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Archive for the ‘Philosophy of Religion’ Category

philosophy-james-spiegel

James Spiegel. Philosophy.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, July 11th, 2014. 48 pp.

5 out of 5

The author James Spiegel is a Christian and a professor of philosophy and religion at Taylor University.  I’m glad that the editors and publishers for the Faithful Learning Series picked a guy qualified to write this booklet on a Christian view of philosophy as an academic discipline.  Spiegel surveys how the trajectory of philosophy has shifted in recent historical context starting with Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga.  Plantinga and other Christians philosophers like him have contributed not only to the defense of the faith but even in the field of philosophy itself.  The change in the field of philosophy is quite radical as the author noted that not too long ago the philosophy of Positivism was assumed by society at large to be philosophically sound and physicalism was in vogue.  Spiegel’s work gives readers a quick and helpful survey on epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion and moral theory.  In what follows below I will share what I found helpful and then some words of constructive criticisms.

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Some words from Dr. Van Til, the fame Christian professor from Westminister Seminary:

“…we should notice that there are thousadns who do not engage in intellectual consideration of the truth to any great extent, no so much because they are necessarily indifferent to such things by nature as because they are necessarily indifferent to such thigs by nature as because they are unsuited to it. With respect to these, it is obvious that it would be useless to present the intellectual argument for Chrisitan theism in any subtle and detailed form. Nor is this necessary. A simple presentation of the truth in positive form, and once more largely by way of testimony, may be all that is required. Chirstianity is not for a few elite intellectualists. Its message is to the simple and to the learned. The argument must therefore be adapted to each one’s mental capacity. And it should not be forgotten that the difference between the larned and the unlearned is, after all, very small when it comes to a consideration of ultimate questions. The learned may have more facts at his disposal and be more skilled in the use of the syllogism, but when it comes to a consideration of the meaning of any one fact or of all facts put together, all this refinement does not bring him very far.” (Van TIl’s Apologetics: Readings and Analysis, pg. 477 through 478)

Thus, the Christian apologist must be equip in his presentation for the simple and the more sophisticated audience. A roubust Apologetics system must ultimately then be focused upon the basic (by that we do not mean ‘simplistic’, but foundational) ultimate commitment in a worldview. By majoring in these, he is equip. He must also be able to explain abstract concepts to even the kids in his church’s sunday school in a way they can understand. Yet, he continues to learn and realize that he must be teachable in order to fulfill the mandate of being “Always be prepared”.

Ultimately, the importance of the gospel must not be missed in apologetics engagement. If there is no objections, or when the hostile heckling of unbelief has been silence, the gospel must be preached, in all its glory. Let no one ever mistaken that Christian apologetics somehow imply that it is a faith for only those who have a grasp in philosophy, etc.

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For those of you who have heard of Alvin Plantinga but do not really know who he is and want an audio rundown of this contemporary Christian philosopher, over at Apologetics.com they have an MP3 audio show sometime this past summer

http://www.apologetics.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=156

THough it cost $1.99, I think it is worth it.

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This verse was in my mind today:

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
   “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

(FROM 1Corinthians 1:18)

I was involved with evangelism today, with this Christian club tabling

It was instantly crazy, when this guy who was mocking the Christian faith two days ago coming to our table

THe guys and gals from the club recognized him

He got angry instantly and a crowd circled us

He said everything was a dream and an illusion (but then he said that I was in “reality” stupid!)

I didn’t say much but he felt that the listening crowd was ganging up on him

I barely got to point out some logical fallacies he committed let alone fully interaction with his worldview

He was so spiteful and insulting that the nonbelievers in the crowd was trying to plead him to calm down; a fight almost broke out between him and another non-Christian that was agreeing with him because he was so mean to everyone

I talked to the nonbeliever that almost punched the first guy; it was more decent and more calm and I thought we had some meaningful exchange

That at least was proof that there can be dialogues where those who disagree can be respectful

After the second guy, a third guy arrived, who returned from last week

He ended up saying he was a relativist and denied the laws of non-contradiction and had a “do what ever you want” philosophy

So I took his wallet out of his pocket from his jeans and I kept his ten dollars and I asked if it was right or wrong; he said its right only if I have a need and I mentioned about my debt from UCLA so it was justified in his worldview…he chuckled and got the idea but wanted the money back: I gave it to him back.

In denying the laws of noncontradiction, he ended up affirming that the blue male cow did indeed shoot JFK in November 22nd 1963 but that *SHE* was indeed all *green* and *did not exist* while being *half-pregnant* so *it* did *not shoot* the *purple platypus* in the *near future*but instead saved Barney the Purple *Alligator* that was Clinton’s mom

(You might go, what?, my point exactly)

I asked him when his take-home midterms was due: He said in two week and I told him that two weeks meant many weeks from now, or the finals week to be exact. He agreed.  Then I added it was also due last week so he might as well hand me his unfinished paper to be thrown away since it was too late.

HE was trying to be consistent with his denial of noncontradiction

Yet, in order to be consistent, he was acting inconsistent to what his worldview is

Let Scripture informs us,

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written:
   “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
      the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”[c]

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“Impossible Neutrality: An Analogy From Humanistic Geography”, by Jimmy Li

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_impossibleneutrality.htm

Insight concerning the impossibility of religious neutrality from a discussion about Humanistic Geography

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James White.

An Open Letter to Dr. Lee Carter

Dr. Carter Responds

A Second Open Letter to Dr. Lee Carter

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A short article:

http://www.faithdefenders.com/ministry/articles/apologetics/humanism/Why+I+am+Not+an+Atheist.htm

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Olkahoma Atheists and Religious Neutrality by Jimmy Li

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_oaneutrality.htm

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Applying Presuppositionalism against Secularism by showing who can account for specific observations derived from the books on Harry Potter.

I thought this might interest some of you out there.

The links to the Alpha Omega Ministry Blog:

http://aomin.org/index.php?itemid=2125

http://aomin.org/index.php?itemid=2127

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In discussion with Christians about why they ought to adopt Presuppositional Apologetics, the subject of religious neutrality MUST BE ADDRESSED  

Here is  a link to “A Brief Outline Against Religious Neutrality”

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_neutralityoutline.htm

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James Anderson, a REformed Christian apologist (VanTillian and also Reformed Epistemology synthesized), have finally released his book, titled “Paradox in Christian Theology”:

http://www.authenticmedia.co.uk/AuthenticSite/pages/product/product.asp?prod=9781842274620&cookie%5Ftest=1

From the articles I have read written by him, he indeed has a sharp mind and good writing.

I will be getting it later, when I save the money for it.

For now, I have too many books to read!

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Back from Marines training

This was a book I’ve been waiting for since December:

Greg Bahnsen’s “Pressing the Antithesis”, by American Vision

http://www.americanvision.org/store/pc-758-2-pushing-the-antithesis-the-apologetic-methodology-of-greg-l-bahnsen.aspx

I think this would be good for the Church library, I hope Dizzy, who also blog here for VeritasDomain, would purchase it for the Church library

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I thought I put several of my past Veritas Domain entries on Presuppositional Apologetics as applied to the Cults on other Reglions on one entry, so it would be more easy to search for it.

THis would be a work in progress.  Do you know more links that can be added here?

Let me know! I will be adding to this as time goes by and I find more articles from a Presuppositional Apologetics Perspective dealing with other religion and cults

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1.)“Approaching Cults and World Religions from A Presuppositional Apologetic Perspective”, by Jeff Downs at http://www.emnr.org/papers/downs04.htm

Summary:For some that might sound weird, as Bahnsen and Van Til often talks about the Atheist.  But the link above is by Jeff Down, a good introduction on Presuppositional Apologetics and application with Cults and other religion

2.) “A Brief Pressuppositional Analysis of Buddhism“, by Paul Manata 

Summary: This is a Brief application of Presuppositional Apologetics on Buddhism, written by Paul Manata.

3.) “Zen: A Trinitarian Critique” by Rev. Ralph Allen Smith accessible at http://www.berith.org/essays/zen/

Summary: Another example of Presuppostional Apologetics that critiques Zen Buddhism utilizing the Trinity

4.) “Problems in Uranita Paper 92” by Jimmy Li at http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_urantiapaper92.htm

Summary: Presuppositional APologetics on the Cult of the Urantia Paper

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This is my review for my church’s library of a material that we already have; I’m in the process of trying to listen to and read what our church library consist of, and looking for good materials to stock up so as to edify the believers in my Church.

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The problem of evil in light of a Christian God has been the focus of many books, lectures and discussions.  It would be no suprise then that Christian apologist Dr. Robert A. Morey would address this issue as well, among many other controversies and issues he has tackled in his career.  His lecture on this topic is titled “God, Evil and You”.

Originally in eight cassette tapes, it is now in five CDs.  Throughout the series, Dr. Morey mentioned alot about the need to pursue the topic of evil from a Biblical perspective.  This emphasis is indeed needed.  Many Christians needed to be reminded today, given the predominance of addressing the issue of evil from a non-biblically based approach (usually in the form of humanistic philosophy), with concepts that are not taught by Scripture, even being antithetical to the Christian God as well.  In addition, Morey also bought up the category of discussing the issues in light of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics.  His humor is also sprinkled in throughout the lectures which some might find as rather rough.

Though this series might be helpful for younger Christians, I think Dr. Morey could have went more deep.  This is probably not his best work and an example of his typical work.  It took well over half the series to be over before he started actually dealing with the Biblical text on evil and even then it barely touched the surface, though one can gain insight in light of Morey revealing to us the different words for Evil in Hebrew and how many times it appear in Scripture.  From what has been said by people, Dr. Morey is planning to write a book addressing the issue of the problem of Evil, if it is so, I do expect it to be up to standard as his earlier written works where it is hard hitting, heavily documented and touches on the revelant verses well.

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As mentioned before, there is still alot that needs to be developed in regards to Presuppositional Apologetics in regards to challenging Cults and other religion

Three days ago, we had an entry by Jeff Downs as an Introduction to this topic

Then, we had an article by Paul Manata of a Presuppostional Apologetics perspective in a critique on Buddhism

That was followed by Ralph Smith’s Article utilizing the Presuppositional’s Argument from the Trinity on Zen Buddhism’s problem of Monism

Tonight’s example of Presuppositional APologetics on another religion is an article on the Cult of the Urantia Paper:

http://www.teamtruth.com/articles/art_urantiapaper92.htm

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