High School and College
Students: Papers to Write that Will Tie Your Professors in Knots
(if they are honest and reasonable!)
Glossary of Biblical and Christian Philosophy
Christian Schools, Colleges, and Seminaries… too!
These are ideas and philosophies at fundamental levels.
Possibly, and likely in many instances, your Christian
teachers and professors have not considered these issues,
In my ongoing study of philosophy, I
eventually came to
philosophy of science, primarily through Michael Polanyi.
The only two real debates on the topic of truth (episteme
or epistemology) in the 21st Century are Biblical
Christianity and natural science.
(On “natural science,” see comments and references
below.) Because of
technological advances, natural science seems to have the high
ground on an understanding of the universe (cosmos).
However, that understanding is mostly a myth, when one
begins to understand the theories of the philosophers of science
which I will present here.
I want to give high school and college
students simple, but profound ammunition, mostly from the
philosophy of science (but from logic and other areas, as well)
upon which to present in debate or in writing papers that will
at least gain you a stalemate with an honest and reasonable
professor. For the
most part, the issues are
not that complicated, as you will see.
With a little effort and more research on your part on
the Internet, you will be able to understand (at least in part)
and write on these subjects.
strong advocates of modern science are not in the philosophy
Philosophers understand the complexity of the issues and are
usually (not always) more accommodating of philosophic
scientific and Christian issues.
The strong advocates of modern science are in the science
departments (mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.), the social
studies departments (sociology, psychology, economics, etc.),
and most other departments where professors have never had
courses in philosophy of science.
They believe in the scientific method which (to them)
Their rabid conviction about evolution is one example.
and cite atheist authors who agree with your position.
In the following, you will find numerous atheists,
agnostics, or believers in other religions (David Hume, Thomas
Nagle, George Steiner, Anthony Flew, etc.) who have argued for
logical conclusions that turn out to be consistent with a
In using such argumentation, your professor cannot claim that
you only have a Christian bias for your own position!
ideas are starters.
You will have to work at understanding what I have said
and do your own solid
research. I am
only giving you a starting point, not writing the paper for you.
I will try to direct you to other places on my
www.biblicalphilosophy.org where I have written further and
elsewhere, but you will need to have more background for your
However, properly understood, these are
You will be lobbing
atomic bombs, so do so in humility, grace, and wily
softly and carry a big stick,” or better, “Be wise as serpents
and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Using today’s Internet, you can find all kinds
of articles that discuss at common and scholarly levels the
ideas presented here by both Christians and non-Christians.
Biblical Christianity is the only true, complete system.
Christians, as individuals, are not absolute.
Churches and denominations are not absolute.
No systematic theology is absolute.
Only the inerrant and infallible, 66 books of the
agreed-upon Bible are absolute
(agreed upon historically and by all orthodox
your reasoning will need to be consistent with that the
teachings of that book.
that follows is a comprehensive system—a whole universe of ideas
that could be systematized.
Learning the following is a lot like learning to swim—you
have to get in the water where you are surrounded with a
substance that you must know how to swim or sink.
presented herein is part of the whole system, so there will be
much overlap of ideas and refutations.
You should realize that you will “dog paddle” for a while
until you can make strong, fluent swimming strokes.
Strong swimming does not come without hard work and
neither will the following.
Be patient, work, read and re-read.
Once your eyes are opened, your faith and your apologetic
will be stronger.
Glossary. I have
an extensive Glossary on my websites,
For words and terms that I have not defined here, you
will need to consult that Glossary and its corresponding
as a career. If
you really get into this stuff, consider a career as a
professor of philosophy
of science. You
will need a solid
theological foundation (Bible school, seminary, or extensive
personal study—as I did), because all knowledge must be under
functional control of Scripture.
There is no
greater need in the ongoing apologetic debate with atheists.
Most Christian apologists use weak arguments, for
example, Creation Science is still science with all the
fallacies listed here, so one is arguing
a fallacy for the Christian faith (see # 16).
I will be giving you foundational arguments against which
there are no stronger arguments when properly
understood—disagreements, yes, but no stronger arguments because
they are presuppositional where personal preferences enter.
Introductory texts on “philosophy of science.”
The following are books that are good introductions and
general references to issues in the philosophy of science. Most
of the topics listed and named herein falls into that category.
In general, philosophy of science is about the
epistemology of science—how its beliefs and knowledge are
derived and formulated.
That is, it involves the issues that make
or do not make science a reliable system of belief.
Indeed, science, is
a belief system, as much or more so than belief in the Bible.
Thus, the great
battle about knowledge is between science and Christianity—more
specifically, the Bible.
If the Christian can build his argument that all
knowledge is based upon personal, basic beliefs, then he can at
least bring an honest opponent to a stalemate of competing
ideas. For more on
the “battle of belief systems,” see
Fighting on Level Ground.
The End of Science by
This book is a complete overview of the modern status of science
and the challenges it faces when many of its pursuits seem to be
at an “end,” that is, no other directions to pursue.
It is written by an experienced science journalist and is
easily readable, comprehensive, philosophical, and entertaining
(he interviews many scientists and philosophers personally).
Perhaps, even more fascinating are his next two books in
which he attempts to find foundations for true belief in
neuroscience, and then, mysticism.
These books are The
Undiscovered Mind and
Used copies of these books can usually be found for
The Soul of Science: Christian Faith and Natural Philosophy by
Nancy R. Pearcey and Charles B. Thaxton.
A well-researched book that traces the development of
science from its beginnings, as “natural philosophy,” to modern
Because it covers so much material, explanation may be lacking
at some points, but the reader will benefit from study and
re-reads. If he
masters this book, he will be ready to contend for his or her
faith against modern advocates of positivism and scientism.
This book is probably one of the best in its being
comprehensive historically and scientifically.
Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology
by R. C. Sproul. The
book explores far more than the concept of chance.
(In the following suggestions, I have one on “chance.”)
Other chapters include ignorance of know causes, quantum
mechanics (simply presented), cause and effect, logic, the
notion of truth, and much more.
This book is gives more powerful “proofs” than most books
that are apologetic for Christianity.
A Christian View of Men and Things by Gordon Clark.
I recommend all books by this author.
He has been my tutor through his books for 40 years.
In this particular book, he starts with history and
politics and moves through various disciplines of study,
eventually arriving at epistemology.
In all of them, he shows that a standard does not exist
for determining truth except in the Bible.
It is not an easy read, but comprehensive in solid
arguments and review of these attempts at knowledge in certain
areas of study.
Mathematics: Is God Silent by James Nickel.
An excellent work that presents more than a solid work on
a Biblical worldview in mathematics.
It also gives a simple history of philosophy and
philosophy of science from a Biblical perspective.
A great resource for many worldview issues.
Mathematics is often presented as the most “objective” of
sciences, but it is anything but objective and entirely
dependent upon one’s subjective worldview.
The Frontiers of Science and Faith: Examining Questions from the Big
Bang to the End of the Universe by John Jefferson Davis
A cutting edge book that discusses quantum theory, chaos
theory, the Big Bang, Godel’s proofs, and much more.
This book is more theological and technical than any book
listed here and presents more than most books on apologetics and
science. However, it
is invaluable to those Christians who want to take theology and
science to their deepest levels in comparison and contrast; how
modern science is compatible (or not) with the best forms of
Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us—and How to Know When Not to Trust
Them by David
H. Freeman. Cardiologists (expert heart doctors) advocated a
treatment for irregularities of heart beats and tens of
thousands died. No experts predicted the real estate and
financial crisis of 2008-2009. Experts in diets and exercise in
weight loss have recommendations that directly are opposite to
each other. Football experts “punt of fourth down,” but
statistics show that “going for a first down” is the better
move. From a diversity of experts, Freeman shows how they missed
and why. A truly eye-opening book on how experts cannot lead us
to “green pastures.
introductory text, but the best and most comprehensive.
Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy
by Michael Polanyi.
This book is a difficult read, but it is far and away the
best argument for the tenuous nature of science.
Polanyi was a world-renown physical chemist and a
personal acquaintance of Albert Einstein (even outthinking him
on at least one occasion).
It is a book that you do not have to read straight
through, although there is some building on previous material.
However, a possible help to you is my extensive
vocabulary that I needed to work my way through this book.
You can find
The Polanyi Glossary here.
nature of argument.
Everyone one wants a “proof” of their particular ideas.
Christians in particular want to prove their faith to
Christian apologetics is a huge industry today.
That is mostly good news, but if believers do not
understand the nature of argumentation, then apologetics will
only frustrate them—as it did me for many years.
All arguments are
based upon personal or group assumptions.
Synonyms for assumptions include axioms, premises,
presuppositions, basic beliefs, starting points, prejudices—do a
little work on your own and find more.
Use a thesaurus or synonym finder online—the exercise
will be greatly beneficial to you.
You can even find them on my website:
assumptions are those that only you hold.
Yes, every person on planet earth has differing beliefs
from all others. I
worked closely with a man for 30 years with whom we must have
had 95 percent or more agreement on simple and complex issues.
Yet, we differed on a few—some not so minor.
These personal assumptions will include simple issues
such as chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla, a preference
for Toyotas over Fords, and warm climate over cold climate.
They will also include more complex issues, such as,
Calvinist vs. Arminian theology, conservative vs. liberal ethics
and politics, and whether Christians should marry, or even date,
Obviously, there are personal assumptions that
are common to many people other than yourself.
These are group
beliefs, and they are quite varied, as they include
conservatives and republicans, Christians and non-Christians,
Freemasons and Kiwanis, Baptist and Presbyterian, traditional
and feminist ideas, and many, many others.
Groups are essential.
If we had no beliefs in common, we could not even
communicate, but being with like-minded people we have an
identity and belong to a group.
But every group has its opposite identity, as well.
So, whose proof is better?
Circular arguments and tautologies.
Proofs only exist within its own system.
(See Gödel’s theorems following here, the discovery of
which shocked the philosophical world!)
This limitation of “proof” to a belief system is
inescapably necessary to an understanding of argumentation, yet
it is rarely taught.
In fact, many consider circular reasoning and tautologies an
But every argument starts
with assumptions—every argument.
The evolutionist assumes certain scientific data is true
and rejects the Bible.
The Biblical Christian assumes the truth of the Bible
over that of science and any other knowledge.
The naturalist assumes that miracles are not possible;
the Christian assumes that the Virgin Birth and Resurrection of
Jesus make miracles possible.
So, do not be
persuaded by those who condemn arguments for being circular or
tautological, each side should examine its own assumptions.
Sometimes, agreement can be found between individuals and
groups in this way, but more likely
later) will be necessary to move from one thought system to
science” exists on this concept of “group-think.”
The classical text on this reality is Thomas Kuhn’s
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions in which he states that
science exists more by common agreement than the nature of
“facts” allow. In
fact, Francis Schaeffer (look up this wise Christian who
dominated evangelical thinking in the 1970s and 1980s) said that
“There is no such thing as a brute fact.”
There are always underlying assumptions.
write a book review of Kuhn’s book just named.
Christians are not the same; not all are true Christians.
You probably know that by now, but you may not know what
is the great dividing issue for Christians.
It is the nature of Biblical truth.
Yes, there are Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and
Roman Catholics, but these divisions are not as great as that
concerning Biblical truth.
(Of course, many of the disagreements have to do with
Biblical interpretation, so there can be many agreements among
those who believe in the Bible’s authority.)
Most commonly, this dividing issue is presented as
“inerrancy” vs. “errancy.”
However, those terms may not be the best way to paint the
more accurately is one’s
assumption (see above) about the breadth and depth of
For example, the Bible is not a textbook on science, but such
issues as the origin of physical matter and the possibility of
miracles is more authoritative than science.
(See “science” below.)
“Errantists” who carry the label Christian would argue
against the Genesis account of Creation and the possibility of
In fact, probably the
majority of those who label themselves “Christians” in the
United States today would not agree about the Bible’s authority
on these two issues.
the Bible is and is not is the most major decision that you will
ever make because it will determine all your other
example, should you marry an unbeliever, or even date an
unbeliever? (See II
Corinthians 7) And,
it is the controlling authority (epistemological) issue, as
well. What career
should you choose?
Well, you can choose any one that does not violate one of the
The word “science” is more accurately “natural science.”
The modern use of “science” has become distorted from it
Science comes from the Latin,
“Science,” as it is used today, refers to “natural sciences,” or
the knowledge that is derived from these studies.
However, the Scholastics (high Middle Ages) referred to
theology, as the
“Queen of the Sciences.”
Thus, it is inescapable that theology was “science,” but
other areas (logic, philosophy, etc.) were also “science.”
At that time and in prior history, any scholarly study
was called a “science.”
The Greek translation of
episteme from which
you will recognize “epistemology”—the study of knowledge.
Thus, science in its historical
sense was the pursuit of knowledge in any particular area
Natural science was formerly called “natural
is, the various studies of nature were a division of philosophy.
Many, if not most, people recognize that philosophy has a
wide variety of opinions on ethics, the origin of the universe,
who and what man is, and meaning of human existence.
But there has been
a profound sleight of hand with natural philosophy becoming
With the rapid growth of knowledge and application in
natural philosophy, those areas of study became known as
Over time, “natural” was
dropped from the two-word term.
Thus, “science” today means all the studies of natural
science, and the proper term is
both words together.
You must understand this sequence of events to understand
how “science” has become the dominant epistemology of our times.
This change may seem minor, but it is quite
lingers as scientitia
It still carries the exact and systematic pursuit of
But now “science” is
limited to the natural sciences, and in this re-naming achieves
epistemological status that it does not deserve.
All the other studies which were formerly called
“science,” as theology was the “Queen of the sciences,” have
been lowered on the knowledge scale to rank
below the natural
sciences. Thus, only
the natural sciences achieve “truth” by this historical and
linguistic sleight of hand.
Unless you realize this trick of history, you will not
understand the modern attitude of scientism—the natural sciences
are the arbiter of truth.
However, the following ideas that are the
substance of this file cut the legs out from under this
historical trick and expose the natural sciences for their
deceit in the pursuit of knowledge and truth.
Further development of this theme is another
The nature of authority.
The student should also come to understand something of the
nature of authority.
Everyone lives and makes decisions by “authority” far more than
is at first recognized.
Growing up, your parents and a few other adults were your
authorities—you pretty much believed what they said.
But, then as you acquired friends of your own age, you
began to realize that they reflected
differing opinions from your parents.
“Hhmm—the world is a little more complicated than I
thought!” Then, you
started reading other opinions and hearing them from the
television and the Internet.
“The world is even more complicated.”
Then, you may have started thinking of yourself as a
know better than anyone else.”
But, hold on a minute.
You are dependent upon all your prior knowledge to “know” anything!
Choose whatever point in your life when you think that
you began to think on your own—first grade, age twelve, senior
in high school, or sophomore (“wise fool,” literally) in
college. At any of
these points you are dependent upon present knowledge from which
to make decisions and to feel that you “know” something.
Further, what do you do when you decide to buy a car,
choose a college, or decide whom to vote for in a presidential
You talk to, and listen
to, others! What
are these others?
you trust and some you do not, but your opinions are shaped by
your valuation of them.
Then, there is the authority of the self.
you being to make your own decisions.
This step is necessary because decisions and choices must
be made. But, who
are you? Are you
sufficiently wise to choose a career, whom to marry, or whom to
give the most powerful political office in the world!
Now, I am not downplaying authority.
We cannot live without dependence upon authority.
But, you should realize the tenuous nature of authority:
childhood thoughts, opinions of bright and not so bright friends
and teachers (maybe even parents), and television commercials.
We are inescapably
dependent upon authorities.
What is important are the authorities whom we choose to
let influence us.
Whom will you choose?
you, as a person, sufficiently wise?
Your parents—are they sufficiently wise?
How can you interpret it properly?
One last word on this subject applies to
postmodernism. A distrust of all authorities, especially the
Bible, is prevalent in popular and scholarly discourse.
You should not be pulled into this false frame of
Realize that dependency upon authorities is inescapable.
The person who says, “Distrust all authorities” has named
himself as a great
credentials does he offer for trust by others?
(2) Do serious research to determine which authorities
are reliable. (You
may even find your parents in this category because they know
you so well.) (3) If
we are all dependent upon authorities, what is the big deal
about the Bible as an authority?
After all, it claims to present “Thus says the Lord.”
Millions upon millions for thousands of years have found
the Bible to be a reliable guide.
Paper. Augustine came to
realize that the Bible was the ultimate authority in just the
same way that I have presented here.
He realized that he had no choice but to accept the
authority of others.
Thus, why not choose God’s authority?
Research his meditations on the subject of authority and
write a paper on it. One
potential resource is B. B. Warfield’s book,
Calvin and Augustine.
A word of instruction on the pronoun “this.”
In your own writing,
never use “this” without an noun that immediately follows.
You will be amazed at your own inability to find a
“following noun” for the “this” that you have used.
How confusing, then, for the reader!
One of the categories that divides Christians is
evidentialism and presuppositionalism.
Another way to state this
division is whether there are “brute” facts or that all “facts”
are interpreted by one’s preconceived notions.
For example, find an “abstract” painting in an art
gallery and stand behind others who are viewing it.
What do they say?
You will hear, “It looks like…”
That is, they cannot simply grasp an abstraction; they
have to compare to something they recognize or contrast
something that the painting is not.
There are not more “brute facts” than there is
“abstraction” to art.
Now, I do not want to criticize my
evidentialist brothers and sisters too much, but if there are
“brute” facts, why are there so many interpretations?
The Christian accepts the resurrection of Christ; the
natural scientist does not?
Why not? The
resurrection has the most evidence of any “fact” of that period
of time. There are
far more manuscripts to attest to the resurrection, than the
writings of Seneca or Cicero.
And, how does one explain the millions of followers of
Christ (“Christ-ones” or “Christian”) who have committed their
entire lives to this “myth?” The article,
Infallible Proofs", should help you work through these
***Synonyms for presupposition, faith, belief, assumption,
Knowing synonyms is central to understanding.
If I use the word “faith,” do you understand that it
means the same as “belief?”
You must grasp the
synonyms to understand the nature of arguments.
You must come to understand that everyone operates by
faith (belief), even the most avowed atheists.
theorems and the
Quine-Duhem Theory that follow here.
You must be able to recognize the differing terms for the
basic beliefs that people have.
Here is a lengthy list of synonyms for belief or faith,
but even with its length it by no means exhaustive.
Faith, first principle, justified true belief,
presupposition, starting point,
pou stou, axiom,
foundational belief, basic belief, first philosophy, assumption,
bias, prejudice, testimony, authority, beginning, core beliefs,
basic belief, properly basic belief, most basic belief,
foundation, foundational belief, any absolute, dogma and
dogmatism, doctrine, metaphysics and first philosophy
(Aristotle), value, values, value judgments, heart, aesthetics,
meta-ethic or other “meta____” (insert any term), assumption,
presumption, bias, prejudice, simple belief, predilection,
ultimate desire, a
priori or any a priori
position, ultimate (value, truth, ethic, person, Person,
Faith, etc.), philosophical outlook, pre-theoretical
suppositions, basic commitment, basic idea, the ideal, “one’s
most efficacious argument” (Richard Weaver), “ultimate concern”
(Tillich), “ultimate reality” (Henry Stob), worldview, ground of
being, absolute or Absolute,
Begriff (Hegel), etc
The subjectivity of the scientific method.
This method involves
choices all along its method.
person chooses his or her hypothesis according to his or her own
emotions (desires, hopes, curiosity, likes, dislikes, etc.).
person chooses how
much paper research to do before starting.
Now, in today’s digital age, that amount of research on
any subject is staggering—in fact an exhaustive study can
probably not be done on any subject.
(See a cute, but powerful story of
Epistemology of a Flea.
So, one can examine only a small portion of what is
person decides how
much research to do.
person has a limited
budget. Whether a
student research project at home or the most sophisticated
nuclear particle accelerator, there is always a limit of
technology available and a limitation of one’s budget.
person decides which
measurements to study and how many.
who will do the study—many students and professors are better than
decides what data to include and what to throw out.
person observes the
data and draws conclusions.
The scientific methods gives a
form to the process,
but the person (in his
subjectivity) makes many personal choices along the way.
person is used
involves a subjective
decision, yet the scientific method is supposed to be an
objective process. The
person makes choices
all along the scientific method, so it is infused with
Science cannot say whether an experiment “ought” to be done,
that is, whether the experiment or its results are “right or
wrong.” For example,
is it right or wrong to use animals in medical research—science
(in this case, medicine) cannot answer that question.
Values from outside of medicine must be sought to apply
to that question.
See value below.
(This inability to determine value is called
the naturalistic fallacy.)
study. At this
point, you need to do an Internet search with something like,
“fallacies of the scientific method,” “personal decisions in the
scientific method,” “the naturalistic fallacy,” or “philosophy
of science and the scientific method.”
There is plenty of information for your paper on the
Internet; find that which is most simple, easily understood, and
applicable to your project or paper.
Here is a short reference for discussion of
Science, Knowledge, and Faith.
If you get bogged down anywhere or need further help,
email me at
firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll see if I can help you further.
The informal fallacy of the scientific method--induction.
The method of science is empiricism—theory, observation,
experiment, and conclusions—as we saw above.
It is not different from just plain life experience
except that (1) it is called “science” and (2) it is more
learn from experience” is commonly quoted as a truism.
You have an “experience,” good or bad, and you structure
your life accordingly the next time you face that situation.
For example, if a toddler gets bitten by a dog; he or she
may be afraid of dogs for the rest of his or her life.
A student is rewarded with a good grade for a project
prescribed by a school teacher, and he is spurred on to ever
greater tasks because of that reward.
There are thousands of incidents that happen over one’s
lifetime that train and teach.
Are they all true?
No. All dogs
will not bite; all teachers will not reward.
That all experiences and experiments are not true always
and everywhere is called
the fallacy of induction (empirical method, scientific method).
Simply, induction is observation and
classic example is that one observes one hundred swans.
They are all white.
Therefore, one concludes that “All swans are white.”
Then, that person goes to Australia and finds
No one person can survey either the whole earth or the
whole universe. No
scientific experiment can structure for every eventuality and
the formula for a body falling to earth, S=1/2 gt2
where S is the determined speed of the falling object
in a vacuum, g is the acceleration of the object in feet per second
per second (yes, this is stated correctly—it is the formula for
acceleration), and t
is time in seconds.
But, guess what? In
nature there are no vacuums except in outer space (probably not there either) where
objects do not fall.
And, this formula only applies at sea level.
You see that this “law” of gravity does not apply in the
real world. Is it
But modifications have to be made wherever it is applied in “the
real world.” The
must operate to make it useful.
Experiments cannot be done everywhere under
Persons are limited in their lifespan, time, interest, etc.
Thus, induction (the scientific method, empiricism,
scientific experiment) is always tentative.
Its usefulness is
not being challenged here—look at all the modern technical
devices that we have.
However, all induction is tentative and limited—it must
be modified for practical application.
Therefore, it is never
true, as truth is
changeless and applies everywhere.
And scientists want to claim their knowledge to run the
world. Their world
is a changing fallacy!
Suggested paper—David Hume.
This atheist is a great source for citation, as he
discussed at length the fallacy of induction.
You can pit this famous philosopher and atheist against
modern atheists. He
also argued that no “ought” can be derived from “what is.”
This argument is called the naturalistic argument—that
any person in general, or a scientist in particular, cannot
argue from what they see (“what is”) to what “ought” to be.
For example, I observe a father spanking a child and the
“suffering” that the latter experiences.
Therefore, I argue that spanking is wrong.
That “therefore” is a wrong conclusion from the facts.
At least one position (that of the Bible) is that
spanking is “good” (several of the Proverbs).
(I cited this example specifically because the American
Academy of Pediatrics has made this very argument.)
there is plenty of material at simple and more complex levels of
discussion available on the Internet.
Simply search for “the fallacy of induction,” or “the
fallacy of the scientific method,” or “empiricism as a fallacy.”
See the following category,
Review any issue of Discover
or other scientific journal, for a practical paper
illustrating this example.
“There are no absolutes.”
This statement has been a favorite of relativists for
decades. However, if
the statement is true, then it is also an absolute, which denies
the truth of itself.
This contradictory statement is called a
If true in statement, then it is false in actuality.
Thus, the opposite must be true,
“There must be at least
Now, the usual argument proposed is, “Logic is
counter statements can be true.
Well, OK, but you have just stated that illogic or
irrationality applies to all statements concerning truth.
But, if you want to go there, then
you can have no opinion
If one wants to allow full-blown irrationality, then all
statements are meaningless, and it is useless to say anything.
So, logic necessitates a logical dilemma: Either there is
at least one absolute or irrationality and all statements have
no meaning. Even
here, however, no one can live by the latter position because
all conversations take place on the belief that what I say is
rational and can be understood by those to whom I am speaking.
The following short review may be helpful:
Do an Internet search on “the falsity of there are no
should get you some material.
You may also want to consider Jesus’
statement. “I am the
way, the truth, and the life,” and its absolute ramifications.
He is making the claim that truth is a “person,” Himself.
How can that be?
There is logically only one absolute.
An absolute is absolute is an absolute, that is,
everything else is subordinate to it.
Ah! It is
here that the rubber meets the road.
What could this absolute be?
Perhaps, Hegel presented the most comprehensive absolute
in the history of philosophy with his concept of
His absolute is total, absorbing everything in its path
to its completion in history, if one believes his system.
Only an all encompassing, all-directing
agency, qualifies as an absolute.
Everything must be subordinate to it, and it must be able
to answer all questions of inquiry.
An absolute must be omniscient and omnipotent. Thus, a
simple statement, such as, the following must be put into an
“The sun always rises.”
“A dog is a man’s best friend.”
“Religions are the most common cause of wars.”
“All religions are true.”
These statements cannot stand except that they are placed
within an absolute system.
For example, “the sun always rises” is contradicted by
modern science—the universe will someday come to an end.
It is also contradicted by the Bible, “There will be no
more sun” (Revelation 22:5).
Both predict the cessation of the rising of the sun, but
by differing methods.
Which is true?
For a serious exploration, one may want to read Paul
Tillich’s book, My Search
However, he does not arrive at one absolute, he arrives at
several. Thus, he
has not really solved the problem of an absolute.
The only absolute is the Triune God as revealed in the Bible.
The latter phrase is absolutely essential to this
absolute. There are
plenty of common folk, as well as philosophers and scholars, who
claim an “absolute” God, but their concept is contradictory at
many points (as is Tillich’s above).
Not only are God’s attributes consistent and coherent in
Scripture, but its system of ethics is total for persons to know
and obey. The true
absolute is the whole of Biblical revelation.
for the words “absolute.”
the Search feature for this website and (2) look for articles at
Internet search: use the phrases “the nature of an
“absolutes in religion and philosophy,” “what is required in an
Philosophers are unable to solve the dilemma whether
“good” is what God says it is or that “good” exists and God only
recognizes it as such.
That is, does good exist independently of God or does
good only exist because of what God says?
The obvious answer Biblically is that good is what God
says that it is. If
some standard existed higher than God, then that higher standard
would be omnipotent—that higher good would control what He says.
Descartes understood the nature of absolutes.
His fear was that he could be deceived by a malicious,
Thus, he arrived as his
cogito—“I think; therefore I am”—a logical fallacy itself,
and his “clear and distinct” concepts which is the very
deception that he was trying to avoid!
My mind is much more “clear and distinct” early in the
morning, than late in the evening.
Which thoughts am I to know as certain?
logical positivists had a strong following early in the 20th
absolute was that truth only existed in that which could be
empirically verified (observation and experiment; the
What they and others came to realize, however, was that their
absolute could not be empirically verified.
By stating their absolute truth, they are actually denied
What a great paper this topic would make.
Follows immediately here.
fallacy or it is impossible to derive an “ought” from “what is.”
Materialism or physicalism is the theory of modern science that
only matter and energy exist—that which can be sensed by taste,
touch, sight, hearing, or seeing.
However, “what is” can never give an “ought,” that is,
what behavior is right or wrong for a person.
While it is rarely carried to its compelling conclusion,
this truth is commonly accepted (but not by all) by philosophers
Historically, good evidence can be supplied by the atheist David
Hume who wrote on this concept—throw an atheist’s arguments
against other atheists!
Today, most sociologists and psychologists
commit this fallacy.
Of particular note are the
who would modify people’s behavior on large populations,
regardless of their individual beliefs.
Perhaps, more common in the 21st century are
psychologists who think that right and wrong can be
determined for what happened to animals and humans (who are also
animals in their belief system) has ethical implications for all
Value can only be determined by a person.
If the universe “just happened” to be, then there is no
person to give it value.
In fact, values do not matter because the “universe” does
not care—it is a cold, purposeless, even cruel actuality.
(See the following discussion on value.)
History—the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, thinking of its
usefulness in construction of buildings, roads, and other
However, he was horrified when its more prevalent use was to
maim and destroy in warfare.
His horror led to the Peace Prize in an attempt to
overcome the harm that he had wrought.
Thus, was the invention of dynamite a “good” thing or a
“bad” thing? What
system of ethics can decide this?
(Hint: no technology is right or wrong in itself—what is
right or wrong is the intended goal of its use.)
Value and virtue—how does one determine what is valuable?
Ethics is one major division of philosophy—epistemology,
ontology (cosmology), and ethics (value, virtue).
And it is perhaps the greatest dilemma that philosophy
faces: who is to say what is right and wrong?
Attempts to find ethical principles that exist at all
times for all places have all failed.
C.S. Lewis and others have written about
The Tao, but is it not
McIntyre has written books and articles trying to discern the
evolution of morals.
A famous law professor, Arthur Leff wrote a classical paper,
“Unspeakable Ethics; Unnatural Law,” literally crying out for
some principles upon which all society can agree—“Who Sez?” is
his great cry.
Immanuel Kant claimed the categorical imperative that everyone
everywhere could agree upon.
Plato explored virtue in
The Republic. And, on
and on throughout philosophical and theological history.
In actuality, there are only three ways
finally to decide what is right and wrong.
does his own thing.
Obviously, this would be anarchy for any society.
(2) One person becomes an ultimate authority—everyone
obeys whatever he (or she) says.
This situation is totalitarian and tyrannical.
(3) An omnipotent, loving Person structures ethics in
which there is no conflict in ethics for the individual, the
family, social organizations, and civil government.
(I must give Frances Schaeffer credit for this simply,
but powerful insight.)
There are not other options.
is a subtle, but extremely important subcategory of ethics:
all politics is the
application of ethics to the power of civil government.
All politics and civil laws are the implementation of
someone’s or some system’s principles of right and wrong.
How does one avoid the tyranny of the minority over the
majority or the majority over the minority?
What is freedom?
How is freedom implemented and sustained?
What are the legitimate rights of man, of social groups,
and of civil governments?
Some writers differ on the definitions of morals and
ethics. Morals come
from “mores,” or habitual and customs of a society.
However, in the overall analysis, morals and ethics are
the same—both determine what is right and wrong for individuals
and groups. The
“mores” of a culture must be judged by a standard that applies
to all cultures, and only a universal belief system (religion or
philosophy) can be such a measuring stick.
of the persons or systems herein named could be discussed.
The three limited options for ethics could be chosen or
the relationship of ethics to civil laws.
There is no “agreed upon” philosophy after 2500 years!
Philosophy is literally the “love” (philos)
of “wisdom” (sophia).
In general, no person would doubt whether wisdom ought to
be pursued and applied to everyone’s life.
The problem is that the “love of wisdom” has resulted in
no universally agreed upon philosophy.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of philosophies
today, ranging from traditional rationalism and empiricism to
feminism and environmentalism.
there is no universally agreed upon philosophy, then yours is a
good as any other person’s belief system.
And, if your philosophy is Biblical Christianity, you
have many claims over other philosophies: 2000+ year history,
popularity—most of the world’s population claim it, a detailed
history that no other religion does, a rationality that exceeds
any other religion, Western civilization (and that of the United
States0 that rivals nothing else in the history of mankind, etc.
explore the various traditional philosophies and how they
contradict each other: rationalism/fideism,
rationalism/empiricism, idealism/empiricism, nominals/universals,
parts/wholes, analytical vs. wholistic philosophy
(“continental”), rights/responsibilities, individuals/society,
society/state, democracy/totalitarianism, etc., etc.
If none are universally accepted, then any one of them is
as good as any other.
Only an outside standard can be used to judge, but there
is no outside standard except Biblical Christianity (which not
The Nature of “Proof.”
Your professor stands boldly in front of your class and
challenges, “If your Christian God performs a miracle by having
this podium levitate, then I will believe.”
Do you cringe and wonder why God will not “perform” in
You could respond with a quote from Frederick Nietzsche who
said, “I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have
faith in grammar.”
This quote means that the complex structure of stating a
sentence argues strongly for God.
Nietzsche was one of the strongest atheists and
deconstructors of Christianity in history.
Correspondingly, Gottfried Leibniz (a philosopher of the
17th and 18th centuries) asked, “Why
should there be something rather than nothing?”
That is, why should your professor be standing there at
all, as opposed to never existing in the first place.
In a random universe, there is no answer to that
suggestion: work out the reasoning of Nietzsche’s or
Well, those are possible quick come-backers,
but answering his challenge is really more complicated.
Such an argument involves demonstrating that every person
chooses starting points.
The starting point for a naturalist is that only the
physical universe exists and the laws that govern it.
Thus, whatever the “facts” are presented to him must be
interpreted within this most basic belief.
Getting beyond that basic belief involves conversion.
Conversion and regeneration.
Conversion is a subject about which little is written.
I am not talking about conversion in the Christian sense
(but I will get to that).
Conversion is a change in one’s beliefs.
All people have basic beliefs, and these are complex and
George Steiner states:
We normally use a shorthand beneath which
there lies a wealth of subconscious, deliberately concealed or
declared associations so extensive and intricate that they
probably equal the sum and uniqueness of our status as an
individual person. (After Babel, 172-173, 1975
Beliefs range from “Chocolate is the best ice
cream” to “Fords are better than Chevrolets” to “George
Washington was a better president that Abraham Lincoln” to
“Christianity is the only true religion.”
You will need to read many pages on my website,
www.biblicalphilosophy.org, to get a grasp on this concept.
Once you have it, you can at least bring a stalemate to
any argument. You
will also understand why you rarely win an argument.
Conversion has to occur in the other person, and this
change is beyond your control.
In fact conversion is a mystery.
Thomas Kuhn writes in
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions about “paradigm” shifts.
Such shifts happened with movement from the geocentric
view of the universe to the heliocentric view of Copernicus, not
because of new facts or evidence, but for reasons of personal
Church vs. Galileo debate was not religion vs. science at all,
but an older, more complicated view of the universe (Ptolemaic)
vs. the newer heliocentric system.
That this debate
was different than it has been presented would make an excellent
paper, as well.
There is much on the Internet about this false picture.
Simply search for
“the Galileo-Church controversy” or read about it in Kuhn’s
Why did Copernicus
exchange his actual terrestrial station for an imaginary solar
standpoint? The only justification for this lay in the greater
intellectual satisfaction he derived from the celestial panorama
as seen from the sun instead of the earth. Copernicus gave
preference to man's delight in abstract theory, at the price of
rejecting the evidence of our senses, which present us with the
irresistible fact of the sun, the moon, and the stars rising
daily in the east to travel across the sky towards their setting
in the west. (Michael Polanyi,
Regeneration is the Bible’s description of conversion,
perhaps most clearly presented in Ezekiel 36:25-27 and John
3:1-21. The Spirit
of God must change a person’s heart.
This change converts a “naturalist” belief to a “supernaturalist”
(belief). Thus, the
acceptance of miracles, instead of their denial, becomes his or
her starting point or most basic belief.
Regeneration is the mysterious working of the Spirit
“blowing where he will” in John 3.
Conversion in science and other matters is also
mysterious—it does happen, but we cannot know what it is in the
person to cause him to change.
For a fairly extensive review of who regeneration changes
a person, see my paper,
The Centrality of Regeneration, Faith, and Sanctification in a
My opinion is that many disagreements among Christians
could be explained by a simple understanding of this profound
change in human nature.
Faith vs. reason—philosophy and religion are about the
Religion and science are different subjects, even different
departments, in colleges and universities.
However, they should really be included under one
classification and department: the one that claims to have all
the answers to all of life’s questions.
What are the subjects of philosophy: ontology (cosmology,
origins), epistemology (truth, knowledge), and ethics (morals,
right and wrong).
Religions concern the same subjects: from where did everything
come, what knowledge is certain, and what behavior is right or
wrong. The centuries
long debate between faith and reason is entirely false: everyone
starts from a position of faith, although it may be called
axioms, basic principles, basic beliefs, assumptions,
presumptions, biases, prejudices, starting points, or
discussions of faith above.) In geometry, a mathematical system,
one starts with axioms—these are not proved, but simply accepted
“proofs” are built upon these assumptions.
For Biblical Christianity, the axiom would be that the
Bible is God’s word, fully authoritative, inerrant, and
Modern debate—all “-isms” are faith-based—several papers
herein. For a detailed discussion of the importance of
ascribing “faith” or “belief” to all modern systems of thinking
see my paper,
Faith vs. Faith – Fighting on Level Ground.
You may also refer to my book on faith,
Without Faith It Is Impossible to Please God.
Kurt Gödel stunned the world with his incompleteness
theorems about 1930.
Mathematics had been the objective ideal since the
Greek Pythagoreans over 2000 years ago.
However, Gödel demonstrated that all mathematics only
have proofs within individual systems.
There is no proof outside the system.
Axioms in geometry are one example that is commonly
was the most objective of sciences, but Gödel torpedoed that
This theory states that any “proof” or conclusions from
theoretical science at any given point of time is dependent upon
all previous theories and experimental results
ad infinitum. Thus,
every theory or experiment or proof rests upon prior knowledge
that is not part of the current conclusions.
If any of that
prior knowledge is false, then that which is current may be
false for that reason alone.
For more on faith vs. reason, see the articles
under Faith and Reason
Tautology, circular thinking.
These two terms are another designation for what is being
“Scholars” are quick to call an argument circular or a tautology
to dismiss it as simplistic and irrelevant to any sophisticated
way of thinking.
However, all thinking is
tautological or circular.
Note in the brief mentions of Godel’s theorems and the
Quine-Duhem hypothesis that “proofs” are always dependent upon
prior assumptions (axioms, presuppositions, premises, basic
beliefs, and all the other synonyms for such beginning ideas).
A simple, but infinitely profound example is that of
scientists exclude the possibility of anything “super-natural”
from the start of their thinking.
So, their system cannot allow for miracles,
no matter what the
Christian who is a super-naturalist sees no problem with
miracles because they fit nicely into his Biblical worldview.
Student—pay attention here!
The argument is no more
complicated than my simple explanation here.
“Supernatural” vs. “natural” is an assumption, not a
proof—a most basic belief for the natural scientist.
Emergence, supervenience—a whole is not the sum of its
parts. Have you
ever noticed that your conversation varies according to the
person or persons involved?
If two of you are having a conversation and another
person joins you, the conversation changes!
You have just experienced the nature of parts and wholes.
The whole is the current group, add another part
(person), and the whole changes.
This phenomenon is gaining prominence in scientific
is individuality which can only be explained by the diversity of
the whole and that the whole can only be explained on an
understanding of its parts.
Another example is that of
a living cell. The most that
it is investigated, the more its complexity is known.
None of the parts of a living cell would never have any
of the characteristics of these parts in a living situation.
The whole of a cell is not just a quantity, but a
quality. Something or
Someone must not only bring the parts into
proximity to each other, but must add the additional quality of
instantiation is called emergence, as a whole “emerges” from its
parts, or supervenience, as some higher power “supervenes” on
the parts to produce the characteristics of the whole.
The cause of this emergence or supervenience is unknown
to natural science in which only physical matter exists.
The quality of assembly and life is external to matter.
Emergence introduces the notion of
transcendence or a
Apologetics: how can “life” come from “non-life”—a major paper
is possible here.
The additional qualities of the assembly of components of
the cell and being alive are stronger arguments against
naturalistic evolution than what has been called “creation
science.” The latter
allows the presence of life, and then debates how its complexity
or dependent characteristics could not have happened by chance.
The presence of life has no place in a material universe.
A cell or any higher organ or organism simply could never
have the quality of life.
It is not just the parts of the cell, but its function.
What supervenes to coordinate all the complex activities
that are necessary for the presence and sustenance of life?
That supervenience is supernatural.
If I were a creationist (and he is neither a
Christian nor a creationist), I would cease attacking the theory
of evolution—which is so well supported by the fossil record—and
focus instead on the origin of life.
This is by far the weakest strut of the chassis of modern
biology. The origin
of life is a science writer’s dream.
It abounds with exotic
scientists and exotic theories, which are never entirely
abandoned or accepted, but merely go out of fashion.
(John Horgan, The
End of Science, 138.)
See the reference in Horgan’s book for
additional information, more than sufficient for a considerable
Perhaps, the greatest mystery of modern philosophy and science
(as neuroscience) is human consciousness.
There are only three possible explanations for
Panpsychism is the theory that consciousness is present as a
component of matter in the universe, even inanimate objects like
rocks, trees, planets, etc.
Human consciousness is just a particular manifestation of
that universal consciousness.
(But, in actuality, the physical universe cannot explain
consciousness, so this alternative is really non-existent.)
(2) Emergence is the explanation for most of these “pure”
present in the physical and chemical material of the brain
cells, consciousness “emerges.”
Certain “boundary conditions” are met by the presence of
these neurons that allows them to have consciousness.
Of course, this leap is a huge and speculative one, but
nevertheless is demanded by a naturalist worldview.
(3) Consciousness is a creation of God special to human
beings—one dimension of being created in the image of God.
A great book to consult for arguments against pure
naturalism is The Waning
of Materialism by
Robert C. Koons and George Bealer.
Another article can be found here:
Both of these are by secular authors which gives some
credence to a paper to a secular professor.
An argument for the existence based upon
For an excellent Christian author, see J. P. Moreland’s
Consciousness and the Existence of God.
You can get an introduction to Moreland’s thinking here:
Use of the book’s arguments could make a good apologetic
paper, also. Or,
simply review Moreland’s book as a book report with some
Review any issue of
Discover or other scientific journal.
Discover is a
“cutting-edge” magazine on the latest discoveries and theories
in science. It is
A student could take any monthly edition and go through all its
articles looking for what I call, “weasel” words and phrases
which indicate the tenuous nature of modern science.
Such words or phrases include the following.
“Many answers about (some subject of investigation)
remain unknown,” “we used to think (this about some matter), but
now we have discovered (that matter) is not true.”
(This change of thinking shows clearly that science never
has definitive answers.)
Here is an example.
In an article “Confronting the Dark” (Discover,
May 2013, p. 39) is found the statement, “The surprising curl
(of a graph of distances in space), frowning back at (Brian)
Schmidt, told him that astronomers might have to rethink the way
that the universe worked.”
Have not scientists forcefully and with derision told Christians
about The Big Bang and other origins of the universe, yet they
are still formulating their theories and experimental data?
How can they say one thing with certainty and then
rethink what they have just said?
There is no certainty in science.
Any monthly edition of such a magazine (there
are many) is full of such rethinking, revising, speculating, and
other tentative statements.
How, then, can they be so dogmatic?
Scholarly investigation is supposed to deride anything
While I have directed you to “popularly” written
magazines, the same “weasel” words are found in the most
scholarly and respected professional periodicals.
I have directed you to those popularly written because
they are more easily accessible and understood.
That they are so-written takes nothing away from the
tenuous nature of their statements.
However, you could taken any area of scholarly endeavor
and find the same “weasel” statements.
The following article on the “church of
science” continues a similar theme.
The scientific community has its own “church” and
Scientists would have you believe that there is a uniformity of
belief throughout their world.
However, one needs only to peruse their professional
publications (and even the popularly written science magazines)
to know that they differ among themselves in
every department of science.
So, if you encounter someone, especially a high school or
college professor (where in science or not) who makes certain
claims for science, you can answer,
“Sir (Maam), to which science are you referring?”
science there is no uniformity of agreement.
“Sir (Maam), to which evolutionary scientist are you
How does electricity work?
explanation. Electricity powers many devices in homes and
even more so in industry.
But how does it work?
How is it that zillions of electrons pass through a wire
that never burns up (unless improperly matched with its
How do electrons “flow” when no movement occurs within
the wire itself? Why
is it that electrons “flow” and protons do not.
How can electrons “flow” when they are attached to
How do electrons flowing through a wire generate an invisible
Why do some materials conduct electricity and others do
not? How does
electricity within a certain configuration produce an (electro)
magnet? How can soft
substances, such as clouds composed of water, generate millions
of volts of electricity?
Why does lightning follow certain paths and not others?
How does electricity which passively flows through a wire
explode when improperly connected—that is it that a person can
hold a wire in one’s hand through which is passing thousands of
volts and yet be physically jolted if he touches the end of the
wire? Insulation is
not an answer: why does one substance conduct electricity and
other substances do not?
You can come upon with many more questions
about electricity with some research.
Scientists claim to “know,” but they cannot explain
For sure, they can describe in considerable detail, but they can never explain.
To say all that two objects in space attract each other
is only to describe,
not to explain.
Why does nature have this characteristic.
If you can learn that
description is not explanation, then you will have conquered the
false idea that modern science understands natural phenomena.
(Ultimately, the only explanation for any phenomena is that
of Creation—God created the objects in this universe to behave
in certain ways—patterns—so that man could achieve his vocation
(calling) from God.
Creation (human), imagination, abduction.
The following quote is from the modern linguist, literary
critic, and writer
Question: You do not consider yourself to be
There should not be confusion over these roles.
Critics, commentators, and exegetes, even the most gifted
ones, are still light years away from creators.
We do not fully understand the intimate sources of
example, imagine this scene which happened in Berne… A group of
children are on a picnic outing with their schoolteacher, who
sits them down in front of a viaduct, and watches while they
attempt to draw it.
Then she looks over the shoulder of one kid, and he has drawn
boots on the pillars!
Ever since then, all the world’s viaducts
have been on the march.
The name of the child was Paul Klee.
Creation changes everything that it contemplates, with
only a few lines creators show us everything that was already
there. What is the
mystery that triggers creation?
I wrote Grammars of Creation (book) to understand it.
But at the end of my life, I still don’t understand.
Surely, student, you can write on paper on
Steiner’s thoughts because you can link The Creator to human
creators who only reveal what was already in God’s mind!
What about “creation” vs. “invention?”
Are the large majority of people in the world wrong?
A Google search of “How many atheists in the world”
reveals somewhere between two and twenty percent.
The number varies because of identities with “atheist,”
“agnostic,” “not sure,” and “religious but without specific
identity.” But the
percentage does not really matter.
Without question, and inescapably, the overwhelming large
majority of the persons of the world are “religious.”
So, your atheist college professor wants to call the
majority of persons on planet earth “stupid,” “ignorant,”
“uneducated,” or otherwise denigrate them as thinkers?
Your high school,
college, or university pretends by its negativity and
neglect that religion is not important in education?
They want to pretend that great scholars (Augustine,
Aquinas, Descartes, Pascal, Tolstoy, Newton, etc., etc.) were
deceived and wrong-headed because they were strongly religious?
You may want to include persons of other religious, such
as, Gandhi, Maimonides, and Averroes.
(I had difficulty finding these three.
Could that be a paper, also—corresponding number of great people who were
Christian vs. non-Christian?)
Now, I have said nothing here about which
religion is true. I
am keeping this idea “generic” against your professors’ narrow
and closed-minded views, while he thinks of himself as
However, another paper
could defend Christianity as the world’s majority religion and
one that has most influenced the world for good.
Darkness and light—three classes of persons.
The Bible frequently describes the persons of the world
into two groups: the saved and the unsaved, sheep and goats,
believers and unbelievers, the world and the church, Christians
and pagans, and persons of either darkness or light.
There are not hundreds of religious or philosophical
belief systems; there are only two which may be variously
labeled, as I have partially demonstrated.
Being conscious of this division will help you, as you
are involved in various discussions.
Admittedly, many Christians have not had many of their
beliefs changed to those of the Bible, but there should be basic
beliefs about God and the Bible, Jesus and salvation.
And, there should be a willingness to be taught by the
Bible to “increase” their faith and become more Biblical
There is a third class of persons—those who
are in the process of moving towards, or beginning to consider,
In some churches, these are the “effectually called.”
That is, God is beginning to work in their minds and
hearts to change them into becoming one of His own.
These people are likely to be the ones who will seriously
consider Biblical answers, but may struggle with them for a
while, until they are convinced, fully
(Regeneration or “being born-again” is one of the most
important concepts in Christianity.
systems of thinking.
Just as there are only two classes of persons (with some
being “converted”), there are only classes of thinking: Biblical
Christianity (worldview) and any other (humanism, communism,
Satanism, naturalism, dialectic materialism, etc., etc.).
In today’s climate of pluralism, one can think that there
are systems without end.
However, the Bible only speaks of “light” and “darkness.”
While the New Testament does speak of “the world, the
flesh, and the Devil,” these are just variants of the system
that is opposed to God and His Creation.
The student does not have
to know all the –isms of the past and modern worlds.
He only needs to know the
Biblical system, and he will know how all other ideologies
differ from that Biblical system.
His primary challenge then is to know the Biblical
system so that he can recognize how another system differs from
that one true system.
My favorite philosopher of science is Michael Polanyi.
However, his system is a difficult one to grasp.
Many terms that he uses correspond to a Christian way of
thinking, although Polanyi was not an overt Christian.
Polanyi discusses faith as the bedrock of knowledge, even
for the scientist.
He discusses calling (vocation), conversion, belief, circular
thinking, community, conscience, ethics, and meaning.
All these mostly concern philosophy of science, but they
have correspondence to Christian thinking.
Perhaps, the most basic introductory text is
Michael Polanyi: The Art
of Knowing by Mark Mitchell. Among Polanyi’s own books, my
first choice would be The Study of Man, Polanyi’s attempt
to summarize basic principles. Both The Tacit
Dimension and Science
and Faith and
Society are also useful for students getting a feel
for Polanyi’s thought, although I don’t think they would be as
engaging for most students as
The Study of Man.
Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy is the full development
and summation of Polanyi’s ideas.
It is a difficult read, but necessary to a person who
would master Polanyi’s way of thinking.
The work that I have done on his vocabulary should be
helpful in this endeavor:
The Michael Polanyi Glossary.
God of the philosophers and others.
Upon his conversion, Blaise Pascal wrote that he had come
to believe in the "God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of
Jacob—not of the philosophers and scholars." It is rare for any
person, other than a serious Bible student or systematic
theologian to have any concept of God that comes clse to who and
what He is.
The god of
is not the God of the Bible.
(See the URL just listed for a more complete
any person whom you hear disparaging God in some way, for
“How can a good God allow evil?,” will have an erroneous concept
If you are well-studied in
the character and attributes of God, then you will be able
to introduce that person to the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob.” John Calvin
has said that all knowledge of man begins with a study of God
(Book I of The Institutes
of the Christian Religion).
You are not the Christian that you should be, if you
cannot discuss God’s character at some length at any given point
in time. The Deacon
Stephen in Acts 7 gave an account of God by his review of the
history of God with the nation of Israel.
That may be a good place for you to start.
The real God of the Bible is much more attractive than
any personal or scholarly picture of him.
Defend Biblical creation, not Intelligent Design.
Intelligent Design is an attempt by Christians and others
to oppose evolution and remove a personal God from a concept of
origins (cosmology), so that this teaching will be acceptable in
public schools. Their attempt is misguided. (1) The
God of Christianity cannot be removed from intelligent design
because He was the Intelligent Designer. (2) Intelligent
design is nonsense without naming that Designer. In this
attempt, these scholars deny the Creator God and overlook the
Biblical truth that the state should not be involved in public
Christians should propose and defend the God of the Bible as
Creator, not some intellectual “god.”
pine “hut” or “tepee” opposes evolution.
In the generic sense, Intelligent Design is valid.
There is no organization without an organizer.
As a child, I grew up in the South where there are
zillions of pine trees.
We “created” “huts” or “tepees” by taking dead pine limbs
that had fallen to the ground, more or less interlocked them
(their irregular structure made this arrangement easy to put
together) into an inverted cone shape and piled them with fallen
pine straw to cover the “skeletal” structure.
If well-done, the covering could even keep out a light
rain. It was quite
the simple structure, as one could even imagine pine limbs
falling off trees, falling together in some arrangement, and
pine straw falling onto the limbs, to “create” spontaneously
such a structure.
However, while walking through the woods, if one came across a
pine straw-limb “teepee,” one thinks, “A child been here.”
When one sees the simplest
of organizational structure, one thinks “a person has created
It is only when one comes to evolution that persons lose this
association and causation.
A living cell, for its size, is perhaps the most
in the universe, and a scientist does not think, person or
Biased sophistry beyond what is reasonable!
But, again, there is no vague designer, but
the God of Creation described in the Bible.
Let us argue for Creation and Intelligent Designer, but
we know who the Designer is.
Refutation of the skeptic or doubter.
This attack is simple.
For the skeptic (or doubter) to refute anything, he must
be omniscient; that is, he must know everything.
Otherwise, how can he be skeptical?
A skeptic has to allow, as possible, any kind of
definition, a skeptic denies that any knowledge about anything
can be known. But
how can he know that
any knowledge presented to him is not true, unless he already
knows what truth is.
To know, one must have
a standard of comparison to demonstrate that a particular idea
is false by contrasting his standard with that of the possible
knowledge presented to him.
Thus, he must know everything or at least some kind of
truth to be a true skeptic.
This argument is similar to
there are no absolutes
(presented elsewhere in this collection of ideas).
Refutation of the relativist.
“Everything is relative” is the claim of many in today’s
Again, refutation of this position is simple.
(A) If “everything is relative,” then the person who
makes this claim knows nothing for sure.
Therefore, any knowledge that another person presents to
him might be true because
he has no way to refute it.
If he knows nothing, he does not know whether truth or
Thus, he cannot even speak to the matter of knowledge.
If he were consistent, he
would keep his mouth shut because he knows nothing.
(B) He also
denies his belief in the
use of language.
When he makes a statement, he expects others to understand what
he says. Thus, he
believes that he is communicating some kind of knowledge when he
says, “Everything is relative.”
He expects that knowledge, “Everything is relative,” to
be hear and understood.
That is, he “knows” or “believes” that it would be
understood or else he would just keep quiet.
day-to-day life has purpose and design.
Few people just curl up in the bed and do nothing.
Even those who do, eventually want to eat.
Most people work at a job, go to school, make plans for
the future, marry, raise children, and even write or speak
polemics in an effort to convince others.
They believe that
certain results will be achieved by their behavior.
Belief is basic to knowledge—they “know” that their
activities will likely produce predictable results.
How to respond if someone is certain.
Almost all non-religious persons and even philosophers
However, occasionally someone “knows something for certain.”
Well, they have opened wide the door to certainty.
If one form of knowledge is certain, then one can argue
that there is other knowledge that is certain, as well.
If an atheist claims certainty, then the Christian can
claim in opposition.
If one kind of certainty exists, it allows for the possibility
of others. If “There
are absolutes,” then there might be many!
(Of course, coherence and certainty, preclude there being
but One Absolute—see the section that applies to
Explorations in chance
and freedom. Total
freedom in chance is impossible.
Total freedom in any area is impossible.
The theory of evolution openly and necessarily depends
upon “chance” in the process.
However, chance is being used here in a way that is
artificial and fabricated.
In our culture, we speak of “games of chance”: playing
cards, dice, roulette wheel, and slot machines.
But chance in these
games has a limited number of possibilities.
There are only 52 cards in a deck, six sides to a dice,
38 or 39 slots in a roulette wheel, and slot machines are
calculated to “pay out” at “random” times.
None of these games has
True chance, however, has
With infinite possibilities, there are no possibilities
because there is no force to move action or event in any given
games of chance are seemingly random, they are forced by limited
possibilities to settled out in a particular way.
With true chance, nothing gives direction, because all
possibilities are equal.
Looking backwards from our current knowledge of life, we
know that certain chemicals have to be in place for life to
form. But in a truly
random universe, “the primordial slime” could contain arsenic,
lead, chlorine, and other poisonous mixtures.
In a random universe, how does the sun come to be the
sun? How does a Big
Bang cause organization of elements that are highly complex?
All the big bangs that are known to man cause extreme
disorder, not order.
I suspect that most who believe in evolution do not know this
characteristic of chance, and would not allow it, if they came
to realize it.
Nevertheless, true chance or randomness has no direction because direction is
purposeful and not chance.
R. C. Sproul has a small book,
Not A Chance, that
explores this concept more fully.
For example, take the “chance” that a coin flip will be
heads or tails. No
matter how the coin is flipped—by simple flick of the thumb or a
sophisticated “coin flipper”—the physical qualities will determine how the coin ends up!
The force imparted to the coin, the air resistance, how
many times the coins spins, how it lands, the weighted
dimensions of the coin, etc. will determine how the coin will
Chance has no power to
effect the coin.
Chance is only the probability of heads or tails.
It has no force to determine what face appears upon
Interestingly, no matter how sophisticated the coin flipping
device, and how many times the coin is flipped, the sum is
rarely 50-50. For a
hundred times, it may be 48/52, 45/55, or 49/51, but it will
rarely be 50/50? Why
not, if it is truly a 50/50 chance?
Do an Internet search of “actual results of coin flip
experiments,” and you will see the evidence.
Knowledge out of chaos and chance.
Grammarians teach the construction of sentences.
While the rules of grammar have been loosened, certain
structures must apply or a sentence cannot be understood.
For example, “Hole the ran into rabbit his” vs. “The
rabbit ran into his hole.”
Not all languages have the same structure, but all
languages have their own rules of grammar without which
communication is possible.
Now, evolutionists want everyone to believe
that language and the possibility of communication by it came
from random forces.
Imagine the Big Bang and the period afterward.
The chaos is beyond comprehension.
We are to believe that an organizing mind that can create
sentences and understand the sentences of others “evolved” out
of this chaos. Such
a conclusion is “beyond belief” and denies all sense of
reasonableness and probability.
Whose faith has the greater leap, the evolutionist or the
Form and freedom. Today,
there is a great deal of talk about freedom, but the problem of
freedom is similar to the problem of chance.
Total freedom is total
randomness: there is nothing to move thinking or action in any
the greatest freedom is
actually found in a form—the form in which a thing was created
to operate. A simple
example is a railroad train. When
is it most free--when it is racing down solidly constructed
railroad tracks. In
today’s concept of freedom, it would jump the tracks, saying,
“These tracks are too restrictive and confining.”
So, you know how far it
would get when it jumps the tracks—total disaster that requires
other “forms” to fix and get it back on track (pun intended).
Is a computer “free” or does it find its
freedom in form? Everyone
one who has had a computer knows that it functions “freely” and
wonderfully when the hardware and software are fully compatible.
But, get one “x” where
there should be an “o” (on/off switches which is the most basic
function of a computer) and it crashes.
So, “freedom” to be an
“x” instead of an “o” destroys the full “freedom” of the
computer. When is an
airplane most free—when it operates according to the laws of air
flow over uneven surfaces or when it chooses other laws?
The answer is obvious.
made moral laws for freedom.
Today, there are strong forces for sexual freedom.
“Let’s throw off the
constraints of one man and one woman for life.”
Thus, we have the modern
epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (of which the worst
may be HIV/AIDS), broken homes, single-parent children (if they
have a parent at all), and death and destruction in the
homosexual community. (See
http://www.familyresearchinst.org/ for detailed statistics
on being “gay.”) Violations
of capital punishments for murder has led the greatest epidemic
of homicides in the United States that has ever been known.
paper would be to
show how violation of one or more of the Ten Commandments has
caused far greater problems than following them.
“All them that hate me
love death” (Proverbs
8:36). The greatest
freedom is found in following the “laws” in God’s Creation and
in the instructions (laws) of the Ten Commandments and the
remainder of the Bible. For
specific topic areas, see
The false idea of
academic or intellectual freedom.
Faculties of virtually all colleges and universities
strongly affirm “academic freedom,” when such a position is
advocates of “academic freedom” will limit what they will
intellectually accept in many ways.
The best example is the current (almost total) ban on
The Bible and Christians are demeaned and blocked from
academic circles and publications.
Where is their idea of freedom?
The popular science publication,
Discover: Science for the
Curious, will not tolerate any suggestion of Creation or any
idea that denies evolution.
Homosexuals and lesbians have great intolerance for those
with more conservative ideas of sexuality.
Campuses will not tolerate any speech that is not
Again, total freedom has nothing to propel it in any
direction. Those who
claim “academic freedom” actually mean, “Accept my ideas.
Yours do not count.”
eventually become totalitarian civil governments.
Notice how “politically
correct” speech has become totalitarian law on many (most?)
campuses. Notice the
current (2013) Internal Revenue Service restrictions and denials
of conservative political organizations.
Notice how the Marxist
idea of freedom for “the workers” resulted in the pogroms of
Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung that killed tens of millions.
When the rights of free
speech are restricted, eventually free speech will be entirely
eliminated by force of law, which will then be followed by
violent force against the dominant ideas in power.
Blaise Pascal formulated strong arguments for
Christianity in his
wager was that one should live a life of righteousness “just in
case Christianity was true.”
By so doing, one gains a double benefit.
First, one lives a life of righteousness that honors his
fellow man and avoids many of the troubles of life that
individuals bring upon themselves and others.
Second, Christianity offers the most hopeful or fearful
destiny among all religions and philosophies: Heaven or Hell.
By living a life of righteousness, one gains Heaven
rather than Hell.*
Thus, wagering on Christianity being true profits a person far
more than wagering that it is false.
See wager on the
transcendent following here.
*Salvation by this means would be a “works”
righteousness, whereas Christianity offers salvation by grace
without any merit from the believer.
However, Pascal’s wager does illustrate that Christianity
is perhaps the best “deal” going for any person, and not the
dreary, drab, and joyless life that many portray.
Abstract concepts do not exist.
There is a process of abstraction, but there are no
Abstraction is the process of taking a range of “facts” and
coming to some conclusion about them.
For example, “The idea of justice is abstract.”
No, every person has ideas about justice in particulars.
Is it justice to execute a person for murder?
However one answers this question is a particular
(1) Yes, it is just because the Bible says “an eye for an
eye…” (2) No, one
man’s death should not cause the death of another.
The process of abstraction arrives at either of these
conclusions, but the conclusions are not abstract—they are
definitive statements about
the results of
Something that is abstract has no concrete existence—it is just
swirling around somewhere in the mind.
(See “abstract painting” elsewhere.)
Wager on transcendence—book review and challenge.
I have mentioned George Steiner several times on these
pages. He is a Jew
by ethnicity, and certainly not a regenerated Christian, but he
has insights into philosophical reasoning that can be helpful in
Steiner’s book, Real
Presences (paperback, 1989 edition), is essentially a “wager
on transcendence,” that is, there is tremendous evidence in the
arts and sciences that there must be something “transcendent”
(supernatural) to account for the creativity, inventiveness, and
talent of persons who excel in these areas.
This essay (his book) argues a wager on the
argues that there is in the art-act and its reception, that
there is in the experience of meaningful form, a presumption of
presence (transcendence—hence, the
title of his book.)
These convictions are, as current linguistic
philosophy puts it—when it is being polite—“verification
cannot be logically, formally, or evidentially proved….
“verification transcendence” marks every essential aspect of
human existence. It
qualifies our conceptualizations, our intellections of our
coming into life, of the primary elements of our psychic
identity and instruments, of the phenomenology of life and
death” (page 214)
Theodicy—the “good” in evil.”
The “value” of personal
tragedies is virtually an everyday occurrence in the news.
A couple has a Down’s syndrome baby and rejoices at the
happiness that it brings.
A person is paralyzed from the neck down, only to
discover joys never before experienced.
A train wreck occurs and engineers learn from the mistake
and prevent worse accidents in the future.
A student is denied one career and finds another far more
fulfilling. And so
on. Rarely do
writers who excoriate God for allowing, or even causing
tragedies, point out all the “good” values that follow.
While such “goods” may not be universal, they certainly
destroy the monolithic idea that all such events are “bad” and
that God is “evil” because He allows (or causes).
I have even read reports that forest fires are
necessary to the health of forests in cleaning out underbrush,
restoring the balance of animal life, allowing some plants and
animals to survive and otherwise would not.
Even tsunamis and earthquakes have their natural
benefits. If such
persons are going to rail against God, they should at least
demonstrate the “good” that comes from these happenings—but
generally, they do not.
See the following for more on theodicy.
Theodicy—the logical mistake of almost every philosopher.
The centuries-old argument goes something like this.
God is perfectly good.
God is omnipotent.Evil (natural and man-initiated) exists.
Therefore, God is either not perfectly good or He is not
The reasoning is thus.
If God is both perfectly good and omnipotent, evil should
not exist. That is,
since God is omnipotent, He is able to prevent all evil from
entering the universe.
He would only allow what is “good.”
Thus, He cannot be both “perfectly good” and “omnipotent”
because “evil” exists.
However, there is a logical fallacy here—an example of
equivocation—a change of definitions.
When the philosopher or theologian says, “God is
perfectly good,” he uses a definition of “good”
from God’s perspective.
In this definition, God defines what is “good.”
But, when the philosopher says, “Evil exists,” he is
using man’s definition of what is “not good.”
It is man that
observes that “evil exists.”
It is an observation and conclusions that man invents.
It is evil (“not good”) from man’s perspective.
So, the 1st line begins with God’s definition
of “good” and then substitutes (makes equivocal) man’s
definition of “evil” (“not good”).
In logic, this change in definitions is called
equivocation. Yet, I
have never found anyone else who has made this discovery.
Jonathan Edwards wrote a book called
Concerning the End for Which God Created the World. He
goes to tedious lengths to demonstrate by God’s working “all
things to His glory,” that glory is not corrupted by what man
would call “evil.”
From God’s perspective, there is only good in the universe,
including what man calls evil.
What man observes as “evil,” God has purposed for good.
“All things work together for the good of those who love
the Lord and are called according to His purpose”
(Romans 8:28, NASB).
“(God) works all things after
the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
An aside—working towards
What I have presented here is a logical deduction.
I have not dealt with the emotions and difficulties that
are presented by “evil” (in the human perception.)
Everyone, Christians and non-Christians, struggle with
the realities of evil in their own lives and the lives of
others. Romans 8:28
is a great blessing of promise, but must be worked out with much
meditation and heartache. What
is demonstrable logically is not always easily grasped
emotionally. Yet, is
that not our ultimate goal, “to think God’s thoughts after him?”
Logically and Biblically, only good exists in God’s
omnipotent control (Providence) of the universe.
One example is that although Adam’s sin caused all the
evils that man experiences, we would never have known God’s
mercy had he not done so.
I would contend that knowing more of God is worth all the
suffering that this life can send our way!
Spend some time in meditation on this issue.
A plaintive cry for a standard of morality among the
scholars of law, “Who sezs?”
Arthur Leff held the prestigious title of Professor of
Law at Yale University.
With all his study and erudition, however, he vigorously
cried out for some authoritative moral standard.
He published an article in the Duke Law Review entitled,
“Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law.” (It can be found online
with the appropriate keywords.) The
following are his final comments in that article which has
become famous in academic circles.
All I can say is this: it looks as if we are
all we have. Given what we know about ourselves, and each other,
this is an extraordinarily unappetizing prospect; looking around
the world, it appears that if all men are brothers, the ruling
model is Cain and Abel. Neither reason, nor love, nor even
terror, seems to have worked to make us “good,” and worse than
that, there is no reason why any thing should. Only if ethics
were something unspeakable by us could law be unnatural, and
therefore unchallengeable. As things stand now, everything is up
for grabs. Nevertheless:
Napalming babies is bad.
Starving the poor is wicked.
Buying and selling each other is depraved.
Those who stood up and died resisting Adolf Hitler, Joseph
Stalin, Idi Amin, and Pol Pot—and General Custer too— have
Those who acquiesced deserve to be damned.
There is in the world such a thing as evil.
[All together now:]
God help us.
There are many conclusions that should be made
from his plaintive cry.
Those without Christ and without a Biblical standard are
lost for a purpose to life (and in particular, evil) and a moral
standard. When they face
the issues honestly, they realize their lostness both morally
and spiritually and voice the plaintive cry of Arthur Leff.
A great title for a paper that reviews this
article (found easily online) would be,
A coherent purposeful view of history argues for a very
strong, if not omnipotent, Controller.
A study of history is truly a study in chaos.
What does ancient Persia have to do with a modern animal
zoo? What does the
history of India have to do with the consumerism of the United
States? What does a
brontosaurus have to do with the wars of religion?
What do Eskimos have to do with the planet Mars?
Any attempt to give
meaning, purpose, or coherence to these greatly disparate
situations is inescapably to argue for some powerful and long
living Controller of them.
In Western classical history, such an attempt is an
argument for God.
(See Jonathan Edwards above.)
Anyone or anything that could find purpose in societies
and situations that exist thousands of years apart or so far
distant in ontology as marine life at the bottom of the ocean
and the physics of stars must be one powerful and long-living
religions provide such an object, and only Christianity provides
the comprehensive purpose and meaning for history and all
name for this logical conclusions is that to ascribe purpose to
history is an “argument for the transcendent” or a
wager on the transcendent
for meaning in history.
An accusation often made against Christianity,
especially conservative, Biblical, or Reformed (Calvinist)
is, if there is only one way to be “saved” (through Christ), if
there is only one God, and only one
then all other persons who do not choose or have no opportunity
to choose this “way” are excluded---condemned to Hell.
What is not realized in this condemnation of Christianity
is that all religions, including universalism, are exclusive.
Even the universalists have some criteria for
being “saved”; even open theists are not universalists;
and, even believers in the perennial philosophy interpret what
is and is not its meaning.
Here is the crux of the matter.
and “salvation” can mean anything, then they mean nothing.
If there is no true belief, then
absolutely nothing matters.
Why discuss these issues?
Why do anything?
Why even “eat, drink, and be merry?
Why be concerned about death at all?
But—one problems remains: all rational persons
are concerned and by
their rationality, they will
persons while they admit others.
All the open-minded atheists and agnostics will not admit
exclude them from their “way.”
All belief systems practice
exclusivism or they
mean nothing, and therefore, have nothing to say.
Every belief system is exclusive; to be a system, it has
Reasoning about tolerance follows the same argumentative line.
Those who believe themselves to be the most “tolerant”
have no tolerance for conservative Christianity.
Homosexuals who want “tolerance” have no tolerance for
those who do not agree with them.
Tolerance is a myth—a
Those who are believe themselves to be the most tolerant
would be the first to light the fires to burn those whom they
perceive as heretics (the intolerant).
Complete tolerance is impossible—everyone has those whom
they exclude in one way or another.
Postmoderns and narratives.
Many advocates of postmodernism find fault with the
classical approach where one defines his beliefs by
believe that narratives carry more credulity and inform better
Much of, perhaps their primary, intent is to bypass the notion
that truth is propositional.
Involved in this approach also is their belief that that
“classical foundationalism” has failed.
They even go so far as to say that language is too
culturally bound to convey any kind of truth.
But, dear student, these ideas are themselves
What are these postmoderns doing.
(1) They are using sentences which are propositions, not
narrative, to convince their readers of their positions!
(2) They are stating by propositions
their own versions of
They are using language to say that language is inadequate!
Many other ideas of the postmoderns could be included in
this contradiction: deconstruction, hermeneutics of suspicion,
death of the author, etc.
Postmoderns are using modern methods to deconstruct
excellent resource for the “good” and the “bad” of postmodernism
is the book, Truth or
Consequences: the promise and perils of postmodernism by
Millard J. Erickson.
Another book is Reclaiming
the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern
Times, Edited by Millard J. Erickson, Paul Kjoss Helseth,
and Justin Taylor.
How does a naturalistic worldview explain human
conscience and guilt?
This subject matter is closely related to the origin of
In an evolution of natural forces, where does an idea of
right and wrong come from.
In his Geneology of
Morals, Nietzsche tried to ground them in customs and mores
of society. However,
what is there in a “survival of the fittest” directive that
would cause guilt over some action?
Since all actions are physically based, from where does
the metaphysical idea
of morality and guilt come?
If the highest goal of the individual is to survive, why
should he feel guilt about his behavior towards others.
Consider this paragraph from a naturalistic site.
By holding that human behavior arises
entirely within a causal context, naturalism also affects
fundamental attitudes about ourselves and others.
Naturalism undercuts retributive, punitive, and fawning
attitudes based on the belief that human agents are first
causes, as well other responses amplified by the supposition of
free will, such as excessive pride, shame, and guilt.
Since individuals are not, on a naturalistic understanding, the
ultimate originators of their faults and virtues, they are not
deserving, in the traditional metaphysical sense, of praise and
blame. Although we will continue to feel gratitude and
regret for the good and bad consequences of actions,
understanding the full causal picture behind behavior shifts the
focus of our emotional, reactive responses from the individual
to the wider context. This change in attitudes lends
support for social policies based on a fully causal view of
paper would focus on how could a metaphysical concept of
morality that leads to guilt come from a purely physical process
in evolution. Why
should evolved humans even give a thought to morality, much less
to experience guilt.
What faith group (belief system) has caused the most
deaths in history?
Critics of Christianity like to point to various events
in which Christians caused the deaths of others: the threat of
death for refusal of baptism by Charlemagne, the Crusades,
the “wars of religion” (particularly the Wars of Religion
in the late 16th century), and others.
However, the atrocities of the atheistic beliefs of
Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, and Pol Pot of the 20th
century far and away exceed any deaths that may be attributed to
is one resource:
Another resource is Chapter 14 of the book,
What If Jesus Had Never
Been Born, by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe (Nelson
your paper or in another
paper, you could debate that most “Christian deaths” were
caused by those who were not actually practicing the basic
beliefs of Christian.
(The Internet article above argues that point, as well
as, numbers of deaths.
The origins of the most free country in history:
association vs. causation.
It is without dispute that the United States, as least
until the 21st century, was the nation with the most
civil freedoms in the history of mankind.
Since its formal founding in the 18th century,
millions and millions have emigrated here while millions of
other nations emigrated
out of their nation.
So, the association
However, many might want to debate that this association is not
causation. A great
paper could be
written that it was
the history of the world, there have been an incredible number
of types of religions, philosophies, and political systems:
none have produced what
the United States became.
The inescapable conclusion is that the founding beliefs
of the United States
caused this freedom.
Those founding principles were fundamental Christianity,
especially Calvinism and Presbyterianism, which- produce the
Declaration of Independence, the War of Independence, and the
As to Calvinism, the Scots-Irish (“Ulster
Scots”), Presbyterian Scots, and Hugenots made up a large
percentage, if not the majority of Americans at the time of the
In terms of population along, a high
percentage of the pre-revolutionary American colonies were of
There were around three million persons in the thirteen
original colonies by 1776, and perhaps as many as two-thirds
some kind of Calvinist or Puritan connection.
(Douglas F. Kelly,
The Emergence of Liberty in the Modern World, page 120)
Other resources are
John Calvin: His Influence
in the Western World (W. Stanford Reid) and
Reformed Theology in
America (David F. Wells).
The psychology of an individual’s universal claims.
As an observation, sit next to almost any conversation
and listen closely.
You will find that individual persons make extraordinary claims.
What the president should do or not do; programs that the
United Nations should begin or stop; how the Russian president
has made good/bad decisions; what is wrong with the American
educational system; and more, much more.
In fact, we have all made these claims—to what?
Take one step back.
We are saying that we know what is best for … any idea in
the universe of ideas!
We, as individuals—indeed, American individuals claim to know
what is best for any person, government, society, etc.—anything.
We would be rulers and dictators of the world, if we had
What is this boldness to claim virtually to
What is this arrogance, for it is arrogance to claim such
extensive powers of reasoning. You may explore your own or
others reasons for this willingness to omnipotence, but I
suggest two—one negative and one positive.
weakness (gravitation towards sin) has always been to “be like
God.” That was
Satan’s temptation to Eve.
“But the serpent said to the woman,
“You will not surely die. 5 For
God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and
you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5,
ESV). So, when one
claims to be able to know the answers to all the world’s
problems, he is claiming a God-like desire to know everything.
(2) But this desire is also
how God created persons.
In Genesis 1:28-31, God had given dominion to Adam and
Eve over the entire earth.
They were, and we are, God’s representatives
(vice-gerents) to tend his Garden (now under God’s curse, but
still His Garden).
Thus, we have to acquire great knowledge in order to fulfill
that Creation Mandate.
However, we are not to pursue knowledge in isolation of
God, but “Man shall not live by bread
alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”
(Matthew 4:4). All
knowledge acquired by man must be under the absolute authority
of Scripture—God’s revelation—His revealing to man what He wants
us to know. Thus, we
are always properly to ground all knowledge in the Scriptures.
For example, this universe has not existed forever, it
was created “out of nothing” (Genesis 1:1).
Whatever cosmology one adopts, it must be authoritatively
guided by all the verses (not just Genesis) that have to do with
the Creation and maintenance of the universe.
We are right to proclaim
universal ideas and implement them, but we must be sure that
they are ideas from God (Scripture) and not our own (sinful and
A personal universe at the quantum level!
In quantum mechanics, there is a phenomenon called The
Perhaps, the simplest illustration is the Double Slit
subatomic particles are fired at a double slit, a wave pattern
on the background screen appears, instead of a particle pattern
that reflects the two slits.
However, if an instrument is placed in front of the slits
to “observer” the particles, then the wave pattern reverts to
the particle pattern.
This experiment reflects the wave-particle debate over
light as a wave or a particle.
A simple cartoon illustration can be found here.
The Observer Effect explodes into The
That is, atoms and subatomic particles do not “exist” in
a particular place until an observer looks for them.
The following video from noted scientists illustrates how
the universe “is not there” until we look at it.
Students, this stuff is not all that
complicated, even though it concerns nuclear physics.
There are many more videos and “print’ resources for you
to read and cite in a paper.
Throw nuclear physics at your professor.
This universe is personal created
by a Person!
One theory even challenges that there may be only one electron
in the universe, and that it only “appears” when we look for it.
Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.
Werner Heisenberg discovered that the momentum and
position of a subatomic particle could not be measured at the
same time because the
measuring process affected one’s calculations!
Chaos theory concerns small, almost infinitesimal, events
causing major events at a distance.
One classic example is that a butterfly flapping its
wings in Japan “causes” a hurricane in the Atlantic.
Causes is in quotation marks because it has a different
meaning than the traditional “cause and effect.”
The butterfly flapping its wings is not truly a cause.
It is part of a highly complex whole that one small
disturbance in one part upsets the whole dynamic equilibrium.
The butterfly’s flapping has a “cause” of its own and
only indirectly causes the hurricane along with a complex of
Interestingly, there are mathematical schemes that can predict
certain outcomes, but with considerably varying degrees of
resulting hurricane is a pertinent example because weather
patterns are chaotic indeed, and “everyone” knows the trials and
tribulations of weather forecasters.
The beauty of chaos theory is both its
apparent randomness and its chain of cause and effect.
It is both unpredictable and predictable.
At the quantum level, quantum “leaps” involve chaos
history, then, there is indeterminism with a certain degree of
freedom while inevitability is a result, also.
Thus, chaos theory allows “free will” within certain
limits while God predestines all events.
See “Theological Reflections on Chaos Theory” by John
Jefferson Davis, cited in
The Frontiers of Science and Faith in the book list that
begins this work.
A choice for eternity.
Atheists, agnostics, and others who are opposed to
Christian answers act as though their choices are not
They are wrong! Eternity
is for real. When
these people die, they
have made their choice for eternity.
They may not believe in conscious life after death, but
they have made an eternal commitment in their decision.
They had better be
certain that they are right.
So, choices made in time and on earth have eternal
consequences whether they believe in an afterlife or not.
The Christian has made the best “bet.”
He is betting on a conscious life of pure joy and
happiness. On a
purely pragmatic basis, if he is wrong, what has he lost—the sin
and misery of the wrongful life that he could have lead on
planet earth? What
if the non-Christian is wrong—he faces an eternity of the worst
existence that he could imagine.
One’s choice is made in this life… but with consequences for eternity.
The non-Christian may glibly deny the reality of the
Christian God, but comparatively, he has made a choice in which
the odds are infinitely stacked against him.
(This argument is virtually identical to
Pascal’s wager above, but stated a little differently.)
choice must be made NOW! In
modern science, and perhaps in other areas, there is always hope
for the future. Perhaps
we will find a cure for diabetes.
Perhaps interplanetary travel will be possible.
modifications will advance the world’s food production.
Perhaps the United
Nations will bring peace on earth.
This hope for the future
is necessary, but minimizes the
need for a decision about eternity NOW!
As we have seen above,
the most important choice that we can make concerns a possible
eternity, consciously experienced.
Our time on this earth is
limited, but eternity is—well, eternity—forever.
And, it may prevent
itself soon. The college
freshman gaily goes about choosing classes for study, a possible
career, and his/her own enjoyment.
But, dear reader, peruse
any college newspaper to find that many freshman die that year.
Many other classmen.
one knows when death will occur.
considerations of eternity
are a most pressing need!
Thus, colleges do not
address the most important concern of its freshman, nor any of
its students and demonstrates that colleges fail in their
pretense to offer an education to its students.
So, the pressing need for anyone and everyone
is to decide about eternity. They
need to study the various alternatives that philosophies and
religions offer and make their decision.
All other decisions pale
Faith involves doubt.
Descartes wanted to be absolutely certain.
Other philosophers have also.
But God does not give certainty in this earthly life.
Review all that has been said about faith in the above
topics. Faith is
acting on knowledge about which there is always some
uncertainty—that is the nature of faith.
Faith chooses on the basis of the best knowledge
available and leaves the results to God.
Godels’ theorems demonstrate that proofs only exist with a
system—the system that one chooses if based upon faith.
So, get the notion out of your head that doubt can be
eliminated. Doubt is
part of the concept of faith!
Remove doubt and faith is no longer necessary.
But—it is not possible to remove faith.
No philosopher or theologian have ever been able to