• Economics,  Human Nature,  Politics,  Uncategorized

    On The Communist Manifesto

    In order to understand Marx, you must understand Hegel. But no one can understand Hegel. Ergo… Okay, so perhaps we don’t have to completely understand Hegel but merely get a rough grasp of what he was saying. Hegel was born in 1770, taught philosophy at the University of Jena until it was closed down in 1806 after Napoleon overcame the Prussian army, and taught at the University of Heidelberg from 1816 until his death from cholera in 1831. Hegel’s greatest contribution to philosophy is his view of history. Hegel thought that the flow of history has its own internal logic. The logical process of history is like the maturing of a spirit. Just…

  • Politics,  Uncategorized

    Government: What’s the Point?

    In an era when people are both fascinated and cynical about politicians and governments, it is worth pausing to ask: what exactly is the purpose of government? What is it supposed to do? In order to answer this question, we ought to first consider the kind of thing that is going to be governed – human beings. If we don’t know anything about human beings, it’s no good suggesting we know how to look after them. The problem is that we can’t merely consider them as they are now, under the authority of governments. Instead, we have to consider human beings as they might be without governments or institutions. Philosophers…

  • Aesthetics,  Art,  Uncategorized

    Art: Crisis, Creativity, and Christianity

    In the early part of the twentieth century, a crisis took place in the art world. Objects that were not beautiful were hung in galleries as art. Most famously, in 1917, Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) submitted a urinal to an exhibition in New York. His piece was called “Fountain” (1917). If that could be considered art, then surely anything can be. The art crisis provoked questions. What counts as art? What is the nature of art? What makes it valuable? Definition of Art What kinds of objects count as art? Think of as many pieces of art as you can. You will probably come up with a list that includes things like paintings,…

  • Uncategorized

    Have You Thought About That?

    Someone might say, “I know what I think, but I can’t find the words.” How do you react? Do you imagine the person having a perfectly well-formed thought in their mind, but being unable to find the words to match? If there is a thought that is separate from words, then that thought is either well-formed or not. In order to tell if that thought is well-formed, we need some way to conduct a test. It is difficult to image what this test might be like. Do we gaze at it for a while, observing its well-formedness? And what does a well-formed thought look like? The most obvious test for…

  • Uncategorized

    Philosophy for Ministry

    Plato thought that philosophers should rule. In contrast, Christian philosophers ought to serve. Throughout the history of the church, God has called Christian philosophers to help missionaries, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and counselors in all sorts of ways including the following: Defending the Christian Faith against objections Refuting false teaching Thinking through issues methodically and rationally Aiding the theological task Building intellectual confidence Integrating beliefs into coherent whole Understanding nonbelievers Christian Philosophers, J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig suggest that there are six ways in which philosophers can help the ministry of the church (Moreland and Craig, 16-19). Apologetics – when an objection is made against Christianity it is almost always…

  • 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…

  • Uncategorized

    From Spy School to Bible School

    Spy School I was brought up in a home of wealth and security in England. At seven years old I was sent to a prestigious boarding school in the south of England. My father worked in the city of London and might have expected me to follow suit. I had different plans. Ever since my exposure to James Bond I had wanted to be a spy. My Grandfather—who had worked for the British foreign office for much of the cold war—had introduced me to 007 at an early age and spying had become my obsession. When I was nine years old my parents bought me a book called “The Secret…

  • Uncategorized

    A Recipe for the Fourth

    At least once a year I make a dessert out of Cool Whip, vanilla pudding, Graham Crackers and chocolate frosting. It has never failed to produce in me a “God bless America” moment. And if I can make it, so can you: First, take 1 tub of Cool Whip, 2 packets vanilla pudding and 3 cups milk. Mix them together. Line a 9 by 13 dish with Graham Crackers, pour half the mixture on. Add another layer of crackers and then the other half of the mixture. Add one more layer of crackers and then the chocolate frosting. Couldn’t be easier. Happy fourth of July to you all and, sincerely, may God bless you. For…