Saturday, January 16, 2016
Friday, January 15, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
In many instances, people have been unaware that the police around them are sweeping up information, and that has spawned controversy...For years, dozens of departments used devices that can hoover up all cellphone data in an area without search warrants.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Yes, I meant the "net" evidence -- allowing that there may be some evidence against a proposition P, but if there is a greater weight of evidence in favor of it, then that positive evidence overbalances the negative.
I would count moral experience as very strong, possibly decisive, evidence against atheistic naturalism. The only reservation I would have about your stronger statement is that it is not completely clear to me that atheistic moral Platonism could be ruled out. But again, as J. L. Mackie observes, moral facts in a godless universe would be very queer facts indeed.
Regarding 3, I took that stance since (a) a large proportion of the people present would not have claimed to experience a miracle and (b) I never have (to my knowledge).
I think your criticism 4 shows a misunderstanding of how I'm using the filter. It doesn't "preemptively exclude" things that don't pass through it, that don't, as I elsewhere phrased it, "make the first cut." Rather, it suggests that those are not promising places to make a first inquiry. Later, they may come back into focus because of their connection with other kinds of evidence, probably because they are connected to the resurrection. I did make that point in passing later in the discussion.
On 5, there are religious environments where the religion is not established but rather newly fledged. Christianity and Mormonism are the only two examples I am aware of (with the latter clearly derivative) of large world religions founded on miracle claims from the outset.
On point 6, without denying that such things might happen simply to meet an individual need, I'm very cautious, partly because I believe (rightly or wrongly) that I've seen some people fool themselves about private miracles, partly because I am mindful of Luke 4:25-26.
Timothy McGrew and Zachary Moore recently debated the question: "Could it ever be rational to believe in miracles?":
Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, and other “Christian” dictators have celebrated the passage as their divine ticket to execute justice on whomever they deemed enemies of the state.
So, third, Paul says that God executes vengeance through Rome after he prohibits Christians from doing so.
Romans 13 is all about vengeance. And vengeance is God’s business, not ours. We don’t need to avenge evil, because God will. And one way that God will is through governing authorities.
Inevitably, someone raises the question about World War II: What if Christians had refused to fight against Hitler? My answer is a counter-question: What if the Christians in Germany had emphatically refused to fight for Hitler, refused to carry out the murders in concentration camps? The long history of Christian “just wars” has wrought suffering past all telling, and there is no end in sight.
Monday, January 11, 2016
"No doubt that today, at the era of the lone wolves, brothers in the West need to know some important things about safety in order to ensure success in their operations," it reads.
Among the booklet's advice was to stay clean-shaven and not carry Islamic religious items on them.
"If you can avoid having a beard, wearing qamis (long tunic), using miswak (a teeth-cleaning twig recommended by Prophet Muhammad) and having a booklet of dhikr (short devotional phrases and prayers) with you, it’s better."
The booklet then advised its followers to wear necklaces with a cross - but only those without Arabic names on their passports because "it may look strange."
"As you know, Christians - or even atheist Westerners with Christian background - wear crosses on their necklaces."
The terror handbook also gave permission for jihadis to wear perfumes and colognes containing alcohol, something usually avoided since Islam prohibits the use and consumption of alcohol.
"Don’t use the oily, non-alcoholic perfume that Muslims use, instead use generic alcoholic perfume as everyone does, and if you are a man, use perfume for men."
This is the line of thinking that also appears in the famous scene near the end of C. S. Lewis’s book The Last Battle, where Emeth, the worshiper of Tash, is accepted by Aslan. Unknowingly he was actually serving Aslan because his worship was motivated by a love for truth and righteousness. The point is that Christ died for all persons, whether they know it or not, and the Holy Spirit is working to draw them to Christ, whether they know it or not, and they may be responding truly to the “light” they have and consequently be on the way to final salvation.
Third, and following on from these two points, some understandings of the Supreme Being are so wrong, so wicked, that they simply direct worship wildly off target. Such clearly would be the case of the worship of the Canaanite god Moloch, or any other wicked, bloodthirsty deity elsewhere in the world. Such an abominable view of God cannot possibly accommodate, let alone facilitate, worship of the One True God. In sum, if you like that kind of deity, you’re not going to like the One True God.
Sidenote for those who get their theology of such matters from The Chronicles of Narnia: This is why I think C. S. Lewis gets it wrong in The Last Battle. (I say this with trepidation as a great admirer of CSL.) The god Tash is so clearly devilish that it seems incongruous to me that the estimable Emeth could worship this version of God and then, as it were, rather effortlessly transfer his allegiance to Tash’s adversary, Aslan (the Christ figure). I think Lewis overreaches here.
There has to be some identity between the two understandings of God such that the former is a cloudy and partial and adulterated but genuine understanding of God that the gospel at once extends, fulfills, and corrects. If instead the gospel simply has to supplant the former understanding, as in the case of horrible views of the divine, I find it impossible to conceive of worshipers of that horrible god connecting in any important way with the One True God. Instead, people raised in such religious traditions would have to develop deep misgivings about that god such that they do not worship it and instead long for the Great Alternative, however vague their notion of That might be. And that longing is the prevenient grace of the Holy Spirit drawing people away from error and toward The Truth.
God is not a cruel and sadistic torturer as the traditional view of hell would suggest…It pictures God acting like a bloodthirsty monster who maintains an everlasting Auschwitz for his enemies whom he does not even allow to die. Four Views of Hell, W. Crockett, ed. (Zondervan 1997), 149.
As I searched and searched, I couldn’t find any credible, non-pacifist Bible scholar who argued that Luke 22 is talking about self-defense. (I’ve since found that Wayne Grudem also assumes the self-defense view, but again, with little to no biblical argument and he doesn’t wrestle with the other contextual features that go against this view.)
[Lk 22:36] sword: although the term is usually regarded as a metaphor, the context indicates a literal meaning. Cf. 6:29; see on 9:3; 12:51; 22:49.
[Lk 22:49] sword: according to Cullmann (State, 31-34), Jesus approved of defensive sword-bearing but, unlike the Zealots, reject such means to establish the kingdom of God. E. E. Ellis, The Gospel of Luke (Eerdmans 1996), 256, 258.
The sword is thought of as part of the equipment required for the self-sufficiency of any traveller in the Roman world. Nothing more than protection of one's person is in view. J. Nolland, Luke (Word 1993), 3:1076.
As Minear observes, the other prophecies in this discourse, those of betrayal, and denial, are of what is due for immediate fulfillment, and this could apply to "a sword," which makes an actual, and not symbolic, appearance in the narrative of the arrest…The "sword" here would not be symbolic of conflict, any more than the "purse" or "bag" are symbolic…
The reply of Jesus is equally terse - hikanon esti. Two renderings have been proposed for this. (i) "It is enough" in the sense of "enough of that", breaking off the conversation. No parallel can be produced for this, and it is unlikely that Luke would have brought the passage, and the whole discourse, to an end so inconclusively. (ii) "It is enough" in the sense that two words will be sufficient for the purpose at hand. This would correspond with the predominant use of hikanos in Luke-Acts (where it occurs twice as often as in the rest of the NT to denote sufficiency of numbers, and is the more likely meaning. C. F. Evans, St. Luke (Pillar 1990), 806, 807.
51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” (Mt 26:51-54).
and falls into the hole that he has made.
and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
by man shall his blood be shed.