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).
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Philip E. Johnson lectures on science, evolution and religion

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?

ePistemologian’s Progress

Courtesy to Bunyan,

This list was taken from Craig and Moreland (2003): 627-639.  It’s a specialized list of technical works in philosophy and theology.  The theology section was kind of soft, so I didn’t spend too much time transmitting those titles.  I only listed works that a) are in LC’s library or b) I otherwise must have, assuming they weren’t in LC’s library.

I hope to have this finished by 2020.

This list doesn’t include a lot of previously read philosophy (Coplestone, Gilson, Bahnsen, Van Til et al)

Books that have an (*) by them are books I’ve added to Moreland’s list.

Chapter 1: General Philosophy; History of Philosophy; basic issues

*Coplestone, Fr. History of Philosophy (about four volumes). (read)

*Russell, Bertrand.  A History of Western Philosophy (read).

Chapter 4: The Problem of Skepticism

Slote, Michael.  Reason and Scepticism (1970).

Chapter 5: The Structure of Justification

Audi, Robert.  Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction (1998).

Chapter 6: Theories of truth and postmodernism

Groothuis, Douglas.  Truth Decay.  (Have read); mostly fantastic, but DG has since rejected the presuppositional outlook in this book.

Willard, Dallas.  “How Concepts Relate the Mind to its Objects: The God’s Eye View Vindicated?” Philosophia Christi, 2nd ser., vol 1, no.2 (1999): 5-20.

*Stackhouse, John.  Humble Apologetics.

Chapter 7: Religious Epistemology

Alston, William.  Perceiving God (1991).

Plantinga, Alvin.  “The Foundations of Theism: A Reply.”  Faith and Philosophy 3 (1986): 298-313.

——————.  Warrant: The Current Debate.

——————.  Warrant and Proper Function (currently reading).

——————.  Warranted Christian Belief (have read).

Plantinga, Alvin, and Nicholas Wolterstorff.  Faith and rationality (have read).

*Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  Reason within the Limits of Religion. (read)

Chapter 8: What is Metaphysics?

Chisholm, Roderick.  On Metaphysics (1989).

*Hasker, William.  Metaphysics (1983) (read)

Plantinga, Alvin.  The Nature of Necessity (1974).

van Inwagen, Peter.  Metaphysics (1993).

Chapter 9: General Ontology: Existence, Identity and Reductionism

Craig, William Lane, and J. P. Moreland, eds. Naturalism: A Critical Analysis (2000).

Suarez, Francis. On the various kinds of distinctions.

Chapter 10: General Ontology: Two categories–property and substance

Chapters 11 and 12: The Mind-Body Problem

Kim, Jaegwon.  Mind in a Physical World (1998).

Moreland, J. P.  and Scott Rae.  Body and Soul: Human Nature and the crisis in ethics.

Chapter 13: Free Will and Determinism

Fischer, John.  The Metaphysics of Free Will. (1994).

Kane, Robert.  A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (2005).

Rowe, William.  Thomas Reid on Freedom and Morality (1991).

Chapter 14: Personal Identity and Life After Death

Hick, John.  Death and Eternal Life (1976).

Chapter 15: Scientific Methodology

Moreland, J. P.  Christianity and the Nature of Science (1989).

Chapter 16: The Realism-Antirealism Debate

Chapter 17: Philosophy and the Integration of Science

Chapter 18: Philosophy of Time and Space

Craig, William Lane.  God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II.

———————–.  Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time.

Einstein, Albert.  Relativity: General and Special Theories.

Chapters 19-22: Issues in Ethics

Geisler, Norman.  Christian Ethics: Issues and Options.

*Feinberg, John and Paul. Ethics for a Brave New World (2010) (have read)

*Holmes, Arthur.  Ethics.

Pojman, Louis.  Ethics: Discovering Right from Wrong.

Chapters 23-24: The Existence of God

Barrow, John.  The Anthropic Cosmological Principle.

Beck, David.  “The Cosmological Argument: A Current Bibliographical Appraisal.”

Craig, William Lane.  The Kalaam Cosmological Argument.

Craig, WIlliam Lane and Quentin Smith.  Theism, Atheism, and Big-Bang Cosmology.

Denton, Michael. Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

Ganssle, Gregory.  “Necessary Moral Truths and the Need for an Explanation.”

Hackett, Stuart.  Resurrection of theism.

Hume, David.  Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

Martin, Michael.  Atheism: A Philosophical Justification.

Plantinga, Alvin.  The Nature of Necessity.

—————–.  The Ontological Argument.

Rowe, William.  “Circular Explanations, Cosmological Arguments and Sufficient Reason.”

Vallicella, William. “On an Insufficient Argument Against Sufficient Reason.”

Chapters 25-26: The Coherence of Theism.

Adams, Robert.  “Divine Necessity”

Craig, William Lane.  God, Time, and Eternity: The Coherence of Theism II.

Creel, Richard. Divine Impassibility.

Hasker, William. The Emergent Self.

Helm, Paul.  Divine Commands and Morality.

Leftow, Brian.  “God and Abstract Entities.”

Molina, Luis de. On Divine Foreknowledge

Nielsen, Kai.  Ethics without God.

Plantinga, Alvin.  Does God Have a Nature?  (read)

————–.  “How to be an Anti-Realist.”

—————.  The Nature of Necessity.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas.  “Divine Simplicity.”

* ——————–.  Divine Discourse (1993) (read)

Chapter 27: The Problem of Evil

Hick, John.  Evil and the God of Love

Plantinga, Alvin.  God, Freedom, and Evil.

—————–.  The Nature of Necessity.

Rowe, William.  “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism.”

Chapter 28: Creation, Providence, and Miracle

Craig, William Lane.  “Creation and Conservation Once More.”

Freddoso, Alfred.  “The Necessity of Nature.”

Helm, Paul. The Providence of God.

Hume, David. “Of Miracles.”

Morris, Thomas.  Divine and Human Action.

*Strobel, Lee. ed. The Case for a Creator.

Suarez, Francisco.  On Creation, Conservation, and Concurrence.

Chapter 29: Christian Doctrines (I): The Trinity

(see other sources)

Chapter 30: Christian Doctrines (II): The Incarnation

Bayne, Tim. “The Inclusion Model of the Incarnation: Problems and Prospects.”

Freddoso, Alfred. “Human Nature, Potency and the Incarnation.”

Morris, Thomas.  The Logic of God Incarnate.

Chapter 31: Christian Doctrines (III): Christian Particularism