John Piper, heh

Christians are enamored with this guy?

The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction. Reaffirm the great Lutheran heritage of allegiance to the truth and authority of Scripture. Turn back from distorting the grace of God into sensuality. Rejoice in the pardon of the cross of Christ and its power to transform left and right wing sinners.

Where do I remember this kind of crazy-talk from…


Whoring out Jesus to the State

Jim Wallis is a partisan piece of shit. I don’t play these political games that he and his little cadre do, but I especially don’t play those games “in the name of Jesus”. Christians need to abandon Wallis and co. to the trash heap. It’s only fitting that he spews his vitriol on the Ed Show.

An atheist tries to refute the Argument from Reason

Here is an example of missing the point:

Even though the argument from reason may sound good, the argument is a good example of begging the question (I.E. circular reasoning). The premise (that physical sources cannot constitute a rational source) is the conclusion (That naturalism – which says physical sources can constitute a rational source – is wrong). The reason that this is hard to see initially is due to the way in which the argument is laid out.

I think this is flatly incorrect. Saying that physical causes cannot be rational is not the same as saying naturalism is false. I think it gives a good reason to reject naturalism, but it might turn out that we are not rational and naturalism is true.

The central point of the argument is that merely physical sources cannot constitute a rational source, and therefore Lewis (and others) come to the conclusion that naturalism is self-refuting. Yet this premise is left without a proper explanation, and I don’t see why merely physical sources cannot constitute a rational source – in fact, this is one of the things that naturalism argues – that rationality can arise out of a purely physical source. A person employing the Argument from Rationality simply posits as a premise that it cannot, and then claims that this makes naturalism self-refuting. Obviously, we could refute nearly any worldview in this manner. Similarly, we could claim that any abstraction – from love to opinions to ideas to art – cannot arise out of purely physical sources and our argument would be no different. Why abstractions cannot arise out of physical sources is not explained, and I think they clearly can. It’s easy to create an imaginary solution to an imaginary problem.

No, this is a clear case of missing the point. We know that at a fundamental level physical causes don’t act for reasons. The reason an asteroid hits the Earth isn’t because it thinks colliding with our planet is the best way to achieve some end. It is acting in accordance with the laws of physics, and these laws (plus relevant physical conditions) comprehensively explains the event. So we have a prima facie case against the physical constitution of rationality. Is an emergent account possible? Perhaps. Is such an account forthcoming? Doubtful. Therefore the argument constitutes a good reason to reject naturalism.

Sophistry is a joy!


One reason the atheism/Christianity debate won’t progress

There is a Christian mindset that makes people think they can substitute snippet for substance. We see this is the political realm, where public visibility and electability is partly determined by who can create the snappiest zingers. As many know, these one-liners may be fun, but they certainly aren’t intellectually edifying. Case in point. Surely it is the scandal of the church that they haven’t done enough to combat such senseless taunting, but I imagine it has something to do with the body count of the church pews. But anyway….

Atheists are, at least on the interweb, a beacon of rationality, reason and a source of hope for the human race. But then they revert to the same tribalistic grunting afflicting their superstitious counterparts. These people apparently believe that we can just skip the whole process of cultivating a thinking, experiencing, growing person in favor of getting the best of their one-liner interlocutor. Blech.

Marilyn McCord Adams on Philosophy Bites

This is pretty cool:

MMA discusses evils and faith.

Sojourners does it again

These guys really are disgusting. Today’s entry:

Pray that access to child care, Early Head Start, and Head Start will be expanded for low-income families.

How they can whore the Church for their petty (and questionable) political convictions is beyond me. The pretentiousness of the “God’s Politics” people never ceases to amaze me.

“God’s Politics”

I’ve had enough contact with “Jim Wallis and friends” to finally find some motivation to rant. If you don’t know anything about “Sojourners” do a quick look down the topics off to the side or look at Wallis’ spate of political books on Amazon. As a non-partisan myself, you’d think I’d find some common ground with “God is not a Republican” guy. Nuh-uh. This guy is non-partisan like Barney Frank is non-pedophile. But that isn’t the worst of it; he actively spouts limp-wristed bullshit in such a passive-aggressive manner that it’s hard to glean a point from his ramblings. Wallis is an enemy of clarity, and perhaps worse. Peruse some of the topics on his blog:

To Hell with Human Trafficking. There, I Said It.
Wow, how brave of you. Will you take on murder and jaywalking next?

Sotomayor: She Deserves Respect
Oh bother, she doesn’t deserve anything like respect. And since when does the clergy start demanding respect for government officials? That’s always gone well, hasn’t it? What’s worse, though, is that the author doesn’t actually say anything. To summarize the post: Sonia Sotomayor is a judge, and she should get respect; also, Limbaugh and Huckleberry suck.

The Poor Can Lead the Charge
I actually giggled a bit here. The confusion of the bullshitting “non-partisan” hackery only compounds when they attempt to formulate and criticize solutions to real problems that real people face. For example:

The lack of property rights is one of many obstacles facing rural entrepreneurs, who make up most of the world’s poor. They know those obstacles best, but they lack the political presence to advocate for their removal. Giving rural entrepreneurs a larger political presence is not a typical focus for international development or social justice. The drivers of such transformation are membership-based business organizations such as local chambers of commerce — organizations not usually associated with eradicating poverty but that are vital to developing institutions (such as a centralized title registry) that will unlock the great wealth that the poor already have.

No; attempting to empower local governments has never worked as a solution. In fact, once could argue that by increasing the govt.’s ability to stave off outside investments is actually incompatible with property rights. What those people ought to do is throw off the chains of their interest-group-driven representatives and do what they would with their land. Men aren’t entitled to wealth, and a bureaucrat isn’t entitled to make decisions for someone else. Oh, it gets better:

I’m the Older Brother
This actually disgusted me. Here is his opener:

When it comes to President Obama’s stimulus package and its provisions to help those Americans who are having great difficulty paying their home mortgages, I have come to realize that I’m like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son.

This isn’t Christian, Tony Campolo; it’s opportunistic, partisan religious-jingoism. Try and wed the Gospel to Obama’s recovery plan all you want. I’m not buying.