Professor Alvin Plantinga awarded 2017 Templeton Prize for his philosophy work.

Alvin Plantinga, who worked at the Calvin College between 1963 and 1982, and at the University of Notre Dame between 1982 until his retirement in 2010, has been selected as the 2017 candidate for the Templeton religious award. Plantinga was a Professor of Philosophy before he retired, and published numerous works on religion, epistemology, and metaphysics.

The Templeton Award is a prestigious one by the standards of any theologian. As the Pulitzer of philosophy, the award is given only to those who have made momentous steps towards affirming the spiritual part of human life. Examples of past Templeton fellows include Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Charles Taylor and the Tibetan Dalai Lama. The Award is issued by the John Templeton Foundation which was started in 1972.

Plantinga was described by his colleagues as an intelligent, curious man. Rev. John Jenkins, the current Notre Dame President, noted him to be a memorable member of the faculty who used faith and reason in demonstrating the fact that there is a harmony between science and religion in the world. The President of the John Templeton Foundation Heather Templeton Dill agreed with that assessment. She said Alvin Plantinga has demonstrated time and again that philosophy and religion agree, and has made advancements in both fields. Plantinga's work in the two areas is what secures his spot among one of few great people to have become Templeton Laureates.

Plantinga made several contributions to each field of philosophy he taught. In the field of religion, Plantinga refuted the theory that evil cannot co-exist with religion using the defense of free will. In his publication God, Freedom, and Evil, he argued that God existed, and could exist side by side with evil because he had given man free will. Plantinga introduced the hypothesis that it is possible that God allows evil in the world to perpetuate the freedom of humans to choose between right and wrong.

Another contribution that Professor Alvin Plantinga made was the linking of faith and logic in his Faith and Rationality works. Plantinga postulated that the complete belief in God even without evidence could be considered rational because there exists no evidence to the contrary. Additionally, faith met most of the criteria used to assess rationality and could therefore not be discounted as unreasonable, Plantinga wrote. This advancement was made in the field of epistemology.

Finally, in his Warranted Christian Belief and the Knowledge and Christian Belief publications, Alvin Plantinga made strides in eroding some of the discrepancies between religion and the science of evolution.

Professor Plantinga’s contributions to these fields earned him the Templeton Award, a prize that carries $1.4 million along with the title. The announcement was made this week, but the official ceremony will be held on September 24. The ceremony will take place at the Field Museum in Chicago.

Professor Plantinga expressed happiness at having won the award and said he hoped his win would motivate the youth in his field to be creative, bold and integral in their works as well.


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