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April 15, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Internet/Social Media

Makes the public more public….and the private more private

Does provide an opportunity to make the private public…

April 15, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

What is the Good News of the New Testament about?

“I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again and again, because I need to be reminded myself: Christianity is not first and foremost about our behavior, our obedience, our response, and our daily victory over sin. It is first and foremost about Jesus! It is about His person; His substitutionary work; His incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised return. We are justified— and sanctified— by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone. Even now, the banner under which Christians live reads, “It is finished.” Everything we need, and everything we look for in things smaller than Jesus, is already ours in Christ.”

From Glorious Ruin by Tullian Tchjividian

April 13, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Are Christian apologists references to the Bible circular?

The charge that references to the Bible are circular is one that is made in debates over apologetics.  I think when you look at the facts, however, the charge really falls short.

First, the logical fallacy itself is directed toward an argument not the use the use of a book.  This means that the notion of circularity is being stretched beyond what the original fallacy is for.

Second, arguments come in all shapes and sizes.  Grouping them together like this is a bit dubious.  Kind of an over-generalization fallacy.

Third, this mal-adaption of this fallacy misunderstands the fundamental nature of the Bible.  The Bible is 66 books combined, not one book.  In this way, the other 65 books check back against the risk of circularity as understood in this acussation.

Fourth, this simply doesn’t make sense.  For instance, if I read that running improves health or I have a friend recommend that I run because it improves health–I test that out in my own life.  There is an ultimate empiricism to many of the recommendations of the Bible.  As such, the idea of supposed circularity can be “solved” by testing the principles of the Fruits of the Spirit both personally and therefore empirically, but also historically and culturally.

Fifth, there are lots of arguments–for instance the Historical Jesus which go outside the text to other verifications.  Every apologist book I’ve read, at least that I can remember includes

1) logical and philosophical reasoning

2) citation of other scholarly works

Both of those are legitimate ways of finding truth that avoid circularity.

Sixth, the use of the Bible is often for purposes of definition and clarification.  For instance, what do Christians stand for?  What do Christians believe?  What are Christian values?  Well, getting that information from “the horses mouth” makes a lot of rational sense.  For instance, using the Fruits of the Spirit here in Galatians to determine what some of the core principles of Christian are.

Seventh, in practice this means that all autobiographies are circular and shouldn’t be trusted.  This is surely a dubious standard.

Eighth, this notion isn’t used in our legal courts.  People get to testify in cases about themselves.  They don’t just throw out the evidence.  If you threw out the evidence–thats a net worse standard of evidence.

Ninth, it neglects part of the nature of historical documents, particularly in relation to oral history.  We have a limited number of documents from that period.  Moreover, the Bible passes the historical documents test thats grounded in the work in antiquities and history.  That should be more than enough.  To reject it out of hand smacks of bias and discrimination rather than fairness, logic, and rationality–and even consistency.

Tenth, Christian apologists aren’t limited to the Bible as their only source of proof.  They can use other documents, experience, histories, reason, and evidence from other disciplines like archeology (for instance this)

Finally, I’ve written about this supposeded fallacy before.  You can read that article here if you like to learn more why this accussation of circularity of Biblical reference simply isn’t true.

I think when you look at the case for the Historical Jesus and avoid this accussation–you find a better way toward Truth.

More Christian Apologists Resources on the Historical Jesus Question:

J Warner Wallace (Cold Case Christianity)
April 3, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

What is the cultural impact of Christianity?

Despite  its humble origins, the Church has made more changes on earth for the  good than any other movement or force in history. To get an overview of  some of the positive contributions Christianity has made through the  centuries, here are a few highlights:

  • Hospitals, which essentially began during the Middle Ages.
  • Universities, which also began during the Middle Ages. In addition,
  • most of the world’s greatest universities were started by Christians for Christian purposes.
  • Literacy and education for the masses.
  • Capitalism and free-enterprise.
  • Representative government, particularly as it has been seen in the
  • American experiment.
  • The separation of political powers.
  • Civil liberties.
  • The abolition of slavery, both in antiquity and in more modern times.
  • Modern science.
  • The discovery of the New World by Columbus.
  • The elevation of women.
  • Benevolence and charity; the ‘Good Samaritan’ ethic.
  • Higher standards of justice.
  • The elevation of the common man.
  • High regard for human life.
  • The codifying and setting to writing of many of the world’s languages.
  • Greater development of art and music. The inspiration for the greatest works of art.


Source: D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? pp. 3, 4

You can purchase or read reviews on Amazon here and/or read more about the cultural impact of Christianity here.

April 2, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

What are the best quotes on virtue ethics in the New Testament

Here are some of the better verses on virtue from the New Testament:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 1:11-12  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

Colossians 3:12-13 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

March 31, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

Various Approaches to the Issues Raised by Atheists

Worldview

Definition/Assumption & Argument Structure

Logical Fallacies

Questions/Weakness

Naturalism/Materialism

Jesus

March 31, 2015 / compassioninpolitics

The radical cognitive dissonance in our nation’s policy on abortion on demand

As a moderate five issues concern me with the Lefts approach to the issue–which seems to have a tremendous level of cognitive dissonance and paradox embedded within it:
1) Democrats are the first to defend the idea that rights and responsibilities go together……but on this issue that dialog is notable Missing in Action. What happened to “we’re all a family” and “we’re in this together?” What happened to “radical individualism” isn’t what America is all about? Our failure to see the decision to have unprotected sex as an incredibly serious one–one with huge ramifications–one you can’t magically take back. Those who have unprotected sex x100 are probably going to pay the consequences for those actions. Consequences with a potential third party (that being a fetus)
2) Those who favor abortion be freely available as Democrats don’t seem to take seriously the part about keeping it “infrequent”–at least not recently and at least not since Clinton (this line is barely mentioned–and effort to explain a vision forward on this issue is likewise missing). They may actually do so–but it only seems to be a line thrown in to garner votes since then.
3) Animal rights seem to trump concern with fetuses. Making a philosophical argument for why this would be justified seems beyond me.
4) Aborted babies or fetuses are the one agent or living being who literally can’t speak for themselves and who don’t have a voice at the table. Democracy and America really does and should mean that the least vulnerable–the crippled, the elderly, the poor, have a voice at the table in our discussions when it concerns their well-being and lives. On any other issue this would be an outrage for Democrats and those on the left. And the risk that they are living beings–is pretty profound. For people on all sides–I’m sure we can agree to disagree–but at least we can agree that there is some grain of truth in the need to as a community confront these issues and perhaps work through them. I’m not a woman & I haven’t been in any situation that required me to make that tough, tough decision. It does seem to be a rather profound disconnect when everyone…..everyone…..who has a kid and intends to keep it calls it a baby when its in the womb….and refers to it lovingly as a being…..but when it comes to the political debate…..we can abstract them as a group as a form of living cells. Say what you will about the policy either way…..that perspective is certainly divided in a peculiar and dubious fashion.
5) And it sounds a bit dubious to hide behind love if you aren’t going to defend love for the new living cells….new life…..in the mother’s womb. They look at the ultrasound with glee and treat it as a genuine person or potential person–they rub the mom’s belly with love, affection, and joy. Clearly that being is something more than just a ball of cells….every cell in our being knows it and acts on the fetus/baby in this regard. Thought experiment: If I was a mother….and someone I was close to called my baby a “just a bundle of cells”……I would be highly, highly offended (I would probably laugh it off somehow–but still I would probably be upset) In fact….in terms of our legal code…..if someone kills the mother…..and the baby dies….its double-murder. A third level of cognitive dissonance on this issue. And i’m not advocating an overturn….just a consideration of current policy in light of whatever grain of truth I’ve pointed to. To be fair, both sides probably have culpability in terms of the polarized approach on this issue. I think the way forward is probably something akin to what Clinton’s motto was–but re-doubling our collective efforts in that direction.

—————–
As a moderate four issues concern me with the Lefts approach to the issue–which seems to have a tremendous level of cognitive dissonance and paradox embedded within it: 1) Those who favor abortion be freely available as Democrats don’t seem to take seriously the part about keeping it “infrequent”–at least not since Clinton. They may actually do so–but it only seems to be a line thrown in to garner votes since then. 2) Animal rights seem to trump concern with fetuses. Making a philosophical argument for why this would be justified seems beyond me. 3) Aborted babies or fetuses are the one agent or living being who literally can’t speak for themselves and who don’t have a voice at the table. On any other issue this would be an outrage for Democrats and those on the left. And the risk that they are living beings–is pretty profound. For people on all sides–I’m sure we can agree to disagree–but at least we can agree that there is some grain of truth in the need to as a community confront these issues and perhaps work through them. I’m not a woman & I haven’t been in any situation that required me to make that tough, tough decision. It does seem to be a rather profound disconnect when everyone…..everyone…..who has a kid and intends to keep it calls it a baby when its in the womb….and refers to it lovingly as a being…..but when it comes to the political debate…..we can abstract them as a group as a form of living cells. Say what you will about the policy either way…..that perspective is certainly divided in a peculiar and dubious fashion. 4) And it sounds a bit dubious to hide behind love if you aren’t going to defend love for the new living cells….new life…..in the mother’s womb. They look at the ultrasound with glee and treat it as a genuine person or potential person–they rub the mom’s belly with love, affection, and joy. Clearly that being is something more than just a ball of cells….every cell in our being knows it and acts on the fetus/baby in this regard. Right….in terms of our legal code…..if someone kills the mother…..and the baby dies….its double-murder. A third level of cognitive dissonance on this issue. And i’m not advocating an overturn….just a consideration of current policy in light of whatever grain of truth I’ve pointed to.

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