Freidrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) is not exactly a household name to evangelicals, but the progeny of his ideas are well-known and loathed by evangelicals. Schleiermacher is generally reputed to be the father of Modern (Liberal) Theology. But what makes evangelical repudiation of Schleiermacher ironic, even if it is not done by name, is that they are more the disciples of him then they either realize or carer to admit. And he would love our church camps too.
Category Archives: Philosophy and Culture
Earlier this week, I posted a list of films that I am eager to see over the coming few months. But what I didn’t note, at the time of my original posting, however, is a trend that I spotted as I was busy compiling the list. In a Western world that is largely built upon the cultural foundations of the Enlightenment Project – in world that purports to believe in the essential goodness of humanity and its inevitable progress towards a technologically fueled utopian future – why are so many of our films and movies apocalyptic and/or dystopian tales of a future gone horribly wrong? Read the rest of this entry »
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,19, are now known as the two men that planted bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, taking the lives of thee people, including an eight-year old boy. As I write this post (10:00 am, 4-19-2013) the events are breaking fast and furious on CNN. But what has been most interesting to see is the perplexity of the reporters. After hearing testimony from high school friends, a high school teacher and an uncle tell us what a normal and wonderful kid Dzhokhar was, Chris Cuomo, the on air CNN anchor, asked, “How can a person be so good and be so evil at the same time?” Read the rest of this entry »
What happens when we pray? Does it change us? (Classical Theism) Does it move God from within a framework of his general providence and foreknowledge? (Free Will Theism) If prayer merely changes us, as CT holds, then we accept the premise that God has determined all before time, raising the problem of evil. If prayer merely moves God within a framework of his general providence (not ordaining all things specifically) then God is only moved one step back from the problem of evil and his foreknowledge only seems like a softer version of determinism it seeks to escape. So now what? Radical Free Will Theism. Read the rest of this entry »
What happens when we pray? Does it move God, who classically has been seen to be immutable and impassible? In the previous post, describing classical theism’s response, we explored how the categories of classical theism require us to also hold to a strong sense of God’s sovereignty, ordaining even the means (prayer) of the ends he seeks to accomplish. That move, however, raises the serious problem of evil because of this strong sense of sovereignty. In light of this new problem and question, free will theists attempt to counter the problem of evil with a solution of their own. Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this week, Ryan Mahoney raised the question: Does God move when we pray? And although he has sought (and will continue to seek) to limit the discussion strictly to the question of prayer, I found myself thinking about a little known passage found in Daniel 10. So today, in the interest of expanding upon the discussion, and in the interest of opening up a new discussion related to the problem of evil, I would like to address this passage and ask a few questions.
If God is impassible and immutable, as classic, Christian theism asserts, then what is happening when we pray? How can God be unmoved and unchangeable and still enter into the relational exchange of prayer? Read the rest of this entry »
Christians have long believed that God is immutable, meaning he cannot change, and Christians have long believed that God is impassible, meaning he cannot suffer, empathize or feel in response to creation. If that is true then does God move when we pray?
We have been discussing the need for evangelicals to develop an evangelical, political philosophy in this series of posts. Previously, we discussed the problem of present evangelical engagement with the political culture and the need for a coherent vision for such engagement, using Ron Sider’s book The Scandal of Evangelical Politics as a jumping off point. The last post briefly surveyed the history of Christian engagement with culture, and I argued that evangelicals needed to root themselves in the tradition of this engagement as a guide for future direction. But, there is a problem; even if evangelicals could decide which elements of the tradition are worth retaining and who gets to decide such matters (both of which are very large problems that will need to be addressed later), we still need to articulate our position to the broader culture. What authority generates our political convictions: scripture, reason, experience or some combination thereof? How can we meaningfully engage such a pluralistic society? How can we articulate “our” political message to Hindus, Buddhists, Jewish people, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, and other people holding to different worldviews? Read the rest of this entry »
As a teacher charged with the task of helping students learn how to construct and deconstruct arguments, I often begin the year by asking my students to articulate their own personal worldview. Why is there something rather than nothing? How do you know what you know? What is the meaning of history? How do you explain the moral nature of humanity? What has gone wrong with the world? Can it be set right? Will it be set right? What will “right” ultimately look like?
As foundational as these questions may first appear to be, you might be surprised to know how rare it is for a student to be able to answer these questions in any kind of a meaningful way. Regardless of how bright the student may be, they are often incapable of providing even the most rudimentary of responses, as they simply have not been taught how to consider their own thought-life. And yet, as you can see from the questions themselves, worldviews are a summation of everything we believe to be true about the nature of the world around us. And as such, worldviews are very much a part of our daily existence, even if we don’t spend a great deal of time consciously considering their merits. Read the rest of this entry »