Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

reason has short wings

May 29, 2013

…reason has short wings

Dante, Divine Comedy (Paradiso, Canto II)

A bicycle is a useful and good means of transport but can only take us so far. It cannot cross oceans. The rationalist denies the existence of these other continents because his chosen means of transport cannot take him there.

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A nation needs to foster unity not just diversity

May 10, 2013

The multicultural trend was…manifested (in the USA) in a variety of legislation that followed the Civil Rights Act of the 1960s, and in the 1990s, the Clinton administration made the encouragement of diversity one its major goals. The contrast with the past is striking. The Founding Fathers saw diversity as a reality and as a problem: hence the national motto: e pluribus unum,…”The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of of its continuing as a nation at all,” warned Theodore Roosevelt, “would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.” In the 1990s, however, leaders of he United States have not only permitted that but assiduously promoted the diversity rather than the unity of the people they govern.

The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Samuel P. Huntington. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996, p.305-6

The promotion of multiculturalism in the UK has led to ghettos. In the end it may lead to Balkanisation

September 6, 2011

In his novel The Age of Longing, Koestler describes the plight of Hydie, a lapsed Catholic:

Oh, if only she could go back to the infinite comfort of father confessors and mother superiors, of a well-ordered hierarchy which promised punishment and reward, and furnished the world with justice and meaning. If only she could go back! But she was under the curse of reason, which rejected whatever might quench her thirst, without abolishing the urge; which rejected the answer without abolishing the question. For the place of God had become vacant, and there was a draught blowing through the world as in an empty flat before the new tenants have arrived.

Precisely Koestler’s own predicament, and that of modern man.

Theodore Dalrymple

But ‘reason’ did not disprove God or miracles, only naturalistic presuppositions did.  Koestler didn’t need to give up reason to have the comfort of faith; he needed to doubt the assumptions of naturalism. He could have found Christ the source of living water and still rejected the superstitions of Roman Catholicism.

Rob Bell’s theological blunders

April 29, 2011

Bell seems unaware that theologians of various traditions have talked about the two sides of God’s will (or two lenses through which God views the world). To be sure, there is mystery here, but it’s common to distinguish between God’s will of decree, whereby everything that he wills comes to pass (Eph. 1:11), and his will of desire which can be rejected (Matt. 7:21). And yet one of Bell’s main planks in support of universal reconciliation is that if God wants all people to be saved, then all people must eventually be saved. “How great is God?” Bell asks. “Great enough to achieve what God sets out to do, or kind of great, great most of the time, but in this, the fate of billions of people, not totally great. Sort of great. A little great” (97–99). The strong insinuation is that a God who does not save everyone is not totally great.

Kevin DeYoung, God Is Still Holy and What You Learned in Sunday School Is Still True: A Review of “Love Wins

At times, Bell ounds like a consistent Arminian who so values libertarian free will that man gets want he wants – even after death. The failure to observe two senses of the ‘will of God’ is of a piece with this tendency.

John’s Gospel is hopelessly inaccurate (at least when judged by arbitrary naturalistic criteria)

April 23, 2011

John’s Gospel is hopelessly inaccurate and has virtually nothing to tell us about Jesus’ life – never mind his alleged resurrection from the dead.

Dr James Crossley, Head of Biblical Studies, University of Sheffield in 2007 debate on resurrection with William Lane Craig.

(what evidence does he provide?)

John’s Gospel contains inventions such as Thomas’ confession of Jesus’ as ‘My Lord and God’.

This occurs only in John and no other gospel would have omitted something as staggeringly dramatic as this. John’s Gospel is the only gospel where there is the full equation of Jesus and God. And he’s (John is) making it up.

By the standards of conventional historical research then, these stories would be regarded as pieces of creative invention. And I think to argue otherwise would be to abandon a useful historical method and it gets very close to letting blind faith take over.’

Giving the abundant evidence for the resurrection offered by Craig, this last remark seems somewhat baseless.

The claim that John’s Gospel has too high a Christology and, allied to this, the claim that the only historically reliable gospels are the synoptics (and then only partially) must be proven not assumed by Crossley.

All the synoptics have language that makes Christ divine (ability to forgive sins – all the synoptics, the very first verse in Mark’s Gospel and the repeated statement from the demons He is the Son of God etc., Mt. 11.27b “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” – is very high Christology. To deny these ‘high’ statements are unreliable later inventions is to beg the question as well as to establish an arbitrary (naturalistic in Crossley’s case) criterion of reliable history – namely that Jesus couldn’t possibly have claimed divinity.

Further, He was crucified for blasphemy, not for being a typical Jewish peasant preacher – explicitly in Mt. and Mk – see Mk.14.62 etc..

Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all

June 5, 2010

Know Thyself

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is Man. Placed on this isthmus of a middle state A being darkly wise and rudely great: With too much knowledge for the sceptic side, With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride, He hangs between; in doubt to act or rest, In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast, In doubt his mind or body to prefer; Born but to die, and reasoning but to err; Alike in ignorance, his reason such Whether he thinks too little or too much: Chaos of thought and passion, all confused; Still by himself abused, or disabused; Created half to rise and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; Sole judge of truth, in endless errors hurled; The glory, jest and riddle of the world!

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

Pope captures beautifully the contradiction that man is: the riddle of the world!

The Trinity is the sole ground of love

January 10, 2010

The Nicene Creed – three persons, one God… Whether you realize it or not that catapulted the Nicene Creed right into our century and its discussion: three Persons in existence, loving each other, and in communication with each other, before all else was. If this was not so, we would have had a God who needed the universe as much as the universe needed God. But God did not need to create; God does not need the universe as the universe needs Him. Why? God is a full and true Trinity. The Persons of the Trinity communicated with each other before the creation of the world. This is not only an answer to the acute philosophic need of unity in diversity, but of personal unity and diversity. The unity and diversity cannot exist before God or behind God because whatever is farthest back is God… The unity and diversity are in God Himself – three persons, yet one God… this is not the best answer; it is the only answer. Nobody else, no philosophy, has ever given an answer for unity and diversity… Every philosophy has this problem, and no philosophy has an answer. Christianity does have an answer in the Trinity. The only answer to what exists is that He, the starting-place, is there.

Francis Schaeffer, quoted in Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, pp.154-5

A unitarian god would be a god that lacked. He could not be love in himself since he would need a creation to love. He would not be an eternally loving being. Neither would a unitarian god be an eternally communicating being. In addition, the Triune God supplies the ground for equality (such as between persons generally and the sexes in particukar) because the different roles of the divine persons in no way diminishes their equality since they are of one substance.

Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost

January 10, 2010

Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F’s: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive…. . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism’s way of life and enhances the organism’s chances of survival. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.

Patricia Churchland

The Trinity also means that God’s creation can be both one and many. Secular philosophy veers between the two extremes of monism (the world is really one & plurality is an illusion) and pluralism (the world is radically disunited and unity is an illusion)

January 6, 2010

The Trinity also means that God’s creation can be both one and many. Secular philosophy veers between the two extremes of monism (the world is really one & plurality is an illusion) and pluralism (the world is radically disunited and unity is an illusion). Secular philosophy moves from one extreme to the other because it does not have the resources to define a position between the two extremes, and because it seeks an absolute extreme or another-as if there must be an absolute oneness (with no plurality) or else a universe of unique, unconnected elements, creating an absolute pluralism and destroying universal oneness… But the Christian knows there is no absolute unity (devoid of plurality) or absolute plurality (devoid of unity)… The Christian knows that God is the only absolute, and that the absolute is both one and many. Thus we are freed from the task of trying to find utter unity or utter disunity… When we search for ultimate criteria or standards, we look… to the living God.

John M. Frame, Apologetics to the Glory of God (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R, 1994), p. 40-50. Quoted in Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, p.142

Research has demonstrated that there is a distinction between the mind and the brain

January 6, 2010

Research has demonstrated that there is a distinction between the mind and the brain. One study had brain surgeons open up the skull of brain surgery patients to expose their gray matter. The researchers then electrically stimulated the area of the brain which lifts the right arm. They stimulated it and the arm lifted without the patient’s permission. Then the scientists instructed their patients to resist the lifting of the arm when they stimulated the same spot in the brain. They stimulated that area, and all the patients could resist the lifting of their arm.

Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, pp.98-99