Archive for the ‘worldview’ Category

The Christian Worldview upholds the sanctity of human life

May 29, 2013

Once the old Christian idea of a total difference in kind between man and beast has been abandoned, then no argument for experiments on animals can be found which is not also an argument for experiments on inferior men.

C.S. Lewis, “Vivisection,” in Essay Collection, 693-697

Once you give up the Christian worldview the door is opened to all kinds of potential evil such as performed by eugenicists, Nazis, communists, abortionists etc

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Nature is not interested one way or the other in suffering, unless it affects survival of DNA

November 24, 2009

…nature is not cruel, only piteously indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous-indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose…

but Nature is neither kind nor unkind. She is neither against suffering nor for it. Nature is not interested one way or the other in suffering, unless it affects survival of DNA.

Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden, 95-96, 131

This is more consistent with his atheistic presuppositions than The God Delusion where he realises he had better make an attempt at establishing some kind of morality. However, given Naturalism, the words good and evil are both meaningless. He was consistent to his philosophy in River out of Eden, but inconsistent in that he doesn’t live that way. He was inconsistent to his Naturalism in The God Delusion but aware of needing to explain the moral impulse he feels.

Long, long ago, a frog lived at the bottom of a well. One day, the frog looked up and saw a turtle from the Eastern Sea silhouetted against the sky at the edge of the well

November 17, 2009

Long, long ago, a frog lived at the bottom of a well. One day, the frog looked up and saw a turtle from the Eastern Sea silhouetted against the sky at the edge of the well. He tried to convince the turtle to join him in his wonderful well, of which he was the master. The turtle started to descend into the well, but she realized it was too narrow and she would get stuck. So she withdrew and told the frog instead about how deep and wide the sea is. The frog was left dumfounded. He could not imagine the immensity and magnitude of the sea, as he has never seen it. The idiom “frog at the bottom of a well,” or “looking at the sky from the bottom of a well,” which grew out of this Daoist fable, has come to represent a state of limited vision and even ignorance — of not being able to see outside of one’s own immediate environment.

A story by Zhuangzi (c. 369-295 BC), one of the founders of Daoism, sheds light on the ancient Chinese concept of the World (Zhuangzi, Chapter 17: “The Floods of Autumn”).

The Naturalist, life the frog, cannot conceive of miracles because they do not fit his ‘vision’ of the world. They are ‘impossible’ because he knows, as the frog ‘knew’ that the sea cannot be vast, that miracles cannot occur.

Worldviews are like the foundations of a house: vital, but invisible

November 17, 2009

Worldviews . . . are like the foundations of a house: vital, but invisible. They are that through which, not at which, a society or an individual normally looks; they form the grid according to which humans organize reality, not bits of reality that offer themselves for organization. They are not usually called up to consciousness or discussion unless they are challenged or flouted fairly explicitly

NT Wright

A curiously inconsistent vegetarian

November 14, 2009

(In this interview transcript, John Pilger (JP) interviewed former Tory Defence Minister Alan Clark (AC) regarding UK arms sales to Indonesia used to kill East Timorese)

JP: Did it bother you personally when you were the minister
responsible [and] that British equipment was causing such
suffering, albeit to a set of foreigners?

AC: No, not in the slightest. It never entered my head.

JP: You don’t lose sleep over it?

AC: No.

JP: I ask the question because I read that you were a
vegetarian and you are seriously concerned about the way
animals are killed.

AC: Yeah.

JP: Doesn’t that concern extend to the way humans, albeit
foreigners, are killed?

AC: Curiously not.

Death of a Nation, a film by John Pilger and David Munro for
Central Television, IT, 1994

The Greeks viewed time as cyclical

November 9, 2009

Platonism attributed a cyclic nature to the time process, and this idea was developed in the Stoic philosophy. Just as the seasons of the year rotate in a certain fixed order…so, they thought, did all events happen, history periodically repeating itself. Thus Aristotle remarks, ‘For indeed time itself seems to be a sort of circle.’

Raymond Abba, The Naure and Authority of the Bible, p.70 quoting Aristotle, Physics, 4.14

Which undercuts the uniqueness of the historical events such as Creation, incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, Judgement etc. since they would be wiped of their meaning when the wheel of time reverts back to a new cycle.

It means history has no goal or purpose ultimately – it’s reminiscent of Nietzsche’s philosophy or Eastern philosophies based on karma. Nothing is ultimately fixed – the tvery hing that lends weight to all our decisions.

Which gets me to thinking: since humans at once crave meaning yet run from responsibility we are caught on the horns of a dilemma. It is only a worldview that validates responsibility that secures meaning.

But, Herr Professor, the facts are otherwise

November 9, 2009

Hegel was expounding on his philosophy of history with reference to a particular series of events when one of his students objected to Hegel’s view and replied, “But, Herr Professor, the facts are otherwise.”
“So much worse for the facts,” was Hegel’s answer.

 

the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience

October 21, 2009

…the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted…If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience. It is therefore useless to appeal to experience before we have settled, as well as we can, the philosophical question.

If immediate experience cannot prove or disprove the miraculous, still less can history do so. Many people think one can decide whether a miracle occurred in the past by examining the evidence ‘according to the ordinary rules of historical inquiry’. But the ordinary rules cannot be worked until we have decided whether miracles are possible, and if so, how probable they are. For if they are impossible, then no amount of historical evidence will convince us. If they are possible but immensely improbable, then only mathematically demonstrative evidence will convince us: and since history never provides that degree of evidence for any event, history can never convince us that a miracle occurred. …The result of our historical enquiries thus depends on the philosophical views which we have been holding before we even began to look at the evidence. This philosophical question must therefore come first.

C.S.Lewis, Miracles, Geoffrey Bles, 1959, pp.11-12

science is not religion and it doesn’t just come down to faith. Although it has many of religion’s virtues, it has none of its vices. Science is based upon verifiable evidence

October 4, 2009

…science is not religion and it doesn’t just come down to faith. Although it has many of religion’s virtues, it has none of its vices. Science is based upon verifiable evidence. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops. Why else would Christians wax critical of doubting Thomas? The other apostles are held up to us as exemplars of virtue because faith was enough for them. Doubting Thomas, on the other hand, required evidence. Perhaps he should be the patron saint of scientists.

Richard Dawkins,

Is Science a Religion?,

the Humanist, January/February 1997

1. But the other apostles did have evidence. They saw Jesus’ miracles, the empty tomb, his resurrection, hte testimony of others to the same events.

2. Thomas was not criticised because he asked for evidence. He was criticised for lacking faith when he had so much evidence. He had the testimony of the other 10 apostles; he had seen Jesus’ miracles; he had heard the testimony of the empty tomb etc.

3. Science does rest on faith: faith in induction, a uniform, ordered, law-governed universe, uniformitarianism, the reliability of the senses, the reliability and credibility of scientists etc. Dawkins overlooks these ‘minor’ matters.

An historical fact which involves a resurrection from the dead is utterly inconceivable…no matter how many witnesses are cited

October 2, 2009

An historical fact which involves a resurrection from the dead is utterly inconceivable…no matter how many witnesses are cited.

Rudolph Bultmann, New Testament and Mythology, in H.W. Bartsch (ed.), Kerygma and Myth, NY, 1961, p.39

The Resurrection cannot – in spite of 1 Cor. 15.3-8 – be demonstrated or made plausible as an objectively ascertainable fact on the basis of which one could believe.

Rudolph Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament I, 305-6

In other words, no amount of evidence would make the Resurrection plausible to a mind beholden to Naturalistic presuppositions.

Without faith in the resurrection there would be no Christianity at all.

Michael Green, Man Alive

The empty tomb of Christ has been the cradle of the church.

W. Robertson Nicolls, The Church’s One Foundation, page 150