• Ben Holloway

    Five of the Best: History of Philosophy Books

    It is not strictly true that philosophers only write in the present tense. There are a good number of philosophers who turn their pens from analysis to narrative. Some, in fact, are quite good at it. Here are five of the best histories of philosophy in no particular order. First, a new one: A. C. Grayling’s The History of Philosophy. Grayling, master of New College, London, is a teacher by trade and by nature. He has a unique knack of explaining something quite complicated in an intelligible way. He also writes about the characters of philosophy with a good deal of personal interest. His tone always suggests that he is…

  • Postmodernism,  Progressive Christianity,  Progressivism,  Testimony,  Theology

    Progressing from Progressivism: Why I Moved on from the New Kind of Christian.

    Back in the nineties, for a few years, I was a progressive Christian. Now, I am not. Why? In this post, I will tell you about five beliefs I uncritically held as a progressive Christian and why I was wrong. First, we believed that newer is better, and we thought we could predict the future on the basis of changes that had happened in the past. Thus, we predicted that there would be a new, better kind of Christianity and that old versions would become obsolete. I remember countless conversations in which we would discuss the inevitable demise of certain forms of Christianity, particularly conservative forms of evangelicalism. We’d say…

  • Political Philosophy,  Politics

    On Property Acquisition

    According to some, there are no natural rights to property. You can pursue goods all you like, but your rights to them don’t go with the acquisition. You’d need some form of social construction for that, and, if the society was against you, the society could chose not to grant you any rights. Moreover, there’d be nothing you could do about it. There certainly wouldn’t be any moral ground for your complaint. According to some adherents of this view, John Locke’s famous arguments for property acquisition are to be confined to the dustbin. For example, according to one objector, Locke’s labor-mixing argument for the acquisition of private property is unsound.…

  • Apologetics

    In Defense of Defense: Challenges to Apologetics, pt. 2

    The second challenge to apologetics is skepticism. The Skeptic suggests that even if there are mind-independent truths, we cannot know what they are.  The problem with being a skeptic is that if one doesn’t think one can know the truth, then one won’t be inclined to defend it. No one is prepared to die for something that could very well turn out false.  There are many ways to be a skeptic. One might suggest that we can always find ways to doubt what we believe. Perhaps you are a brain in a vat. How would you know that you are not merely a brain being stimulated in ways that bring…

  • Apologetics

    In Defense of Defense: Challenges to Apologetics, pt. 1

    Some say that apologetics is dead. We don’t have to argue anymore, we just have to persuade. What we need the power of a good story, not the plodding of old-fashioned teaching.  Now, I’m not against a powerful story. My early faith was deeply influenced by the stories of Nicky Cruz, and other people who experienced the transforming power of God. My own story contains great experiences of the reality of God.  The point is: you can’t argue with a story. You can no more defend a story than you can do mathematical calculations on a feeling. Stories might give you psychological reasons to believe something; they may be powerful enough to…

  • Education,  Theology

    Truth and Theological Method.

    Theological Reflection (TR) is a relatively recent development in theological method. Its roots are in theologies that stress a particular cultural context as the starting point for theology. Sometimes they are grouped together under the term “liberation” theology and are theologies often seen as belonging to people groups who have experienced oppression, marginalization or other sufferings. Apart from the context in which the theological work is done, theological reflection has a particular method common to this group of theologies. Consequently, TR can be practiced by just about anyone. Over the last few decades TR has become more mainstream, making its way into seminaries and influencing some in the evangelical community.…

  • Apologetics,  Ben Holloway

    Replying to a Skeptic Without Becoming One

    A skeptic might make the following claims: (A) What we believe is determined by our psychology, sociology, and autobiography. (B) There is no normative, universally applicable method for arriving truth. If (A) is true, then we cannot be objective about what is true or false. If (B) is true, then we are not obliged to believe anything on the basis of someone’s evidence or reasoning. Apologists are supposed to show that claims such as “God exists” or “Jesus rose from the dead” are true and that those who believe such things are rational to do so. Moreover, apologists must assume that it is possible to come to believe these claims…

  • Human Nature,  Mind

    If Intentionality, then Not Physicalism

    You and I believe, hope, fear, and have all sorts of other intentional thoughts. We think about things. If physicalism is true, then none of us have intentional thoughts. Since we plainly do, physicalism is false. Physicalism is the view that all existent entities are describable by theories of physics. On physicalism, one cannot provide a description of a soul. Thus, souls do not exist. Same goes for abstract objects, divine beings, and inbuilt purposes. But what about those mental states of intentional thoughts? Can they be described in purely physical terms? The answer is: no. Here’s one reason why. I believe that the best days are sunny. Me believing…