Category: philosophy

Tea Parties About Liberty not Just Taxes

There are many people who don’t like the idea of Christianity being involved in politics. The supposition is that spiritual people shouldn’t have an interest in such trivial matters. However, if there is indeed a connection between economics and liberty and human rights, then we see that such things are not trivial at all. Nor can we hope, in the spirit of Christian compassion, that our efforts to use the government for ‘compassionate’ purposes won’t have inevitable consequences. Of all people, Christians shouldn’t be looking around with shocked expressions when the best laid plans of men go awry- for they always do.

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Scientism: The Atheist’s Religion of Faith

In light of what I have said above it may come as a surprise that I have a very high view of science. But it’s true. I believe that you need the right tool for the job and in many cases that tool is empirical scrutiny. But other jobs require other tools and no hemming and hawwing will change that. For some jobs a hammer, for others a screwdriver and others, pliers. You may have found that sometimes one gets lucky- a screwdriver is best for screws but at last resort a hammer did the trick. But try changing your lightbulb with a hammer and tell me how that goes. 😉

Let the hammer pound nails and the screwdriver drive screws and air compressor pump up the tire: the right tool for the job, and be wary of anyone who insists on using just one tool for all jobs, and watch out especially if they don’t want anyone looking over their shoulder while they are ‘at work’ and even berate you for suggesting other approaches.

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Christianese and Shibboleths as Roadblocks to Faith and Brotherhood

Here is an excerpt of a blog entry I posted at the ChristianPost. It was probably a good time to poke the boys at Godisimaginary.com in the ribs, anyway. I know, cheap thrills.

In Judges 12, the Gileadites find a way to distinguish between friend and foe by compelling captured refugees to say the word ‘Shibboleth.’ Evidently, Ephraimites couldn’t pronounce it correctly, saying instead ‘Sibboleth.’ Those that said that latter were struck down while those who said the former were allowed to pass.

‘Shibboleths’ abound in society, including among Christians. Unfortunately, even among Christians, a Shibboleth isn’t simply a quick way to distinguish where a person stands in relation to you but is used in a manner akin to the Gileadite’s use, thankfully, of course, without the resulting slaughter.

In other words, Christianese is a Shibboleth in the ears of the nonBeliever. The moment you begin engaging in Christianese you are at risk of being dismissed or marginalized in the eyes of the person you are talking to.

The Internet is filled with skeptics and scoffers poking fun at various aspects of Christianity as though they were the substance of Christianity when in fact they are slogans and phrases that are more part and parcel of Christianese- how the things are communicated- rather than the actual substance of Christianity.

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Madness! Pick up a rock and go to Jail

Will it now be illegal to go into your yard and pick up fallen sticks? You might be destroying the habitat of some legislator’s pet bug. Will you be taxed for enjoying the smells outside of bakeries? And why not? Pleasant scents are a luxury. Why should only rich people get to enjoy them? (If the logic there doesn’t make sense, its not supposed to). And why should you complain? Legislation probably got through that will help you in all sorts of never dreamed ways.

For example, in the name of proper sanitation and out of concern that the repetitive movement might give you carpal tunnel syndrome, they will now even wipe your butt for you. And its only right, since they have the health of the whole country to look for. You were probably doing it wrong. They’ll set it right. Of course, the wait time while you stand in line for a professional wiper will practically kill you. But its your ‘patriotic’ duty. Everyone must have some ‘skin in the game,’ know what I mean, wink wink nudge nudge.

Seem absurd? Well heavens, it is only slightly more absurd then possibly going to jail and losing your possessions because you walk on Federal and PICK UP A ROCK.

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Online Presentation on the Demise of Christianity

Below I have the ‘video’ of my online presentation on the ‘death of Christianity.’ I have been developing a line of thought and the corresponding presentation for about a year. I adapted by presentation for the uniquness of this format. My adaptations reflected the fact that it was a virtual presentation, that it was predominantly a ‘professional’ church work Christian audience, and that it was predominantly a Lutheran Christian audience. Also, the outline of my presentation (unadapted) is about 45 mins, here I only had 30 mins to work with.

I am hosting the video on my ministry’s new Christian file sharing service, emphasizing apologetics videos. The site is www.apologeticsvideos.net. At this time, I am allowing anyone to post apologetics related videos so if you have got them feel free to upload them. (The chief advantage is that there is no time limit on a video. There is, however, a 100mb file size limit)

With no further ado, here is the video of the presentation:

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Human Rights Without God?

Atheists and secular humanists quite obviously argue that we humans are all alone and that humans themselves determine their worth, their value, their ‘intrinsic’ dignity. The problems with this ought to be self-evident but atheists are crafty folks. History reveals clearly that humans can change their minds about the ‘worth,’ ‘value,’ and ‘rights’ of humans (usually other humans). For example, the Nazis depersonalized the Jews with consequences I need not expand on. Atheistic communist regimes depersonalized dissidents and capitalists with consequences I need not expand on. The atheistic apologetic on the point is that actually this goes to show the dangers of ‘religion.’ For, you see, anyone who ever does anything nasty, no matter what their ideology, is, by definition, acting religiously. In this way, atheists can always keep their hands clean.

However, it misses the point. The fundamental point has to do with our basis for decrying what the Nazis and communists did. If humans themselves are the sole and final arbiters for determining and dictating human value then no one can complain about what humans decide. Oh sure, the do complain. But in doing so they betray the inconsistency of their position.

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Apologetics Videos File Sharing Service

I am hereby issuing an open invitation to Christian apologists to upload their video content to my new site: http://www.apologeticsvideos.net

One of my chief goals in starting this site was to meet some of my own video sharing needs- namely, Youtube’s 10 minute video limit was killing me. 🙂

Henceforth, I will post all of my videos to Apologeticsvideos.net and if they are lucky enough to be under 10 minutes long, I will also upload them to Youtube.com.

Some questions you may be having:

Q. Can Christians other than Christian apologists post videos?

A. Sure.

Q. Can atheists and nonChristians post videos?

A. Um. At this point I am going to tentatively say yes, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

Q. Can content be uploaded that has nothing to do with religion, philosophy, Christianity, etc, like for example using Mentos to blow up innocent pop bottles?

A. No. At least make some effort, even if scant and in passing, to make sure the content ‘fits’ the site.

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Wisdom is Proved Right by Her Children; Evil Proved Evil by His

This weekend I read one of the scariest things I have heard coming out of the Global Warming crowd. That is saying something. I have documented elsewhere on this blog some other things they’ve said, like comparing denying man-made Global Warming to denying the holocaust. This is so disgusting I almost sat down and wrote a book exposing the various principles at work in it but stopped when I thought of at least one that is already written: C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.

In summary, the London Times article references a certain Jonathon Porritt, a Global Warming burearucrat who reportedly says,

“I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said.

“I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible.

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Atheists strain to demostrate my description of them is not a strawman

We knew it was coming: the accusation that my paraphrase was a strawman.

Indeed, virtually every aspect of my ‘paraphrase’ was reflected in the answers that spewed forth, from the hypersensitivity to perceived insults “lay off the ridicule” “that’s just arrogance” while barbs are flying from their own side “are you just some smart a– 12 year old kid who got a certificate in your local church “Defense of Christianity” Sunday School Class?” to the random ‘catch-all’ argument that proves atheism right, the smug reference to ‘ancient books’ such as “You base your thought process on a 1900+ year old set of desert scribblings.” Throw in the knee jerk attempt to force the theist to argue in the terms that the atheist himself is dictating, not the terms the theist is actually presenting, “what in the world does bible god have to do with the Big Bang?!? It is not in your bible, stop trying to hijack the BB theory and pretend that your god caused it.” Let’s not forget the constant ‘rebuttals’ that in fact we ‘don’t know’ and ‘can’t know’ from people who apparently are atheists, and not agnostics.

All these are variations of my paraphrasing.

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A Conversation on Final Regress and First Causes

I recently had a conversation with some gents that I thought I would paraphrase for my blog. I think I’ve had the same kind of conversation a dozen times in the last three months. I have combined all the conversations into one paraphrase. Enjoy.

Them: We believe science is the only way to learn about the world and religion is just faith-mongering superstition. There is no scientific basis for believing in the existence of God. Belief is just irrationalism. I know what you’re going to say. That there had to be something that has always existed. Why not the universe?

Me: Well, science says that the universe had a beginning. So I guess the universe can’t be the thing that has always existed. Surely that means we can explore other options.

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Transcendence and Immanence, Logic and Superlogic- and Sublogic

Orthodox Christianity holds that God is both a transcendent entity and immanent. If you understand what Christians propose to be true about God, you understand why both attributes follow necessarily. All religions boil down to some expression of one of these two attributes, usually to the exclusion of one to the other. Deism, for example, emphasizes transcendence and despises immanence. Various forms of paganism emphasize immanence, that is they identify ‘God’ with the universe and reject that there is a God ‘outside’ it. Even atheism takes a position here: naturalism is just another variation on immanence and ‘God’ is just another label for the ‘universe.’

Christianity insists that God is both transcendent and immanent.

At any rate, there are some implications of this and I think it would be helpful to understand some arguments regarding Christian theism. I can begin with by trotting out the old ‘Can God create a rock that he cannot lift or move?’ line. The contention is that if God is all powerful he should be able to do this but in doing so he would simultaneously undermine his own omnipotence. Most of the time this is answered by pointing out that some statements are just nonsense and God’s omni-characteristics do not require him to be able to achieve the nonsensical. To understand how this is nonsensical we might take on the next line in this attack, “Can God make a round square?” We see in this case that what is involved is simply definitional. If round is properly and consistently defined and asked to apply to a square, also properly and consistently defined, then the request is nonsensical. Something doesn’t become reasonable just because you insert ‘Can God’ in front of it.

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Santa Claus is Real and so is Jesus

Christian apologists are constantly asking skeptics and genuine seekers to hold to the question of God and Jesus the same standards of evidence they hold anything else. The question of Jesus being also a question of history, we are satisfied if non-biased standards of historical research were employed. Usually, it is the skeptics employing ad hoc standards based on priorly held beliefs about reality.

On this basis then, we see that one cannot dismiss the idea that there was really a man named St. Nicholas just because 350 years separates him from the (current) best sources. On that reasoning we’d have to ditch much of what we know about a great many historical figures, including big ones like Alexander the Great. So, let it be agreed: Santa Claus existed; it is a fact of history.

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A Refutation of Antony Flew’s “Gardener Parable.”

With the upcoming release of Antony Flew’s book documenting his abandonment of atheism and explanation of where he currently stands, There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind, I thought it would be fun to trot out some of my own material responding to Antony Flew’s arguments when he was […]

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Review: Shaun of the Dead

In the end, Shaun gets the girl, but it isn’t Shaun the wuss panzy. It’s Shaun that has gone through the trial by ordeal- and for that matter, the girl has discovered that being a girl does not mean being ‘soft’ either. I am convinced that Christianity contains the best explanation for all of this and why even though I abhor horror movies and blood and guts, I feel compelled to suggest this movie.

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