Archive for the ‘James Sire’ Category

How can a non-event (a resurrection which did not occur) be regarded as a symbol of hope or indeed of anything else?

October 2, 2009

Lloyd Geering wrote a book called, Resurrection:  A Symbol of Hope, in which he argued that the resurrection itself was not a historical fact to be believed in, but it was a symbol.  It was a myth to invest life with meaning.  The reviewer in the Times literary supplement, who reviewed Lloyd Geering’s book, said this: How can a non-event (a resurrection which did not occur) be regarded as a symbol of hope or indeed of anything else? If something has happened we try and see what it means, if it has not happened the question cannot arise. We are driven back to the need for something to have happened at Easter.

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Cultural relativism does not account for the situation of cultural whose moral values are not those of their neighbours

September 29, 2009

(Cultural relativism)… is only another way of saying that is (the fact of a specific value) equals ought (what should be so). Moreover, it does not account for the situation of cultural whose moral values are not those of their neighbours. The cultural rebel’s* is is not considered ought. Why? The answer of cultural relativism is that the rebel’s moral values…upset social cohesiveness and jeopardize cultural survival. So we discover that is is not ought after all. The cultural relativist has affirmed a value – the preservation of a culture at its current state – as more valuable than its destruction or transformation by one or more rebels within it. Once more, we are forced to ask why.

James Sire, The Universe Next Door, pp98-99

In essence, the cultural relativist is conservative for conservation’s sake. It is a value but it is arbitrary and lacks any capacity to question or healthily critique any given society and its failings. It can provide no vision for a better society. Cultural relativists are the best friend of those in power.

*An example of a cultural rebel would be a Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Martin Luther or a Wilberforce. Their views were not necessarily those of the majority around them.

New Age in a nutshell

September 8, 2009

If the transcendent God is the prime reality in theism and the physical universe the prime reality in naturalism, then in the New Age the self (the soul, the integrated central essence of each person) is the prime reality.

James Sire, Universe Next Door, p.168

The New Age – The Old Lie

September 8, 2009

When the self perceives itself to be at one with the cosmos, it is at one with it.  Self-realization, then, is the realization that the self and the cosmos are not only of a piece but are the same piece…

Central to cosmic consciousness is the unitary experience: first, the experience of perceiving the wholeness of the cosmos; second, the experience of becoming one with the whole cosmos; and finally, the experience of going beyond even that oneness with the cosmos to recognize that the self is the generator of all reality.
“Know that you are God; know that you are the universe.” MacLaine

James Sire, Universe Next Door, p.178

For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Gen.3.5

Naturalism undermines knowledge

September 8, 2009

Naturalism holds that perception and knowledge are either identical with or a byproduct of the brain; they arise from the functioning of matter. Without matter’s functioning there would be no thought. But matter functions by a nature of its own. There is no reason to think that matter has any interest in leading a conscious being to true perception or to logical (that is, correct) conclusions based on accurate observation and true presuppositionsWhy should whatever that matter is conscious of be in any way related to what actually is the case? Is there a test for distinguishing illusion from reality. Naturalists point to the methods of scientific inquiry, pragmatic tests and so forth. But all these utilize the brain they are testing. Each test could well be a futile exercise in spinning out the consistency of an illusion.

James W Sire

THE UNIVERSE NEXT DOOR by James W Sire, InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois, pp.93-94

Chance (does not make men free agents)

August 3, 2009

But what is chance? Either chance is the inexorable proclivity (inclination or predisposition toward something) of reality to happen as it does, appearing to be chance because we do not know the reason for what happens (making chance another name for our ignorance of the forces of determinism), or it is absolutely irrational. In the first case, chance is just unknown determinism and not freedom at all. In the second case, chance is not an explanation but the absence of an explanation. An event occurs. No cause can be assigned. It is a chance event. Not only might such an event have not happened, it could never have been expected to happen. So while chance produces the appearance of freedom, it actually introduces absurdity. Chance is causeless, purposeless, directionless.

James Sire, the Universe Next Door, 4th ed., p.95