An Apple Is A Failed Orange: Boghossian’s Error

So this Peter Boghossian guy seems to be the atheist du jour since I went on hiatus. I’m not surprised that John W. Loftus sings his praises. Loftus has a penchant for finding bad atheist arguments and running with them, and his latest crusade to end philosophy of religion seems no different. In fact, it’s based mostly on Boghossian’s rhetoric. Why should we end philosophy of religion? Because faith is a failed epistemology! That, in a nutshell, is Loftus’ answer. If it seems laughable, don’t blame me. As usual, Loftus gives no good arguments, no evidence, no good reason, just… rhetoric.

How would Jesus celebrate Christmas?

I hate to sound like the grinch but in many ways, Christmas bums me out. Not what it stands for, but what it’s become. I absolutely loathe the corporate usurpation of this holiday, and it saddens me to see people flinging themselves headlong into it. Of course, the companies simply respond to the people, so this usurpation really says more about the state of individuals than anything else. We wouldn’t be increasingly bombarded with consumer propaganda if we, as individuals, took more seriously Jesus’ command to love not the world. What follows is an updated version of a piece I wrote ten years ago.

Useful Crop? Or Thorns & Thistles?

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and in danger of being cursed. —Hebrews 6:7,8

The writer of this text chose a good analogy. The analogy is given under the subheading of “warnings against falling away,” and the writer deems it a teaching of maturity. (v.1) We find a few components: land, the rain that falls on it, the act of drinking, the crop, those for whom the crop is farmed and the farmer. The way I see it, the land is us. The rain that falls on the land is the work and revelation of the Holy Spirit. The act of drinking in this rain signifies obedience and cooperation. The crop is the result. Those for whom it is farmed are other people. The farmer is YHWH.

The Time Is Short

Lately I’ve used the phrase “The time is short” on a few occasions. Crude asks:

…what prompted this? You seem to have had a drastic change in tone recently. Now, if you meant “time is short” in the sense that I can get hit by a car tomorrow, certainly I understand. I don’t think I’m deluded at all, but I do understand the importance of taking this seriously. But I’m getting the impression off you that “time is short” means, “you suddenly think the world is ending within a certain frame of time.” You certainly didn’t have this attitude last week.

It is true that “the time is short” can be applied in the first sense. Even without getting hit by a car, life goes fast. That’s not the meaning impressed on my heart. Please note, though prompted by Crude, this is not written directly to Crude. I don’t know where others stand. It is for each of us to decide whether this applies or not. It is a message for all who have ears.

A Reminder To The Willfully Ignorant

If you haven’t read it already, I highly suggest Neil Postman’s The End of Education. It isn’t about (a)theism per se—it’s actually about how the transcendent, unifying narratives of previous generations have been replaced by “gods” of consumerism, technology and economic utility—but Postman raises many points with direct import to (a)theist debate. For example,

…the Big Bang theory of modern astronomers is not so far from the story of the Beginning as found Genesis. The thought that a group of camel-riding Bedouins huddling around a fire in the desert night four thousand years ago might ponder the question of how the universe began and come up with a narrative that is similar to one accepted by MIT professors in the late twentieth century speaks of a continuity of human imagination that cannot fail to inspire. (p.112-113)

But of course, as most of the enlightened, rational atheists already know, there is no evidence for God. They may as well discard Postman’s candor entirely.

The Greatest Thing In The World: Index

The following is an index for Henry Drummond’s sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (the “love” passages), reprinted from the complete, unabridged version of “The Greatest Thing In The World” by Spire Books (ISBN unknown). Highly recommended for believers of all types and atheists interested in learning more about the Bible.

The Greatest Thing In The World: The Defence (2)

*The following is reprinted from the complete, unabridged version of “The Greatest Thing In The World” by Henry Drummond, Spire Books, ISBN unknown

I have said this thing is eternal. Did you ever notice how continually John associates love and faith with eternal life? I was not told when I was a boy that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should have everlasting life.” What I was told, I remember, was, that God so loved the world that, if I trusted in Him, I was to have a thing called peace, or I was to have rest, or I was to have joy, or I was to have safety. But I had to find out for myself that whosoever trusteth in Him—that is, whosoever loveth Him, for trust is only the avenue to Love—hath everlasting life The Gospel offers a man life.

The Greatest Thing In The World: The Defence (1)

*The following is reprinted from the complete, unabridged version of “The Greatest Thing In The World” by Henry Drummond, Spire Books, ISBN unknown

Now I have a closing sentence or two to add about Paul’s reason for singling out love as the supreme possession. It is a very remarkable reason. In a single word it is this: it lasts. “Love,” urges Paul, “never faileth.” Then he begins again one of his marvellous lists of the great things of the day, and exposes them one by one. He runs over the things that men thought were going to last, and shows that they are all fleeting, temporary, passing away.

The Greatest Thing In The World: Analysis (Conclusion)

*The following is reprinted from the complete, unabridged version of “The Greatest Thing In The World” by Henry Drummond, p.37-41, Spire Books, ISBN unknown

So much for the analysis of Love. Now the business of our lives is to have these things fitted into our characters. That is the supreme work to which we need to address ourselves in this world, to learn Love. Is life not full of opportunities for learning Love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a play-ground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.

The Greatest Thing In The World: Guilelessness, Sincerity

*The following is reprinted from the complete, unabridged version of “The Greatest Thing In The World” by Henry Drummond, p.37-39, Spire Books, ISBN unknown

Guilelessness and Sincerity may be dismissed almost with a word. Guilelessness is the grace for suspicious people. And the possession of it is the great secret of personal influence. You will find, if you think for a moment, that the people who influence you are people who believe in you. In an atmosphere of suspicion men shrivel up; but in that atmosphere they expand, and find encouragement and educative fellowship. It is a wonderful thing that here and there in this hard, uncharitable world there should still be left a few rare souls who think no evil. This is the great unworldliness. Love “thinketh no evil,” imputes no motive, sees the bright side, puts the best construction on every action. What a delightful state of mind to live in! What a stimulus and benediction even to meet with it for a day! To be trusted is to be saved. And if we try to influence or elevate others, we shall soon see that success is in proportion to their belief of our belief in them. For the respect of another is the first restoration of the self-respect a man has lost; our ideal of what he is becomes to him the hope and pattern of what he may become.