About Maryann Spikes

Maryann Spikes is the original admin of the Christian Apologetics Alliance blog. She also blogs at Ichthus77. Maryann loves apologetics and philosophy, particularly all things Euthyphro Dilemma and Golden Rule. A para-educator (autism) for five years, she holds a Certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, an AA in Humanities via Modesto Junior College, and moonlights as a freelancer at Ichthus77.com. You can follow her on Twitter @Ichthus77, connect with the Ichthus77 community on Facebook, or look her up on Google+.

Does The Moral Argument Reify Subjective Morality?

http://filmandphilosophy.com/2013/03/07/platos-cave-and-the-cinema/

The prisoners in Plato’s parable of the cave reified the shadows. Does the moral argument do the same to subjective morality? Image source: http://filmandphilosophy.com/2013/03/07/platos-cave-and-the-cinema/

Matthew Lawrence wrote in this question and gave permission to blog it and my answer below:

Hello Christian Apologetics Alliance. I would like to first off say thank you for the resources that you’ve given to me. This has helped me boost my faith up greatly.

Also I was wondering if you can please help me with an objection to the moral argument. I was talking to a skeptic online about certain arguments that can help prove God’s existence. Another skeptic came in and accused the moral argument of being fallacious. The skeptic says that it “asserts necessarily subjective concepts (all concepts are subjective and relative by definition) are in fact real things, which is the reification fallacy.” 

Now I know something is fishy about his objection to the moral argument, but I can’t spot out where. Can you please help me?

Thank You Very Much!

~Matthew Lawrence.

________________

Here’s my answer:

1. If all concepts are merely subjective and none of them correspond to reality, and if all assertion relies on our ability to conceptualize, then all assertion is reification and nothing is actually (known to be) real. That is an extreme skepticism that fails to explain scientific progress. Ask him if he thinks there are any “real” conclusions that are reached without employing conceptualization, and without reifying in the process.

2. The divine command theory, if the commands are not grounded in God’s essential nature, does in fact commit the fallacy of reification. The commanding is the reifying.
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Initial Thoughts: Copan & Litwak’s “The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas”

UnknownThe CAA is participating in Apologetics 315’s weekly Read Along program. We are reading “The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World” by Paul Copan and Kenneth D. Litwak.

See the first announcement on the CAA Facebook page.

These are my initial thoughts:

This “context” topic has come up recently in my own circle of apologetics buddies, in terms of the tension between speaking German (“Christianese”) to someone who speaks Chinese on one extreme, and whispering sweet nothings to tickle the ears of the seeker on the other extreme.

We need to communicate the Gospel in a meaningful way without:

  • coming across as a resounding gong or clanging cymbal, or
  • watering it down

How do we do that?

This book zeroes in on Paul’s Mars Hill address in Athens, recorded in Acts–and I’m predicting that I’ve read something similar in Don Richardson’s “Eternity in their Hearts”–but Richardson covered many different cultures. I’m looking forward to a more in-depth treatment.

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Apologetics youth leader Q&A: What works?!

youthgroup_t_nv.220114305_stdI asked members of the CAA and subgroups: “If you lead a youth group that successfully incorporates apologetics, I need to know as soon as possible. I want to brag about your success to other youth pastors who seek info. on this. I need to know your style, as well.

This is what some of them answered—and this is just a small sampling of those who could have answered…I didn’t give them much advance notice!

[Note: At the end of this post you will find an invitation to do some Q&A with Brett Kunkle on how to equip youth!]

‪Mark S. Phillips‪ I lead a new high school apologetics group, ‪Maryann. We’re finishing our first half-year of existence. They seem really interested in what is presented; one student commented that all he ever learned in church was “Daniel in the lion’s den and Noah’s big old ark.” The students I have don’t know much in the way of doctrine, but they seem to be more interested in knowing they can use their brains in the faith. My main focus to-date has been the resurrection. But because the kids I have all seem to have grown up in church, I have taken time to present video testimonies of atheists who converted to Christianity and why they did so. They really enjoy the videos from exploreGod.com and also the Case for Christ. I’ve covered a bit on logical fallacies, arguments for the existence of God, understanding a world view that includes metaphysics, helping them to know they don’t have to be intimidated when someone challenges their worldview, and the exclusivity of Christ. Hope this helps. [Read more…]

Who needs answers when nobody’s askin’?

By Maryann Spikes. This is written to those of you who consider yourselves Christians but think you don’t need answers to tough questions because you don’t ask them and nobody asks them of you. I am thinking a lot about this and I’d love to hear if you think I am fully understanding where you are at. I want to know why no one is asking you questions, and here are my guesses:

If no one is asking you tough questions about what you believe, maybe it is because you aren’t telling many people that they are loved by God unconditionally*? There are a number of reasons people keep the gospel to themselves. Can you find yourself in the list below?

  • Unaware of your duty. You don’t know that you are unconditionally accepted by God, and you don’t know that the natural result of enjoying that acceptance is wanting to share it with others–and that we are commanded not to keep it to ourselves**. If this is you, find out more about God’s unchanging love for you and, once your cup is running over with it, share it around. There will be questions! [Read more…]

Poem: Does God allow evil and suffering?

img1367Does God allow evil and suffering?

Yes.
Can you look me level in the eyes
and tell me what some people do
to hurt little kids is not evil?

No.
Evil is real, but
how can someone
who doesn’t exist
allow anything?

Yes.
If evil is real,
then good is real.
But if good is real, what being
do you know
who is always good?
But here we are again.
Would a good God allow
evil and suffering?

[Read more…]