• Epistemology

    Ought I Believe?

    Do we have doxastic obligations, obligations of belief? Is the sentence, ‘You ought to believe p’ intelligible or does it reduce to ‘p is true’ or ‘I want you to agree with me’? Say ‘S believes p’ is true. It tells us something about S but nothing about whether S ought to believe p. But we do think that there is some connection between belief and true propositions that is somehow related to a person’s obligations. We Can’t Believe Anything We Want We don’t really think that anyone can believe anything they want. We might say, ‘you can believe anything you want,’ but what we mean by freedom of belief…

  • choose the right apologetic strategy
    Apologetics

    3 Apologetic Strategies

    Broadly speaking, there are three apologetic strategies. Picking an appropriate one for every occasion will aid an apologist’s success. Defensive Strategy The first apologetic strategy involves defending one’s own position against objections. For example, the problem of evil amounts to an objection to the Christian belief in God’s omnipotence and omnibenevolence. If one can successfully solve the problem of evil, then one has succeeded in rebutting the objection. Reasons to use the defensive strategy: Rebutting objections is a modest aim. It is far more achievable than either a full-blown defense of one’s view or showing that the alternative view is false. Weaknesses for the defensive strategy: The strategy does not…

  • Book Reviews

    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. Epochism 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…

  • 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.

    How should we do theology? The answer to this question comprises a theological method. A theological method describes how one goes about doing theology. Theological Reflection (TR) is a recently developed theological method. Its roots are in theologies that stress a particular cultural context as the starting point for theology. Over the last few decades, TR has become more mainstream, making its way into seminaries and influencing some in the evangelical community. In this post I want to explain the method of TR and argue that to make it the dominant method for the theological task is a mistake. TR Begins and Ends with Experience All methods have to start…