Friday, July 29, 2016

Prayer Wishes and Paranoia

Earlier this month over on Triablogue, Steve Hays posted an entry titled What do you do when no one is watching you? in which he tackles what he calls “the problem of unanswered prayer” with respect to a parable concerning a careless servant. (As exhibits, Hays quotes Mark 11:24, in which a promise that prayers will be answered is thrust into Jesus’ mouth, and a parable found in Matthew 24:45-51 - let this be a warning to all you servants out there!)


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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"I'll pray for you"

It’s not unusual for defenders of the Christian worldview to close a conversation with non-believers with the words, “I’ll pray for you.” I’ve heard this many times, and I’ve also seen it written in correspondence many times. Quite often this final adieu comes out as a last gasp signaling, not so much a defeat as surrender or even a sign of intellectual resignation, as if the believer had come to a dead end in his thinking. It may be nothing more than code for, “I don’t know what else to say,” which would embody a kernel of honesty.

At the same time, the believer parting with these words from a conversation which has proven evangelistically futile, may just be trying to get under the non-believer’s skin in an effort to rankle his nerves and drive home the point that, as a non-believer, he doesn’t have recourse to supernatural power, while presumably the believer does.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Frame vs. Poythress on the Notion of ‘Chance’

As a matter of thoughtless routine, Christian apologists the internet over love to accuse non-believers of believing in “a chance universe.” Typically the drive-by apologists who repeat this charge don’t elaborate on the matter or explain what exactly they mean. But it’s clear they think this is in itself a most damning infraction inherent to “atheism” (as though atheism were a “worldview”).

But what do apologists mean by “chance” in such contexts? Well, I’ve not found any definitions for this radioactive term in any of my bibles. We could infer from the context of apologists’ own statements, but this leaves the burden of divining the meaning of what apologists intend to say too much on the shoulders of those who are trying to understand them. Can’t apologists make their own terms clear? Can’t they explain why the charge of “believing in a universe of chance” is really so dreadful?

To put it mildly, apologists give mixed signals on the matter.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

The "Mistakes of Apostates"

Last fall over on Triablogue, Steve Hays posted yet another blog entry maligning the character of “apostates” – i.e., former adherents of the Christian worldview. I suggest that everyone read Hays’ blog entry before reading what I have to say in response to it. Even more, as an exercise in critical thinking, form your own response to what Hays has to say before reading what I have to say below. Then come and read what I say and let me know what I’ve overlooked.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Incinerating Presuppositionalism: Year Eleven

The years are rolling by quickly, which means that the content on my blog continues to grow!

As is my “tradition” here at IP, each year on my blog’s birthday (the first entry being posted on March 26, 2005), I am posting the list of blog entries that I have published since the last anniversary of my blog, a year ago today. This entry will be placed in line with all the previous anniversary entries on the sidebar of my blog’s main landing page, for convenient reference.

Last year I reached the 400th blog entry, which may not seem like a huge number given the 10 years that those entries span. But keep in mind two points: one, I do not have a “staff” which performs admin duties on my behalf and adds filler posts here and there just for the heck of it – I’m all by my little lonesome here, jealously keeping all the fun to myself; two, the vast majority of my blog entries, as readers should already know, are fairly sizeable (recall all the complaints that my blog entries are “verbose” and “longwinded”) as I typically do more than just touch the surface of the matters that tackle.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

"Don't you dare disbelieve!"

We have already seen many ways in which faith opposes reason. (cf. here.) Thus we can say with certainty that a culture which predominantly adheres to faith is a culture inherently opposed to reason. It is because the vast majority of cultures throughout human history have, to one degree or another, set faith as a guiding virtue, that a culture which adheres to reason has been such a rarity.

One of the Enlightenment’s most valuable gifts to the world, a gift which has been rejected by most of it, is the concept of the separation of church and state. The development of this concept is testimony to the brilliant wisdom of America’s founders, a wisdom that has been taken for granted, distorted beyond recognition and trampled through a long series of Terminator-style assaults on individual liberty.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Creationism, the Universe, and Imagination

Religious apologists have a very limited set of gimmicks to use in defense of their theistic confessions. When more philosophical strategies focusing on the nature of knowledge, the source of morality, and criticism of rival philosophical viewpoints reach their stress point, apologists predictably fall back to questions such as “Where did it all come from?” and “Why is there something instead of nothing?” Or, as GotQuestions.org puts it, “Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?”

Such questions haunt the religious mind as never-resolvable puzzles that can only be put to rest by positing a supernatural mind. Why is this?

I think the most illuminating answer to why such questions persist in the apologetic arsenal of most religious thinkers, is one which does not help their religious cause. And this has chiefly to do with the role that the imagination plays in the very conceiving of such questions.

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