy ever mysteriously and gloriously contradictory embrace.”

    I’m going to be judged before God for what I listen to and teach personally. Using the excuse of authority and a crowd won’t help me on that day Jn. 5:44 and Mk. 4:24…, etc…. Enter through the narrow gate.

    “But God, everybody was building the Tower of Babel. That is until you confused our tongues. It’s not my fault. We were all doing it together. I wasn’t an individualist God. I wasn’t imbalanced. I wasn’t a rationalist. I didn’t disagree with Nimrod about central matters!”

    When can we begin to argue about truth and following the Messiah instead of who’s crowd is the most balanced? Because as long as everybody approaches any of these arguments with the bias of defending their own culture and belief system instead of following the Messiah into the wilderness, outside the camp, then we aren’t going to get anywhere at all. All reason can be on one side but the other side refuses to acknowledge it since it would mean that their little community would be wrong. Everybody knows that would be impossible. We gain a sense of belonging from the authority of our community. As long as our own little group of people, whether friends, family or theological heroes, are more important to us than the truth, then we won’t be able to see the truth at all. It will be IMPOSSIBLE for us since we aren’t interested in truth but only the justification of belief instead. For we can then label truth as “individualist and rationalistic” or any other negative label that comes to mind to block out it’s cold difficulty.

    Bring the labels! At least Dale’s not being burned at the stake for his statements, no thanks to the theologians who make up all those marvelous authority traditions everyone loves to dote over. Of course our modern crowds have found polite ways to remain politically correct while continuing to reverence the murderers and liars who founded our groups. This is a necessary survival tactic. The show must go on!

  2. Rivers
    September 7, 2017 @ 9:03 am


    Dale’s podcast number 138 was a discussion with a Biblical Unitarian pastor (Sean Finnegan) who discussed some of the different “atonement” options. You might enjoy listening to it.

    Rivers 🙂

  3. edwardtbabinski
    September 7, 2017 @ 4:58 am

    I have a post on the Trinity that includes some direct quotations from the law books of Christian emperors that agree with what you wrote about the coercion that was employed https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2010/08/trinity-three-states-of-water-bill.html

  4. edwardtbabinski
    September 7, 2017 @ 4:50 am

    Your theological journey is interesting. Have you also also wrestled with theologies of soteriology? Atonement?