Thursday, March 15, 2018

The World's Oldest Torah Scrolls--Link

The World's Oldest Torah Scrolls

By Gary A. Rendsburg
 "A recent announcement by the Library of Congress regarding the purchase of a single Torah scroll sheet dating from approximately 1000 C.E. has generated great interest in the topic of old Torah scrolls. Just what are the world’s oldest Torah scrolls and where does the Library of Congress scroll fit in?"
* Keep reading article HERE.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pro-Lifers as Pro-Science

* The following is from Nancy Pearcey's amazing book Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions About Life and Sexuality.

Put bluntly, abortion supporters have lost the argument on the scientific level.  They can no longer deny that an embryo is biologically human.  As a result, they have switched tactics to an argument based on personhood, defined ultimately by their own personal views and values.  And when their view is codified into law, their private values are imposed on everyone else.

This switch in tactics was evident in a fascinating debate a few years ago.  It began when professor Stanley Fish wrote in the journal First Things that pro-lifers have no right to bring their views into the public arena.  Why not?  Because their views are based on faith, he claimed, while abortion advocates base their views on science.  Robert George of Princeton challenged Fish to a debate at a meeting of the American Political Science Association.  In his paper, George argued that in reality it is the pro-life position that is based on science.

As is customary, the two scholars exchanged their papers ahead of time  When the meeting opened, Fish threw George's paper on the table and announced, "Professor George is right, and he is right to correct me."  The admission was met by stunned silence.

Fish later explained his startling turnaround.  Supporters of abortion have typically cast themselves as "defenders of rational science against the forces of ignorance and superstition," he said.  But when science began inexorably pushing back the moment when life begins, "they shifted tactics.... Nowadays, it is the pro-lifers who make the scientific question of when the beginning of life occurs the key one...while pro-choices want to transform the question into a 'metaphysical' or 'religious' one by distinguishing between mere biological life and 'moral life.'"... It is time to turn the tables on the old stereotypes. (pp. 60-61)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Philosophy of (The Christian) Religion--Triablogue "book"

The following link has what is essentially an e-book of links to various topics related to the philosophy of Christianity.  Thanks to Triablogue for this resource.

Philosophy of (The Christian) Religion

Categories and topics include:

1.  Arguments for God's Existence

2.  Problem of Evil

3.  Free-will and Moral Responsibility

4.  The Attributes of God

5.  Miracles

6.  Faith and Reason

7.  Religious Language

8.  Christian Theism and Abstracta

9.  Christianity and Science

10. Christian Ethics

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Topics in Apologetics: "Cutting the Pedagogical Pie"

What are the topics that apologetics deals with? 

Cornelius Van Til states that "Apologetics is the vindication of the Christian philosophy of life against the various forms of the non-Christian philosophy of life." In other words, the entire Christian worldview is brought into conflict with all other forms of non-Christian thought. I have found it helpful to "cut the pie" of apologetics into the following seven sections with some sample particulars. There are other ways to conceive of this but the following helps to show all the different kinds of things defending the faith deals with. 

1. Philosophical Issues 
* Proofs for God's existence  * Problem of evil  * Relation of faith and reason  * Coherence of the nature of God 
2. Scientific Issues 
* Creation and evolution 
3. Historical Issues 
* Historicity of resurrection  * Reliability of text of OT and NT  * Biblical archaeology 
4. Biblical Issues 
* Alleged Bible contradictions  * Biblical portrait of God--is he good?  * What about various actions or laws in the Bible--do these make sense (example: slavery). 
5. Theological Issues 
* Are the Christian doctrines rational or do they violate logic?      -Trinity      -Incarnation      -Atonement      -Humanity having a "soul" 
6. Cultural Issues 
* Abortion  * Gender & Sexuality issues  * Suicide & euthanasia 
7. Other Worldviews and Religions 
* Nihilism, Existentialism, etc.  * Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam  * Cults and Deviations from Orthodoxy 
Of course, there is overlap between the categories. For example, the issue of the "soul" or mind is a theological issue but it also is a philosophical and scientific issue--at least those categories come into play. So this is not the official list of apologetics! It does, however, begin to show how extensive the task of defending the faith is in our contemporary context. The Christian faith deals with all of life and the opposition to Christian theism will be across the full spectrum of life. No one person is an expert in every arena listed above. We need all sorts of individuals involved. Even if you do not feel called to this task yourself you can pray for Christian scholars who do engage in these areas. Ask God to raise up those to defend his Word and ways!