Just What I Needed To Hear

Posted in Encouragement on  | 5 minutes | 28 Comments →

I’ve got a whole heap of posts brewing right now, but none of them are quite ready to pour. So, seeing as how I’ll be undergoing surgery Friday and probably unable to post until next week, I figured I’d at least throw something out there for readers to digest in the meantime.

A few weeks back, Matt left this comment, which contained a link to Victor Reppert’s blog, Dangerous Idea. I had seen the name around, but hadn’t spent any time on the blog. Since the link in Matt’s comment was directly related to our Responding To Universalism discussion, I had to investigate. What I found was one of the better Christian philosophy blogs around. I added it to my links sidebar, and have made a habit to check in semi-regularly. In a nutshell, I’m a fan of Victor’s approach: he has a tendency to parse through the details and clarify things, and—more importantly—he tends to let the reader think for themselves. Victor’s style is more, “having an intelligent discussion with oneself,” than, “let me interpret the facts for you then belittle you if you disagree,” the latter being unfortunately prominent amongst (a)theist blogs.

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Hey Atheists, It’s Right Here

Posted in Atheism, Religion, Responses on  | 8 minutes | 10 Comments →

As we mentioned yesterday, Greta Christina – an atheist blogger whom I actually admire – has written another post garnering strong support from the aetheosphere. The post is titled, "Hey Religious Believers, Where's Your Evidence?" As you might expect, it's both a challenge to believers to "show Greta the money" as well as an armchair psychoanalysis of the subset of believers who fail to rise to her challenge.

The Chaplain has taken me to task for what she feels is an incomplete critique of Greta's post, so today I intend to discuss it more thoroughly.

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TWIM / RvA Dialog II

Posted in Blogosphere, Responses, RVA Dialog on  | 8 minutes | No Comments →

jim at RvA has responded to Asteroids, Cathode Rays & Requisite Knowledge, Pt. II, and once again, my response follows.

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TWIM / RvA Dialog: Introduction

Posted in Blogosphere, Responses, RVA Dialog on  | 7 minutes | 7 Comments →

jim has challenged me to what he offers as a "better way to debate." He's written a rebuttal to last week's post Asteroids, Cathode Rays & Requisite Knowledge, and invited me to write a response to his rebuttal, which he's agreed to post in its original entirety on his blog. 

I accepted the challenge, and my response follows.

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The Masoretic-Greek Hypothesis: An Introduction

Posted in Bible, Blogosphere, Religion, Responses, Thinking Critically on  | 2 minutes | 31 Comments →

The basic concept behind the Masoretic-Greek Hypothesis (hereafter MGH) could be summarized as going to the source. Let's face it: the Christianity that many believers argue is indeed a moving target. Although I think it's an intellectual cop-out, I sympathize with atheists and unbelieving skeptics when they accuse believers of trotting out Courtier's Replies. Who wants to get bogged down trying to harmonize all the differing opinions of mainline religions and lesser sects, each of whom claim to be eating from the same salad bar called the Bible? Certainly not me. On the other hand, I sympathize with believers when they accuse atheists and unbelieving skeptics of gross negligence in their characterizations of religion.

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A Problem Of Evil: Did I Violate Omni-Benevolence?

Posted in Atheism, Ethics, Logic, Philosophy, Quickies, Religion on  | 3 minutes | 38 Comments →

I’m one of those people who thinks the Problem of Evil is far from solved. I know, I know… the audacity, right? Skeptics and atheists claim the Problem of Evil logically disqualifies certain definitions of God, specifically the Omni^3 God typically advanced by Judeo-Christian monotheists. I concede that this polemic has been commonly repeated in philosophy circles for over 2,000 years now, but is it true? I cannot consider the Problem of Evil any problem at all sans a reasonable explanation of when and why the allowance of suffering constitutes a genuine breach of omni-benevolence, and I maintain that the burden falls back to the skeptic to demonstrate how or why this is so. Earlier this week, a real-life scenario recalled this question to mind.

I sometimes work in a publishing warehouse where customers can ring a doorbell to signify their presence at the Western entrance. Late one evening this week, somebody rang the bell. I opened up the window and stuck my head outside, where I saw a man and a woman with a baby. I knew instantly that they weren’t our customers, and I made the reasonable presupposition they were here to see a tenant in the residential part of the building. So, being in “work-mode,” I initially ignored them and was about to go “back to work” when the human factor kicked in. Just because they weren’t our customers didn’t mean they didn’t need help, so I returned to the window. My next intuition was to immediately engage them, but that curiously gave way to a competing intuition suggesting I merely observe for a moment, remaining watchful to ensure they got whatever it was they needed, but still granting enough confidence in their independence to assume they can solve their own problems without my meddling. A brief moment passed.

I noticed the Bay cold along with their momentary uncertainty was causing the woman to suffer. The cold itself had been causing me to suffer all day long, and I was certain where I was – inside the warehouse with a hooded sweatshirt on! No sooner than I could ask myself another question or respond to another intuition, a tenant let them inside of the building, and they were once again happy and warm.

Although it’s certainly nice that this story has a happy ending, did I violate the principle of omni-benevolence in that brief moment of observance?

*See Also:

PE/QS vs. O^3 God, I

What Do You Mean By God?

More Lee-ky Responses To Strobel & Co.

Posted in Atheism, Blogosphere, Religion, Responses, Skepticism on  | 8 minutes | 3 Comments →

For the past few days, I've been evaluating various responses to Lee Strobel's questions that were posted on FriendlyAtheist. My latest stop was at a blog whose title I liked, Life Before Death, and is hosted by "biology student, secular humanist, beekeeper and Swede," Felicia Gilljam.

Now, in all honesty, those of you expecting something new here might be let down, and that's where perhaps most people on all sides can agree on Strobel's questions. Many are admittedly the same old washed-up ontological arguments one has already heard, especially if they've been even remotely following philosophy, religion and/or science for the past few years.

But what also discourages me is how overconfident many on the atheist & skeptic side seem to be in the perceived validity of some responses. Most every skeptical response I've seen to these questions contains some degree of logic-leak from drip to wave, yet in threads, too many skeptic backpatters rally around their dead fish like Piggy and the archetypal boys on Goldman's Lord of the Flies, proud and gleeful that they've pulled such beauts out of the barrel and aptly skewered them!

But how skewered are they? Let's take a look at three more and find out.

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And We’re Back At Square One! or, My Response To “The Big Guns”

Posted in Atheism, Blogosphere, Pop Culture, Religion, Responses, Skepticism on  | 9 minutes | 6 Comments →

So atheist-turned-believer Lee Strobel apparently offered to answer questions from the thread over at FriendlyAtheist, and I think Hemant (the site owner) has a really cool thing going by having this little dialog.

However, if you want to stump atheists with tough questions, the first thing you don't do is dust off the same batch of washed-up ontological arguments and let them go extra rounds. Although we can agree on lots of other issues, Greta wrote a recent post whose subtitle was Greta Answers Some Theologians. I gotta admit, when I first saw the title in her email notice, I immediately wondered with awe and even a bit of fear: Uh-Oh! Who'd she talk to? I imagined her giving Ted Haggard or somebody similar a proper railing! At the very least I'd envisioned an actual dialog with a theologian, much like what Hemant and Strobel have done.

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