Showing posts from September, 2008

Big Picture on Biblical Morality

Atheists are always getting us to lose slight of the big picture. They put so many little knit picking arguments like "in Passage X God commands them to kill so and so,and so and so didn't do anything that wrong." They will present a massive profusion of such passages, most of which (thinking of the OT now) are based upon the fact that people over 2000 years ago looked at things very differently and had different standards of what constituted morality, truth, compassion and brutality. So naturally a great deal ancient world morality will seem very brutal to us. But the atheists always distract us form the big picture. Every time I try to demonstrate one or two major principles that over sweep the whole field and tie up all the problems into one neat little point that can easily resolved, they just go "Yea? well about here, where x got stoned for blowing his nose?" "what about about where God tells them to wipe out the Pedestriakites and kill even the bacter

Is Religion LItterally a Metaphor?

Rushdie I saw Salman Rushdie on PBS, having a discussion with Bill Moyers. Rushdie is an atheist, he referred to himself as "total atheist." But, he is one of hte most enlightened people I've ever heard speak about religion. Yet . Rushdie is nothing like the atheists I encounter on the Internet. He actual reads real theologians. He's not negative toward religion, he says nothing to imply religious people are stupid or religion is bad.In fact he seems to think religion is basically a good thing. He says, paraphrasing, if you want to believe that there is some organizing principle to unites and hold together the physics of the university with morality, and call that God, why should I object? Not only does he seem so insightful because is positive toward religion but because his criticisms of are fair minded and not insulting. One such criticism he made in the interview with Moyers (8/23/06) is that religious people tend to think that one cannot be moral without an ove

Answering Four of Ten Questions for Christians

While strolling through the scenic byways of the Internet, I came across an article by Austin Cline at entitled Ten Questions to Ask Christians . I was intrigued. After all, I am a Christian. Mr. Cline opens with a statement: Sometimes it seems like every Christian with an internet connection thinks that they are have the skills and knowledge to become evangelists to religious skeptics. To a small extent, I agree with him. Certainly, there are some Christians who are doing apologetics on the Internet who haven't taken the time to aquire the knowledge needed to be good apologists to Internet skeptics. But then, many of these Internet skeptics who are out there evangelizing for their atheistic belief system have also failed to do their homework beyond acquring a few simplistic objections that they wrongly think end the discussion. Be that as it may, Mr. Cline continues: I know this isn't literally true, but my email suggests that it almost could be. It might hel

Problem With Materialists Understanding of Physical Laws

On the one hand you tell me that laws of physics are just descriptive and they don't determine anything. On the other hand you say that there is natural world that extends beyond our space/time, presumably to anything physical? So you see the dichotomy of nature/spirit as physical, tangible, visible vs "in" and "un" and "non" versions of these, intangible, invisible, non physical. But how can it be that "nature" extends all over existence beyond the realm of all we know to all other realms anywhere and yet there are no prescriptive physical laws? It seems to me that to be able say that you would have to have a set of laws that delimit what can happen. Otherwise how can you possibly know there is not a universe in which all existence is immaterial? Here are some quotes about Big bang cosmology. They are from major physicists and some obscure physicists and the major upshot of them is we have no physics to explain the big bang. No Physics to ex

Miracles and Epistemology

a poster to the comment section (Anon) says: (quoting me)"After, I say AFTER the medical guys do their thing and determine that they can't explain it naturalistically." You're confusing "I can't find it" with "it doesn't exist". A typical churchie mistake. He/she is saying that I am confusing the inability to find a naturalistic explanation with the idea that there is none. But the problem with that argument is that to make it one must assert an ideological assumption that there must be one. Thus if a naturalistic assumption is not found, it only means we must keep looking, even if we must keep looking ad infinitum. The problem is event the materialists have given up on the concept of a naturalistic cause for every effect. The Metaphysicians of modern cosmology, I mean people like Hawking who are the avaunt guard of materialistic thought, have abandoned the idea that the universe needs a cause. They use QM particles apparent lack of a caus

Is Dr. Richard Carrier Wrong about the End of the World? (Part 1)

The Universe and Our Bodies No, this is not a Discovery Channel special. In my series of “Is Richard Carrier Wrong ....” posts I have focused on his arguments in support of the theory that Paul believed in a two-body “resurrection” of Jesus -- and by implication, Christians. Although this post is somewhat tangential, it fits the series. The subject is the end of the world, or rather how Paul envisioned the end times. This is relevant to his views on the resurrection because in Romans 8 Paul compares what happens to the universe to what happens to our bodies. In verses 19-21, Paul discusses the universes' desire to be free of corruption and its liberation from bondage: The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the

ABC News Fumbles the Religion Football

Governor Sarah Palin is, by news accounts, an evangelical Christian. To many in the media, this makes here somewhat akin to a martian in cultural understanding. Many in the media look at her religious views with suspicion and misunderstanding. It as if they cannot rise above their cultural prejudices to look fairly at what -- in their view -- is an exotic oddity of a throwback belief system. Exhibit A the first interview of Gov. Palin since she became the VP Nominee for the Republican Party. The interview was taken by Charlie Gibson of ABC News. Various left wing blogs have been posting pieces claiming that Gov. Palin believes we are in a Holy War against Islam and that she said in church that sending troops to Iraq is part of God's plan. This is not a matter of small consequence to the Governor personally, as her son deployed to Iraq last week. I think this is obvious fair game for an interview and Gibson asked her about it: GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, &

Supernatruer and the Rise of Science in the Middle Ages

The medieval Christian doctrine of the supernatural has long been misconstrued as a dualistic denigration of nature, opposed to scientific thinking. The concept of supernature, however, is not a dualism in the sense of dinigrading nature or of pitting against each other the "alien" relams of spirit and matter. The Christian ontology of the supernatural bound together the realm of nature and the realm of Grace, immanent and transcendent, in a unity of creative wisdom and purpose, which gave theological significance to the natural world. While the doctrine of supernature was at times understood in a dualistic fashion, ultimately, the unity it offered played a positive role in the development of scientific thinking, because it made nature meaningful to the medieval mind. Its dissolution came, not because supernatural thinking opposed scientific thinking, but because culture came to value nature in a different manner, and the old valuation no longer served the purpose of scientif

Super Nature and Rise of Science part 2

Augustine's scale of values, plus Pseudo-Dionysius' hierarchies of being combined with the great chain of being to form the basis of the Medieval synthesis. The natural world was valued in its relation to supernature, and contemplated as a symbol of the transcendent (fire symbolized the soul's longing to rise to God, for example). The world was the fallen world of sin, a proposition which leads some historians to see dualism at work. Nevertheless, it was not a metaphysical dualism. The world was not sinful because it was alien to the spirit, but fallen from grace through human will. Moreover, it still stood in relation to and derived valuation from its ontological relation to the divine. An elaborate sacramental system grew out of the need and desire to "have a society which is guided by the present reality of transcendent divine character." Boethius (d. 524), Cassiodorus (d. 580), and Bede (672-735) laid down the principle of nature as a consistent system obeying

Supernature and the Rise of Science in the MIddle Ages part 3

While rising from Purgitory, toward the heaven of the moon, Dante wonders how they can enter the pearl-like substance. It is a mystery, "like the union of divine and human nature in Christ." Dante than asks how it is that the moon, a perfect heavenly body, has spots. Beatrice answers that the distribution of the intelligence which governs each body varies in different places. She then gives him an experiment to perform which confirms this revelation. The important point is that here knowledge is coming from both faith and reason (revelation and experiment). Since this is an occasion in which sense data will suffice, experiment will confirm what faith has already taught. Beatrice praises experiment as the fountainhead of the arts, "From this objection may experiment deliver thee, if thou its virtue try, (Source where from stream the arts that you invent)." (Paradiso, Canto II. 4-6. Thus, Dante forms the perfect bridge between medieval and early modern, he forms perha