Posts tagged ‘philosophy’

April 3, 2012

VT Debate–Response to the Atheist Objection that God is a Moral Monster

by Max Andrews

There were two main objections, which my atheist opponents defended during the VT debate on the existence of God.  One of the objections was from the problem of gratuitous evil, particularly natural evil, which I have already responded to here. The other objection raised during the debate was presented first after my opening statements. The argument was that because me and my debate partner were Christian theists the Christian God cannot exist because of the supposed atrocities in the Bible and other doctrines such as hell.

The argument began with the problem of predisposition. In other words, why you must approach your faith of choice with objectivity and skepticism and not confirmation bias.  However, in response, in order to identify and affirm the discovery of a truth one must not exhaust all possibilities.  Additionally, it works both ways.  If the criterion is applied fairly how can one deny the proposition, in this case, God exists, without examining all possibilities?  This criterion is untenable.  Also, to suggest that one is a Christian because of environment or spatiotemporal location is to commit the genetic fallacy.

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April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Juan

by Max Andrews

I am a Christian because I didn’t choose God, rather He chose me.

I was 18 years old in college. After experiencing the human condition; the lack of love, care, charity and the abundance of pain and suffering in the world and in myself. I realized that although I had a very good life, I was loved and cared for, and suffered comparatively to others very little; my own struggles always took precedence over others and realized that even when I did something good it was often with selfish reasons (It felt good or I will be liked). I looked in the mirror attached to my combination dresser/desk of my small dorm and wondered, why are we the way we are? It was then that I realized that there was something intrinsically wrong with all of us.

In my search for answers; I engulfed myself in searching for that silver bullet that could explain this predicament. It wasn’t until my second year in college that I really started to get depressed over this seemingly unattainable goal; I saw no explanation in sight. Until one night as I cried on my mother’s lap and she asked me what was wrong. I asked her in the hopes that maybe she knew the answer but she didn’t.

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April 3, 2012

Why I’m a Christian: Bryan

by Max Andrews

I hear about so many people who come from broken backgrounds.  Often their spiritual journey takes them into amazing locations and their conversion to Christianity results in more than a spiritual change, it creates something like an entire lifestyle and change of worldview as well.  My story does not take me to the far edge of the spiritual universe.

My home was a great one.  My father is the man I want to become and my mother is not only the most intelligent woman I know, but also the hardest working.  Both will drop everything to help a stranger so you can imagine what they do for their kids.  They are both solid Christians.  From the burned Honduran girl they housed and treated to the hitchhikers who have been given a new start to the children who they have bailed out of troubled times, my parents have ALWAYS lived far below their means because of their willingness to help others.  I want to be like my parents.  They have influenced my Christianity more than any single person but I am not a Christian because of them.

My church was a typical backwoods Baptist church.  Perhaps every stereotype would apply to some of the churches I have attended.  What stands out from these churches is a pastor who adopted me as a sort of son and whose own sons are still my best friends.  Their friendship has shaped my life more than any other friendships but I am not a Christian because of them. 

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April 1, 2012

VT Debate and Quote Mining

by Max Andrews

During the VT debate on the existence of God one of the atheists quoted a section of my blog concerning the issue of teleology and suicide.  The quote read:

If there is no God to provide meaning, value, and purpose, the only consistent option for humanity is suicide.[17]  Any becoming of life-affirming or life-denying acts are illusory.  Absolutely nothing can be a positive or negative act for the individual since there is nothing to determine a differentiation.  One is forced to face Nietzsche’s abyss and face the reality that no rope can scale the depth of nothingness.  One is only left with despair, guilt, and angst.  If one can determine that despair, guilt, and angst are not preferred then his only option is to eliminate such emotions and thoughts.  If there is no God, the only remedy for absurdism is to participate in Nietzsche’s abyss of nothingness:  suicide.

This was taken from a previous post of mine on how God provides meaning and purpose. In this quote I had a footnote reference to elaborate on one of these points.  This footnote (17) reads:

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March 30, 2012

Unbelievable? The Conference: Giving a Skeptical World Reasons to Believe

by Max Andrews

Most of my blog followers are from North America but I do have several followers in the UK.  I want to promote this conference coming up hosted by Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable? hosted by Justin Brierly and partnering with Hugh Ross and Reasons to Believe.

We live in a sceptical world. Atheism has taken on an evangelistic tone in the UK. Secularists claim to have a monopoly on reason. So how should the Church respond?

Premier Christian Radio presents an apologetics day conference aimed at equipping everyday Christians with reasons for the truth of their faith. The conference will also focus on how to share these truths in a fruitful and engaging way.

This year’s Conference partner is Reasons To Believe – a Christian apologetics teaching and research organisation with the mission to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research consistently uphold, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible.

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March 30, 2012

Why Does God Love Us? — I Don’t Know

by Max Andrews

One of my friends, who is also in the philosophy class I help teach, emailed me several weeks ago asking why God loves us?  It’s a great question.  In light of our sin and the darkness within us why would a perfectly moral and holy being love us?  I responded to her question and I thought I’d share it online here.  So, to jump to the end and give you my answer up front: I have no idea why God loves us.

This is one of those things that you can surely put the puzzle pieces together to say that God is just and that God is loving. Any philosophy of religion text or systematic theology can articulate the theological coherence of these things.  The hardest thing about this is that, like you, I still don’t get it. It’s certainly not a simple answer in my opinion.  I’m an existentialist at heart.  I think we find ourselves on the scene thrusted into existence without any ability to say otherwise.

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March 29, 2012

Famous Philosophy Majors

by Max Andrews

You may be quite surprised to find out which famous people have majored in philosophy.  BestCollegesOnline recently did an article discussing fourteen famous philosophy majors.  Most you’ll probably recognize.  If you don’t, you’re probably familiar with their associations or affects they’ve had in the world.  These people range from politics to comedy.  One person that was not mentioned was Bill Clinton.  When you realize Clinton was a philosophy major you won’t mock him when he asks what the definition of ‘is’ is.  Is ‘is’ an identity claim or is ‘is’ a predication?  Perhaps, we just laughed out of ignorance?  Anyways, enjoy the likes of Alex Trebek, Steve Martin, Bruce Lee, and …

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March 28, 2012

Word of the Week Wednesday: Modal Realism

by Max Andrews

The Word of the Week is: Modal Realism

Definition: Modal realism is the idea that all modal possibilities are actual.

More about the term:  Anything that is possible actually happens.  However, modal realism is, in a sense, modally limited.  The state of affairs of the non-existence of anything cannot be true if something does exist so by definition modal realism must entail ~∃!W with W being the non-existence of anything—nothing, lest it suffer the consequence of being intrinsically incoherent (~∃!W = There does not exist just one W).  In order to avoid an inherent incoherence perhaps there are logically antecedent reasons to affirm ~∃!W (i.e. actuality is logically prior to possibility, which makes possibility somewhat superfluous). Under certain multiverse scenarios different regions of space will exhibit different effective laws of physics (i.e. difference constants, dimensionality, particle content, relation of information, information propagation, etc.) corresponding to different local minima in a landscape of possibilities.[1] 

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March 28, 2012

The Laws of Nature and the Metaphysical Multiverse

by Max Andrews

Regularity theory (RT) attempts to account for laws in a descriptive manner contra the necessitarian position (NT), which expresses the laws of nature as nomic necessity.  According to the RT the fundamental regularities are brute facts; they neither have nor require an explanation.  Regularity theorists attempt to formulate laws and theories in a language where the connectives are all truth functional.  Thus, each law is expressed with a universal quantifier as in [(x) (Px ⊃ Qx)].[1]  The NT states that there are metaphysical connections of necessity in the world that ground and explain the most fundamental regularities.  Necessitarian theorists usually use the word must to express this connection.[2]  Thus, NT maintains must-statements are not adequately captured by is-statements (must ≠ is, or certain facts are unaccounted for).[3]

The role of counterfactuals serves to make distinctions in regularities.  Concerning the RT and counterfactuals the regularist may claim that laws do not purport what will always occur but what would have occurred if things were different.  NT claims that it is difficult for RT to account for certain counterfactual claims because what happens in the actual world do not themselves imply anything about what would have happened had things been different.[4]  This is only a mere negative assertion on behalf of NT and carries no positive reason to adopt the NT position.  However, RT does have a limited scope in explanation. C.D. Broad argued that the very fact that laws entail counterfactuals is incompatible with regularity theory.[5]  He suggests that counterfactuals are either false or trivially true. If it is now true that Q occurs if P causally precedes Q then the regularist may sufficiently account for past counterfactual claims.  Given the present antecedent condition of P at tn and P implies Q at tn and it was true that P implied Q at tn-1 then using P as an antecedent for R at hypothetical tn-1’ then R is true if P was a sufficient condition R at tn-1’. Thus, RT accounts for past counterfactuals, but this is trivially true.  However, in positive favor of the NT, there is no reason to expect the world to continue to behave in a regular manner as presupposed by the practice of induction.  Consider Robin Collins’ illustration of this point:

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March 26, 2012

VT Debate–The Problem of Gratuitous Evil

by Max Andrews

One of the objections made by one of the atheists in the VT debate on the existence of God was William Rowe’s form of the problem of gratuitous evil:[1]

  1. There exist instances of intense suffering that an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. (Factual premise)
  2. An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering that being could, unless that being could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. (Theological premise).
  3. Therefore, There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.

Or, simply put:

  1. There are unnecessary evils.
  2. God would prevent evils without losing some greater good.
  3. Therefore, God does not exist.
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