These are Presuppositional apologetics links gathered from the World Wide Web between March 1st-7th, 2013.
Archive for the ‘presuppositionalism’ Category
(Pictured above are actual pieces that is part of the art display that was not thrown out)
I first heard of this news on Yahoo, which featured a short article titled “Cleaning woman in Italy throws out artworks:”
A cleaning woman in southern Italy has unwittingly thrown away contemporary artworks that were supposed to be part of an exhibition.
Lorenzo Roca, head of the cleaning company, said the woman “was just doing her job” when she thought two artworks were part of trash left behind by those setting up for the show that opened Wednesday in Bari.
Show organizers said one of the works she gave to a city sanitation crew before dawn included pieces of cookies, which were scattered on the floor, as part of an artistic arrangement.
Roca said the cleaning company would use its insurance coverage to pay for the trashed art works, whose value was estimated at 10,000 euros ($13,700).
$13,700 for some cookies in the trash? Is it really worth that much money in damages? What was the art exhibit about anyways?
So I got curious and tried to do a little research. I learned that the “pieces” thrown out was part of a larger complex display set up at the expansive hall of Sala Murat gallery in Bari, Italy. The incident took place last week on February 19th, 2014, apparently the night before it was open to the public.
The exhibition is called “MEDIATING LANDSCAPE.” According to the artists behind the exhibition, it was put together by “…artists, writers, and curators whose works are formally incorporated within the display landscape as a unified installation, blurring the boundaries of their practice.” The group’s name is called Flip led by an Italian name Federico Del Vecchio and an American born lady name Ala Roushan. On Flip’s frontpage there is more information about the intent of “Mediating Landscape:”
The display object provides dynamic surfaces accommodating new modes of presentation, relations between exhibited artwork and spatial conditions. Participants include, artists, writers, and curators whose works are formally incorporated within the display landscape as a unified installation, blurring the boundaries of their practice. We are interested in the unpredictability of the narratives that arise from this type of organization specifically in the way individual artworks are mediated through the formal display.
Note the intent on “blurring the boundaries of their practice” and “We are interested in the unpredictability of the narratives that arise from this type of organization specifically in the way individual artworks are mediated through the formal display.”
Then two paragraphs later they go on to say the following:
There is definite anticipation for tension and dialogue throughout the process of production, display and setup of the works. These are the moments that we hope to elaborate through discourse and writing around the notion of display; touching upon issues of proximity, adjacency, space, form and objecthood as it evolves from reflections and development of this project.
It’s funny to see artists talk about tensions, dialogues and discourse and the theme of pushing the envelopment when it comes to space, conventions and interpretation.
It’s all cute and cool–until stubborn reality smacks hard against their post-modern sensibilities.
Here are my thoughts on the whole affair:
1.) It might be impolite to say at a Museum but since contemporary Post-Modern art is so bad, can you really blame the janitor’s mistake of art pieces for trash?
2.) For those who think art is totally subjective (note that I’m not denying that there’s no subjective elements in analyzing art) the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has another corollary, “so is trashy art in the eye of the cleaner,” though it’s taken quite literally in this context.
3.) Related to the first two point, if “art” is crafted as an “anti-art” and presented in such a way that the reality of it as an artistic presentation is being blurred can you really blame anyone for not recognizing it as art?
4.) If the project as a whole sees virtue in making viewers question the narrative of formally displaying art and your art pieces get thrown out accidentally by a well-intention cleaning lady before the pieces were “installed” (FLIP’s own words), doesn’t that pull the rug underneath their very own project and aim?
5.) Given the artists’ own words that “We are interested in the unpredictability of the narratives that arise from this type of organization specifically in the way individual artworks are mediated through the formal display,” they got what they asked for.
6.) On the one hand we already saw the quote from FLIP that “There is definite anticipation for tension and dialogue throughout the process of production, display and setup of the works.” Yet on the other hand, “What has become shocking to us, in light of this event, is the scale of media attention it has attracted and added exaggerations around this incident.” There is the tension that they claim they anticipate tension concerning the process of art with it’s feedback while later being “shocked” at what happened to their art display and the feedback.
7.) The cleaning lady unwittingly has become like the boy who cries out that the Emperor has no clothes: she exposes the insanity behind contemporary art’s love affair of post-modernity and anti-art “art.” At root is an issue of worldviews and view of reality, and philosophy of art itself. It is a worldview crisis.
For more on a Christian view of art, see my Review: Art and the Bible: Two Essays by Francis A. Schaeffer.
I also highly recommend the work Modern Art and the Death of a Culture Paperback by H. R. Rookmaaker which I read years ago and might read it again in the near future.
Posted in apologetics methodology, christian apologetics, Christianity, Cornelius Van Til, Greg Bahnsen, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, Reformed, Van Til, tagged Bahnsen Conference on February 19, 2014 | 2 Comments »
One of the apologists that has influenced me greatly is Greg Bahnsen, a protege of Dr. Cornelius Van Til. Bahnsen has helped popularized and applied Presuppositional apologetics. Unfortunately he went to the Lord rather suddenly but he was a good steward of the time God has given him on earth.
To celebrate and reflect on his life, on October 25-26th 2013 a Conference was commenced centered on Greg Bahnsen in Southeren California.
Four of the seven videos from the Bahnsen Conference are up online! Thanks goes to Branch of Hope Church for hosting the conference and making the videos available.
As the other videos are made available, I’ll be loading them up on here as well.
Posted in Apologetics, biblical worldview, christian apologetics, Christian ethics, Christianity, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, tagged Introduction to Ethics on February 3, 2014 | 5 Comments »
Here’s a video on the Introduction to Christian Ethics that kicks off a church monthly series on Christian ethics at South Bay Alliance Church:
This lecture lays the foundation for ethics and touches on the inter-play of the Christian worldview, apologetics and Presuppositionalism.
Here’s the handout:
HAND-OUT: FOUNDATIONS FOR CHRISTIAN ETHICS
Purpose: Today we will explore the importance of studying Christian ethics and provide a general direction of defending Christian ethics from the perspective of life and worldview so that you can live out and articulate God’s requirement in our lives.
I. What is Ethics and Christian Ethics?
Secular view: “Ethics may be defined as the philosophical study of morality..Morality has to do with right and wrong conduct and with good and bad character.”
Christian view: “Ethics is theology viewed as a means of determining which persons, act and attitude receives God’s blessing and which do not.”
II. Why Study Christian Ethics?
III. What is the Basis for Christian Ethics?
IV. What is the relationship of Christian ethics to Life and Worldview?
 Paul W. Taylor, Problems of Moral Philosohy (Encino, CA: Dickenson Publishing Company Inc., 1972), 3.
 John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed., 2008), 10.
Posted in Bible, Biblical archaeology, Christianity, Cornelius Van Til, John Frame, Maximalism, Perspectivalism, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, theological method on January 29, 2014 | 5 Comments »
I’ve been noticing the last few months news story related to the Bible and Archaeology, from the sensational to the subtle announcement of academic bulletin. Christianity Today even had a summary of the “Top 10 Discovery in Biblical Archaeology of 2013″ published earlier this month.
As some of the readers might be aware, there are two general camps when it comes to the issue of the reliability of the Bible as it relates to archaeology: the Maximalists and the Minimalists. Since the archaeological data concerning the Ancient Near East (ANE) and the Biblical world are often fragmentary, sometimes archaeological data appear to conflict with what the Bible has to say. What should we make of this, specifically with our conclusion concerning the veracity of the Bible? Maximalism and Minimalism describes the general approach one answer that question.
Note what Jona Lendering of Livius website (on Ancient history) has to say about maximalists and minimalists:
Maximalist scholars assume that the Biblical story is more or less correct, unless archaeologists prove that it is not; minimalists assume that the Biblical story must be read as fiction, unless it can be confirmed archaeologically. “Minimalism” and “maximalism” are, therefore, methods, approaches, or theoretical concepts.” (http://www.livius.org/theory/maximalists-and-minimalists/)
Lendering even provide this additional example:
It is easy to recognize minimalists and maximalists. If the author’s method can not immediately be deduced from the evidence he puts forward, the auxiliary hypotheses usually offer a clue. When the archaeological evidence contradicts the Bible, the maximalist will write something like “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”; the minimalist will stress that the Bible should be read as literature.
Take, for example, the Jericho walls: so far, no remains have been excavated of a wall that has collapsed in the Late Bronze Age, which contradicts the Biblical account of Joshua’s capture of the city. A maximalist will argue that these walls stood on top of the hill and must have eroded; his minimalist colleague might say that the story should be read as a description of a first fruits offering – the first town captured by the Hebrews was for God. There’s something to be said for both approaches, although in this example, the erosion argument is probably incorrect.”
The exchange between Maximalists and Minimalists in the past has been quite heated. Probably adding fuel to the fire is the reality that this is not just another academic turf war between two competing school of thoughts: for some, there’s a deeper underlying current driving one’s methodological decision. While not all minimalists are secularists, no doubt secular humanists and atheists would be incline towards the Minimalists approach. Christians who hold to a high view of the veracity of the Bible of course would be inclined to the Maximalists’ approach (of course with the caveat that not all Maximalists are Evangelicals or identify themselves as Christian).
At this point one might say there’s a stalemate between the debate of Maximalists and Minimalists. The Minimalists might charge Evangelical subsets of Maximalists for being driven by the Christian faith to dogmatically affirm that the Bible has to be true at the get-go. It isn’t rational to do so, they say. The Maximalists might reply with the observation that typically in archaeology one gives an ancient document the benefit of the doubt concerning it’s content being true unless proven otherwise so here we see the Minimalists being inconsistent.
It’s a dead end, some say, with the debate being a draw. No side ultimately wins, nor has any side loses in a clear, knock out fashion.
I submit that Presuppositional apologetics is important here, with it’s attention on the role of worldviews. As noted earlier, often there’s a deeper undercurrent that drives one to adopt a certain methodological approach towards the Bible and Archaeology. The discussion between particular Maximalists and Minimalists doesn’t have to be at an intellectual stalemate if one discusses one’s worldview behind one’s methodology. No doubt the most unpopular aspect of Van Til’s apologetics is the fact that it tells Christians to never compromise with the veracity of the Bible . The content of the Bible is true if it has been attained via proper hermeneutics such as consideration of literary genres, etc. But Presuppositional apologetics isn’t just about Christians being dogmatic, for it makes the observation that everyone including the minimalists are not immune to being dogmatic when it comes to their web of ultimate commitments which we call worldview. But instead of being “stuck” with two dogmatic individuals talking to each other, Van Til’s apologetics goes further by asking whether one’s worldview would undermine or provide the intelligibility and meaningfulness of the archaeological endeavor in the first place. Imagine the surprise if a Minimalist were to discover that the particular worldview which incline him towards Minimalism ends up being an undercutting defeater towards archaeological studies; now the dilemma is posed: does he continue to maintain his Minimalism for the sake of his cherished worldview or does he back away from it seeing the catastrophic consequence of it making archaeology categorically unintelligible and insignificant?
Space does not permit me to flesh out the details since for now I just want to provide a sketch of what does Presuppositional apologetics in relationship to archaeology would look like. Here also we find philosophy to be a helpful tool and valuable in assessing the merit of the internal relationship between one’s view of reality (physical world, and metaphysical, if any) and the epistemological status of archaeology. Interdisciplinary studies and the exploration of perspectival relationship of knowledge is quite fascinating!
Perhaps in the far future I might write a post on how the Christian worldview (Christian theology from the Bible that supplies the meta-narrative of the world) allows Archaeology to be a sensible and rational pursuit. This would touch on theology Proper, doctrine of providence, God’s relationship to history, biblical anthropology, etc. Again, how beautiful is the fact that there can exists an inter-relationship of various disciplines from archaeology, history, philosophy, and now, even theology–I find it so beautiful to see this inter-dependent unity of a well-put together world for knowledge that it makes me want to praise God. Presuppositional apologetics and Perspectivalism (John Frame’s variety) regularly bring me to doxology.
I thought this was a quote from John Frame on the problem of Libertarian Freewill. What makes it interesting is that it was in the footnote of the book rather than the main body. Here John Frame writes:
Many have argued that this kind of freedom is the ground of moral responsibility. But is that at all likely? Imagine that an atom swerved randomly somewhere in your head and made you steal $500. Would you feel guilty? More likely you would feel like the victim of a random event–like being struck by lightning. You didn’t do anything to make the atom swerve. How can a human being be blamed for a mental accident? If libertarian freedom exists, it is not the ground of moral responsibility. Rather, it destroys responsibility.”
(John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life, 93 footnote 1)
It is a wonderful little illustration to describe the problem of LFW.
Posted in Christian worldview, Christianity, essay contest, Gordon Clark, Presuppositional Apologetics, presuppositionalism, Theology, trinity foundation, tagged Worldview essay contest on January 19, 2014 | 10 Comments »
Know anyone between ages 17-23 that can benefit from entering a Christian worldview essay contest?
The Trinity Foundation, an organization that has preserved much of the Christian philosopher, apologist and theologian Gordon Clark’s writing has their annual Essay contest on the topic of the Christian life based upon a book by Dr. Clark.
While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Gordon Clark believes, I think serious Christian thinkers must read him sometime in their life.
The details of the Essay Contest can be found originally HERE, which we reproduced below:
The Trinity Foundation is pleased to announce the Tenth Annual Christian Worldview Essay Contest
First Prize $3,000
Second Prize $2,000
Third Prize $1,000
The topic of the 2014 Christian Worldview Essay Contest is the book What Is the Christian Life? by Gordon H. Clark. Each person who enters the contest must read the book and write an essay about it. What Is the Christian Life? is available for $10.00 (retail price: $12.95 for trade paperback) per copy, postpaid to U. S. addresses. An eBook version is also available for $5 download from our website.
The Trinity Foundation
Post Office Box 68
Unicoi, Tennessee 37692
Essay Submission Rules
Each person who enters the contest must be no younger than 17 years of age and no older than 23 years of age on January 1, 2014.
Essays entered in the Christian Worldview Essay Contest
- may be of any length
- must be written in English
- must be typewritten or computer printed on one side only, double-spaced, with one inch margins and page numbers
- must be submitted on white paper, in triplicate, stapled, with pages in order, and an electronic copy must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- must arrive at the offices of The Trinity Foundation (and by email) by September 2, 2014
- must be accompanied by a completed and signed entry form (see below for link to form)
- become the property of The Trinity Foundation.
Explanation of Contest Rules:
- There is no entry fee or charge for the Christian Worldview Essay Contest.
- No purchase is necessary to enter the Christian Worldview Essay Contest. Each year The Trinity Foundation makes the Contest book available at a fraction of its retail value as a convenience to those who would like to purchase a copy, but the book may also be borrowed from family, friends, churches, and libraries.
- Each contestant must read the specific book that is the focus of the Christian Worldview Essay Contest and write an essay about that book. Essays not about the Contest book, but about a topic, or a person, or about another book or books, do not qualify for this Contest. Essays originally written for other purposes and not written about the specific book chosen by The Trinity Foundation are not valid entries in this contest.
- Each qualifying essay shall be conversant about the Contest book and show familiarity with that book by accurately quoting from it (for discussion or criticism), by discussing its major ideas, and by relating those ideas to the contestant’s general knowledge. Incidental mention of the Contest book in the course of an essay is not sufficient to qualify an essay for prize consideration.
- Each qualifying essay shall not be simply a summary of the book, or a book report, but shall attempt to explain and discuss the ideas and arguments expressed in the Contest book in the contestant’s own words.
- Each Christian Worldview Essay Contest lasts about ten months, from November to September. This is ample time for Contestants to read, digest, and write an essay about the Contest book. Consequently, the September 1 deadline for entries will be strictly enforced.
- Each essay submitted to the Christian Worldview Essay Contest shall become the property of The Trinity Foundation. This means that essays will not be returned to Contestants, and The Foundation shall have the exclusive right to publish and distribute, in whatever form it deems best, the essays entered into the Contest.
- The Trinity Foundation shall have the right to announce the Contest winners and publish their essays, in whole and in part, in whatever manner it deems best.
- First Prize winners of previous Christian Worldview Essay Contests shall not be eligible for prizes in subsequent Contests.
- A panel of Essay Contest judges (a minimum of three) decides which prizes to award. If, in the judgment of the judges an unusual situation arises in which fewer than three essays are worthy of prizes, the judges shall announce the winner(s) of the Contest, and all decisions of the judges shall be final.