Michael W. Austin

Philosophy Professor. Author. Speaker.


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.

I think that for the follower of Jesus, we have a role to play in developing our character, but we do so in dependence on and in union with Christ. For those of a different faith, or no faith at all, I hope that the content on this site will be of interest and useful to you, serving as an inside look at what thoughtful and deep Christianity might look like in our contemporary culture.

I address these issues in practical ways on my blog, Cultivating Character in Christ. 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.


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 23 years. We have 3 daughters, 2 dogs, and I think a fish or two. We are a part of Ashland Church in Madison County.

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My Work

I am a Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University. I teach, write, and speak about topics in ethics, religion and spirituality, family, sports, 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 and theological 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, 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, 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. I’m currently enjoying the resurgence of the Kansas City Royals, too!

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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 photo in the header?

The picture is of ten 20th century martyrs, commemorated at Westminster Abbey in London, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Oscar Romero, among others.

My Colophon

Coming soon…


  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!

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