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July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

My little diatribe on Gays and the Church

I think its moving away from a distinction of lifestyle sin versus sin. That sin is sin. I think a lot of stuff we just label sin or addiction is sin. He didn’t use this justification, but if we thought lifestyle sin was an issue we would have to kick out the alcoholics and drunks and the over-eaters and liars too.

We need to act out the love of Jesus to other people, sinners included. I’ve seen it does well and I’ve seen it done wrong

I think its about sheep. We need sheep. We are dying. We’re told to find sheep. We’re not told to judge. We’re told to find sheep. Our focus has been singular in terms of the do-nots versus the positive dos….positive action. I think its a realization that when we polarize against gays….there is about ZERO hope of them coming to church.
And thats historically just true.
At least in my experience.
I think you can make an argument based on “seasons of the church” He didn’t make that argument.
He made the argument primarily based on church growth and our need to go after the lost. Period.

July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

My summary of the concepts in 3D Negotiation

1. Away from the table tactics
2. Backwards mapping
3. Value net
4. Perceived fairness & ego (p. 76-77)
5. Map the parties (identify blockers & allies)
6. p. 166
7. p. 215-216 (barriers, gut, fairness, people) my interp
8. Map differences (possible exercise)
9. Develop a no deal option.(possible exercise)
10. Identify barriers
11. Make it sustainable/Make lasting deals (entire chapter)
12. Anticipate their fairness arguments

Two other sources:
1) Look at the Index
2) Look at title page for more (note to self)

Challenges/Disadvantages:
1. Seems to be primarily for complex deals
2. Seems to be primarily for legal & political deals–although economic ones are certainly included (probably 1/2 to 2/3rds of the examples)

Concepts:
1. Brainstorm, Document, Checklist, Reminder, Note taking, Visual (maps)

July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

What are the best negotiation textbooks

Getting to Yes
The Skilled Negotiator
Getting More

July 24, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Quotes from Nancy Murphy’s Finding Truth

“Worldview do not typically come with a warning label attached to tell us what we’re getting.  They do not ask permission before invading our mental space.  Instead there is what we might call a ‘stealth’ secularism that uses mages and stories to bypass people’s critical grid and hook them emotionally, sometimes without them even knowing it.  That’s why its imperative to learn the skill of deciphering worldview when they come to us not in words, where there are easier to recognize, but in the idiom of picture, composition, plot line, and characterization.”

Nancy Murphy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 258

“Its view of humanity runs counter to the data of human experience.  All civilization throughout history have recognized that humans are moral agents capable of making responsible choices.  There is no society without some moral code.  The testimony of universal human experience is that humans are not merely little robots.”

Nancy Murphy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 142

“The testimony of all known cultures through all of recorded history is the that humans do exercise moral freedom and responsibility.  From time to time, quirky individuals have raised objections, but civilizations as a whole cannot survive without the conviction that people can be held responsible for their actions.”

“Humans are so constituted that they cannot function without it.  It is one of those stubborn facts that must be accounted for by any worldview.”

Nancy Murphy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 146-147

“We should be brokenhearted over the dehumanizing reductionism that dishonor and destroy our fellow human beings.  We should weep for people whose dark worldview deny that their life choices have meaning or moral significance.  We should be moved by sorrow for people whose education has taught them that their loves, dreams, and highest ideals are ultimately nothing but electrical impulses jumping across the synapses of their brain.”

Nancy Murphy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 175

“All start with something that is guarded as ultimate, unconditioned, and divine—which in turn functions as the controlling motif for everything that follows.  The fear of some “god” is the beginning of every proposed worldview.”

Nancy Pearcy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 271

“Find the reductionism: Thats the point it will commit suicide.  A lower view of humanity will include a lower view of the mind—logic, reason, rationality.  It will reduce human rationality to some non-rational force or process.  Yet if ideas are products of non-rational forces, that must apply to all ideas—including the theory itself.  The debunkers end up debunking their own theories.”

Nancy Pearcy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 187

“The problem is that digestion is not something that can be true or false; it is just a biological fact.  If our thoughts are also biological facts, determined by biological laws, then they are not the sort of thing that can be true or false either.”

Nancy Pearcy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 191

“If minds are wholly dependent on brains and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds hold have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.”

Nancy Pearcy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 191

“In building their case, they must implicitly trust their own thinking.  They must exempt themselves from their own reductive categories of analysis.  As one philosopher says, the materialist functions as through we were an ‘angelic observer’ somehow able to float above the determinist cage in which he locks everyone else.”

Nancy Pearcy, Finding Truth:  5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, p. 191

“Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.”

CS Lewis (p. 269 in Nancy Murphy)

July 23, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Christianity, Science, and Evolution Are All Compatible

Three quotes over-turn key assumptions about Christians and evolution:

“Some of the dullards who have believed in God are the musicians Palestrine and Johann Sebastian Back,; artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Caravaggio; writers such as Dante and J.R.R. Tolkien; philosophers such as Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Rene Descartes, Alfred North Whitehead and Anthony Flew; scientists (I list more of these because antithesis often claim that religion and science are incompatible)  such as Louis Agassiz, Andre-Marie Ampere, Robert Boyle, Tyco Brahe, Nicholaus Copernicus, George Cuvier, John Ambrose Fleming, Galileo, Pierre Gassed, William Harvey, Werner Heisenberg, William Herschel, James Prescott Joule, William Kelvin, Johann Kepler, Carolus Linnaeus, Joseph Lister, Charles Lyell, James Clerk Maxwell, Gregor Mendel, Issac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Max Planck, Bernhard Riemann and Nicolaus Steno.  The antithesis retort that these people are too old and dead to have been aware that science disproves God.  But here are brilliant people who believe in God today: Stephen M. Barr, Francis S. Collins, Simon Conway Morris, William Lane Craig, Owen Gingrich, Stanley Jaki, John C. Lennox, Alister McGrath, Kenneth Miller, Alvin Platinga, John Polkinghorne, John A. people, Marilynne Robinson, Hugh Ross, Allen R. Sandage, A.N.  Wilson, and N.T. Wright.  And that’s just the portion of Christians is to be found in departments of natural science than in departments of humanities or social science.  Among the leaders of the anti-theist movement today, few are actually professional scientists.”

(Jeffrey Burton Russel, Exposing Myths about Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends, p. 131-132)

“The definition of science is the study of the physical world; the methods of science include observing accurately, inferring, predicting, classifying, developing questions and hypotheses, and constructing controlled experiments.  Neither the definition of science not its methods include formulating and imposing metaphysical worldview.  Such views are beyond the boundaries of science.  Science can’t demonstrate what it is unable to investigate.  Young Earth Creationists and atheist evolutionists both rely on preconceived dogmas.  Antithesis exacerbate the problem by classifying everyone who believes in creation as a Creationist.  This underlies the popular myth that the Scopes Trial and the Wilberforce-Huxley debate showed Christians to be stupid.”

(Jeffrey Burton Russel, Exposing Myths about Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends,p. 166)

“Christians believe that God creates, develops and sustains the universe, including Earth and life on Earth.  Most Christians affirm biological development planned or guided by God.  That is theistic evolution.  Only one definition of evolution is incompatible with Christianity: the one that claims it is unplanned and unguided and caused by purely random and mechanistic events.  That is atheistic evolution.  [Many or perhaps most] Christians believe in evolution—when evolution is not defined in a purely physicalist way that makes it impossible for them to believe in it.  The war is only between the dogmatists on both sides.  The evidence is that there is directionality and Purpose in the universe and that it comes from outside.”

(Jeffrey Burton Russel, Exposing Myths about Christianity: A Guide to Answering 145 Viral Lies and Legends, p. 167)

  • I added a bracket to the third quote to clarify and specify what I think is the intended meaning and best reflects the truth.  I haven’t verified this with the author, but it coheres to the truth better.
July 16, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Switchfoot’s Redemption Side

I’ve got my hands at redemption’s side
Whose scars are bigger than these doubts of mine
I’ll fit all of these monstrosities inside
It’ll come alive, come alive, alive, come alive

My fears have worn me out
My fears have worn me out
And my fears have worn me out
My fears have worn me, worn me out

If you read this about 3 times and reflect on it…..its really pretty profound.

When I was listening in the car and thought it said “those starts are bigger than these doubts of mine.”  That lyric also works, although not totally in the context of the song itself, which is more Redemption themed than Creation themed.

July 15, 2016 / compassioninpolitics

Thomas Nagel on Materialism


Materialism, then, is fine as far as it goes. It just doesn’t go as far as materialists want it to. It is a premise of science, not a finding. Scientists do their work by assuming that every phenomenon can be reduced to a material, mechanistic cause and by excluding any possibility of nonmaterial explanations. And the materialist assumption works really, really well—in detecting and quantifying things that have a material or mechanistic explanation. Materialism has allowed us to predict and control what happens in nature with astonishing success. The jaw-dropping edifice of modern science, from space probes to nanosurgery, is the result.

But the success has gone to the materialists’ heads. From a fruitful method, materialism becomes an axiom: If science can’t quantify something, it doesn’t exist, and so the subjective, unquantifiable, immaterial “manifest image” of our mental life is proved to be an illusion.

The Core Ethical Project of Thomas Nagel:
Nagel, though doesn’t address the initial problem with deducing ethics from the constructs of biology. We need something more than biology to determine what is possible for human beings and how they should ideally behave. At a minimum, biology (in the context of the human experience and the human spirit) can perhaps deduce, infer, and inform an ethical system deduced from human rationality–but as David Hume postulated ever so many years ago–you can’t deduce an ought from an is. Although, to be fair, looking at perceived or implied essences (and telos) is certainly one way to attempt to bridge this gap in a semi-contructive way. I think any such application has to be wary.

Although Nagel defends a theory of telos that is so strong that it is akin to destiny (or God-like force or God). Nagel is apt to point out the multiple holes in the materialist perspective on human choice and ethics. He sees it lacking an account of intentionality, subjectivity, and decision-processes that individuals go through as they reason about their lives and their world.

“The tendency for life to form may be a basic feature of the natural order, not explained by the nonteleological laws of physics and chemistry.”

Nagel even goes further:

“The universe has become not only conscious and aware of itself but capable in some respects of choosing its path into the future–through all three, the conscious, the knowledge, and the choice, are dispersed over a vast crowd of beings, acting individually and collectively.”

I think Nagel must be thinking of something like the Force from Star Wars, but its beginning to sound a lot like God just wrapped in more human-centric on the one hand…..or abstraction (and miracle or magic) on the other.

In terms of his reasoning around ethics:

“Value enters the world with life, and the capacity to recognize and be influence by value in its larger extension appears with higher forms of life. Therefore the historical explanation of life must include an explanation of value, just as it must include an explanation of consciousness.”

This quote from Nagel seems especially odd and perhaps a little obtuse:
” It is difficult to imagine what form of psychophysical monism could make possible a reductive historical explanation of the origin of life, the development of conscious life, and the appearance of practical reason that would make it anything other than a complete accident that we care about has objective value.”

Nagel is an atheist, but admits the problems intrinsic to our conceptions of science as defined by materialism.

Resources:
Naturalistic Fallacy (Is versus Ought)
Moral Non-naturalism (link)

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