• Uncategorized

    What is Christian Philosophy?

    What is Philosophy?  The word, philosophy, simply means ‘love of wisdom.’ In some sense, anyone who seeks out wisdom for its own sake is a ‘philosopher’. However, philosophy often asks questions for which other disciplines have no immediate answer. As Graham Oppy writes, “philosophy is the discipline that addresses questions for which we do not yet know how to produce…agreed answers using the methods of other established disciplines.”  (Graham Oppy in Four Views on Christianity and Philosophy, 23). Consider an example. Perhaps you hear a sentence and wonder what it means but then go on to wonder how sentences get their meaning. The question, ‘how do sentences get their meanings?’, does not find any…

  • Meaning of Life,  Politics

    Human Progress is not Enough.

    We all have an interest in human progress. Whether it be the accumulation of knowledge, removal of disease, increase in prosperity, decline in murder, or a wealth of other worthy aims, we want to see human life get better over time. However, for some people, being ‘part of history’ or devoting oneself to human advancement is the source of their meaning in life. It is the ‘something’ that transcends their own value and grants them purpose for their lives. Without it, they think their life would be pointless.  The view that human progress can provide an ultimate meaning for one’s life goes back at least as far as Hegel. Hegel’s…

  • Knowledge,  Language,  Truth

    The Search for Meaning, Truth and Knowledge.

    I have been perusing an old book by Simon Blackburn called Spreading the Word. In it, Blackburn has a very helpful little section describing the relationship between mind, language, and the world in the form of a triangle the corners of which are connected to one another by theories. The mind corner is connect to the world by a theory of knowledge and connected to the language corner by a theory of meaning. The world corner is connected to the language corner by a theory of truth. The idea is that one chooses a corner from which to develop theories for the sides. The task then becomes ensuring that one’s corner contains…

  • Human Nature,  Mind

    What is Human Nature?

    During the nineteenth century, Charles Darwin presented a view that was to have a revolutionary effect on how we conceived of ourselves and our place in the world. Darwinism stood opposed to the two traditional views that had been assumed for centuries, the Classical view and the Judeo-Christian view.  According to the Classical view, human nature is primarily distinguished by its rational capacities. For example, Plato considered the human soul to be composed of reason, will, and appetite. Plato thought that reason should govern the appetite and enforce its conclusions through the will. Similarly, Aristotle thought that humans are ‘rational animals’, sharing much in common with our creaturely neighbors but…

  • Atonement,  Christian Life,  Theology

    Why Christianity Won’t Go Away

    Supposedly, Christianity will go away. We will evolve and move on. Infuriatingly for some, it’s not going away that easily. Today, we remember a day when Jesus was supposed to go away. But, things did not go as planned. Crucifixions were supposed to be smooth and orderly. Everyone played their part to make sure the punishment was carried out with maximum efficiency and elegance. But this was no ordinary crucifixion. Things had already been going off the rails. Pilate couldn’t find a crime but gave in to the crowd’s call for Jesus to be crucified. Jesus himself was not displaying the normal characteristics of the guilty. But surely the day…

  • Abortion,  Ethics,  Worldview

    The Reason for the Love of Human Life

    Those opposed to the pro-life movement think that their opponents have a nefarious motive for their activism: “they don’t really care about babies. They just want power or control, or they just want to win.” In the following debate, the Hitch makes this explicit. Watch Bill Craig’s response. Starts at 1:16: Craig’s response is right. The Hitch presumes that Christians don’t have the intellectual resources to care for people in the present. All they have is a hope that the future, post-resurrection world will be better. All the Christian talk about life is really a veiled attempt to control others. Craig’s response is the denial of this premise. He argues…

  • Evangelism

    On Evangelism

    Why evangelize? Finding an answer to this question has become an urgent task since the Barna Group published findings that suggest that “almost half of practicing Christian millennials say evangelism is wrong.” It seems odd that those who have been saved by Jesus would think it wrong to tell others about him. My guess is that it may have more to do with motivation than with moral reasoning. Moral reasoning might tell us what we ought to do, but it can’t tell us how to want to do it. I recently became a foster parent. My wife and I have been talking about it for years and so about a year…

  • Ethics,  Politics

    On Merit

    You do something great, I clap. The child is naughty, he gets no ice cream. The athlete wins the race, she gets a medal. All of these actions and reactions seem built into the universe. It’s just the way it is. According to Clifton Mark, this is false – this is not the way the world works. Oh, and believing it leads to evil. Mark defines meritocracy as the idea that “the rewards of life – money, power, jobs, university admission – should be distributed according to skill and effort.” Most people, he says, think of meritocracy as a fact about the world. It is just the way the world…