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Showing posts from November, 2007

Archaeological Find: The Wall from Nehemiah

Another day, another Biblical archaeological discovery that appears to confirm the Bible . . . .

According to an article from the Associated Press entitled Israeli Says Elusive Biblical Wall Found, a wall described in the Book of Nehemiah is believed to have been discovered through archaeological digs. As with virtually every discovery of this sort, "many scholars argued that the wall did not exist."

A biblical wall that has eluded archaeologists for years has finally been found, according to an Israeli scholar. A team of archaeologists in Jerusalem has uncovered what they believe to be part of a wall mentioned in the Bible's Book of Nehemiah.

The discovery, made in Jerusalem's ancient City of David, came as a result of a rescue attempt on a tower which was in danger of collapse, said Eilat Mazar, head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based research and educational institute, and leader of the dig.

Artifacts including pottery shards and a…

How Should I Be A Sceptic -- preliminary clarifications

A sceptic, in perhaps the broadest sense, is a person who does not immediately accept a proposition, but questions it. In this sense, I can see (and so believe) that any good thinker, including any good Christian, ought to be a ‘sceptic’; so long as the questioning is intended for understanding, and not for the sake of throwing as much fog as possible.

In perhaps the most limited sense, there is a philosophical (or, rather, sophistic) position known as ‘scepticism’, where the intent is to call everything into inextricable question (even “intents” themselves). I will be discussing variations of this position later.

Usually, though, I use ‘sceptic’ in a more moderately broad (though not the broadest) sense, to refer to people who do not already agree with me on many important (even “crucial”) details. This seems more polite than calling such people ‘unbelievers’ (for many people who disagree with me may in fact believe in God, even as I believe in God, in some fashion); or ‘infidels’ (whi…

The Cult-like Culture of Atheism, Part II

In a post I wrote entitled The Cult-like Culture of Atheism I wrote the following:

There is, indeed, something cult-like about some atheists (note that I said "some" -- it is certainly not true of all atheists, and this article is not intended to accuse each and every atheist of acting cult-like). That, however, is not surprising since atheism -- whether atheists will ever accept the truth of this or not -- is a religion, and every religion develops cults.

Atheism has its beliefs about God (i.e, there is no god or gods) and its beliefs that are part of the core understanding of the world. It has a grand metaphysical story which many of the true believers of atheists defend with all of the ardour of the most firm believer of any faith. Some atheists try to differentiate between religion and atheism on the basis that atheism lacks some of the ritual that religions have. For example, some argue that atheists don't worship anything so it can't be a religion, but that is …

"Why Defend Christianity?"

The title of this essay asks a good question. Does Christianity need to be defended? If Christianity is so readily believable, as Christians maintain, why defend it? As we will establish, it is not for our sakes or even for Christianity's sake that we defend our faith in Christ. The ministry of apologetics is a service to the unbeliever and not an actual defence of that which truly needs no defense. See also, If Christianity is true, why does it need so much defending? at Christian-Thinktank.com. This same site also provides a good essay giving eight reasons for apologetics. And a really good essay about the Church's failure to realize the importance of apologetics can be found here at Tektonics.org.

First, what is apologetics?

The short answer is: It's the branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines. A much more detailed answer is here at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry ; a very fine site.

Do we need t…

Continental Congress Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1777

The roots of Christianity go deep in America's history. Reading the writings of the founders overwhelmingly confirmed that the people who founded America and who fought for Independence against Great Britain were heavily influenced by the Bible and a love of God. In honor of Thanksgiving, I offer the following Thanksgiving Proclamation of the Continental Congress in 1777:

IN CONGRESS
November 1, 1777

FORASMUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, t…

Saying Grace

“Would you say grace?” someone in my family will ask, to an elder before a family meal--a meal such as Thanksgiving, for instance.

Of course what they mean is, “Would you give thanks?” But the phrase in English could be more accurately translated, “Would you say ‘grace’?” In our language, ‘grace’ derives from the same Latin root as Spanish ‘gracias’ or Italian ‘grazie’. Strictly speaking our English word traces back to a Middle English translation of an Old French translation of the Latin {gra_tia} (the long ‘a’ being represented by an underscore here): favor, gratitude, agreeableness. The attitude expressed is one of actively receiving love, in fair-togetherness.

In New Testament Greek, however, the word that is typically Englished as ‘grace’ does not have this meaning. Nor does the Hebrew/Aramaic which the New Testament authors were translating or thinking about (typically following the Septuagint). The meaning there is not different in content, exactly, but different in direction: th…

In Praise of C.S. Lewis

John Piper, author of Experiencing God, has an excellent resource available on-line entitled Don't Waste Your Life which seeks to remind Christians that there are many things that we can do during this life to occupy our lives, but most of these are ultimately wastes of our time. He encourages us, one and all, to not waste our lives, but rather to live in the way that God created us to live.

In the first chapter of his book, I came across a short passage on the importance of C.S. Lewis in Piper's life. I thought it was quite possibly the best tribute I had ever seen to Lewis, so I wanted to set it forth here.

Someone introduced me to Lewis my freshman year with the book, Mere Christianity. For the next five or six years I was almost never without a Lewis book near at hand. I think that without his influence I would not have lived my life with as much joy or usefulness as I have. There are reasons for this.

He has made me wary of chronological snobbery. That is, he showed me tha…

Christians: The Family I Never Wanted

The leaves are falling gracefully, a slow sonnet that paradoxically represents a grim death with splendid beauty, marking the change in seasons and a hope for rebirth. The winds dance to the music, scattering the leaves as notes on a barren page, messaging to the living that the symphony is nearing its denouement. The living gather to rest, trying to forget the melody that haunts their spirits, awaiting the loving embrace of leaves of green and rays of light from the sun’s face. They all come together to speak of the past and the future, but more importantly, they come for each other. In the end, the warmth of human hearts replaces the chilling cold of nature and the seasons become but images of the same reality.

Thanksgiving is upon us; the time to be venerated as one where people come together in peace and love to cherish the truly valuable gifts of life, but most importantly the gift of family. In this essay I wish to talk about my own family; a family that I do not consider one b…

Consent of the Governed: A Reponse to Austin Cline

In a comment I posted on the Christian CADRE Comments blog page, I made the following statement:

The consent of the governed is noted in the Declaration of Independence quoted above--and numerous other of our founding documents--as the basis for any government's legitimate claim to power. If the judges depart from that to which the people agreed in promoting their own political agenda, then they are undercutting the very foundation that they rely upon to add legitimacy to their decisions.

Thus, when judges use the language of the Constitution (such as the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment) to grant equal rights to homosexuals on a par with heterosexuals--a position that would have been unthinkable to most people in the 1860s and 1870s when the 14th Amendment was adopted--contrary to what the polls suggest is contrary to the vast public opinion even today, the decision is being made without the consent of the governed, and the edifice is built without a firm foundation.

Soteriological Drama: My Answer to Loftus

If Loftus is still true to his Past position then he is going to try to move into a position that says problem of evil disproves the existence of God. To do this he's going to trade upon the work of Adrea Weisberger who says that atheist arguments always have presumption and theists always have the burden of proof. Weisberger teaches philosophy at Vanderbilt and has contributed to quite a bit of the atheistic wing of the academy with such colleagues as Quintin Smith. So apparently he's going to try and leverage a position for himself where he has presumption and I have the burden of proof even before any God arguments are made.

I can see from the comments he's made in the comment section that this is what he is probably up to.

A.M. Weisberger argues effectively that Augustine's and Process Theology's positions are concessionary solutions because they accept the conclusion of the argument from evil as stated. They do in fact deny the premises of the argument. Being co…