A homecare worker arrives at this condo this morning and my Mom answers the door downstairs. I often do this for her as my Mom is disabled and deaf, even though I live upstairs, but I slept in this morning. I hear the worker state paraphrased, 'Are you alone today, is your grandson not here'?
At a restaurant a few years ago a waitress asked if I was taking grandma out.
June 27, 2012
Listening to philosopher Gary Habermas online from time to time on his website, one of the interesting things he states and I am paraphrasing is that theistic disbelief and objections, and therefore it can be deduced, disbelief in and objections to Christianity are often primarily from negative emotional reactions to suffering, life and to concepts of God.
Granted there are philosophers and like that do have philosophical differences with theism and Christianity and I have read several of them, especially in United Kingdom theses work. I do fully admit that some skeptical and atheistic authors do make some reasonable and good critiques within the theodicy and problem of evil debate. They are often cited on this blog.
I was reading an academic advice column connected to one of professional associations I am connected to and some persons that studied to a PhD level with evangelical training were now pondering on skepticism and atheism as more likely worldview options than Christianity. Having studied Reformed Christianity, Evangelical Christianity, and atheism in the context of theodicy and problem of evil from 1998 to 2010 I can somewhat understand someone arriving at those types of conclusions having read authors with similar views, but intellectually with my research the more I studied the more I became convinced a Reformed sovereignty theodicy and defence was the most reasonable explanation for the problem of evil, superior to the free will views and soul-making theory.
Besides not having the best explanations within the theodicy and problem of evil discussion I also thought that philosophically, skepticism, agnosticism and atheism failed to adequately deal with the issues of first cause and the problem of origins that would be larger than the problem of evil as they have to do with the basics of existence.
If somehow the Biblical record could be proven false, as in all of the prophets, apostles and scribes could be shown not be of supernatural origin, which I see no good evidence for, deism in my view would still be a more likely philosophical alternative than skepticism, agnosticism or atheism as at least the problems of first cause and origins would be reasonably dealt with.
I have discussed deism previously on this blog and I will present again with edits:
My brief and former academic advisor David. A. Pailin, defines deism as coming from the Latin word deus and parallels the Greek which is theos. Pailin (1999: 148). In modern times deism is used to define a supreme being who is the ultimate source of reality, but does not intervene in the natural and historical processes through revelation or salvific acts. Pailin (1999: 148). Pailin writes that the common use of the term ‘theism’ does not carry the same negative implications. Pailin (1999: 148). He explains that historically deism is not so much a set of doctrines, but a movement, largely British, that became popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Pailin (1999: 148). Many within deism will have doubts concerning concepts of supernatural religious doctrines, revelation and the authority of the Bible. Pailin (1999: 148). Pailin notes that some within deism desire to replace Christianity with a more ‘reasonable’ faith, and for others it is an attempt to produce a more ‘reasonable’ version of Christianity. Pailin (1999: 149).
William J. Wainwright explains that deism understands true religion as natural, as opposed to supernatural religion. Wainwright (1996: 188). He writes that some self-styled Christian deists accept revelation although they argue that the content is the same as natural religion. Wainwright (1996: 188). Most deists reject revelation as fiction, but many reason that God has ordained that human happiness is possible through natural means that are universally available. Wainwright (1996: 188). Salvation therefore does not come via divine revelation. Wainwright (1996: 188).
Henry Clarence Thiessen writes that for deism God is present in his creation by his power and not in his being and nature. He has endowed creation with certain invariable laws that he oversees in general terms. Theissen (1956: 74). God has created creatures and left them under invariable laws to their own destiny. Thiessen (1956: 74). For Thiessen, the Christian world-view rejects deism because it accepts that God has revealed himself in creation through divine revelation, has providential control and does at times use miracles within his creation. Thiessen (1956: 75). For Thiessen, a deistic God is not much better than no God at all for humanity. Thiessen (1956: 75).
Thiessen has an reasonable point, if deistic approaches reject a God who intervenes within his creation, then it allows, practically speaking, for human beings to expect to have the same end in life as if there is no God. Wainwright deduces that God has ordained human happiness to all universally, but ultimately how happy can human existence be when physical death is the end result for every person? The meaning of life, human life is not substantially meaningful, if permanently terminated. People lose their consciousness and life accomplishments without everlasting life, and therefore life loses ultimate meaning and happiness does not result. The deist can speculate that God can and perhaps shall provide everlasting life and ultimate continual meaning for life, but this is merely speculation devoid of any historically grounded revelation from God.
Accepting that human nature is corrupt as described in Romans 1-3, it is very unlikely that the problem of evil would ever be solved but rather merely treated by humanity if deism is true (even if Romans was not considered divinely inspired the concept could still be correct). There would at no time be any solution for sin, death, and the problem of evil, since the infinite, omnipotent God would not interfere with his creation and regenerate and change individuals in order to eventually establish a Kingdom of God where the problem of evil does not exist. With a deistic universe seemingly sin, death, and the problem of evil continue to exist as long as humanity does. Deism seemingly does not offer any ultimate solution to the problem of evil.
There would be meaning to creation, but essentially only the creator would take lasting meaning from it.
God Wills and is Aware
In the Biblical book of Job, God as the first cause willingly allows evil for good purposes and with perfectly good motives it can be reasoned. Satanic beings and human beings will evil as secondary causes with wrong motives.
The same could be said of the historical crucifixion story of Christ. God wills the evil event with the perfectly good motives of atonement, resurrection and restoration for his people while satanic beings and persons that kill Christ have sinful motives.
It would seem that Biblically despite the very great suffering persons can suffer, God is aware of it and in fact in an ultimate cause but with good motives. Of course this is not to deny that human sinfulness can play a significant part in suffering as persons can cause suffering upon self and others. This often takes place, obviously.
A Christian theology therefore needs to understand reasonably well that God does participate in personal suffering, even though it does hurt extremely much at times.
Christians are to pray, fellowship, study and act for the good within the context of suffering and the problem of evil.
I conclude that a worldview, including religious, should primarily be determined by philosophical and theological evidences (Scripture being key) within reason, as opposed to being primarily determined from personal events and experiences.
This seems straightforward but in actuality is probably often quite difficult for many to accomplish. Grace through faith is required which leads to good works. (Ephesians 2). Another aspect of the problem of evil is problems related to suffering.
PAILIN, DAVID A. (1999) ‘Deism’, in Alan Richardson and John Bowden (eds.), New Dictionary of Christian Theology, Kent, SCM Press Ltd.
THIESSEN, HENRY C. (1956) Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, Grand Rapids, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
WAINWRIGHT, WILLIAM J. (1996) ‘Deism’, in Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Cha Grande, Brazil (trekearth)
June 29, 2012
I just saw this story on the news. Stupid move by the coach...
June 29, 2012
Martial Arts 'foolery'
Photos by Saint Chucky Cheese I
Editing by Dr. RNM
Dr. Russell Norman Murray
PhD Research Thesis Degree in Theology and
Philosophy of Religion: Theodicy, The Problem of Evil, Free Will,
Determinism, Atheism, The Nature of God, Practical Theology, Empirical
Theology, Statistics, Graphs, The University of Wales, Trinity Saint
David, Lampeter, 2010, Lampeter, Wales, United Kingdom. MPhil Research
Thesis Degree in Theology and Philosophy of Religion: The Problem of
Evil, Theodicy, Free Will, Determinism, Atheism, The Nature of God,
Practical Theology, Empirical Theology, Statistics, Bangor University,
2003, Bangor, Wales, United Kingdom. MTS: Theology, Biblical Studies,
Teaching Internship, Canadian Baptist Seminary at Trinity Western
University, 1999, Langley, British Columbia, Canada. BA: Biblical
Studies, Teaching and Writing Internships, Columbia Bible College, 1995,
Abbotsford, British Columbia. I am a member of the Evangelical
Theological Society, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and the
American Academy of Religion. I am interested in reciprocal followings
with Facebook Networked Blogs and Google/Blogger Friend Connect.
Reciprocal linking also interests. firstname.lastname@example.org