Thursday, November 29, 2007

Having Your Cake and Eating Too: Part II

Other than trying to create brand new categories of existence without one shred of evidence (see Part I), the typical atheist trump card when faced with the nagging question, "Why are there physical laws," was stated well by this atheist blog entry: "At the end of the day it is certainly not the domain of science to dabble in metaphysics." Absolutely correct: that which is outside science is untouchable by science. Lewis mentioned that as well in his essay "Religion and Science" (from God in the Dock).
I must say, it is a convenient trump card to have, especially seeing as how it is true. Whenever annoying supernaturalist ask their annoying "WHY?" question, one can simply say, "That question is outside of science, so there." I agree on that point. I also agree with this other atheist post, which points out that supernaturalist should not try and turn known scientific facts into supernatural elements just because those facts sound "magical." All well and good.
However, the latter post jogged my memory about anther trump card atheist love to use. Whenever a supernaturalist tries to give an answer to the metaphysical question of "Why," atheist are the first to shout, "That goes against science, you fool!" Here we have a Schaefferian "point of tension".
You see, if you ask an atheist "why," they will tell you that science cannot touch that subject. However, if you (God forbid) try to provide the metaphysical solution that they cannot, they turn right around and claim that science debunks it. Again, they want to have their cake and eat it too: they want science to be free from answering the "why" question, and allow science to tear down any answer to the "why" question. Well folks, does science have any say in metaphysics or does it not? Atheist, apparently, cannot make up their minds. Their two trump cards ("Science cannot touch metaphysics," and "Science is the ultimate standard of truth") cannot coexist, yet atheist need both. Dear me, what a mess!
Atheist Joe (as I call him), in his post showing science's inadequacies in regards to metaphysics, makes some statements that are quite odd:
  1. "Why can't we take physicists at their word when they say that the question [of "why"] is outside the domain of science?" We do. We're not the problem. You are, because you just do not like people actually trying to find the answer without science; but how else can we answer the question that is outside science if we do not go outside science?
  2. "Any being or cause to which we might look as a possible solution will always invite us to go one step further. For example, to decide that God is the original ground of the laws of physics -- indeed of the universe itself -- is to put God into the set of causes and effects." Only in a purely naturalistic world can a supernatural element become natural by being the grounds for nature, and by claiming that their is something outside science (i.e., metaphysics) betrays that even Atheist Joe believes that the world is not purely naturalistic. And if it is not purely naturalistic, than his statement is a non sequitur: it does not at all follow that a supernatural element will suddenly become natural somehow simply because it is the grounds for that which is natural.
However, the oddest statement of all is the third and final atheist trump card: "Heidegger considered this question [of "why"] to be 'originary,' a philosophical brain teaser that pushed beyond the limits of being itself. [He] argued that the scope of the question was so broad that it pushed beyond the bounds of what can be thought. We cannot answer the question...because we can never exceed it." In other words, if science cannot answer it, then their is no answer. Thus we come to atheism's ultimate flaw, said nicely by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity: "Atheism turns out to be too simple...[it is] a boys' philosophy." Whereas Christians are free to view the world through all facets possible (Science, Art, Religion, Philosophy, etc.) in their search for the truth, atheists are stuck viewing the world through only one facet, i.e., Science. Everything that is not within the realm of science (though they may look and sound pretty or noble) is ultimately bunk. Thus, they handicap their ability to perceive the whole of the universe (both what is inside and outside science), and are forced to rest their views on trump cards that are hopeless contradictions in the end.

A Comment to Master Jenkins on Psychological Screw Jobs

In regards to psychological profit from frisson.

Chesterton once said (in "Orthodoxy") that humans have a paradoxical need for both security and adventure. Perhaps in Modern Christendom Suburbia, this boils down to a tension between laziness and restlessness, a strange desire to be content and create change.
So what typically happens? Do people actually seek out what's actually wrong and actually change it, and actually seek out what's actually true and actually rest therein? No; they start up fancy movements "touring in eleven cities" that cost a hundred smackers to see, which skim the surface of the issues, give pet answers, pump up self-esteem ("You're all okay!"), and leave everybody without real change (so they still feel content) but with the illusion of having done something (so they feel like they satiated their need for change).
Real contentment is too irrelevant, and real change is to costly. Instead, we get a huge psychological screw job under the auspice of a "Christian" seal of approval.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Lengthy Comment to Master Jenkins on Temples of Self-Worship

In regards to "J-Mime".

First of all, how is this "miming" any different from ad hoc worship interpretive dancing? Does changing the rhetoric without changing the form make this a NEW ministry? A NEW thing? Something relevant and chic? Was ad hoc dancing going out of style that fast?
Second of all, to what purpose did the girls in the background serve? They just stood there. Do they represent something about the prayer of Jabez? What exactly? If this crap is supposed to be "Christian art" then the form must match the theme entirely, not partially.
Third of all, what is the "Ministering Prayer of Jabez" really saying? "God enlarge my territory, God I pray for increase in my anointing, I pray for increase in my ministry, I pray for increase in my finances.. Oh God Bless Me Indeed!!!" THAT is what "enlarge my territory" means? Let's break it down:
  • Increased anointing? I thought the Holy Spirit is given to us completely at salvation, not in installments.
  • Increased ministry? What happens when God lets your ministry die? Did you not pray hard enough? Did you not have enough faith? They are not allowing God the room He needs to be God, which includes wounding you for your own good (see The Great Physician).
  • Increased finances? Oh, of course. Fill me up with the fleeting things of this world. Such a "blessing" is purely materialistic and has nothing to do with true Christianity. What if God lets your finances fail? What then? Like "increasing ministry," there is no room allowed for God to be God.
The really sad part of all this is that it is so hard to discuss this stuff without feeling like you'll offend someone's feelings or be accused of racism. Let it be said here that the ridiculous and the blasphemous cuts through all churches of every color and culture. That Christians choose to let Christianity be filtered through their own personal emotive and/or political filters is a sad sign of the state of the Church, and that state is this: we have a whole lot of religious people and very few regenerated people. There are few people in it to know God, but a whole lot of people in it for themselves.
Too many churches are clogged with people "doing religion" for emotional, psychological, political, and/or cultural reasons. Very few are the people who come seeking a relationship with God, to walk with Him in EVERY circumstance (good, bad, and ugly) and see His hand draw you closer into Himself through every circumstance. Instead, it all becomes about what you can get out of it.
Churches, of all denominations, traditions, and cultures have become temples of self-worship. Even "traditional" churches who abstain from Praise and Worship blasphemous fluff can still be havens for people who go to church to gratify themselves emotionally, psychologically, politically, and/or culturally. Remember this fact: Modern Christendom always points to self, but Christianity always points to God.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Having Cake and Eating it Too

In this article, an atheist attempts to debunk the basic Lewisian argument that Naturalism is self-contradictory because it cannot account for abstract entities (such as logic, or thoughts in general), and yet needs them in order to be valid (or verifiable). He does his debunking in a most peculiar manner. He basically states that abstract entities (namely, laws of logic) are, in fact, neither abstract nor concrete: "[Logic] is not a physical thing. But it is not a non-physical thing either." What exactly is it then? "It is a rule that can be expressed in the form of a hypothetical imperative."
What has happened here is this: As a good atheist, Bob (as I will dub him) cannot allow for abstract anything because it would violate his basic naturalistic assumption that there is nothing in the universe but "matter in motion." However, any fool can see that logic is not a physical anything. There is nothing you can point to and say, "That is logic." You can point to its effects, results, or representations (i.e., hypothetical imperatives), but you cannot point to the thing itself. Now, Bob (being a good atheist) is no fool; he sees the conundrum quite clearly: logic clearly isn't physical, but he (being a good naturalist) cannot allow it to be non-physical. What, then, can logic be? His answer is brilliant in its necessity: create a whole new category besides "physical" and "nonphysical" called "a rule."
Questions abound, however. What exactly defines this third category simply titled "a rule"? How can it be not physical and not non-physical? What exactly does it mean to be both not physical and not non-physical? Unfortunately, Bob gives no answer, which is unfortunate. You'd think someone who just announced a third category of physical existence would be kind enough to explain the particulars (or even generalities) of his new found discovery. Bob, however, does not. He gives no ground whatsoever to the validity or verifiability of this brand new third category, and therefore gives us no reason to believe his conclusion, i.e., logic doesn't need transcendent grounding (i.e., God) because logic is

Another curious statement: "Do we need a transcendent ground or supernatural basis to justify or validate [logic]? No, all we need is to recognize the futility of rejecting it." Question: Doesn't something necessarily need some sort of grounds in order for us to recognize the futility of rejecting it? If logic has no grounds, if it is just some "third thing" that is not physical nor non-physical, then how do we know it is futile to reject it?
Bob seems to answer by falling back on practical experience, i.e., we know it works because we see it work. Fair enough. However, we still have no answer to "What is/are the ground(s) for Logic?" Seeing it work and knowing why it works are two completely different things, and Bob's only explanation for why it works is to...well, he doesn't give an explanation. That's the problem. He merely puts logic into a brand new form of existence without a shred of backing for doing so. He wants to have his cake and eat it too: allow logic to be not non-physical, and not physical at the same time, which is a contradiction, unless he can prove his "third category," which he does not. Therefore, his argument is nonsensical. Poor Bob.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thoughts on the Nature of "Relevancy" to Master Jenkins

In regards to the failure of relevancy movements.

How did Dorothy Sayers put it? "Surely it is not the business of the Church to adapt Christ to men, but to adapt men to Christ."

The main flaw with "relevancy" movements is that they treat Christ Himself as fundamentally irrelevant. Thus, He must be "updated" to something new and chic, as though the timeless Word were bound to first century Jerusalem, or the Middle Ages, or the 1950s.
Perhaps now people will begin to see relevancy movements for what they truly are: blasphemy of the highest order, a deliberate denial of the timelessness of Christ and the gospel.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Thought to Master Jenkins on "The Next Big Thing"

In regards to "Christian Fads":

Christian fads (generally speaking) are good things gone bad. Before Praise and Worship became a sentiment, fluffy, self-centered type of self-worship, it was a true movement of God-centered worship in the seventies and eighties. The next big fad is probably already among us as a good thing. We just have to wait until it goes sour.

On Personality

God is a person. His name is "I AM THAT I AM," the ultimate statement of being and personality. That God is a person means that you can only know Him in the way you know any other person--through a personal relationship with Him.
"God is a living person, not a metaphysical principle. Evidences may point to God, but God Himself must be encountered in the dynamic of personal fellowship," says apologist Edward John Carnell. This is the crux that the issue of proving God swings upon. I am sick to no end of well meaning idiots who constantly demand empirical proof that God exists. They do not know what they are asking. They think they are asking, "Show we that this formula reaches a correct answer," or "Give me tested data that produces a logical conclusion." Such thinking is totally off track and therefore completely nonsensical, because in reality, "Prove to me empirically that God exists" is the same as saying, "Prove to me empirically that you're in love." It cannot be done. Love is not something you prove, love is something you know. The same is with God: all the evidence in the world can point to evidences for God (or a god, or something), but God is only "proved" in the same way you "prove" someone is in love--you experience it yourself.
"Experience" is a word that atheists and skeptics revolt against (rather violently), but there is no other way to know a person. Empirical veracity is thrown out of court from the get-go. This is because in an empirical test, you need a "control" that stands as the standard to which what your testing can be measured; and that is the problem. There is nothing to serve as God's "control" except Himself; He is the only standard for Himself. This is mainly because (1) He is the highest standard, and would need the highest standard (i.e., Himself) to measure Himself against; and (2) He is a person, and you cannot use empirical testing on a person in order to know that person, because there is no control for a person except that person. I do not get to know my brother by finding a "control" for him and measuring his results against the control, because there is no other person exactly like his person other than his person. I know him like I would anyone else--experience his person in the dynamic of a personal relationship through personal fellowship. The same is with God: He is not a substance that you measure; He is a personality that you experience.
Personality eliminates empirical testing. God is a person. Therefore, you cannot know God through empirical testing. You know Him like any other person--experience Him yourself.
(Side note: That Christ is the only way a fallen being can experience God is a subject frequented many times on my other blog).

Friday, November 2, 2007

Mr. Chambers and Mr. Chesterton on God's Atheism

The following is from Mr. Chesterton's book Orthodoxy:

"When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay (the matter grows difficult for human speech), but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist."

The following is from Mr. Chamber's book The Philosophy of Sin:

"The cry of the cross is unfathomable to us. The only ones--and I want to say this very deliberately--the only ones who come near the threshold of understanding the cry of Jesus are not the martyrs; they knew that God had not forsaken them, His presence was so wonderful; not the lonely missionaries who are killed or forsaken, they experience exultant joy, for God is with them when men forsake them. The only ones who come near the threshold of understanding the experience of God-forsakenness are men like Cain, 'My punishment is greater than I can bear,' men like Esau, 'exceedingly great and bitter cry,' men like Judas. Jesus Christ knew and tasted to a fuller depth than any man could ever taste what it is to be separated from God by sin. If Jesus Christ was a martyr, our salvation is a myth. We have followed cunningly devised fables if Jesus Christ is not all that this cry represents Him to be--the Incarnate God becoming identified with sin in order to save men from hell and damnation. The depth of this cry of Jesus is deeper than any man can go because it is a cry from the heart of God. The height and depth of our salvation are only measured by God Almighty on His throne and Jesus Christ in the heart of hell."