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Anti-Intellectualism: Christianity as Intellectual Suicide
Some deem Christianity as...
a religion that values ignorance.
The Devil's Dictionary - 1911 - Ambrose Bierce - defined faith as...
"Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."
"A religion that made thinking...
No one should be willing to follow a religion that decapitates...
The Bible does not endorse blind leaps of faith in the dark, but rather speaks of...
- the knowledge of God.
- It commends a well-informed and volitional step of faith.
Paul warns us to not be taken captive by...
"hollow and deceptive philosophy.
Paul does not condemn all philosophy, but...
only false philosophy.
Higher critics who "killed" Natural theology by saying "only material evidence can contain truth"
The Law of Non-Contradiction
- No two contradictory statements can both be true at the same time and in the same way.
- Ex: God either exists or does not exist.
- A statement that cannot stand on its own weight.
- Ex: “I cannot speak a word of English.”
Be cautious in making statements containing...
universal negative or positive statements.
Avoid Intramural Issues
- Stick with the basics – "Mere Christianity" –
- Major on the majors - Don't get sidetracked.
Puritanism is more __________ and
Revivalism is more __________.
Alvin Plantinga – 1970s made an effort to
get Christians back into the academies.
What is EPS?
Evangelical Philosophical Society – Philosophia Christi (Journal)
What is SCP?
Society of Christian Philosophers – Faith and Philosophy
Philosophers Who Believe is
a book where leading philosophers wrote of how their Christian beliefs inform their philosophical pursuits.
Unity in diversity
The Scientific Revolution emerged in
the Christian West.
Founders of the Scientific Revolution
- Francis Bacon
- Blaise Pascal
- Isaac Newton
- Johannes Kepler
- – were believers in God and Christians
Stark said: “Real science arose only once: in...
Europe… Because of the biblical and Christian worldview behind it.
Stark said: “Christians developed science because ...
they believed it could be done and should be done.”
Distortions of the Christian worldview include:
- Racist and Pro-Slavery
- Coercive and Imperialistic
- Unappealing in its vision of the afterlife
Core components of the question of truth:
- What is the nature of truth itself?
- Truth claims must be rationally tested (Epistemology - how we know what we know)
For a statement to either be true or false, it must be
meaningful - it must put forth an understandable truth claim.
The correspondence theory of truth states:
A belief or statement is true only if it matches with, reflects or corresponds to the reality it refers to.
What determines the truth or falsity of a statement?
FACTS! (not mere belief)
For a statement to be true, there must be a...
Protagoras claimed: "Man is...
the measure of all things"
Postmodernist view of truth:
- Truth is relative
- There is no objective truth
- Nothing is true or false in itself
Postmodernity often erodes
Religion vs. Spirituality
- Religion = too structured, authoritative, exclusive and rigid
- Spirituality=more customized, subjective, inclusive and open to pragmatic experimentation.
Truth is what corresponds to_______________ and must do so ___________________.
Richard Feynman - 1974 - says: "The first principle is that...
you must no fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool."
The Will to Disbelieve
We don't know because we don't want to know
Friedrich Nietzsche said about truth:
Truth has had to be fought for every step of the way.
Blaise Pascal said of truth:
"I should, therefore, like to arouse in man the desire to find truth, to be ready, free from passion, to follow it wherever he may find it... it should not blind him when he makes his choice, nor hinder him once he has chosen."
We do not create truth;...
we can only discover it.
G. K . Chesterton: "Humility...
was largely meant as a restraint upon the arrogance and infinity of the appetites of man."
Jonathan Rauch: apethesim
A relaxed attitude toward religion and irreligion that he takes to be laudable. Beliefs simply do not mean that much, no should they.
Tolerance (as understood by the American founders)
A kind of patience that refuses to hate or disrespect those with whom we disagree, even when disagreement concerns the things which matter most.
Tolerance (in the Western classical liberal sense)
Compatible with strong convictions on religious matters and with raging controversies. Tranquility above truth.
Diversions are to keep people from seeking
Pascal says diversion is an attempt to
escape reality. It is revelatory of a moral and spiritual malaise.
Diversion and noise erect barriers to
a serious and disciplines pursuit of truth.
Silence is a condition in which
arguments may be understood and appreciated.
personal benefit and detriment in matters of belief in genera and concerning Christianity in particular.
Prudence: Pascal argues ..
we must wager for or against Christianity.
Not to believe in Christianity means to forfeit
the benefits promised only to the believer.
Pascal: Indifference toward religion violates the principles of:
Eternal bliss outweighs _______________ and eternal loss is far worse than ______________.
- any finite good
- mere extinction
Prudence is defined as:
the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
People are essentially motivated either by__________ or ______________.
"Wagering Faith" little resembles true religious faith in that:
- You cannot be said to have faith is there is any tentativeness involved.
- It is cultivated only to save one's own skin and get a heavenly payoff.
"Wagering Faith" is defended by:
- Christian tradition offers incentives for those no yet fully convinced to seek fuller assurance. "Ask, seek and knock"
- One need not be a religious mercenary and commit all intellectual and moral integrity to the flames for the off chance of infinite reward.
Proof can mean an argument in which
the premises deductively entail a conclusion that is secured beyond any doubt.
Two main categories of theistic argument:
- Posteriori or empirical arguments - unknown by reason alone - (cosmological, design, moral and religious experience)
- Priori argument - derived from reason alone (apart from empirical world)
Objections to Natural Theology
- 1 Biblical omission argument
- 2 Biblical authority argument
- 3 Noetic effects of sin argument
- 4 Direct knowledge argument
- 5 Proofs lead to pride
- 6 Natural theology in competition with special revelation
- 7 Religion irrelevance argument
- 8 Complexity of proofs argument
- 9 Rational weakness argument
Biblical omission argument
Not prohibited by Scripture
Biblical authority argument
Noetic effects of sin argument
Reason itself is not fallen
Direct knowledge argument
Direct knowledge through conscience is suppressed by sin.
Proofs lead to pride argument
Pride obscures our need for spiritual redemption. Apart from Christ we cannot know God.
Natural theology in competition with special revelation argument
God is author of book of nature and Scripture... these books will not conflict.
Religious irrelevance argument
Can move a skeptic closer to taking Christianity more seriously
Rational weakness argument
Complexity of proofs argument
Can boil down complexity to a few simple principles.
General revelation is...
- It is general because it is made known to everyone
- IIt is natural because it is disclosed through the natural order of creation
- It is continuous since the creation of the world
- It is creational because it reveals God glory through creation.
- The cosmos depends on something outside itself.
- The universe is finite, and therefore began
- to exist, to the necessity of God.
A worldview claiming that nothing has any ultimate meaning.
God created everything out of nothing.
Kalam Cosmological Argument
- Out of nothing, nothing comes
- The universe began to exist - (The impossibility of an actual infinite - cannot divide or cross over an actual infinite)
Thermodynamics is the
science of energy.
Second Law of thermodynamics states:
the universe is moving irreversibly toward a state of maximum disorder and minimum energy.
Unbelief in God as the originating cause of the universe results in
a blind leap of faith in nothing at all at the source of everything whatsoever.
Simplicity is typically preferred over
Multiple causes of the universe instead of one Designer seems to break apart on the rocks of
the regularity and unity of the universe.
Thomistic (Thomas Aquinas) Argument
- Cause and effect – they are linear
- There cannot be an infinite regress of time,causes, etc.
Two bodies of which one is not greater than the
Equal bodies are those where the dimensions
between their units are equal in
actuality and potentiality.
That which is finite (boundaries) is not
infinite (no boundaries).
When a body is added to one of two equal bodies, the one receiving the addition becomes
greater than it was before; and, hence,the greater of the two bodies.
When two bodies of finite magnitude are joined,
the resultant body will
also be of finite magnitude.
The smaller of the two generically related
inferior to the larger.
OBJECTIONS to the Cosmological Argument
- 1. Cause and Effects can be circular instead of linear and therefore “eternal”.
- 2. Creation of a finite object (such as the Universe) only requires that the Maker be bigger than the Universe he created, no that he himself be infinite.
- 3. The cause of the Universe does not have to be a personal God, it could be an impersonal God.
The Teleological Argument
If there is design there must be a Designer
Thomistic Argument –
- Various parts of the universe exhibit behavior which is adaptive or which help bring about desirable ends
- They work together.
William Paley’s Argument
- The watchmaker.
- If we find a watch, you would not assume that it had “self-assembled” itself.
- The mouse trap - it is complex but if you reduce it more, it will no longer serve it's function.
- Bacteria - single cell - electric motor that propels - the phlagelim
- Information demonstrates an Intelligent Designer
- Encyclopedia Britanica
- DNA molecules – 6 foot long – in every single cell of the body - complete instructions for building all we need in our body
Design is detected or inferred through marks of
- Contingency - not explained on the basis of natural law or automatic process
- Complexity - a form of probability
- Specificity - exhibits a pattern independent of its mere improbability.
Stephen Hawking on the physics of fine-tuning
- If rate of expansion one second after BB would have been smaller, the universe would have re-collapsed
- If rate of expansion one second after BB would have been larger, the universe would have been empty now.
Fred Hoyle on fine-tuning
There are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.
Adapting to environment withinthe species – brown to yellow
Change species – frog to a dog
What determines the 24-hour day?
The rotation of the earth
The Bible, properly interpreted, is true in all it affirms whether statements about
- the nature of God
- the way of salvation
- the cosmos
Theistic evolution accepts
- abiogenesis - evolution of life from nonlife
- Darwinism - evolution of all species
God's creation of human beings stands out from the rest of creation because
they are directly fashioned in the image of God.
Scientific evidence does not support
The universe and all life were created in 6 24-hour days and is not more than 10,000 years old (young earth)
Progressive Creationism or day-age creationism
- God created the universe
- God created each "kind" through macro-evolution
- Humans were created specially (not evolved)
Natural selection - all aspects of development can be explained according to time, chance, space, natural law, etc.
God created the universe out of nothing and then left it to evolve.
Most disciplines of biology were founded before Darwin and do not require it for them to flourish.
only material states exist; there is nothing immaterial, spiritual or supernatural
Even is God or the supernatural exists, it cannot be evident in the universe
Micro-evolution does not logically establish
Natural selection help explain the survival of the species, but not
the arrival of the species.
The law of Reversion to the Average
Keeps all living things within more or less fixed limitations.
There is no evidence of examples of evolutionary transition forms.
a new organism that suddenly arrives on the evolutionary scene without incremental change
When genetic mutations are observed, they are almost always ______________ not ____________.
- similar structures can perform different functions in different organisms
- Ex: Porpoise flipper and bat wing
Examples of vestigial organs:
- human coccyx - muscle attachment
- appendix - immune system
- pineal gland - endocrine gland
- thymus and thyroid - immune and endocrine glands
- "junk DNA" - regulation of gene activity
Paul Kurtz on morality:
Atheist can be moral without believing in God; therefore, religion is no necessary for morality.
The ultimate ferent for morality is...
God's character and will.
- moral judgments are dependent on contingent social and historical arrangements.
- Morality is merely human.
we should follow the morals of our culture.
- Moral judgments and obligations are based entirely on an individual's personal preference.
- Depends on what you think.
- morality inherently depends on cultural factors.
- (Takes a half truth and inflates it to a whole lie)
Dependency states that
- if all morality is dependent on culture, and if cultures differ, then morality will differ from culture to culture.
- What about murder, incest and others.
Moral progress assumes a ___________ or _________ that a culture seeks to approach.
Moral decay assumes a _____________ from which a culture is ______________.
C. S. Lewis: Unless the measuring rod is independent of the things measured, ....
we can do no measuring.
Errors in cultural relativism:
- CR cannot justify tolerance as a universal moral principle.
- A commitment to objective moral principles that stand over cultures does not necessarily endanger tolerance.
Cultural relativism claims a moral authority beyond individual choice in order to avoid
Individual relativisms dispenses with
any moral authority outside the autonomous individual's views and choices.
Relativism entails that no human act is
intrinsically and always wrong.
Horrendous evils call out for
- This condemnation is "absolute and certain".
Extreme evils cry out for
The autonomous self becomes the
the denial of objective value of any kind.
Max Stirner (German philosopher):
"I decide whether it is the right thing in me; there is no right outside of me."
The concept of truth is closely aligned with the
idea of God.
Only __________ , as the _______________ could provide for moral premises that are outside the _____________________.
- final evaluator
- merely human system
the idea that each person is his own ultimate evaluative authority.
Objective moral values have their source in
the eternal character, nature and substance of a loving, just and self-sufficient God.
Atheistic Moral Realism
Objective moral values are "brute facts" in a godless universe.
The necessary and sufficient conditions for moral obligations depend upon
There is no ______________________ in a Godless world.
Our consciences reveal both a ___________________ and our own ___________________.
- transcendent goodness
- violation of this goodness
- 1 God created the universe ex nihilo
- 2 God create each kind specifically (not macro-evolution)
- 3. Species may change in limited ways (micro-evolution)
- 4 Considerable time between creation of species and creation of humans
- 5 God created humans specifically
- 6 First couple created by God and fell in space-time history.