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Showing posts from February, 2008

All the way: the cutting edge of atheism?

In this interesting article, theologian John F. Haught takes the new (or 'soft-core' as he calls them) atheists to task for not being consistent enough in the implications of their denial of God. He contrasts the current batch of atheist rhetoric, produced by the likes of Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens with the writings of the great 'masters of suspicion', such as Freud, Marx and Nietzsche. Not only does he find that the latter were far more conceptually sophisticated, but they also had the courage to see their radical critique through to its logical conclusion, something which today's essentially conservative soft-core atheists are reluctant to do. One passage in particular struck me:

"If you're going to be an atheist, the most rugged version of godlessness demands complete consistency. Go all the way and think the business of atheism through to the bitter end. This means that before you get too comfortable with the godless world you long for, you will be re…

Argument (for God) from Religious Experience

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With this argument I hurl down the gauntlet to John Loftus for formal debate.



Overview:


Decision Making Paradigm: “the logic of the lamp post"

At the heart of all religious belief and all organized religions is experience and the sense of the numinous. This is the foundation of religious belief. If we are going to argue for God it would behoove us to examine the nature of this sense of the numinous.

The logic of the lamp post is this: we can't find our keys in the dark. We look under lamp post even if we did not drop them there because that is where we will find them. We can't find God in sense data, because God is not given in sense data. So we look in the place where we will find him, personal experience. Since this is the basis of religious belief it makes sense to look there.

Co-determinate: The co-determinate is like the Derridian trace, or like a fingerprint. It's the accompanying sign that is always found with the thing itself. In other words, it’s like trailing the…

The King of Stories -- Knights and King, Errant

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)


Knights and King, Errant

Now getting into the boat, Jesus and His disciples crossed over again and came to His own city (Capernaum). And the crowd (whom He had given the slip by departing in the middle of the night before) welcomed His return, for they had all been hoping He would!

And Jesus, standing beside the lake, sees the crowd as they gather to Him; and He has compassion on them, for they are harassed and thrown down, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then He is saying to His disciples: "The harvest is vast; but the workers are few. Therefore implore the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest!"

Now calling together the twelve apostles, He gives them authority over all the demons in order to cast them out, and to be curing every disease and every disability!

Jesus sen…

The King of Stories -- Enemy Forces

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)


Enemy Forces

Now on that day (the Follower says, followed by the Disciple and the Scholar), when the evening had come, He said to them, "Let us go across the lake, to the other side."

So He and His disciples stepped into boats, and leaving the crowds His disciples brought Him along, as He was; for as they sailed He fell asleep.

Now it happens, a tornado (a 'whirl of wind') descends on the lake!--and the sea is shaking and billows dash into the boat, so that it already fills to the brim!--and they are in danger of foundering!

But He is asleep on the cushion in the aft of the ship!

And they are rousing Him saying to Him: "Rabbi! Do you not care that we are about to die!?! Save us, Master!!"

Now He, being roused, rebukes the wind and the surging water, saying: "Be muzz…

The King of Stories -- Parables of the Kingdom

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

Notice, by the way, that in effect we're looking at the Scriptural "Part 2" to the "Sermon on the Mount" here. (Except that it turned out to be the Sermon on the Boat. {g}) Keep in mind that right before lunch there was some serious opposition from a scribal deputation visiting from Jerusalem for the Pharisee party. Jesus isn't being arbitrary about a switch to primarily parabolic teaching here. He's got a specific target of criticism in mind. (Hint: it isn't the crowd or populations generally. Or even one particular group in total.)


Parables of the Kingdom

On that day (says the Disciple, in harmony with the Follower and the Scholar), Jesus went out of the house (implying He did go eat lunch with His family when they called to Him!), and went down to the lake…

Larry Norman: A Great Musician Passes

Larry Norman, one of the early pioneers combining Christian messages with rock and roll music and author of the song "I wish we'd all been ready" went home to be with Christ on February 24, 2008 following a lengthy illness. According to his website:

Yesterday afternoon he knew he was going to go home to God very soon and he dictated the following message to you while his friend Allen Fleming typed these words into Larry's computer:
________________________________

I feel like a prize in a box of cracker jacks with God's hand reaching down to pick me up. I have been under medical care for months. My wounds are getting bigger. I have trouble breathing. I am ready to fly home.

My brother Charles is right, I won't be here much longer. I can't do anything about it. My heart is too weak. I want to say goodbye to everyone. In the past you have generously supported me with prayer and finance and we will probably still need financial help.

My plan is to be buried in a …

The King of Stories -- The King Declares the Kingdom (Part 2 of 2)

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

This 'chapter' runs rather long, for obvious reasons so I've broken it into two entries. Scripture refs for both parts are given together at the end of this entry.



The King Declares the Kingdom (Part 2 of 2)

"Beware of doing your fair-togetherness in front of people to be noticed by them; otherwise, surely you have no reward with your Father in the heavens!

"Therefore, when you do an act of charity, you should not sound a trumpet in front of you!--the way that hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be glorified by people. Truly I tell you: this is all the reward they will have!

"But when you do charity, do not even let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your alms (the money given in charity) may be in hiding; and your Fat…

The Evolving Nature of Evolution: Blind Men, Elephants and Evolving Cars

This is the third in a series about the debate between Darwinian evolutionists and advocates of Intelligent Design. In part 1, I used President Bush's statement that the debate should be "properly taught" to point out that no one (at least, no leading figure in the debate) is presently advocating that ID be taught with the same weight as Darwinian evolution. Rather, the case that is being made is that it should be introduced and taught fairly so that students can understand the controversy. In part 2, I pointed out that statements to the contrary notwithstanding, the central hypothesis of Darwinian evolution has not actually been tested. That doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of evaluating of the evidence and placing the evidence into the Darwinian evolutionary framework. The fact that the evidence fits so nicely (much of the time) into that framework provides evidence that the framework is true. But the problem is that the framework itself remains untested and…

The King of Stories -- The King Declares the Kingdom (Part 1 of 2)

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

This 'chapter' runs rather long, for obvious reasons (it's "the Sermon on the Mount", duh--except as it happens, it takes place neither on a 'Mount' nor on a 'Plain' as often labeled in Bibles!) so I've broken it into two entries. Scripture refs will be given at the end of Part 2.


The King Declares the Kingdom (Part 1 of 2)

Now they went together into a house (the Follower says, evidently meaning Jesus' house in Capernaum, after coming down from the mountain. This is probably to eat breakfast.)

Then, going down, He stood with them on a level place (says the Scholar), with a great throng of His disciples and crowds from all of Judea and Jerusalem and (even) the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon (northwest in southern Syria along the Mediterranean coast…

The King of Stories -- Knights

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)


Knights

Now Jesus withdraws from there (i.e. from Judea) with His disciples, toward the Lake (of Galilee, says the Follower with the Disciple); and great crowds from the Galilee region followed with Him--also people from Judea and over beyond the Jordan, from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from the Decapolis, even from the district of Sidon and Tyre!

They all had heard of what He was doing, and came to Him; and He is healing them all.

And whenever the unclean spirits beheld Him (adds the Follower), they would fall down before Him and cry out saying, "You are the Son of God!"

But He strictly warns them, that they should not reveal Him--so that (adds the Disciple) the declaration through Isaiah the prophet might be filled:

Look here! My Boy Whom I have chosen!
My beloved, in Whom My soul delights!