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Archive for the ‘worldview’ Category

As a Christian I do enjoy flying and the opportunity to share the Gospel (Jesus dying on the cross to save us sinners) with those next to me.  Now of course this must be done in a manner that is Godly and respectful.  It’s also a joy to talk to different people and walks of life.  Up to this point all my conversations have been cordial.

Apparently Christians aren’t the only ones who want to share their worldview.

looney-left

This past weekend a lady and her husband was kicked off their flight because the wife was berating a Trump supporter flying home after the inauguration.

Let’s just say she did not talk to the Trump supporter in a Godly manner.

Here’s my two cent.  I realize my tone is stronger than usual but I think it captures just how dangerous some on the Left have become in their intolerance.

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John Frame is probably one of my favorite living theologians today.  He’s also someone who advocate and have made positive contribution towards Presuppositional Apologetics’ as well.

Here’s an interview with John Frame on one of his recent book on “Western Philosophy and Theology.”  This 700 page work is one of my favorite survey of philosophy from a Christian and a Presuppositionalists’ perspective.  My own review of the book can be found here: Review: A History of Western Philosophy and Theology by John Frame.

Here’s the two part video in which the hosts interviewed Dr. Frame:

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So Target now allow people to use whatever restrooms they self-identify themselves as.

Which leads me to this question:

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Dr. James Anderson is a Christian theologian, philosopher and apologist who teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary.  I appreciate the fact that he’s a Presuppositionalists and has written many scholarly journal articles in addition to his wonderful interactive book  which I have reviewed on this blog in the past.

I was glad to hear that Ligonier Ministries has given him the opportunity to speak at their 2016 National Conference.  This is wonderful and somewhat of a surprised for myself, given how RC Sproul doesn’t necessarily think highly of Presuppositional apologetics.

Below is the video of Dr. Anderson’s presentation.  It is under 20 minutes in duration so worth the watch.

If you enjoyed it, again I would recommend you to consider his book “.”

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History of Western Philosophy John Frame

John Frame. A History of Western Philosophy and Theology.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, October 23rd, 2015. 864 pp.

This year (2015) is one of John Frame’s most productive years in terms of the quantity and quality of books published.  For many the most anticipated book among them is probably A History of Western Philosophy and Theology.  The following is my review of this book.

If there is anyone today that is qualified to give a biblical evaluation and exposition of Western philosophy and how it shapes theology it would be John Frame.  This book is the result of the author’s experience with teaching and writing on philosophy, theology and apologetics over the last few decades.  Like other works by Frame, this work reflects his commitment to Scripture and the Christian worldview.  At the same time Frame is knowledgeable of philosophy.  Frame is a great model of a Christian scholar:  He is charitable but does not shy away from refuting error.  All this contribute towards making this work a great book.

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JStalin_Secretary_general_CCCP_1942

From a biography on Stalin:

In the end, Stalin’s self-education, political experience, and character formed a mind that was in many ways repellant but ideally suited to holding onto power.  His oversimplification of reality, in which phenomena were explained in terms of a historic stand off–between classes, between capitalism and socialism–outlived his system.

A model of the world based on the principle of class struggle permitted him to ignore complexity and despise his victims.  It allowed the regime’s most heinous crimes to be seen as a natural expression of historical laws and innocent mistakes to be seen as crimes.  It allowed criminal intentions and actions to be attributed to people who intended and committed no crimes.  In a relatively uneducated country, simplication was an excellent tool of social manipulation”

There is always the danger of a worldview that simplies things so much it justifies all sorts of evil.

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50 shades of grey liberals

True story.

On the one hand, Christian wives submitting to their loving husband is bad.  <Insert Marxist, neo-colonialism psycho-babble>.  Therefore it is oppressive.

On the other hand, one must be open minded about ungodly man manipulating and forcing a woman into unwanted sexual situation and that it is….okay?  <Insert discussion of sexual “liberation” and free from Victorian era Morality>.  Therefore 50 Shades of Grey is great?

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I reviewed nearly 90 books on Veritas Domain this past year in 2014.  Some stood out more than others.  Below are some of the books  that really stood out in how it edified me or taught me something profoundly important.

The order are in the appearance in chronological order from January 2014-December 2014.

1.) Hitler’s Philosophers by Yvonne Sherratt

Hitler's Philosophers

Description: Fascinating look at the role of philosophy and philosophers behind Hitler’s Nazi Germany.  Ideas do have consequences!

My Review

Purchase: Amazon

 

2.) Jonah: The Scandalous Love of God by Kevin J. Youngblood

Jonah The Scandalous Love of God Youngblood

Description: In my opinion one of the best critical commentary on the book of Jonah.  I’m looking forward to this series given how good this volume was!

My Review

Purchase: Amazon

 

3.) What He Must Be: If He Wants to Marry My Daughter by Voddie T. Baucham Jr.

What He Must Be If He Wants to Marry My Daughter Bauchman

Description: A very good book on father’s role in a daughter’s courtship.  Very good for young men also.

My Review

Purchase: Amazon

 

4.) Warfare in the Old Testament by Boyd Seevers

Warfare in the Old Testament The Organization, Weapons, and Tactics of Ancient Near Eastern Armies

Description: A very good book on the topic of warfare in the Old Testament!

My Review

Purchase: Amazon

 

5.) The Doctrine of the Christian Life (A Theology of Lordship) by John Frame

Doctrine of Christian Life John Frame

Description: I enjoyed this book as a text on Christian ethics that utilize the Bible, philosophy, apologetics and comes from a Reformed Van Tillian perspective!

My Review

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

 

6.) The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas E. Ricks

The Gamble General David Petraeus

Description: I have really enjoyed the author’s insight into the military and this books goes into the details of the Surge in Iraq and the Generals who led it.  Very informative and insightful, a must read for every military officer.

My Review

Purchase: Amazon

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Patricia-Ward-main

I know around Halloween there is always debate among Christians about whether or not Christians should participate.

I’m not entering the foray and pick up on the origin of Halloween, etc.  I want to focus narrowly more on how the way some people dress up and decorate for Halloween is something that celebrate the grotesque and unusual violence that alone is enough for me not wanting to do anything with it or tolerate that it’s okay for one time a year.

Let me begin by saying that my revulsion towards Halloween has nothing to do with being “sheltered.”  I think I’ve seen more dead bodies, horrible wounds and other terrible physical suffering than most, or at least most people my age, having been a Marine veteran.  Actually, I think it is actually seeing the morbid ways people get killed that drives me to find Halloween’s morbid decorations and costumes repulsive.

The question in the back of my mind is this: “What is the reality that some of the morbid decoration depict?  What is it that some people spend so much time and energy trying to depict as real as possible, that is somehow entertaining?”

A couple of days ago in Fox News there was a news piece that caught my attention titled, “Professor beheaded in what witnesses first thought was Halloween prank

Here’s an excerpt to the story:

A man with a history of psychiatric problems beheaded his mother in her Long Island, N.Y., apartment late Tuesday and then dragged the body and head out onto a street, where onlookers initially thought they were witnessing a macabre Halloween prank, police and witnesses said.

Patricia Ward, 66, was killed inside her apartment by her son, 35-year-old Derek Ward, who jumped in front of a commuter train near the Farmingdale, N.Y., home moments later, killing himself, Nassau County police said.

The story goes on to say

Witnesses told the New York Post they saw Derek Ward drag his mother’s body out of the building and onto the street, where he kicked her head some 20 feet before going to a nearby railroad track and jumping in front of an eastbound Long Island Railroad train approximately 25 minutes later. Police said his body was found about a mile from the apartment, where the two had moved recently from the neighboring county.

On the street in front of the apartment, witnesses described a gruesome scene first thought to be part of a prank.

“There was blood all over the floor,” neighbor Nick Gordon told the Post. “You can see smears going down the stairs … as if somebody were pulling a body.”

Witnesses told the Post that some of the woman’s neighbors initially thought the headless body in the street was a Halloween prank, only to discover the body was real after attempting to lift it.

Witness Jack Imperial, 41, of Queens, was taking a taxi to a meeting when he came across the grisly scene, he told the New York Daily News.

“The body’s feet were at the curb, the shoulders were at the middle of the street. The head was across the street,” Imperial told the newspaper. “I’ve seen some gruesome stuff in my years of living … but nothing like this. I didn’t expect to see something like this, especially not out here.”

A night dispatcher at Yellow Cab in Farmingdale, blocks from where the woman’s was found, told Newsday drivers also “thought it was a Halloween prank.”

“At first, everyone thought it was like a Halloween prank,” neighbor Barbara Smalls told The Associated Press, recalling Wednesday morning how she had seen the sheet-covered body. She also “thought maybe it was a mob hit or something.”

Note how much emphasis there is by witnesses that looks like a Halloween prank.  Halloween decor has gotten so realistic, one might be incline to see a real violent crime scene as something not real.

Imagine if people didn’t realize the crime scene was real: they would have walked away smiling and enjoying the “view.”  It is “entertaining.”

But upon realizing it’s real how do people react?

Grossed out.  Disgusted.  Surprised.  Shock.  Horror.  And for some, they use words like “I am traumatized.”

Should we be entertained by audio and visual stimuli that celebrate the violent violation of humanity as made in the image of God?

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How Shall We then Live SchaefferThose of you who have followed us on Veritas Domain knows that Francis Schaeffer is someone that comes up from time to time in our posts.  Francis Schaeffer was a great Christian apologist and evangelist that was a student of Cornelius Van Til who developed his apologetics in his own direction.

For the month of September 2014 Christian Audio has made available for free the audio book of Schaeffer’s Classic, How Shall We Then Live?

I enjoyed reading this book about ten years ago and also the documentary series that Schaeffer produced with his son.

You can get the audio book if you click HERE.

 

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Hitler's Philosophers

 Available on Amazon

I’m glad that Yale Press published this.  When I first saw this book I knew I had to read it for two reasons:  As someone who enjoys intellectual history, this book will no doubt touch on the ideas and philosophy that influenced Hitler (or to be more charitable, it would point out the ideological capitals Hitler used to persuade people to his policies).  Secondly, we see an increase in the last fifteen years of historical works addressing the question of how did a mad man managed to lead a civilized people towards barbaric policies with the focus of the complicity of various institution, from the Pope, the church, scientists, social sciences and the universities.  In the same vein, this works show the intersection of philosophy/philosophers with Hitler/Nazism.  The book definitely fulfilled the initial reasons for why I wanted to read the book.

The author divided the book into two parts. The first section focused on Hitler and philosophy, and on the philosophers who collaborated with the Nazi’s ideological vision.  The second section concentrated on German philosophers that the Nazi opposed.  It is a big endeavor the author pursued since each section of the book can easily be the focus of a book-length treatment.

Chapter one was a mini-ideological biography of Hitler and what philosophers he liked and who and what influenced him.  I appreciated the chapter’s focus of the early years of Hitler before political opportunism seasoned his rhetoric and when he was passionately frank about what he believed during the lowest point of his life in a German prison.  The author worked through materials not only from Hitler’s writing and speech (he tend to brag about his intellectual prowess) but also sources from early supporters and friends.  I think chapter one definitely establishes the Nietzsche influence in Hitler’s worldview.  Chapter one also indirectly contributes to the debate of whether Hitler was a Christian or not, and what degree he was a Christian if he was one.  If one understands Hitler’s philosophy its very hard-pressed to see how his atheistic Nietzschean beliefs is compatible with Christian theism.

Chapter two looked at the historic philosophers and philosophies that Hitler invoked in his ideology.  For those familiar with philosophy the main idea of these philosophers are nothing new.  What is interesting and new to many is the thread of anti-Semitism among these philosophers, some of them who are important canons of Western philosophy.  The author is nuance in describing how these philosophers are not “Nazis” and many of these philosophers would probably be surprised with how someone like Hitler would invoke their name and thoughts.  I do think that these philosophers do project a trajectory that Hitler later borrowed and build his own philosophy upon.

Chapters three through five focused on the collaborators with Hitler’s Germany, with chapter three being specifically about the Nazi figures who controlled academia and German philosophy while chapter four and five look at the specific example of philosopher of jurisprudence Carl Schmitt and existentialist Martin Heidegger respectively.  Most interesting of this section is the author’s argument that Heidegger was more than an opportunists but one who embraced Hitler’s Nazi’s ideology wholeheartedly.  I think the author presented an excellent case.

Chapters six through nine focuses on philosophers the Nazis opposed.  We read of the tragic story of the Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin who committed suicide when he was unable to flee from the Nazis and the exile of Theodor Adorno.  The best known of the philosophers in this section is Hannah Arendt, a Jewish woman who managed to escape from the Nazis.  In juxtaposition to Arendt is the story of Kurt Huber who as a philosopher spoke out against Nazi beliefs in the classroom and involved with the White Rose resistance movement that led to his execution.  Here is a heroic philosophical martyr who dared to oppose the Nazis.  The author laments of how Huber is little known today because of his resistance to the Nazis.

 

What I learned

This book re-affirmed to me the maxim that ideas have consequences.  Though it is a bit tangent from the book, there is no political systems that are philosophically neutral: there is some kind of worldview driving one’s political theory and at minimum we can say some philosophers will be willing mercenaries for political agendas in order to advance their academic careers, their school of thoughts, etc (Kuhn’s theory of the structure for scientific revolution is applicable in evaluating social sciences and the humanities as well).

From this book I learned of the composer Richard Wagner and his influence upon Nietzsche.   From there the book also show how Nietzsche’s idea shape other influential members of the Nazi party.

Perhaps the most surprising thing I learned was Heidegger’s adulterous affair with Hannah Arendt.  In one of history’s incredibly ironic moments, we see this famous philosopher whom the Nazis earned great intellectual credibility with him on their side, being caught up with a Jewish woman.   One sees how personal affair can shape one’s philosophy in the instance of Hannah Arendt beliefs in the war and after.

What I want to look up more on

I love looking through the endnotes and the bibliography of the book for it provides a treasure trove of references for further studies.  It is a wonderful way to acquaint oneself with the primary sources and scholarly secondary sources.

This book also made me realize I need to study more of certain philosophers.  Martin Heidegger is someone that I want to look up more beyond the few selected readings from my days in undergraduate.  I have always heard the name Schopenhauer but don’t really know what he believes.

Drawback

I wished the book would have adopted Chicago style format since it was rather annoying for me as someone who reads all the endnotes to turn from the page I’m reading to the end notes and then again to the bibliography.  I don’t find this kind of format being conducive to readers’ attention to the sources (why give citation anyways when your format discourage its use?).

Conclusion

Excellent work.  I wholeheartedly recommend it and I think those acquainted with philosophy would get the most out of it.

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Liberal Fascism Goldberg

Most people misunderstand what fascism really is.  The stock response usually has something to do with Hitler and Nazi Germany (which they were).  While the Nazis were fascists, it does not follow therefore that fascism is the same thing as Nazism, since Nazi ideology wouldn’t make sense in defining Italian fascism under Mussolini.  This book argues the thesis that Left-leaning progressives have a lot more in common with fascism and that what fascism is creeping into the West in the form and imagery of contemporary “liberalism.”  This book is part history and part political commentary of today’s politics and makes for a fascinating read.  As a result of this book I want to explore the history of Mussolini’s rise to power in Italy, since the book argues that Mussolini was a lot more brighter than we give credit to him today since we see him as nothing more than a mere stooge for Hitler.  This book also makes me want to study more deeper the history of the rise of the Nazis since this book explores the question of how exactly did an evil government under Hitler ever achieved the power it had when there were many ordinary citizens in Germany.  How Mussolini and Hitler rose to power should be a cautionary tale of today’s rise of power of the Federal Government.  The author does a good job arguing that the Left’s caricature of Hitler and Mussolini as far right extremists is not accurate at all but they belong more appropriately with the Left with their socialism and Statism.  I also enjoyed the book for its discussion of Fascist economics; the author makes an excellent observation of how government regulation of business paradoxically brings in more business intrusion into government via lobbyists.  The explosive growth of lobby industry in Washington D.C. is a good example of that.  Can we blame the business if they are out to protect their interests when every regulation for an industry will impact them?  The unintended consequence of this is that big businesses in their industry have advantage for these regulations so as to kill smaller competitors with more regulations and need for more employees (and specialists such as lawyers, accountants, etc) to follow through with the regulation.  What you end up producing is a fascist-like relationship of government and businesses.  The irony of government intruding in business is that it brings every business interests into the affair of politics, either to go against a competitor or defend against a competitor.  There are so many other things that are insightful; one just has to read the book instead of a mere review.

ORDER IT NOW ON AMAZON!

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Obama's America

Purchase: Amazon

To be upfront, I really don’t like the author but I did like the book.  My bias against the author has to do with the fact that when I read his previous books I get the feeling he’s kind of full of himself and it’s distracting.  I also think Dinesh D’Souza is terrible when he writes in the area of Christian apologetics or theology.  Of course his extramarital affair doesn’t help.  Yet with all the biases stacked up against him, surprisingly I did find this particular book compelling.  Readers might want to read the author’s first work on Obama, The Root of Obama’s Rage.  Both books argues that Obama is not just driven by the generic liberal Democrat worldview of Statism; rather, Obama is driven by an anticolonial worldview.  One sees this shaped in his complicated upbringing (or lack of), his ideological influence as a young man by his mentors, etc.  Like the first book D’Souza argues that this has better explanatory power for Obama’s decision and policy than Obama being an African American Liberal Democrat.  He’s has not been excited or contributed at all the agenda of Black democrats.

This book was also helpful in seeing D’Souza’s response to some of the negative reviews and attack against him in his first book.  For instance, some critics have misrepresented the author as an extremist and a “birther” but D’Souza has never implied Obama is not a US citizen; instead he has made it clear in both books how he thinks that is crazy.

What I like about this second book is that it further refines D’Souza’s original thesis.  Earlier D’Souza has made out the mom to be a victim of Obama’s father promiscuous and irresponsibility as a parent to the young Obama; but in light of new research D’Souza discovered that the mom was also quite sexually promiscuous as well.  Her desire to the feminist life style must be taken into account and modify the argument in the first book that it was the mom’s intent to keep Obama ideologically pure from the step-father’s pro-Western sympathies that led the mom to send her son back to Hawaii to be raised by Obama’s grandparents.  The other reason for her to tell her son she must go is also for her own independence.

Much more could be said about the book but I recommend you to read the book for yourself.

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What's Your Worldview James Anderson

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Crossway Publishing and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

For some time now I wanted to see a work by an apologists from the Presuppositionalists perspective written primarily for non-Christians.   It seems most works by Presuppositionalists is to teach believers biblical apologetics.  Yet it is also important to directly address unbelievers with Presuppositional apologetics.  I think James Anderson does a masterful job of filling this much needed void with his upcoming book What’s Your Worldview?  The format of the book makes this work very engaging:  For those who are familiar with the children book series “Choose Your Own Adventure,” Dr. Anderson in similar fashion has short chapters that ask various questions and how you answer according to your view will dictate what page you turn to—and also what are the consequences for those ideas.  Not all consequences are pretty!  In fact, most worldviews Dr. Anderson points out is irrational or unlivable if one tries to go by with it consistently.  In this fashion the author is to be commended for making the readers think about what they believe and refute irrational worldviews in a creative and engaging way.  It is already wonderful that the book is informative and interactive but Anderson’s humor makes it even better.  The author is witty.  The book also makes it clear that it is not meant to be the last word on worldviews and I would definitely agree—it is a short book.  The author tries hard to avoid unwarranted generalization and interact with the major worldviews and thought in the West today, although I think he does better than that with his awareness and response to some of the worldviews popular in the East.  For instance, he talks about Pantheism and also made a good distinction between Pantheism and Panentheism.  I suppose the only thing I have to disagree with the book is Anderson’s definition of religion and worldview.  It seems to me that the two are quite synonymous, if we understand religion as “ultimate commitment.”  But this is a minor point.  Overall an excellent work, even though I have a review copy in electronic file I plan to purchase the paperback when it comes out.  One should definitely remember the name James Anderson for Lord willing, we will see more quality books and scholarly papers articulating and defending the Christian faith.

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

You can follow the author’s blog HERE.

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Every Good Endeavor Keller

Purchase: Westminster | Amazon

This works explore the Gospel implication towards the area of work and career. I wish there were more books on work from a Christian perspective that’s Gospel driven. While Tim Keller doesn’t answer everything concerning a Christian view of work, the book does manage to do a good job of laying down the foundation of a Christian view of work—and as a result this book was better than I originally expected. I appreciated Keller’s consciousness of worldviews—and worldviews as meta-narratives. If one’s foundational presuppositions (what Keller calls “first order beliefs”) is off, then it would definitely lead to practical problems concerning work and employment. The book is divided into three section—God’s plan for work, our problem with work and the Gospel and Work. The conscious reader will noticed this three fold division of the book reflects the Christian Creation, Fall Redemption motif. This is definitely a reflection of Keller’s attempt to address the issue of work from the Gospel. I thought the book was nuance enough to deal with some of the complexity of work in today’s sin-saturated world: Keller is careful enough in his work to make sure a Christian view of work doesn’t make one self-righteous, thinking they are necessarily better than non-believers at work. Bringing the Reformed doctrine of Common Grace, he accounts for why non-Christians can sometimes even do their work better than Christians! And this is true in spite of the destructive world views some people hold to. In addition, Keller pointed out that for the Christian we don’t work to be accepted but the Gospel declares we already accepted by God because our sins are atoned for by Jesus. Therefore, we are free from the shackles of self when we work because we now live to please God—there is no need to seek work and accomplishments at work as a form of salvation. Keller also noted how the reality of sin means our work will be frustrated in this side of eternity and that we should expect it—yet our eternity in heaven means we might finish some of our task that’s our deepest longing then. If one follows Keller’s footnotes you will definitely tell that he’s a man who reads much and quite diversely. I only have two criticisms of the book: The first being in chapter six his approach to the book of Ecclesiastes adopt the outlook and conclusion of theological liberals such as his belief that the book had two narrators, the book was not authored by Solomon and thereby the genre was a “fictional biography,” etc. I was surprised at his omission of any conservative arguments to the contrary. Secondly, in a section of chapter eight in which Keller was talking about the idols of Postmodern cultures, he writes that “ultimately postmodern thought makes an idol out of reality as it is” (145). I would disagree: I think postmodernity’s idol is not reality per se, but “perspectives” and “perceptions” of that reality, in which one can only get a “slice” of what is real, provided if we can know it depending on the particular Postmodernist. Postmodern’s theme that there is no objective knowledge given our participation in the process of knowing things slant it to idolize fragmenting knowledge into tribes such as Asian American, post-colonial, post-Christian, feminists perspective, etc.

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