5 Threats Of Demanding Certainty To Change Your Beliefs

Introduction

With the continual exposure to scientific, historical, and philosophical evidence for God’s existence, I am continually reminded of just how strong the case for God is, in general, and the truth of Christianity specifically. Often times I wonder how someone can have enough faith to be an atheist. It is often claimed by skeptics of God’s existence, and specifically the intelligent design argument, that it is best to not conclude the necessity of a designer until all naturalistic possibilities have been exhausted. This seems to provide a safe, reasonable haven for the skeptic faced with the evidence. But is it really reasonable and thus, safe? What are the implications of this claim? I want to take a few minutes to examine the reasonableness of this escape route.

There exists three possible explanations for natural phenomena: chance, necessity, and design. If chance and necessity are eliminated, then there is no other option except design. The skeptic’s claim reacts to the design proponents’ attempts to rule out chance. As long as humanity does not reach omniscience and research continues, the appeal to what we do not yet know prevents us from being certain that the decision to remove chance from the table of options is correct. While this does seem to make sense, five threatening implications do come to mind that should make us question its reasonableness. [Read more…]

Are Christians Inherently Biased?

Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of samuiblue at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There seems to be the perception in society today that Christians are inherently biased. Of course Christians cannot be great scientists for example because they are going to bring a religious agenda to the table that will color their research. Is it true? Are Christians inherently biased when they approach a subject? [Read more…]

The New Frontier in Apologetics – An Open Letter to the Apologetics Community

open letterDear Colleague:

It’s time for Christianity to reclaim the intellectual high ground we once held. That means you and I have a lot of work to do. Chances are some of it will be different from what we’ve been doing. There is a new frontier in
apologetics today. The big questions are no longer what they used to be. And most of us are just beginning to see it.

It’s no longer mostly about discovering new reasons to believe in Christ, and it’s not primarily about finding ways to counter atheists’ objections. Those are still important questions, but they’re not the big one; they’re not at the frontier. The reason is simple: that work’s been done. No, I don’t mean there’s nothing new to discover, far from it—I’m working on a new version of the moral argument myself. What I mean is that generally speaking, with just a few exceptions, for every hard question out there we already have a good answer. Several good answers, actually for most questions. [Read more…]

The Value of Extra-Biblical Knowledge (Tolle Lege)

Doing-Philosophy-as-a-Christian

Christians are sometimes afraid of claims of knowledge that come from sources outside of the Bible, especially if those claims are being made by non-Christians.  It’s sometimes tempting to think that if a statement can’t be backed up by a Scriptural reference, or if the speaker or writer hasn’t been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, then whatever they say is suspect at best.  Yet, there are vast areas of knowledge that Scripture doesn’t address and that other human beings–believer and non-believer alike–have expertise in, and from whom we can learn.

In their preface to the Christian Worldview Integration Series, J. P. Moreland and Francis Beckwith address this common but misguided attitude, and show its shortcomings from Christian history and Scripture.  They begin by alluding to an address John Wesley gave to a group of clergy in 1756.*   [Read more…]

Søren Kierkegaard: A Christian Thinker

In my previous treatment of Kierkegaard (S.K., hereafter) as a relevant Christian thinker of our day, I drew upon basic themes in S.K. to illuminate an apologetic for the imagination, so to speak. One of these basic yet classic themes in S.K. was “truth as subjectivity.” For such a phrase, S.K. has (wrongfully) been acclaimed a relativist, or a fideist.

But my goodness! S.K. has also been said to be a European moralist, a postmodernist, an existentialist, a poet, a psychologist, and much more. Among the receptions of 20th century scholarship there is also a cloud of smoke: the reader’s (sometimes reluctant) yielding to S.K.’s desire to be read as he intended, or attempting to retrieve an understanding of the “man” through his Journals, among other such “clouds.” I wish to take S.K. to round two of the battlefied; not of an attack upon “Establishment Christianity” (as he saw it), but to a retrieval of S.K. from his critics [1].

Setting the Record Straight 

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855) is a very interesting philosopher and individual who has gained my undivided attention over the past year. His use of indirect communication, irony, satire, and impressive wit make him a rather unprecedented – or perhaps ‘unusual’ – thinker of his time. Even as a boy, by the testament of fellow classmates [2], he was not one blessed with the powers of physical strength, but God nonetheless left him with his uncanny wit, so that he might not be left completely defenseless. As one classmate recollects:

As a boy, he did not have the least trace of the great poetic gifts he later developed. Now and then, when our classmate H. P. Holst would read us his attempts at poetry or a Danish composition which displayed his poetic talents, S.K. was always one of the first to interupt his reading by throwing a book at his head (Kirmmse 1996, 8).

Other instances such as this, left the young S.K. (“fork” as he was called) with much of a beating from other classmates he annoyed and ridiculed. Such a wit he maintained and executed all throughout his life. However, should the reader not be too upset, I would like to (though it is custom) pass over a biographical sketch of S.K. and get right to the meat of his thought (please see note [3] on this). The question of this article is basically this: Is Kierkegaard a relevant Christian thinker for today? [4]

[Read more…]