Michael W. Austin

Ideas that Matter.


A Short Introduction

I’m a philosopher, author, and speaker. I’m interested in our quest for life. We want happiness, contentment, a life with meaning and purpose, but we don’t know how to get it. Or if we do know, we often struggle to experience such a life.  I think the key to such a life is character. What matters most is not what happens to us. What matters most is who we are, and who we are becoming.

You can find information about my books, subscribe to my blog, or check out some of the topics I speak about for a variety of audiences. For a little bit about what my blog focuses on, check out “Ideas that Matter“.

If the Short Introduction Wasn’t Enough

Wasting time? Looking for something to do besides the dishes, mowing the lawn, or sleeping? Here is a bit more info.

My Family

Most importantly, I’m a husband and father. My wife Dawn and I have been married for 24 years. We have 3 daughters, 3 dogs, and I think a fish or two.

Windows Live Photo Gallery Wallpaperfamily 2014

My Work

I am a Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University. I teach, write, and speak about topics in ethics, family, sports, religion and spirituality, and technology, but always with an eye towards character and human flourishing. I’ve published 10 books; some are works aimed at other scholars, but most are for people with an interest in how philosophical reflection can be applied to everyday life.

My work has been featured, commented on, or covered by a variety of media and outlets including The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The New York Daily News, McClatchy Newspapers, Christianity Today, First Things, BBC World Service Radio, Beliefnet, Christian Research Journal, Books and Culture, Utne Reader, NPR, The Christian Post, Runners World, Psychology Today, Real Clear Religion, Choice, Kirkus Reviews, Foreword Reviews, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Philosophy Now, Biola University Center for Christian Thought, Biola Magazine, The Other Journal, The Matt Townsend Show, Radio Maria, and the Pilgrim Radio Network, among others.

For my books and content available at other online venues, see here and here.

My Free Time

In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my family, reading, bicycling, running, and soccer. I am a high school soccer coach and am passionate about the beautiful game. I support The Arsenal and Sporting Kansas City.

My Contact Info

You can contact me using the contact form below, and at a variety of social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.

What is the painting in the header?

The School of Athens.



  1. I just listened to a BBC talk where a Mike Austin was talking about Africans generating electricity using pedal power to power lights and phones. Are you that Mike Austin? If so, I want to know how could use a bike to do the same thing here in the States. What do I have to hook up to my bike and how do I do it? The ethics of non-fossil fueled electricity appeals to me.
    – Marc

  2. I read your article on Donald Trump & I would like to know who do you think would make the best President & why?
    Thank you so much,
    Ms. Brenda Mason

  3. Richard Shumack

    March 2, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Hi Michael,

    My name is Richard Shumack. Like yourself, I’m a Christian philosopher of religion with a sideline in philosophy of sports. (As an Australian my particular sport of interest is Australian Rules Football.) I have enjoyed reading your material!

    I am thinking of presenting a paper at this year’s Evangelical Philosophical Society annual meeting to do with an aesthetic argument for a Trinitarian God from sport. In my reading I noticed your blog post and related article. (The theme is Trinity this year).

    I have no idea whether you were planning to attend this year, or present, but I thought I’d check you weren’t thinking of something similar. No point doubling up! It’d be great to have some philosophy of sport at EPS from one of us though.

    If you could be so kind as to let me know that’d be great.



    • Richard,
      Thanks for getting in touch. I am planning on doing something, maybe arguing that sport is an example of one of Augustine’s “vestiges” of the Trinity. It sounds like it would be significantly different from yours, but the 2 might be complementary in a session together. I hope to meet you there!

    • Richard, I’m actually doing something different now, hope you submit your paper to the EPS!

  4. Chris Miller (@Cmusafl)

    November 10, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Dear Michael – I love reading your material. I I need you to help me make sense of something. I just read Franklin Graham stating the GOD heard our prayers on Tuesday. I also heard both Tim Kaine and Hillary Clinton quote the bible in their concession speeches. Trump does not represent anything remotely close to the brand of Christianity being preached at my Evangelical church that I attend on Sunday(humility, selflessness, love, peace, honesty, and even sexual responsibility) . Yet Graham and his followers are invoking the Lord and claiming GOD intervened. Evangelical Christians had higher number of votes towards Trump then they did Romney in 2012. So many people at my church as well as on Social Media including many Christian Leaders, say God has helped us in regards to Trump’s victory. Isn’t it wrong to deviate from the Values that Jesus guided us on? The way Jesus lived on earth is in stark contrast to how Trump has lived his life. Help me make sense of Franklin Graham’s views on this? I could totally respect someone who invokes separation of church and state and says – hey, I am going to vote Trump because I believe in his ability to lead but I stand opposed to his actions, comments etc and will hold him accountable. Okay fine. But to promote this as God’s answers to our prayers, His will etc. To make it sound as if Trump was God’s choice confuses me and concerns me. What is your take. I am starting to loose faith in my own faith..

    • Chris,
      I don’t think sense can be made of Franklin Graham’s views about this. When I read what he said, and his sister, about God answering “our” prayers, I wasn’t surprised but was once again disappointed. And I’m dumbfounded that they still quote 1 Chronicles 7:14 as if it applies to the USA.
      I think your comment above has it’s own answer, we should put the policies and character of the candidates up against the teachings and values of Jesus himself. Many Christians don’t do that, or they fail to do it consistently and well.
      So once again we are reminded to put our faith in the person of Christ, not those who profess to follow him but fall short.
      Hope that helps!

  5. Would you know of a source where I can learn about how to address, perhaps prevent, reactive utilitarian rationale in the workplace? I am trying to gain understanding of a group response that occurs when someone reacts to my epileptic master status, shares his authoritative expectations with the group and the only solution is to cease contact. It happens in a professional work setting where a worker/manager is uncomfortable with the authority of epilepsy. He doesn’t quite know what it is, compares it to his personal adolescent misunderstanding along a chain of ideas that are bonded in his old adolescent authority. Coming to his friends he starts gathering information, through informal authoritative sources, and runs into more dissonance when each manager reacts subjectively and adds new authoritative demand. Social expectation to ostracize develops and the event often results in termination. On a rare occasion, if I catch the issue early and the manager listens, I can correct his misunderstanding. However, if this creates dissonance in a group setting, global attribution replaces my authority and ostracism is justified under a utilitarian ideology.

    Im blessed and cursed with a bachelors degree in sociology/psychology. While ive read all about Ryans blamimg the victim, i still dont know what to do in such events. Once this good-for-all social bonding occurs, the group seeks more authority, wrecking my status with the corporation. My question might require a doctorate thesis but do you have any source that shows what is happening when good for all appears and how I can prevent it? Thank you.

  6. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ethics-everyone/201405/the-myth-the-bible-belt Thank you for this article. My wife and I moved to Alabama five years ago from Los Angeles, CA and have not regretted the move. I was stationed in Alabama in the mid 70’s and at 18 found out that “The Bible Belt” was nothing more than a scam. I told my wife, that people in Alabama will be nice and pleasant and because of a lack of southern accent, we will constantly get, “You aren’t from around here are ya?” We go to church, we do not belong to any denomination, we are very liberal (me a recovering republican), we are somewhat involved with our Episcopalian communion in that we help out with the various ministries the church is involved in. Personally, I don’t care what a person believes or doesn’t believe, I don’t care who they love. If someone has to tell me they are a “Christian” that always sends up a red flag for me. I have a problem with people who claim Christianity and voted for trump and now Ex-Judge, Disgraced Judge, Petifle, Roy Moore. But that’s the Bible Belt we live choose to live in. Outside of religion in the South, people are friendly, We respond with a friendly attitude right back. We are not looking for lifelong friends, we already have them. Just want to live our lives the way we want to and extend that courtesy to others and especially to those who may not believe or are gay or transgender of different in any other way. Anyway sorry for the ramble on here, the article was very informative, thank you.

  7. Dear Dr. Austin,

    May this message find you doing well and Happy New Year. I’m currently obtaining my doctorate in Human and Organizational Psychology and writing my dissertation on the topic of ethical leadership amongst religious leaders. I just wanted to reach out and let you know that I enjoyed reading your article on psychology today. If you have time and interested, perhaps I could email you a few questions regarding my dissertation.

    On another note, I majored in philosophy as an undergraduate at the University of California Santa Cruz. Thank you for your contribution to knowledge and society.

    Roxanna Hope

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