In this episode, I review some major objections against the traditional cosmological argument (particularly those raised by Objectivist philosopher, Dr. Diana Hsieh), and respond to each. You can view an outline of those objections below. You can also listen directly to Dr. Hsieh present these arguments in her series here.
This is the first episode of The Christian Egoist Podcast!
It is also the first episode in the series on Arguments for the Existence of God.
In this episode, I begin with a brief introduction of myself and my work, and then explain that this series is interacting heavily with Dr. Diana Hsieh's series on the same topic (More on her and her series below). Then, I give an overview of my various audiences, along with unique challenges to each. In sum though, my challenge to everyone in my audience on this (and every other issue) is to be devoted to the truth, whatever the costs! ...continue reading
Balance. It’s probably the fundamental functional morality for most people today. And it’s definitely the go-to answer for most moral conundrums. How do love and truth go together? Justice and mercy? Individualism and community? God’s sovereignty and human responsibility? Personal responsibility and charity? The answer: “Balance.”
A Dubious Assumption
But isn’t there a dubious assumption behind the idea that good and true things need to “balance” each other out? The idea of balance implies an inverse relationship between those things which are being balanced: the degree to which one goes up, the other goes down––and vice versa. The degree to which love goes up, truth goes down; and the degree to which truth goes up, love goes down. Such is the conventional wisdom. The key to morality then, in this case, is to “balance” the two out. But what does this mean? ...continue reading
In a recent interview with Collin Hansen (above), Dr. John Piper explained why he didn’t gravitate toward the language of color-blindness. At his Church (Bethlehem Baptist -- which is where I currently attend), his successor, Jason Meyer, just preached on the annual emphasis of racial harmony. In light of these events, and of course, Martin Luther King Jr. day, I thought this would be a good opportunity to flesh out my views on the issue. ...continue reading
The word “curse” often evokes fairytale imagery or some sort of mystical power which corrupts everything under its influence. But this magical motif in fiction has a very real non-fiction counterpart: irrationality (or sin). In children’s stories, we resort to magical language because it provides a simple and concrete way of depicting the corruption which takes place as a result of irrationality and sin in one’s life –– or in the culture. At least, that would be the rational way of using such mystical language.
The Curse is in You
Unfortunately, there seems to also be an awful lot of people who really do think of sin or evil as some sort of mystical or magical force –– like an invisible spell cast over the population, from which none can escape. After all, that would make it something beyond any one person’s control, and would therefore implicitly expunge everyone from any sort of guilt associated with it. Those who love their own darkness are all too eager to accept the premise that that darkness was pushed upon them, quite apart from their desires. And those who love their own darkness are quite opposed to shining any light upon that darkness (i.e. rationally analyzing it) in order to discover its actual causes and origins. ...continue reading
My home state, Idaho, is the latest locale for the showdown between the LGBT movement and Christian businesses. This time, it's not a Christian bakery or photographer, but a wedding chapel. You can read the article here.
It's tempting for Christians to think that these instances of Christian businesses being forced to acquiesce to the LGBT agenda is the result of the recent and sweeping legalization of "gay marriage", but that conclusion seems a little too reactionary, and misses some more fundamental issues that Christians should have been aware over the past few decades. Think about it: typically, making something legal does not automatically make it illegal to decline participation in that thing. When marijuana was recently made legal in a few states, it was not simultaneously made illegal for a Washingtonian to decline a joint offered to him by his neighbor, or for a Colorado woman to tell her kids that smoking pot can be bad for them. So why then, is the legalization of "gay marriage" resulting in the criminalization of those who disagree with it? There is obviously something else at play. ...continue reading
The following is my response to Wayne Grudem's recent article at TGC, Is Gaining Profit From Someone Else's Work Exploitation?
A Great Article, But...
This is a great article, in that it demonstrates the glorious nature of wealth creation (and therefore life-enhancement) in a Capitalist system, while demonstrating some great Biblical principles which support such wealth-creation -- however the article seems to ground the 'goodness' of this employer-employee relationship (and implicitly, of Capitalism in general) in 'love for the other person', which has dangerous implications if carried out consistently (see the Marxist-sympathizing comments in the comment section for examples).
The Only Proper Foundation
While love for others certainly ought to be a strong driving motive of the Christian in all things, it should not (and cannot) be the foundation for the goodness of Capitalism (the system Grudem is implicitly defending above). The only proper foundation (Biblical or otherwise) for Capitalism is: Justice. ...continue reading
Why I've Been AWOL
For those of you who don't know, and have been wondering where I've been, I have recently moved across the country to attend Bethlehem College & Seminary in order to finish my Bachelors Degree through their Degree Completion Program. I haven't completely set the blog aside, but I have had to take some time off over the past 1/2 year or so to focus on all of the intricate logistics of moving across country, applying to school, switching jobs, and coming up with the funds to support all of this! ...continue reading
“There is a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism.... But when it came to the next question, a code of ethics to observe for the salvation of one's soul—(this means: what must one do in actual practice in order to save one's soul?)—Jesus (or perhaps His interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one's soul, one must love or help or live for others. This means, the subordination of one's soul (or ego) to the wishes, desires or needs of others, which means the subordination of one's soul to the souls of others. This is a contradiction that cannot be resolved.”
-Letter to Mrs. Austin, by Ayn Rand
The "Great Basic Contradiction"
Previously, I covered the beginning of this (and another quote) by Rand on the teachings of Jesus in regard to individualism and egoism (Read Ayn Rand on Christian Egoism: Part 1, here). In both quotes (each taken from personal letters), Rand begins by praising Christianity for its teaching on the sanctity of man's soul (ego) and for making the salvation of one's own individual soul the primary concern. However in both quotes, Rand goes on to elaborate on a fundamental contradiction which she sees in Christian philosophy: the contradiction between Jesus' teaching on individualism/ egoism and the morality of altruism: ...continue reading
Have you noticed how mystical our culture's talk of love is today? Whether it's the girl whimsically longing to "find true love" (as if it is some magical creature evading her grasp), the boy in reluctant surprise who admits that he "might be in love" (as if it were a disease which has crept up on him), or the couple which speaks of "falling in love" (as if it were a pit into which both stumbled during a blind, dumb stupor), there appears to be very little conscious understanding of what love actually is among most people.
Is vs. Does
Of course there are many who would claim to speak of what love is (typically the adult speaking to the adolescent, who "doesn't know what love is yet" -- as though love were some mystical knowledge imparted to you at a certain age). But these don't speak about what love is so much as they speak about what love does.
"Love waits", "Love puts the other person first", "Love makes you do crazy things", "Love doesn't give up". These are all great and true (in particular respects) descriptions of what love does, but they do very little to explain what love is. If you want proof, simply consider that one could do all of the things listed above (and all the things which could be listed about what love does), and still not have love (see 1 Cor. 13:3). If it is possible to fake love by performing supposedly 'loving' actions (and it is), then the actions, themselves, cannot be love.
Love is Value
If love is not actions, but the fuel for 'loving' actions, then love must be that which fuels action: value. ...continue reading