Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Moral Implications of Belief in an Afterlife

If someone truly believes that life continues after death, how would this affect his choices and actions in life? We die, but our lives go on somewhere else. In fact, this “somewhere else” is characterized as a supremely better place. Believers actually want to go to this “somewhere else” they imagine awaiting them beyond the grave.

There’s a profound, unmistakable contrast between a worldview which does not indulge fantasies about an afterlife, and those which do. Obviously there’s the orientation towards facts to be consider: a worldview informed by facts which we discover by looking outward at reality and identify by means of an objective process, will recognize that life is biological in nature and that consciousness is an attribute of some biological organism, and consequently find no evidence for the notion that consciousness survives the death of an organism possessing it.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Futility of the Apologetic Appeal to “Revelation”

A visitor commenting on my blog For Jonathan has asked me to comment on statements made by Christian apologist Jonathan Bradford towards the end of this item: Debate: Defending Christian Epistemology against an Objectivist. In the statements found there, Jonathan makes it clear that he appeals to “revelation” as the source of his religious knowledge.

For example, Jonathan declares that “Christian epistemology” is:
an epistemology based upon the foundation of divine revelation from the omniscient, omnipotent, infallible source of all knowledge.
I have to say, ever since learning about rational epistemology, I’ve always found it deeply puzzling when thinkers suppose that epistemology and “revelation” can go together. Christians claim revelation as a source for their knowledge.

Friday, February 14, 2014

At a Loss for Words: Rick Warden's Latest Comment

On occasion some of my readers have criticized my blog entries for being too lengthy, that I am too wordy, that I apparently have too much to say. It is true, I do have a lot to say, and I can’t sit on it. I cannot stand still and just watch what’s happening to the world I’m living in and do nothing. The old adage has it that the pen is mightier than the sword, and much of history supports this view. I'm doing my best to do my small part.

So it might come as a surprise to my readers when I am struck with a loss for words. This does not happen often for me, but it did happen this evening, at least temporarily, when I opened my e-mail and saw a comment posting from Rick Warden on his own blog entry saying something that was so bizarrely false that I really did lose my voice for a few moments.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Reply to Matthias on Subjectivism and the Believer

This is the sixth and final installment in my interaction with a comment which Matthias McMahon of Choosing Hats posted on my blog Confessions of a Vantillian Subjectivist. In this entry, I explore the question of how subjectivism may express itself in the believer’s worldview affirmations. My original blog entry explains how subjectivism in metaphysics is indispensable to the Christian worldview: it affirms the existence of a conscious subject which creates its own objects, zaps physical things into being, alters their identity, controls their actions, etc., all by an act of will. Thus in terms of the subject-object relationship according to such teachings, the subject of consciousness holds metaphysical primacy over its objects. In previous interactions with Matthias’ comment in this series of blog entries, I have explored this matter further and cited additional evidence to confirm this observation of Christian metaphysics.

Of course, subjectivism in metaphysics leads to subjectivism in epistemology. Man’s knowledge needs a source of inputs informing it. How does he acquire these inputs? The objective approach is the epistemological model by which man looks outward at the facts of reality which exist and are what they are independent of his conscious activity. The task of consciousness in this case is to perceive, identify and integrate the facts he discovers by looking outward. This approach is called objective because it rests explicitly on and is guided by the recognition that the objects of consciousness exist and are what they are independent of conscious activity. In terms of the subject-object relationship, then, the objects of consciousness hold metaphysical primacy.

But, as has been indicated so far, and as we shall see confirmed below, the believer does not acquire input for his god-beliefs by looking outward at the world. When we look outward at the world, we do not find any gods or consciousnesses which can zap physical things into existence or alter the identity of objects by an act of will. On the contrary, to find these things, the believer must look inward, consulting the contents of his imagination, his preferences, his wishing, his emotions, etc., and calling it “revelation.” In such a way we find that subjectivism in metaphysics necessitates subjectivism in epistemology.

Below I will explore how subjectivism can manifest itself in the believer’s worldview claims, survey various expressions of subjectivism, and highlight examples from the Christian bible which both model and encourage subjectivism in the believer’s own interaction with reality.