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Archive for the ‘presuppositionalism’ Category

Worldview dilemmas blog series veritas domain

Here’s the round up of our series on Worldview Dilemmas in the Movies and Comics.  I plan to have perhaps one or two more posts after the Shepherd’s Conference that is going on this week.

Principles

Film Reviews

Graphic Novels Reviews

Free Movies Online

Book Reviews

Speaking Out

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Here are Presuppositional apologetics’ links gathered between February 22nd-28th, 2015.

Enjoy!

1.)‘God’s Not Dead’ Author Supplies Proof for the Divine Inspiration of the Bible: So Do You Believe?

2.) Responding to Non-Inerrancy Challenges

3.) Around and Around We Go

4.) Adam4d: Burden of Proof

 

Missed the last round up?  Check out the re-blogged post from a friend

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coffeeshop

New Horizon Magazine, a publication of Orthodox Presbyterian Church, has focused on their topic on Apologetics for their February 2015 issue.  This issue is available online.

Thanks to Jeff Downs for letting me know about this.

The entire issue is available in the following formats: PDF  ePub  and  Mobi

Apologetics at Starbucks

When we think about “doing apologetics,” too often (in our circles, at least) what first comes to mind is a debate over apologetic methodology. Are we going to be presuppositionalist-covenantal or “classical”-evidentialist? As a friend of mine used to say, “We seem more concerned with sharpening and polishing our swords than with actually carrying them into the battle.”

Doing Apologetics

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The Witness Needed by a Weary World

Postmodernism is rightly critical of modernism. It recognizes that modernism is unable to account for its closed, naturalistic, materialistic worldview. Modernism’s failure may be seen in its scientism (the conviction that the scientific method is the only path to objective, public knowledge), in its rationalism (which is purportedly autonomous and anti-supernatural), and in the myth of human evolution and progress. Postmodernism does not turn to Christianity, though, to provide the preconditions that make logic, science, ethics, love, and beauty intelligible.

In its critique of modernism, postmodernism embraces irrationalism and thus commits intellectual suicide by attempting to “establish” irrationalism through rational argument. That is an internal inconsistency not unlike a Hindu monism that argues against distinctions and at the same time urges its adherents to develop good karma. So postmodernism argues against the best aspects of modernism—the affirmation of objective truth, the reliability of the senses, the importance of the use of reason, and the laws of logic—denouncing them as mere conventions concocted by society’s masters. Thus, postmodernism may rightly be seen, not as completely different from modernism, but as the logical outcome of a worldview that cannot account for itself—modernism gone to seed, in which “anything goes.” Read more

We Are Weak, but He Is Strong

When Erick and Kristyn Nieves of Reformation OPC in Queens, New York, learned they were expecting a baby in 2013, the couple was happily surprised. The Nieveses already had two daughters, ages 4 and 1, and hadn’t anticipated an addition to their family so soon.

They quickly learned the addition would be bigger than they expected. Read more

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Inerrancy Summit 2015We’re trying to wrap our blog series on the Christian worldview, film and Comics soon because next week all three bloggers from Veritas Domain would reunite at The Shepherd’s Conference.  This year’s theme is on Inerrancy and is the biggest ever.  They have called it The Inerrancy Summit and have brought many different speakers that normally don’t come out but they are for this occasion such as Kevin DeYoung and Carl Trueman.

Lord willing we hope that next Tuesday through Sunday we would be able to blog our notes from some of the sessions along with recommended resources from the Bookstore and book sales.

Stay Tune!

 

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THE_JOKER

In a previous post, “Pursuing Worldview Apologetics and being Culturally Informed Without Compromise” I argued that there is a way where we can be biblicalengaging, and informed in our cultural apologetics while achieving that without sacrificing our sanctification:

…one way to not compromise our norms while also being informed is to see what other informed social critics have to say about a particular pop figure or cultural phenomenon.  I think one doesn’t have to experience every form of media and entertainment to critically reflect upon it as a Christian.  An example of how a Christian can be informed and reflect critically without “seeing” something is with the current crisis with ISIS.  You do not have to watch the beheading of 21 Egyptians or the burning of a Jordanian pilot to be informed about it; one can find detailed written analysis of the videos, scholarly evaluation of it’s meaning, purpose, etc.  If one put the effort one might find in-depth evaluation of ISIS militarily, geo-politically, economically and theologically.  I can’t imagine many people looking down on someone who is informed about ISIS while making the deliberate choice of not watching ISIS’ sick videos.  To demand that one can only intelligently talk about something through the experience of watching it it is really a form of audio-visual Gnosticism.

Here in this post I wanted to give an example of what that would look like with a Christian character study of the supervillain Joker.

Through Youtube I discovered that there are clips from a History channel documentary on the Joker.

The longer clip of it is below:

The shorter clip is below:

Joker: A Worldview Villain

Joker really is not merely a psychologically disturbed villain of batman; he is also the outworking of a particular worldview.  In the video clip Rabbi Cary Friedman who authored Wisdom from the Batcave said about the Joker: “He represent a kind of chaos, of meaninglessness, of randomness.  The idea of the character of the Joker is just the luck of the cards.”  Danny Fingeroth, the author of Superman on the Couch also tells us that “the Joker has an agenda of chaos.  He is a unique villain in that he is not even necessarily after money or power or any of those traditional things.  So that’s really the hardest kind of evil to fight because you cannot bargain with it.”  This fascination for chaos reflects Joker’s view of the world and life.  I thought what Professor of Social Psychology Benjamin Karney has to say is insightful concerning the philosophical nature of the conflict between Batman and the Joker:

Batman says philosophically we can acknowledge an imperfect world, we can acknowledge that we have to step outside of social norms but that does not make the social norms meaningless.  The Joker says that the presence of random injustice means that there is no justice.  The fact that innocence can be destroyed means there is no innocence.  So your life is a joke.  Now when someone says your life is a joke that is a challenge.  It is not just a physical challenge it is a moral challenge, it is an intellectual challenge and Batman can’t let that go because the Joker isn’t just threatening him physically, he’s threatening the premise of Batman’s existence.  That’s why it’s such an epic discussion they are having.  Of course it is played out physically and in fights and punches and gunshots.  Ultimately it’s a philosophical conflict and it’s not one that’s easy to resolve.”

I appreciated Dr. Karney’s observation that the fight between Batman and Joker is not merely physical but philosophical.  Philosophically speaking, Joker subscribes to a form of Nietzsche’s philosophy.  Seeing Joker’s application of a nhilistic philosophy of chaos with the goal of merely triumphing one’s will over others should make us repulse at the incarnation of such a philosophy.  We must not forget that ideas have consequences.

Is Batman the Solution?

 

No doubt in Gotham the only one who can challenge the Joker is Batman.  And yet in the comics Joker is never fully contained.  Sooner or later Joker escapes and wreck havoc on the innocent.  While the Batman is the only who could check Joker, the unfortunate reality is that Batman’s own philosophy is against capital punishment.  This in turn leads Batman’s desire to capture Joker everytime so that he can be rehabilitated.  Thus Batman enables the Joker to continue his evil, given Joker’s track record of being able to escape.  Patrick Chan has written more about this dilemma over at Triablogue.

Thinking Spiritually

  • The Joker is a repulsive character.  He is the embodiment of a worldview that believes everything is chaos and that social norms and justice is meaningless.  One might find the character cool as entertainment but when someone does paint their face as the Joker and shoots up a Theatre in real life we all are awaken at the danger of what the Joker and his philosophy means.
  • I’ve always thought the Joker was more of an accurate portrayal of Satan than a red horned figure with pitchforks.  The Joker doesn’t care if he wins and yet continues with his sins.  The Joker also is crafty enough to get others to participate in his evil schemes often by taking advantage of people’s greed and other temptation.  What an illustration of the demonic.
  • No doubt if one reflect deeply on Joker, one want to see him eventually face justice once and for all.  Batman is not enough.  The desire for ultimate justice can only be fulfilled when God judges all the world.  That won’t happen until Christ’s second coming.  We should long for it.

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(Source for Picture)

These are links gathered between February 15th-21st, 2015.

1.) Do You Believe? Worldview Evidence for Jesus Christ

2.) Book Review – The Question of Canon by Michael Kruger

3.) Atheism is Pantheism: A Reflection on Carl Sagan’s Ipsedixitisms

4.) Responding to ISIS with a Christian doctrine of hell

5.) In Which Stephen Fry Steps In It

6.) Van Til’s Concrete Universal

7.) Tea Requires Water: An Analogy (via Mike Robinson)

 

Missed the last round up?  Check out the re-blogged post from a friend

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I have been evangelizing on College Campuses for the past fourteen years.  It’s an environment that provides a wonderful opportunity to employ Christian apologetic.  I must admit though that the older I get the less frequent apologetics comes up compared to my younger days of being a rabid cage stage Presuppositionalist.  When apologetics conversations do occur I notice that most of the time I’m not necessarily dealing with the nitty gritty detail of some obscure historical point of Christianity or area of science.  What I have found instead is that practically most of my discussion often occur at the level of worldviews.  Apologetics’ discussion concerning worldviews seems to pay greater dividends at the end of the day because: (1) everyone has a worldview, (2) most people’s rejection of Christianity is driven more by their ultimate commitments rather than serious, rigorous research in a specialized field of study (3) and of course, lest we forget, one’s presuppositions shapes how one determine and dismiss what are evidences.

While discussion of worldviews can easily become abstract sometimes illustrations are helpful to get the point across.  Movies are often invoked by those whom I am witnessing towards.  For some reason when I talk about metaethical issues the person of Joker gets brought up more than anyone else from Popular Culture.  I have taught apologetics in Christian setting where believers have also brought up Joker.  Somehow he pop up during worldview apologetics’ discussion!  Perhaps the allusion to Joker has something to do with young Millennials with their Graphic Novels and Netflix and how the Joker appears to be an ungodly incarnation of certain non-Christian ethical systems.

Given the fact that nonbelievers sometime allude to certain films and entertainment characters does that necessarily mean we must watch every movie and read every comic book to fulfill some kind of prerequisite in order to effectively evangelize the unbeliever?  My answer to that would be no.  In an earlier post, “Is it ever appropriate for Christians to view sexual sins in film?” I argued that Christians shouldn’t compromise their sanctification in the area of entertainment.  With the instance of Joker, I haven’t read enough comic books to know first hand but I think I can say not all of those movies and comic books are sanctifying; even if theoretically they are not all bad, it might not be the best use of time to become an expert on Joker in order to evangelize and speak to our age.  The same concern applies to other Pop Cultural figures.

Nor do I believe we should be ignorant about Pop cultural references such as Joker.  I think there is a way where we can be biblicalengaging, and informed in our cultural apologetics while achieving that without sacrificing our sanctification on the altar.  How can we hold on to these four highlighted aspects without compromise?

  • First, to be biblical means one must know the Scripture well–and know it well in its application as one’s worldview.  The Bible should shape one’s outlook of life–for instance, the Word of God should shape one’s view of ethics, sin, man, God and Salvation, etc.  The Word of God should dictate our norms.  It should also dictate what we should and shoudn’t do in terms of entertainment.
  • Secondly, to be engaging means practically loving the person you are witnessing to.  You must love them enough to be concerned for their salvation.  This is the existential aspect we can’t neglect; after all, no Christian wants to be labeled as the guy who only wants to argue but not care about people’s soul.  To love them also mean you want to know where they are coming from; it means listening to them.  As you listen to them you will hear what “their own prophets” and poets might say.
  • Thirdly, our engagement with the lost and our desire to see them get saved compels us to be informed.  We want to handle our unbelieving friend’s perspective accurately and not misrepresent them.  This might require further understanding of the situational context of their cultural allusion.
  • Fourthly, one way to not compromise our norms while also being informed is to see what other informed social critics have to say about a particular pop figure or cultural phenomenon.  I think one doesn’t have to experience every form of media and entertainment to critically reflect upon it as a Christian.  An example of how a Christian can be informed and reflect critically without “seeing” something is with the current crisis with ISIS.  You do not have to watch the beheading of 21 Egyptians or the burning of a Jordanian pilot to be informed about it; one can find detailed written analysis of the videos, scholarly evaluation of it’s meaning, purpose, etc.  If one put the effort one might find in-depth evaluation of ISIS militarily, geo-politically, economically and theologically.  I can’t imagine many people looking down on someone who is informed about ISIS while making the deliberate choice of not watching ISIS’ sick videos.  To demand that one can only intelligently talk about something through the experience of watching it it is really a form of audio-visual Gnosticism.

Be on the lookout for reviews, critical essays, editorials and documentaries as aides.  Even when a film or comic is appropriate for a Christian to enjoy I still find interacting with such resources from a Christian worldview can at times be insightful.

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