February 2013


WaldoMany atheists employ the concept of divine hiddenness to argue against God’s existence.  If God exists, they argue, why is His existence not more obvious?

I have blogged on this issue previously (here and here), so I won’t rehearse the arguments again.  Instead, I’ll simply assert that I do not accept the claim that God’s’ existence is not obvious enough.  I think there is good evidence for God’s existence, and that God only appears to be hidden because we have not looked for Him with an open mind and heart.

(more…)

Burden of ProofIn philosophy, a burden of proof refers to one’s epistemic duty to provide reasons in support his assertion/claim/position.  While listening to a debate recently, I noticed that one of the participants spoke of a “burden of justification” rather than “burden of proof.”  I thought this terminological shift was helpful since when most people hear the word “proof” they think “certainty.”  Clearly, no one has the burden to demonstrate their position with apodictic certainty.  “Justification,” on the other hand, makes it clear that one only has a burden to back up their claims with good reasons.  I am going to be intentional about adopting this terminology in the future.

excitementIf there is any word that is overused and overemphasized in Pentecostal circles, it is “excited.”  All my Pentecostal life I have heard ministers, worship leaders, and prayer leaders talking about their personal excitement, and our need to be excited for Jesus.  This message has never sat well with a melancholy person like myself.  But it’s not just me.  This sort of message is absent from the Bible as well.  While the Bible does say we should be joyful, joy is not the same as excitement.  Even if it were, the Bible clearly describes other not-so-exciting emotions that Christians will experience as well.  It not only tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, but also to weep with those who weep.

There are definitely times that we should experience excitement as a follower of Jesus.  There is, after all, much to be excited about: forgiveness, eternal life, seeing Jesus, etc.  But excitement will not be characteristic of our entire Christian life, and neither should it be characteristic of every church service.  I’ve seen many excitable Christians who eventually fall by the wayside.  Excitement is never enough to carry a Christian to eternity.  While not ignoring excitement, we need to focus our attention on commitment, faithfulness, and perseverance.  Excitement waxes and wanes, but a commitment characterized by faithful endurance will pass the test of time.

J. P. MorelandAlmost everyone, Christian and non-Christian alike, knows of Jesus’ teaching, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Mt 7:1).  I have addresses the proper interpretation of this passage elsewhere in my treatment of judgmentalism, but I recently read some brief comments by J. P. Moreland on the matter that I found  helpful as well.  Moreland writes:

[W]e need to distinguish two senses of judging:  condemning and evaluating.  The former is wrong and is in view in Matthew 7.  When Jesus says not to judge, he means it in the sense that the Pharisees judged others:  their purpose was to condemn the person judged and to elevate themselves above that person.  Now this is a form of self-righteous blindness that vv. 2-4 explicitly forbid.  Such judgment is an expression of a habitual approach to life of avoiding self-examination and repentance and, instead, propping oneself up by putting others down.[1]

The distinction between moral condemnation and moral evaluation is an important one.  We cannot and must not avoid moral evaluations.  Such are necessary and good.  What we must avoid are moral condemnations of people that elevate our own sense of moral superiority and blind us to our own moral inadequacies.


[1]J. P. Moreland, “On Judging Others: Is There a Right Way?”; available fromhttp://www.jpmoreland.com/2012/12/19/on-judging-others-is-there-a-right-way/; Internet; accessed 31 January 2013.

QuoteStarting the week on the lighter side.  Here are some famous misquotes and misattributions (from Wikiquote):

  • “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”, Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (played by Judy Garland)
    • This phrase was never uttered by the character. What she really said was Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.
  • “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” — Voltaire
  • Just the facts, ma’am.
    • This, the best known quote from the Jack Webb series Dragnet, was never said by Sgt. Friday in any of the Dragnet radio or television series. The quote was, however, adopted in the 1987 Dragnet pseudo-parody film starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks in which Aykroyd played Sgt. Joe Friday.
    • Correct versions:

“All we want are the facts, ma’am.”
“All we know are the facts, ma’am.”

  • Elementary, my dear Watson” – Sherlock Holmes

STIsFrom the Huffington Post:

According to new government reports, there are nearly 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections each year in this country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nearly half of these new infections occur in people between ages 15 and 24.

Researchers also found that there are 110,197,000 cases of STIs in total in the United States right now, including those occurring in people who newly contracted an infection and those who have been living with an infection. Young people between ages 15 and 24 make up more than 20 percent of the overall cases of both new and established infections.

Let me get this straight:

  • There is one sexually transmitted infection for every three people in the United States.
  • There are 20 million new infections each year
  • This costs us $15,600,000,000 annually

(more…)

Herod's SarcophagusKing Herod reigned for 33 years.  He is most famous for his building projects, including the glorious expansion of the temple in Jerusalem.  Christians know of him from the New Testament as the king who reigned at the time of Jesus’ birth, and who attempted to kill the newborn king.  Herod died shortly thereafter in 4 B.C.

Archaeologists have been excavating King Herod’s summer home at Herodium (near Bethlehem) for 40 years.  Approximately 250 artifacts, including his bathtub, statues, palatial columns, sarcophagus, and a replica of his mausoleum, went on display today at a special exhibit at the Israel Museum titled “Herod the Great: The King’s Final Journey.”

The best pictures are available at the Pinterest, Mail Online, and The Times of Israel.

News sources:

 

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 348 other followers