Archive for December, 2014

http://ifttt.com/images/no_image_card.png This is what I’m currently reading: It was a fitting end, in keeping with what we’ve seen already in the series.

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http://ifttt.com/images/no_image_card.png This is what I’m currently reading: Newsweek magazine decided to greet the start of 2015 with a massive cover story on the Bible. For decades now, major news magazines have tended to feature cover articles timed for Christmas and Easter, taking an opportunity to consider some major question about Christianity and the modern world. Leading the journalistic pack for years, both […]

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Thanks for visiting. Please check out my other Apologetics-related posts. Follow me on Twitter @xianreasons, and on Face book at Christian Reasons. Have a blessed day! simul iustus et peccator, Eric Adams

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/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/3b9/40655761/files/2014/12/img_0350.jpg Image courtesy of Joel Snape through a CC Generic License. No alterations have been made to this image.

If you came to Christianity thinking you’re going to have your best life now, or that it can help you quit all of your bad habits, or that you can have a victoriously vanquishing of all enemies-foreign or domestic, or that Christianity is a self-help religion to lift yourself by your own bootstraps, you might want to try another religion.

You see, Christianity was born in weakness. We are fixing to celebrate that weakness on Dec. 25. The Incarnation expresses to us the supreme weakness of God taking on flesh, and being born the weakest of creatures-a baby human being. A poor baby human being. A poor homeless human being. A poor, homeless, dangerously-sought after human being. Even a helpless fawn can stand within an hour of its birth, albeit he’s a bit wobbly. It takes humans a couple of years to get it right.

Again, our most celebrated alternate holiday begins with a day called Good Friday, which is another name for a horrible, humiliating, gruesome execution. Sure, it ends in Resurrection, but without the gruesome Death, there would be no Resurrection.

The beginning of the Church is no better. It begins with 120 scared, praying renegades of a religious sect with a crucified leader. They break out in languages never learned, and are accused of being drunkards.

The only way they grow is to be dispersed by persecution. They are constantly under threat of extermination by the religious leaders and the government.

We seem to grow best under extreme duress, to the point of bloodshed. In fact, one ancient Christian devotee dared say that the blood of the saints is the seed of the church.

Oh, you say, “but doesn’t the Bible say He won’t give us more than we can handle? Doesn’t he promise us prosperity, victory, and healing?”

If the suffering of Christians throughout history, and the experience of Christians we can see right now at home and abroad mean anything…then no, there is no blanket statement, magic pill, mystical incantation, or silver bullet to get you out of this life as a believer without suffering, loss, persecution, and death. We’re called Christians for goodness’ sake. That means we follow in Christ’s footsteps, for crying-out-loud.

The real gift of victory comes at our death. Our most celebrated sacraments point to it. Baptism is celebrating and anticipating death and resurrection. We ain’t gettin’ a holy bath there, you know. We get spiritual sustenance by feeding on the body and blood of our crucified Savior in the Lord’s Supper. Even the most militant memorialist believes there’s something important in the bread and wine. It’s also anticipating a certain banquet we will share with our wounded God after our death, or at least after our change from mortality to immortality at His Coming. Even that is sort of a death. The body we are born with is to be transformed into an eternal one, suited for the endless future. Sort of a “take you earth suit off and put on this eternity suit” kind of thing.

If your looking for victory, and the suppression of your enemies, try Islam. I hear they’re pretty militant about world domination. Plus they have the whole 70 virgin thing, so…

The Buddhists and Hindus offer self-help techniques reported to be effective, if you don’t mind chanting endlessly, and giving up hamburgers.

But if you want to know why things are the way they are…if you know you ain’t got it in you to live right, or even well…if you’re looking for forgiveness from your inner sense of horrible guilt to a holy God you can’t see but know is there because you actually opened your eyes and looked at the world, then Christianity is for you.

Sure, we have our own brands of self-help-victorious living-enemy vanquishing-ignoring reality and burying your head in the sand while naming it and claiming it-religion, but they’re just cheap knock-offs of the same thing.

The real Christianity is harder than you think, easier than you think, smarter than you think, simpler than you think, closer to reality than you think, and weaker than you think.

Sick people need doctors, and honey, we is deathly ill.

Your not gonna get out of this life alive, so start making plans, and join the rest of us crazy people who believe there’s purpose in suffering, strength in weakness, and life in death.

Life is going to be the death of you.

Simul iustus et peccator,

Eric

http://ift.tt/eA8V8J This is what I’m currently reading:

Morality of Particles?Why Physicalism Fails to Account for Objective Morality Physicalism is the idea that all that exists is particles in motion. (1)It is also called materialism and naturalism. Although, technically speaking, they are slightly different from one another, we’ll take them to be synonymous for our purposes here. (Many atheists are physicalists.) According to this belief, whatever exists in this world, if you break it down to its most basic parts, it can be measured by modern science at least theoretically: no god(s), souls, angels, or demons, period. What about objective morality, then? (2)From here on, when I say “morality,” I mean “objective morality” unless I qualify otherwise. Can physicalism account for objective morality? In other words, given physicalism, can there be real good/evil and right/wrong, the kind that is valid and binding regardless of people’s opinions? (3)Notice that I am not saying whether physicalists can be good people. I am asking whether we can even have objective morality itself on physicalism. I think not. Value and Duty In order for morality to make sense, we need at least two things: value and duty. Imagine for a moment what our morality would look like if one of these things were missing. Let’s suppose that we had no moral value. In this case, our duty would become arbitrary. If I were commanded not to torture a little baby for fun, it would not be because that act is evil (since value is missing) but because someone is simply prohibiting me from doing so. The difference between torturing a baby for fun and caring for a baby with love would be the same as driving on the left or right side of the road. We know such a thing to be absurd from our moral experience. Now, what if, this time, we had moral value but no moral duty? If duty were missing, then all we would have left is the distinction between good and evil. We would not owe to anyone to behave one way or another. This, also, is contrary to our moral experience. After all, all we need to do in order to appreciate this moral dimension to be on the receiving end of some evil act. (We all know that guy who weaves in and out of traffic like he is uniquely entitled to the use of the road while putting everyone else around him in danger.) Value and Duty on Physicalism So, then, can physicalism handle value and duty? I think not. First, let’s think about value. Remember I said earlier that, on physicalism, everything can be reduced to particles in motion? Let’s substitute dominos for particles and suppose that we have domino A and domino B. There are at least two scenarios. First, domino A can fall over and knock over domino B. Or else, domino B can fall over and knock over domino A. Now, which scenario is morally superior? Clearly, this question is absurd, because this is a non-moral event—it’s just physics at work. (4)Other possible scenarios—no dominos falling over, dominos being too far apart to knock each other over, etc.—don’t change anything in this regard. If we increase the number of dominos, does it change anything? A hundred dominos? A million? A trillion? It would just be more of the same. (5)I’ve heard an atheist acquaintance of mine say that rarity gives rise to value. For example, biological life ought to be valued because it is incredibly rare in the universe. Besides, each life is unique in that, once it is destroyed, the same life cannot be restored. However, rarity cannot be the standard by which to measure objective moral value when you can have good acts and evil acts both of which are rare. For example, the Jewish Holocaust was a relatively rare event in world history, and yet everyone agrees that it was evil. What about duty? Again, physicalism fails to account for it. Duty, simply put, is something that you owe, and you can only owe something to a person. Seashells don’t owe you anything, nor do you owe anything to the dinner table. But, if you borrow a book from your friend, you owe it to your friend to return the book. Since, given physicalism, there can be no persons, (6)For more on this, I invite you to listen to our Apologetics Canada Podcast episodes on the Zombie Culture. there can be no duty, either. A bigger problem for physicalism when it comes to value and duty is that physicalism can’t accommodate them in principle. According to physicalism, everything that exists is material things. Yet, value and duty are immaterial things. After all, what is the colour and length of value? Weight of duty? So, then, physicalism rules out a priori such immaterial realities as value, duty, personhood, etc. When these are ruled out, so is morality. (7)Remember that I’ve been talking about objective morality. Certainly, we can create our own moral framework—that’s not in question. However, subjective morality suffers from many critical flaws. Here is an interesting interaction between Ravi Zacharias and a questioner at the open forum at the University of Pennsylvania. http://ift.tt/1xEo2DQ In short, if physicalism is true, then morality is out the window. Notes   [ + ] 1. ↑ It is also called materialism and naturalism. Although, technically speaking, they are slightly different from one another, we’ll take them to be synonymous for our purposes here. 2. ↑ From here on, when I say “morality,” I mean “objective morality” unless I qualify otherwise. 3. ↑ Notice that I am not saying whether physicalists can be good people. I am asking whether we can even have objective morality itself on physicalism. 4. ↑ Other possible scenarios—no dominos falling over, dominos being too far apart to knock each other over, etc.—don’t change anything in this regard. 5. ↑ I’ve heard an atheist acquaintance of mine say that rarity gives rise to value. For example, biological life ought to be valued because it is incredibly rare in the […]

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http://ift.tt/1AyAt3B This is what I’m currently reading:

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