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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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