A non-Platonic Platonism

I have been a savage critic of Platonism, and I stand by those criticisms.  Still, I fear a rejection of Platonism–which the Resurrection demands at some level–may lead to a reaction against it.  By non-platonic platonism I mean the following in favor of what Plato was trying to get at:

  • The reality of universals.
  • The Mind-Body problem.   In short, the mind isn’t the body.  Notice I didn’t call this the body-soul problem (which is similar).  I believe in the soul, but by phrasing it around “mind-body” I am forcing the discussion at a different angle.

However, here is the non part of the definition:

  • Universals on Plato’s scheme simply can’t work and for largely the same reason as his Being-Becoming dichotomy.  How can the realm of being interact with the realm of becoming?  On Plato’s scheme it’s hard to see.
  • An affirmation of mind-body problem does not mean that the body is a prison.  I am aware of some of Plato’s exegetes’ trying to get around that, but I find their readings unconvincing (as has most of intellectual history, whether Christian or heathen).

Philip E. Johnson lectures on science, evolution and religion

Originally posted on Wintery Knight:

I found this fun lecture by the grandfather of the big-tent intelligent design movement, Berkeley law professor Philip E. Johnson.

I’ll bet you guys have all heard of him, but you’ve never heard him speak, right? Well, I was a young man, I used to listen to Phil’s lectures and his debates with Eugenie Scott quite a bit. This is one of my favorite lectures. Very easy to understand, and boilerplate for anything else in the origins debate. This is a great lecture – funny, engaging and useful. You will definitely listen to this lecture several times if you listen to it once.

The MP3 is here. (91 minutes, 41 megabytes)

The Inherit the Wind stereotype

  • Many people get their understanding of origins by watching movies like “Inherit the Wind” (or reading science fiction)
  • The actual events of the Scopes trial are nothing like what the movie portrays
  • The…

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Logic as a spiritual discipline

This is from Dallas Willard’s The Great Omission.  I don’t really recommend the book, but one chapter was pure gold.

It requires the will to be logical (182).

  • freedom from distraction
  • willingness to follow truth wherever it takes

Committed to logic as a “fundamental value” (183).

Jesus uses enthymemes.

And if anyone says, “Logic kills spiritual experience,” or “that is a Western thing,” all I can respond is you are not being faithful to the example of Jesus.  Take it up with him.

 

Implications for not celebrating Halloween

If celebrating Halloween is evil because of its connotations with pagan deities (i.e., demons), then I have to ask:

  1. Does that mean that demonic warfare exists today?

If it does, then what does that make of the claim that “the miraculous spiritual gifts have ceased?”  Surely we don’t want to say that the children and practitioners of Satan have more power than the children of the light?  I agree with the critic of Halloween:  we should not commune with evil.   But that begs the question: is evil really a danger today?  If it is, and we must say it is, then we need to rethink our views on warfare against the powers.

If it isn’t, then who cares?

Continuationism and proving Van Til right on evidence

Whenever I doubt the truth of presuppositional apologetics, I read discussions where TRs doubt that God’s power gifts continue today.  Now, I have no problem with someone coming up with a logical argument that the Spirit’s power isn’t active today.  Fair enough.  I just think a lot of the conversations are funny.

A note on prophesy:  this is one of the most debated terms in the Bible. The problem is that the NT really doesn’t give a neat usage of the term.  Older Puritan writers often equated it with Preaching, in which case the gift obviously continues today.   Most people, cessationist or otherwise, see that usage won’t stand up to five minutes of Scrutiny.  Even worse, some say it is the Spirit applying the truths (timeless, of course; not messy historical contingencies) to day-to-day situations.  In that case, everyone of God’s children should prophesy.  But that seems inadequate and ignores almost all of the NT texts.

A quick rejoinder:  But prophesy doesn’t always mean telling the future.  Sure.  But that did happen.

But God’s word meant the death penalty if your prophesy didn’t come true.   Okay, I’ll grant that for the moment (though I think you can find examples in the OT where godly men were less than 100% accurate and they didn’t die).  But even with that terrifying injunction, you really don’t see NT believers afraid to prophesy.  That’s just the plain truth of the matter.  In fact–and it’s funny that the most rabid anti-theonomists become theonomists on this point–Paul urges all to prophesy.   I doubt the conversation went like this:

Paul:  Pursue all gifts, especially that you may prophesy, but be careful because if you are less than 100% accurate I am going to kill you.

Anyway, to the conversation.

Cessationist:  Show me one example of a Reformed Christian believing continuation of gifts continue.

Continuationist:  (insert example of Richard Cameron and Donald Cargill prophesying/speaking the truth)

Cessationist:  Yeah, well that doesn’t count.

Translation:  you have your facts and I have my theory.  Too bad for your facts.

Why continue the conversation?