In my view, it is pointless to debate the morality of anything with an atheist until he is willing to admit that moral assessments imply the existence of the immaterial and transcendental realities that must exist if those assessments reflect anything more than one’s favorite flavor of ice cream.
A short collection of some of my favorite short stories is now available on Kindle.
The stories are ‘Polite Company,’ a lovely story of rationing gone bad, ‘Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge of Knowledge’, and ‘Bring on the Brave World’, another lovely story, this one of world domination.
In the nearly 20 years or so of debating with various kinds of non-Christians, I have often encountered a way of thinking that I think is self-evidently flawed, but oddly common nonetheless. What I mean is this: as soon as you press the point, they drop the principle, recognizing it can’t be maintained as tightly as was presented. A moment later, or in another conversation, the principle is re-presented.
The principle is this: that a proposition is true if it explains something. Or, a belief is to be preferred if it explains something. Or, the better belief is the one that explains the most.
At first blush, this principle seems pretty solid. After all, don’t we give weight to an idea, hypothesis, or theory if it provides an explanation for something else? If I come across the body of a clearly murdered person and the evidence points to another person who is known to have hated the victim, wouldn’t we say, “Well, that explains that. He hated him.” ? Well, yes. It does explain it, but it still doesn’t follow that he actually murdered anyone. The time honored tradition for hanging a murder verdict on someone does include motive- but also means and opportunity. Merely having a hypothesis that ‘explains’ the facts does not prove the hypothesis. One must corroborate it. If it cannot be corroborated, it doesn’t follow it isn’t true. We just have to be careful how we weight it. We certainly would not (or ought not) sentence a man to death for it.
I am very pleased to announce that our first edition of Athanatos Christian Ministry’s newest endeavor, Literary Apologetics.Mag, has been released as of yesterday, Nov. 1st, 2010.
The website is: http://literaryapologetics.com/
The basic purpose of the magazine is to deliberately and intentionally cultivate a perspective within the Church that acknowledges the important role of the arts in our culture in shaping viewpoints and- and this is important- seeks to participate and emphasize the arts (rather than withdrawing from them, or condemning them).
You can read the current edition online by going to the link above or you can download the magazine in several editions, including a digital book version (epub) and in a print ready pdf, by going here.
One of the things I’ve come to realize is the truth of this statement: As the dead do not know the living, or even that they themselves are dead, so too irrationality does not know rationality. Augustine argued that evil was not a ‘thing-in-itself’ but always some good thing that has been corrupted. Evil is …
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?
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.
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.
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.
What follows is submitted by an up and coming apologist named W. E. Messamore. His webpage is linked at the bottom and to the right. I invite readers to take a look at it. I like what I see and note that he and I have similar trains of thought and areas of emphasis. For …
So last night was the season opener for the NBC series Heroes. Am I the only person left scratching his head? I had hoped that the series would start making sense again but instead it seems to have become even more convoluted. I want to enjoy the show but there is just way too much …
This morning I woke up to a fascinating news report describing out the ADF is seeking churches to make political statements so that the IRS can penalize the churches, giving the ADF a vehicle to challenge the tax exemption requirement that such entities refrain from making political statements. This is the sort of ‘fighting fire …
There is no dispute here that life begins at conception. The philosophical question has to do with when we believe that the entity is a person, and consequently entitled to the rights we ascribe to persons. There is no non-arbitrary objective measure other than conception by which to say “before there wasn’t, but now there is.” There is no place in the stages of pregnancy where one can say “Aha! Now it is a person!”