Saturday, June 17, 2017

An Introduction to Philosophy

"An unexamined life is not worth living"
- Plato quoting Socrates

This is An Introduction to Philosophy by John Warwick Montgomery, a series of lectures given at Patrick Henry College in 2008. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in philosophy or someone who is taking philosophy.

Includes topics:
and more

John Warwick Montgomery (Ph.D., Chicago, D.Théol., Strasbourg, LL.D., Cardiff, Dr. [h.c.], Institute for Religion and Law, Moscow) is Emeritus Professor of Law and Humanities, University of Bedfordshire, England, Distinguished Research Professor of Apologetics and Christian Thought, Patrick Henry College, Virginia, U.S.A., and Director, International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism & Human Rights, Strasbourg, France.

Christian Audio has it on sale this week for only $7.49. And if you want to, it's available through library loan at Hoopla.

Or free on Hoopla (through your library):

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Films

For you film buffs, here's a few with an Easter theme:

  • The Case For Christ (now playing in theaters, about investigative journalist, Lee Strobel, who tried to disprove the resurrection, to save his converted wife and daughter from what he considered nonsense)

  • Risen (similar to The Robe, about a Roman soldier seeking answers)

  • Ben Hur (there's been remakes, but Charlton Heston is still the best)

  • The Miracle Maker (excellent clay animation)

  • The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson explores the suffering of Christ) 

  • Jesus of Nazareth (in my opinion, still the best treatment on the life of Christ)

  • The Body (Antonio Bandera plays a priest investigating the unearthing of a crucified by body, dating to the first century AD. While this is not your typical faith-affirming Christian film, neither is it hostile or antagonistic.)

  • The Fourth Wiseman (Starring Charlie Sheen. Although this is great Christmas story, it is perfect for Easter as well.) 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Lee Strobel's Story Hits The Big Screen

"This movie chronicles the true story of Lee Strobel, a professed atheist and investigative journalist, who makes it his mission to prove once and for all that Christianity is a lie – not only to the world but to his wife, Leslie, whose recent acceptance of faith mirrors the exact opposite of everything Lee stands for. This gripping story is brought to life by award-winning screenwriter, Brian Bird, who says this could be the most significant project of his career."

The Case For Christ Movie Trailer

Interview with Lee Strobel

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Evidence For God?

First of all, I concur with Alvin Plantinga who calls belief in God, a properly basic belief. Nevertheless there are good reasons to believe in God. I don't call it "evidence" in the sense of "scientific evidence", i.e. using the scientific method, as it is defined and limited to empirical data, which excludes spirits, disembodied minds, extra dimensions, metaphysics and the like.

This limitation imposed through the science method speaks as to its general inadequacies. For example, science cannot prove or validate the scientific method. This was known as Positivism, and has been weighed in the balances and found wanting. The scientific method cannot prove that I exist apart from my body, nor can it prove that I exist apart from my mind (in a sort of matrix or dream). These are, however, properly basic beliefs. If you are a materialist (physicalist), you would obviously take issue with the former, while recognizing the latter.

What I'm saying is that by the very attributes of God, as defined in Holy Scripture, and the limitations of the scientific method, it's a misunderstanding to suggest "scientific" proof for the existence of God. We're not going to produce God's body or pieces of it to examine, because God is spirit. We can, however, look at our physical world and ourselves, and explore their nature, how they function, their origins and through scientific observations, make reasonable conclusions, through deductions and inductive arguments.

The following is part of a growing list I've been working on. I actually lost my first list and started working on a new one. The arguments come from numerous sources, including Alvin Plantinga, C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaefer, William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Vishal Mangalwadi, Peter Kreeft, Dinesh Desouza, etc.

Here's a few of them:
The cosmological argument,
The teleological argument,
The argument from design,
The moral argument,
The argument from efficient causality,
The argument from contingency,
The argument from consciousness,
The argument from meaning,
The transcendental argument,
The ontological argument,
The argument from reason,
The argument from human dignity,
The argument from pragmatism,
The argument from human flourishing,
The argument from physical constants,
The argument from simplicity,
The argument from the origin of life and its evolution,
The argument from self,
The argument from natural laws,
The argument from the resurrection,
The argument from evil,
The argument from love,
The argument from justice,
The argument from æsthetics,
The argument from purpose,
The argument from miracles and providence,
The argument from human spirituality and religious experience,
The argument from religious need,
The argument from joy,
The argument from near death experiences and consciousness after death,
The argument from changed lives,
The evidence of fulfilled prophecy,
The argument from coherence,
Pascal's Wager.

I think that the existence of God is the best explanation to each of the above, and I find the accumulative case to be quite overwhelming.

In contrast to theism, I find naturalism/materialism to be incoherent, inherently restricting possibilities and scientific progress, contradicting human experience and impossible to live out consistently, while Christian theism provides an opportunity for personal growth, social order and paves the way for scientific progress.

For example, it was within a Christian context that slavery was abolished, even though it was one of the oldest and most globally established practices, even within early Judaism. But, it was Christians, such as William Wilberforce who heralded the call for its abolishment. Furthermore, with the rise of scientific progress in combination with state mandated "scientific" atheism, we have seen the most depraved human acts ever devised against other human beings. Science without God, not only closes the mind, it lacks the moral compass by which to judge right from wrong and denies human dignity. We can actually see this played out in many of the hateful debates online. Sadly, I have also seen Christians to take part in the insults and name calling. We will never win anyone with such disparaging remarks.

Christians should never be ashamed for believing in God, and following Christ. May God give us the grace to live out loud!

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Apostles

The Apostle Paul writing an epistle while in prison.
Illustration by Gustave Doré
“Tradition and legends say that Matthew was killed by a sword in Ethiopia; Mark died after being dragged by horses through the streets of Alexandria, Egypt; Luke was hanged in Greece; Peter was crucified upside down; James the Just (half brother of Jesus) was clubbed to death in Jerusalem; James the son of Zebedee was beheaded by Herod Agrippa I in Jerusalem; Bartholomew was beaten to death in Turkey; Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Greece; Thomas was reportedly stabbed to death in India; Jude was killed with arrows; Matthias, successor to Judas, was stoned and then beheaded; Barnabas was stoned to death; Paul was beheaded under Nero in Rome."

How Christianity Changed the World, Alvin J. Schmid

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Primal Love

My God, I look to thee for tenderness
Such as I could not seek from any man,
Or in a human heart fancy or plan –
A something deepest prayer will not express:
Lord, with thy breath blow on my being's fires,
Until, even to the soul with self-love wan,
I yield the primal love, that no return desires.

George MacDonald (1824-1905), Diary of an Old Soul