July 15, 2010
July 2, 2010
June 27, 2010
May 29, 2010
Recently, I made the very brief case that the burden of proof should be on those who doubt God not on those who believe. I was asked to expand upon this (by a skeptic). Here is my response.
My argument that God is philosophically basic is actually based on the work of a noted philosopher at Notre Dame named Alvin Plantinga. In the world of philosophy it is generally accepted that it is impossible to truly prove anything. For all I know, I am a butterfly dreaming that I am a person typing on a computer.
But things get ridiculous and conversations get meaningless when proof is demanded for everything. Do we really see the tree out our window or is it some sort of illusion? Are we really talking to a colleague or is he an imaginary friend?
The solution is just to accept certain things as philosophically basic. If we all accept that we are not butterflies dreaming, let’s make that a basic premise that doesn’t need to be proven. If we all agree that our senses should be generally trusted, we don’t need to prove that the tree is really out the window and that our colleague is not imaginary.
Now because something is philosophically basic doesn’t mean that can not be disproved. It is possible for a skeptic to walk out and demonstrate that the thing we thought was a tree was actually some sort of projection from a nearby window.
So then comes the question. What are the rules for what we consider basic and what we maintain must be proven? This is where Plantinga argues that it must be some sort of common consensus as to what is accepted. Plantinga argues that on this point, it appears that Theists are standing on firm ground in the majority. Most Theists will confess that they have had some sort of experience with God. They have sensed Him, they have had prayers answered, they have been persuaded by proofs/events/arguments that He is there. So Plantinga says, that if we are going to classify God, we should put Him in the basic category.
This doesn’t of course mean there is a God. Just as the skeptic of the tree can walk out and show that it is a projection, the skeptic of God can attempt to show that God is not real. But the burden of proof in both cases is on the skeptic.
Other people have thrown out unicorns, FSM, etc but those clearly would not fit Plantinga’s criteria.
May 19, 2010
An interesting article is up on AnnArbor.com/faith right now about a co-op that uses drama to teach values.
I have posted before on the culture transforming nature of art. I think we need to have evangelical Christians go into the arts …as evangelical Christians. If we go to Hollywood and try to ‘fit a few messages in’ we will fail. If we go to Hollywood and allow our Christianity to bleed through every word in the script we will show God to the world.
And it can’t be Thomas Kinkade art. The dogs have to poop.
The Bible is full of nasty stories full of impolite details and harsh realities. But they all bleed God. The poems of the Psalms sing his glory. The stories of murder, war, and plauge point to His providence. The history is tells of His unfolding love. And through it all His justice cries out.
Those are the kinds of movies we need to make.
May 8, 2010
Pascal once wrote, “every man is almost always led to believe not through proof, but through that which is attractive.” If culture is shaped by cult (the religion or lack there of common in the populous), and cult is shaped by what is attractive (as Pascal claimed) – then we must conclude that what is attractive shapes culture. Art – movies, songs, poetry, posters, murals etc – impacts the world.
Christians need to think about that next time they go to the movies, watch TV, or listen to the radio.
May 6, 2010
There is an uproar in many circles over the recent ruling by a judge in Wisconsin that the National Day of Prayer violates the first amendment. Let me start with what seems obvious to me – the ruling is wrong. I think that the first amendment’s purpose was to protect the church from the state not visa versa. I don’t think a generic national day of prayer is any different from a day of thanksgiving (although I have no doubt that that will be challenged soon too). But with that disclaimer, let me say the following about the national day of prayer: We live in a society that is hardly Christian at all. The average person knows nothing about the Bible, Jesus, or theology. And so this reflects upon our government (including judges).
The population shapes politics….politics does not shape the population. The reason our country is on the verge of saying that it our constitution prohibits a day of corporate prayer is the direct result of the fact that a huge segment of our population has almost no connection to the church at all.
I hope this court ruling doesn’t spark a series of sermons throughout the land decrying the fall of American culture. We need to stop yelling at the culture and start serving, proclaiming the fact that Jesus is King, and concentrate disciplining converts. We need to plant churches and be a part of the communities in which we live. When the population is overwhelmingly Christian and properly discipled, politics will not be a problem.