A longtime friend of mine (who refuses to add me on FB) has an excellent debate on DDO that you can read here. He argues from a thomistic perspective and succeeds quite well, might I add. I think he successively destroys the typical appeals to quantum mechanics. I’m sorry, but if you seriously think something can come from nothing, you’re not doing science, you’re doing magic.
A recent post on Dubito Deus critiques a popular argument from presuppositionalists called the Transcendental Argument (TAG). The TAG is known for arguing from necessary principles like logic to the conclusion that God is a necessary precondition for such principles . In other words, if you deny God’s existence, you deny logic and thereby commit yourself to mental absurdity. I am not a supporter of presuppostionalism as a complete methodology, but I do appreciate some of the insights it offers. In this particular instance though, I only want to defend classical logic in its metaphysical form as opposed to a more conventional form that modern philosophy has reduced it to. Formal systems of reasoning is a powerful tool for successive precision in one’s thinking but its limited to a particular set of rules, syntax, or symbols that form a set pattern for the structure of our arguments. In some cases however, I find these “non-classical” logics to be a rather superfluous (and meaningless) attempt at solving obscure problems that is best reserved for those who like technical mind games. I realize it may provide benefits in helping us formulate certain propositions more precisely but it tells us no more about reality than a programming language does.
There are multiple programming language (e.g, C , BASIC, Java, Objective-C, etc) that offer certain solutions to different operations within a computer. However, these varying means of preforming a function do not tell us about the function itself as much as it tells us how we actualize that function. Each language can do so in different ways, but the nature of that function should remain the same. For example, one language could use “PRINT ”Hello World!”“ and another could use ”printf( “hello worldn” );“ but each one should ultimately do the same thing – namely, output the words ”Hello World!“ into a window. One language could be simpler and another could be more complex in order to provide more precise control over things. You can debate all day over which one of these is better but it all depends on the kind of applications you want to develop. BASIC may be better suited for developing simple programs like calculators but C could be superior for gaming. However, just because these languages use different syntaxes does not make the function itself conventional. A language could even create a contradictory syntax and strangely arrive at some ”coherent” function but at that point, it just gets ridiculous.
If that’s all “conditional logics, relevant logics, paraconsistent logics, free logics, quantum logics, fuzzy logics” do then I think they’re useless in telling us what reality is. They’re useful for other purposes, to be sure, and can provide the kind of distinction between ideas that we need but without a metaphysical foundation, such things are simply absurd. Paraconsistent logic, for example, is said to allow for contradictions by removing the disjunctive syllogism and “proof of LNC” rules of inference . At this point, I cannot help but think this is simply semantic sophistry. If you want to avoid some linguistic problem (such as liar paradoxes) by creating an ad hoc system of logic then be my guest, but this is not what classical logic is about. Logicians have separated themselves from metaphysics today, but sometimes, when discussing the law of non-contradiction for example, their “conventional” understanding of logic is used to dismiss it or worse, is used to tell us that contradictory essences can exist in reality. Classical logic, on the other hand, is a metaphysical discipline of the intellect that is directed toward grasping the essences of things through the proper distinctions and the proper reasonings in a structural form. The means by which we understand these essences must itself be in response to a metaphysical understanding of reality, not as a trivial response to a linguistic problem.
Language itself ought to reflect essences and is itself a form of logic as far as it communicates our thoughts about things into a conventional form. Nonetheless, it is not the language itself by which we understand the essences of things, it is simply a creation of words and sounds that provide reference to the objects or actions in question. Insofar as language is understood in this manner, I think our attempts in being precise and distinct is good but not if it comes at the expense of our metaphysical foundation. Arguably, you could change “cat” to mean “jdfodo” just as the law of non-contradiction can be rendered meaningless in paraconsistent logic, but doing so does not removes how things are. For Aristotle, a denial of the law of non-contradiction amounts to the denial of essentialism . It’s like saying essence x and essence y are both the same and not the same in the same sense and at the same time. Either x is y or it is not. This conclusion is not dependent on some abstract rules of the elite, it just depends on whether it corresponds to reality and how well it coheres with our intellect or common sense .
Whatever is true of a proposition must be true to the degree by which the intellect truly grasps a universal, essence, or thing. Each instance of a kind will participate in that kind to varying degrees, depending on how perfectly that instance instantiates that kind. For instance, if we compare a poorly drawn triangle to a carefully drawn triangle, we’ll immediately notice that one is more “true” to how a triangle ought to be than the other . The intellect is capable of extrapolating a more perfect understanding of a thing by understanding its kind without necessarily seeing the perfect triangle. I may not be able to imagine a 1000 sided polygon, for example, but that by no means implies that I do not understand the concept. The same applies here. Even approximations are instances of a triangle and as such, provide the immediate basis from which our intellect extrapolates a universal to the conceptualization of a perfect triangle. This may be physically impossible to actualize, but it is not impossible for our intellect. Having said all of this, I think any rejection of classical logic must explicitly deny essentialism and thereby commit itself to utter stupidity. No metaphysical construct can hope to rescue any sort of logic that claims contradictions are metaphysically possible. You can redefine logic to refer to something else, but I’ll stick with a more classical approach because it is metaphysically relevant, rational, sophisticated, and in accord with common sense.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcendental_argument_for_the_existence_of_God#The_argument ↩
- http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-paraconsistent/ ↩
- http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle-noncontradiction/#5 ↩
- http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2012/04/fine-on-metaphysics-and-common-sense.html ↩
- Feser, Edward. Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide. Oxford: Oneworld, 2009. pg 33. ↩
Special shout out to our man Crucified for being a major supporter of the Start a RIOt project!
Check it out and enjoy!
Last Saturday we had our first ever WC Bible Study lead by yours truly in a text chat format. I had a really great time reading the Passion from the Gospel of Mark with everyone that attended and would be perfectly happy to host another one this week. However, I actually was invited to hang out with my friends and do something in the physical world on Saturday. I honestly don’t’ have many friends, and the ones I do have tend to leave me out of their pland :,( so I’m actually gonna hit that up instead.
However would anyone want to do Bible Study on Thursday at 8:00 Mountain Standard Time? Our topic will be the Q document and I imagine we’d maybe get through 5-6 of the sayings of Jesus found in a reconstruction of the Q. If we want to have it this week, I will do my best to post to some useful information before Thursday but we’d be cutting it pretty close!
Comment with your opinion, either Thursday this week or wait until Saturday next week.
At his Tennessee High school an atheist student dressed up as Jesus on Fictional Character day. He was asked to remove the costume and did so. He was awarded a 1000 dollar scholarship from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
This topic was met with a lot of curiosity when I repeated some scholarly research I had memorized. The information was slightly foggy because my memory isn’t perfect and the material comes from almost three years ago. This what William Lane Craig AKA the heresy hunter’s sith lord has to say about the topic from page 317 of his book Reasonable Faith…
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his mantle and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. (Mark 14:60–64 rsv)
Here in one fell swoop Jesus affirms that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the coming Son of Man. He compounds his crime by adding that he is to be seated at God’s right hand, a claim that is truly blasphemous in Jewish ears.52 The trial scene beautifully illustrates how in Jesus’ self-understanding all the diverse claims blend together, thereby taking on onnotations that outstrip any single term taken out of context.
So are these words of Jesus, which served as the basis for his condemnation by the Sanhedrin and for his delivery to the Roman authorities on charges of treason, authentic? In his meticulous commentary on Mark’s Gospel, Robert Gundry argues that the words of the high priest “Son of the Blessed (One)” are likely authentic because this use of a circumlocution for “God,” though common among Jews, was not characteristic of Christians; moreover, it appears only here in the Gospel of Mark, who elsewhere prefers the title “Son of God” (1:1; 3:11; 5:7; 15:39). As for Jesus’ reply to the high priest’s question, Gundry provides several lines of evidence in support of its authenticity: (1) the combination of sitting at God’s right hand and coming with the clouds of heaven appears nowhere in New Testament material except on Jesus’ lips; (2) the Son of Man is nowhere else associated with the notion of sitting at God’s right hand; (3) the saying exhibits the same blend of oblique self-reference and personally high claims that characterizes other Son of Man sayings (Mark 2:10, 28; 8:38; 13:26); (4) even though Psalm 110:1 concerning sitting at the right hand of God is alluded to frequently in the New Testament, the substitution of “the Power” for “God,” though typical for Jewish reverential usage, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; and (5) Mark is unlikely to have created a prediction to the Sanhedrin which they did not, in fact, see fulfilled.
In addition, Gundry notes the subtlety of the Markan account of the trial, which would escape a later Christian fabricator. Rules for dealing with capital blasphemy cases in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7.5) concern cases in which a person is accused of having pronounced on some previous occasion the divine name “Yahweh” so as to dishonor God. During the trial the alleged blasphemy of the accused is not actually repeated, but some substitute for the divine name is used. Only at the trial’s close is the courtroom cleared, and in the presence of the judges, the lead witness is instructed, “Say expressly what you heard.” He then repeats the blasphemous words uttered by the accused, at which all the judges stand and rend their clothes. In Jesus’ trial, the blasphemy occurs unexpectedly on the spot, so that only the high priest is standing and tears his garments. If Jesus actually uttered the divine name by saying, “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Yahweh,” a report of what transpired in Jesus’ trial would not include the pronunciation of the divine name itself but some substitute for it, like “the Power.” Gundry concludes, “The collocation of capital blasphemy and clothes-rending in m. Sanh. 7.5 as well as in Mark favors . . . that Mark’s account of Jesus’ trial rests on trustworthy information. . . . For though Christians might have fabricated an account so defamatory of the Sanhedrin, Christians are unlikely to have fabricated—or even have been able to fabricate—an account corresponding so subtly to a later idealization of Sanhedrin jurisprudence in cases of capital blasphemy.”53 How did Jesus dishonor God? Gundry answers, “We may best think that the high priest and the rest of the Sanhedrin judge Jesus to have verbally robbed God of incommensurateness and unity by escalating himself to a superhuman level, by portraying himself as destined to sit at God’s right hand and come with the clouds of heaven.”54
For Jesus, then, titles like “Messiah” and “Son of God,” which need carry no connotation of divinity, become infused with such a connotation in his selfunderstanding and usage, just as they do in I Enoch and 4 Ezra, by his conviction that he is the Danielic Son of Man who is to be seated at God’s right hand.
Craig, William Lane., and William Lane. Craig. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994. Print.
A Topic in Christian Living and Reflection
Connecting and getting to know God, our Father, gives such a great amount of joy in a daily Christian life. Serving Him rewards us with comfort and great desire for Him. Although, we can point out so many things about glorifying Him, even God says it’s not enough. One might point to a fact that human beings cannot glorify God like Jesus can, but the real argument I want to clear up on is, “If serving, glorifying, praising, worshipping God is not enough, what must we also do while we live in flesh?”
If we have a relationship with God, should we also have a relationship with others as well?
The answer is yes, and I have several passages from the Word of God we can all look to.
One of the Pharisees in his time asked our Lord a question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36)
Jesus replied with three answers in Matthew 22:37-40.
1) Love the Lord with all of your heart, your soul, and your mind. (37)
2) Love your neighbor as much as yourself. (39)
3) All the Law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.
Why did Jesus say these things, first of all?
From what I was taught from several ministries, the Pharisees, Jewish leaders, and the people around Jesus, first of all, did not have an authentic relationship with God.
Jesus called God his Father. In John 5:16-18 shows that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus for calling God his very own father because he was making himself equal with God. The case was actually about showing the position they were in. The people only called God THE Father, instead of calling God THEIR Father. Jesus previously spoke to a Samaritan woman about true worshippers of God. True worshippers of God worship in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:21-24)
This supports answer one from the main question. We must worship God with Spirit and in truth. The Spirit is our heart, and our soul. The truth is our mind that aligns with the Word of God.
Going back into John 5, there was a pool called Bethesda where so many of the sick and disabled lay. There was one specific man who has been disabled for 38 years. He was then cured by Jesus and was told to pick up his mat and walk. This was happening on a Sabbath, and the Jewish leaders saw this man carrying his mat. I’m not sure if they knew before that he was disabled, but the first thing that caught them is his mat instead of his past condition. Before the healing occurred, the man said this after Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well.
“I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” (John 5:7)
This caught my attention about the relationships that people were having with others around that time. Before I get into this part, carrying your mat on a Sabbath day was viewed as working on the Lord’s Day, referencing back to the 4th Commandment of His Law to only rest on the Sabbath. Carrying your mat was actually a man made Jewish Law that has nothing to do with work. Jesus telling the paralytic to carry his mat and walk during a Sabbath Day was done intentionally to get their attention so he can tell the leaders of his relationship with God by the way. John 5:41 and 43 is remarkable:
1) I do not accept glory from human beings.
2) I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him.
This supports answer two of my main question. We are like them, and maybe usually, we pick and choose others, tending to leave others behind who don’t seem ‘worthy’. Jesus commanded to love others as much as we love ourselves, not love only the ones we are acceptable in society.
When Jesus said that the Law and the prophets hold on to these two commandments, he was stating it as a fact, not an suggestion, opinion, or interpretation. I will be using Hosea as an example: Hosea is a prophet who was commanded by God to love his unfaithful wife Gomer. Unfaithful as in she was a prostitute. God was giving one of the greatest examples about what true love is through Hosea’s harsh life. The gist of the Prophet Hosea is found in chapter 3 verse 1.
“Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes,” the Lord said to Hosea.
This passage shows that prophet Hosea was holding on to God, and also to Gomer. He loved God with all of his heart, his soul, and his mind. He loved Gomer, even though she was not like Hosea, or anybody that Hosea would find acceptable, tolerable, etc. He held on to these two commandments, thus proving Jesus right. This passage really hit me so much, and because of Hosea’s gospel, I was saved through those words, seeing God’s love for me, for you, and for all of us. This supports not just answer three, but all 3 answers of the main question, and hits it home.
Now, that we understand that, how about we look into our relationship with God, and many others in our life? We are going to emphasize the relationships with others more actually. The reason is that our relationships with others can be extremely difficult for all of us, and I’m not just talking about our relationships with our family, or our own friends. I want to use the teaching that Jesus gave to the Samaritan woman which is “Spirit and in truth.” I learned this great lesson from a great teacher by differentiating these two things.
1) Worshipping God only in Spirit is considered idolatry. (Samaritan example)
2) Worshipping God only in truth is considered hypocrisy. (Pharisee example)
3) Worshipping God in Spirit and in truth is a must. (John 4:24)
I wanted to go deeper with that example, except that we will not worship others because it is not good to do so anyway. This is an amazing discovery by going deeper into this teaching of Jesus. I realized that by taking this lesson from our Lord, I wondered about my relationship with others recently.
I loved my friends and family without having to know much about them. I use to defend them, care for them, and even give to them by only by a little knowledge of their life. I was giving them praise, blindly because they just seemed to be so good in life. Wouldn’t that be considered idolizing your own friends? Did I just make them into heroes, or even gods?
I had friends who I knew most of their life. Some may consider them that I was their best friend because I knew so much about them. Yet, even though, with all the knowledge I have about them, I also had no compassion towards them, and still, they were considered my ‘friends’. Didn’t I just tell you that I was being hypocritical? Was I lying to them the whole time?
Without those two things, our relationships with others are futile because it shows that we are not truly reflecting in God’s standards for our daily living, and also, not following the greatest commandment given to us.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending this conference. I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet some great philosophers and engage in some substantive discussion.
One of my favorite presentations was the second one by Andrew Bailey. He defended a position known as ‘animalism’, which is the thesis that we, as individuals, are a type of animal. It is a position I am quite sympathetic to over substance dualism.
He starts with a moral datum (MD): To harm a human organism is, in the ordinary case, to harm a human animal. Bailey clarified that by ‘harm’ he meant the deprivation of some good which is supposed to be there. Now, as we know from Bayesian reasoning, if some event/hypothesis E which is actually the case is more likely to happen given some event F than given ~F, then E is evidence for F over ~F. But, Bailey argues, MD is true, and MD is more likely to be true given animalism than given the negation of animalism. Hence, MD provides evidence for animalism.
It seems that MD is true. When you cause pain in the organism to which we all agree I am related, you cause me pain. When you shoot a human organism you (at least in some way) harm a person. Moreover, it seem MD is more likely given animalism than its negation for the simple reason that, on this hypothesis, the human organism you harm is identical to a human person. There need be no complex system of relations in virtue of which MD comes out true. Hence, MD provides evidence that animalism is true.
While I am very sympathetic to this position, I think there are a few places the anti-animalist will want to push. But what are your thoughts?
We must realize that what God wants, and what our blessed Lord wants, above all, is ourselves – what Scripture calls our ‘heart’. He wants the inner man, the heart. He wants our submission. He does not want merely our profession, our zeal, our fervour, our works, or anything else. He wants us.”
— Martin Loyd Jones
This Monday I decided to quit my job. From what I can tell, I had been working there for at least a month but over time, it just took too much out of me. For starters, I had to wake up early in the morning. Do you know how dreadful that is? I have been a night owl for what feels like centuries. My body surprisingly adjusted more quickly than I thought it would but it still didn’t change how much I missed my old habits. I had gotten used to sleeping at 3-4 am until I was forced to wake up at 9 am to work all the way until 9-10 pm. If that’s not a convincing reason, how about that burning oven I had to use to make pizza? Apparently my fingers are sensitive and are scared of screeching hot surfaces. Come on, I’m not alone right? You must realize that cooking is not something I normally do, but I am gifted in the art of microwaving. Hot chocolate? 2:30. Potatoes? 6-7 minutes. Popcorn? 2:15. Pizza? 3:00. Bam, there’s my food! Don’t be jealous though, I just got legit experience. If I could find a job doing that, I’d be living the dream! But the truth is, we cannot always get what we want. It’s just a matter of whether you’re willing to accept that or not. Those who demand things for themselves are the ones who are never satisfied with what they have.
In this post, I do not want to sound as if I am out to complain about how hard life is. Believe me, those are not my reasons for quitting. We have important obligations to others and ourselves that require sacrifice. Scripture itself warns that laziness produces hunger (Proverbs 19:15) but hard work produces wealth (Proverbs 14:23). The slacker’s craving will kill him because he refuses to work (Proverbs 21:25-26) but a righteous man will live because he gives. These principles are common sense but today it seems as if that has been waning. With the rise of entitlements comes a depreciation for work and a lack of good stewardship over money. Many are more interested in their video games, social networking, and movies. Even a person who desires to work can become entangled in distractions – which I personally know all too well. Like my dad says, if you decided not to go to work one day because you didn’t feel like it, you’d be living on the streets someday. That kind of laziness should not be tolerated in a work-based economy.
On the other hand, this does not mean we cannot search for a job that is more enjoyable. If at all possible, it is better to do what you love to do than it is to do what you hate to do. For example, I am personally much more interested in philosophical and technological matters than I am with cooking. Nonetheless, I became business partners because I thought there was some potential in the pizza business. The opportunity just presented itself at the time and I was willing to help the christian owner in whatever way that I could. At the same time, I had doubts whether I’d be of any use in that business and resisted the idea of cooking but in the end, I had to surrender those inhibitions to start working. It may surprise you but this is actually the first time that I have ever worked for someone. For most of my life, I have been training to have my own business. It’s just that for this one time, I thought working in the “rat race” would provide a good experience and could potentially provide better results as far as finances are concerned. As for why I decided to quit, well, let’s start by going through the three reasons:
This is the most important to me. Without Him, all my efforts are in vain. Part of assessing God’s will is evaluating the circumstances around you as well as asking for counsel from other brethren that is in accord to God’s Truth. P.X. Chirho was a great influence here. Through him, I was able to discover God’s blessing over W.C. as well as find inspiration to be in the ministry as he was. If I have been blessed with skills in philosophy and technology, then it’s probably best that I make use of them for God’s kingdom. The desire to reach out to others has only been growing ever since I started to work. Making pizza just didn’t seem to have this “greater” purpose, let alone fit in with my desires and skills. I know God can work through all things, but I don’t think He would work through that for long. I believe God had me work there to learn some lessons in discipline and character, but that purpose had been completed and it was time to move on.
Unfortunately, my responsibility at work prevented me from spending time with those that I cared about. Because I was not there, I had friends who were lonely or depressed because of their love life and their lack of spiritual discipline. In particular, I had someone who I used to have regular Skype conversations with to read the Bible, sing, pray and fellowship with but thanks to my preoccupation, this person had been suffering and that just caused me to suffer as well. Maybe you can’t relate to this but I like to have friendships that are more than just a sharing of mutual interests in things. It’s about being there for them, thinking about them, and wanting what’s truly best for them – regardless of whether they end up hating you for it. I’m also discipling Michael but working there for those long hours prevented me from developing good lessons for us to go through. Failing to post on Walking Christian also meant neglecting to help others. Taken together, I think these are things that I am not willing to sacrifice.
Turns out the business was not as financially promising as I had hoped. Despite my efforts to increase customers, it just didn’t seem to have the kind of effect that I wanted. Every day felt like we were barely surviving. There were legal problems with building permits, taxes, rent, and who knows what else. The owner had to pay tickets, do community service, and deal with court cases and child services. He had his own personal problems that I did not want to get involved in. Then some previous business partners came in and took back their stuff. They helped it become something great (these guys were chefs) but apparently, the owner’s personal expenses and problems got in the way of making the business truly succeed. I had been praying to God before for a sign that leaving would be the right decision (which I based on 1 & 2) and this seemed like the final confirmation. If these chefs could not succeed with him, how could I? The owner had already found a person who could cook pizza so everything just seemed to fall in place. He didn’t need me anymore and I didn’t want to be there because I need to support my family and any future family that I may have.
There are smaller details that I neglected to mention here but the conclusion is the same: it was not God’s will. I did learn some valuable lessons that I will cover in a later post but overall, I think this was pushing me to focus my resources elsewhere. Where do I go from here? I think I’ll be returning to Walking Christian and if possible, focus all my resources on this instead because it’s what I love doing. How will that support my financial needs? I honestly don’t know at the moment but I do have some design work for a church on the side that the Lord has graciously offered through Michael. That should help keep me going here. If any of you could pray for me, I would really appreciate that. I’ll continue to search for God’s will because wherever He wants me, there I will be.