July 28, 2010
In a situation almost identical to the one I described yesterday, Julea Ward was booted from the counseling program at Eastern Michigan University because she refused to counsel gay persons on matters of homosexuality due to her religious convictions. The case went to court, and a federal judge ruled on behalf of the university!! This is quite scary. We are living in a country in which the academy is actively discriminating against those with certain moral convictions and it is being approved by the justice system. Talk about calling evil “good” and good “evil.”
UPDATE 1/27/12: The Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed this decision, and sent the case back to the lower court. They wrote: “A university cannot compel a student to alter or violate her belief systems based on a phantom policy as the price for obtaining a degree…. Why treat Ward differently? That her conflict arose from religious convictions is not a good answer; that her conflict arose from religious convictions for which the department at times showed little tolerance is a worse answer. … Ward was willing to work with all clients and to respect the school’s affirmation directives in doing so. That is why she asked to refer gay and lesbian clients (and some heterosexual clients) if the conversation required her to affirm their sexual practices. What more could the rule require? Surely, for example, the ban on discrimination against clients based on their religion (1) does not require a Muslim counselor to tell a Jewish client that his religious beliefs are correct if the conversation takes a turn in that direction and (2) does not require an atheist counselor to tell a person of faith that there is a God if the client is wrestling with faith-based issues. Tolerance is a two-way street. Otherwise, the rule mandates orthodoxy, not anti-discrimination.” Good for them!
July 28, 2010
Posted by Theosophical Ruminator under Apologetics
Darwinists routinely put forth the fossil record as the best, most objective evidence for evolution (common descent). They find it so compelling that they think it proves evolution happened, even if they cannot be sure of the mechanism by which it happened. As Jerry Coyne writes in Why Evolution is True, “[T]he issue is not whether macroevolutionary change happens – we already know from the fossil record that it does – but whether it was caused by natural selection, and whether selection can build complex features and organisms.”
Critics of Darwinism have often responded by asking a rhetorical question: “How do you that life evolved if you do not know how life evolved?” In the absence of a plausible mechanism to propel macroevolutionary changes in organisms, how can Darwinists be so sure that organisms have experienced macroevolutionary changes? As Sean McDowell wrote:
I am amazed at how frequently Darwinists admit that there is debate about HOW life evolved but not THAT life evolved. … If there is debate about the how of evolution, then what right do Darwinists have to claim that we evolved with such confidence…? Evolution is a theory specifically about how life developed. The significant debate (and lack of evidence) for the mechanism of evolution undermines the theory itself.
On the face of it this line of reasoning is compelling. I myself found it persuasive for quite some time. When I came to examine the logic a little more deeply, however, I found the response to be fallacious. To see the fallacy let me spell out the response in syllogistic form:
July 28, 2010
Jennifer Keeton is a graduate student at Augusta State University in Georgia. She is enrolled in the school counseling program, but has been told she will be expelled from the program unless she changes her beliefs about homosexuality and gender identity. Apparently, a remediation program was suggested to help her alter her beliefs. Welcome to the new America. While I support the right of homosexuals to be treated fairly in this country, the gay rights agenda will result in Christians being treated unfairly because of our disagreement with homosexuality. This is just the start.
Update 7/2/12: Keeton lost a court appeal.
July 20, 2010
Back in March I authored a post titled “Omnipotence and Monotheism,” in which I argued that the divine property of omnipotence does not prove monotheism as I had once thought because power is not a substance, and thus need not be exhausted by a single being. Power is simply the ability to do some X. Omnipotence, then, is just the property of possessing the ability to do any and all things that are logically possible to do. It seemed logically possible to me that there could be more than one being who possessed the ability to do anything that is logically possible. The only logical grounds I could see for postulating monotheism was the principle of parsimony: no more than one God is needed to explain phenomena such as the origin of the universe, and thus there is no reason to postulate more than one divine being. Parsimony, however, does not make monotheism logically necessary.
With further dialogue on this topic in another forum, I believe I now have the logical grounds on which to conclude that monotheism is logically necessary, and ironically, it involves the divine property of omnipotence! Any being – if he possesses the property of omnipotence – must possess the ability to destroy other beings, and yet two omnipotent beings could not destroy each other. If omnipotent being A (OBA) cannot destroy omnipotent being B (OBB), then OBA lacks the power to do some X, and thus is not omnipotent after all. The same would be true of OBB, leaving us without a being that is truly omnipotent. And yet, if God is a metaphysically necessary being and omnipotence is a divine property, then omnipotence is a metaphysically necessary property. Since the property of omnipotence can only obtain in a world in which a single being possesses such a property, there can only be one divine being. While omnipotence does not prove monotheism in the manner I originally envisioned, omnipotence does make monotheism logically necessary.
July 15, 2010
Posted by Theosophical Ruminator under Odds & Ends
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I was reading an article today in which the author was making the case that Mark wrote his Gospel based on the testimony of Peter. To demonstrate an association between the two he quoted 1 Peter 5:13: “The church in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you, and so does Mark, my son.” Mark, it was claimed, is John Mark—cousin of Barnabas, one-time traveling companion of Paul, and author of the Gospel according to Mark. While this may be true given Paul’s use of “my son” to refer to close non-relatives in the faith (1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 2:1; Tit 1:4; Phm 10), why not be open to the possibility that “Mark” refers to Peter’s actual blood son, and not John Mark the author of the canonical gospel?
This got me thinking. Most, if not all of Jesus’ apostles had children, and yet I have never heard of any historical information about their identities or their deeds. Did they follow in the footsteps of their fathers as preachers of the Gospel? Did any backslide? Is anyone aware of anything in the historical record?
July 14, 2010
Posted by Theosophical Ruminator under Apologetics
Charles Darwin wrote, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much who positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”
While Chuck and I don’t see eye-to-eye on much, this quote resonated with me. I have experienced the truth of what he said both in my own life, and observed it in others’. Indeed, the truth Darwin captured here reaches farther than the sciences; it extends to virtually all areas of knowledge.
While not original to me, I have often said that the more I learn the more I realize I don’t know. Sometimes this means the solving of one problem leads to other problems I was previously unaware of—winning one battle only to start five more. Other times this means that in my attempt to solve a problem, the problem is exacerbated, because I come to realize that the question is much more difficult and the answer much less apparent than I had originally thought.