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Why I Care for Creation

I’ve been asked on a number of occasions regarding my advocacy for a “green” lifestyle. I have to admit that I have had a hard time trying to justify my sensibilities to various individuals regarding Creation care. While it has seemed intuitive, I understand that just isn’t the case for everyone. Even most Christians, in my experience, have a strong emphasis on “fill the earth and subdue it” over against a sense of stewardship for the earth. Christians tend to think of the earth as something to be used for the enjoyment and pleasure of humans, even to the detriment of the earth -after all, the world won’t end until Christ returns, so why should we even argue for Creation care at all?

This is a difficult question, and even as I have tried to give theological answers to the question in the past, they have been incomplete at best. But the real issue, I think, is that we are all approaching the discussion from the wrong point of genesis. Rather than discussing what our moral responsibility is in regard to stewardship of the earth as humankind’s tool to use for sustenance and creativity, we should be approaching the discussion on the basis of our sacramental life as the church of Jesus Christ.

The issue, then, is a relational issue, not a moral culpability issue! The earth was given to humankind as a gift from God. But to what purpose? The typical answer I hear has something to do with “for human benefit” or “for human sustenance”. Suffer me to suggest an answer that is altogether different: I propose that the earth is given to humankind inasmuch and in the same measure as life itself is given  to humankind by God! Life is not intrinsically meaningful! Neither is it intrinsically sacred. I am well aware that a lot of my conservative brothers and sisters are probably ready to sell me to the US Marines at this point, but please bear with me. I say this, because humans, though possessed of real agency and the power of contrary choice, derive ultimate meaning from outside themselves!

We are all too ready to accept the false dichotomy of the sacred and profane. For thousands of years, humans have understood religion in terms of the material versus the spiritual. This is quite unfortunate, because today, even as Christians in our Western mentality of individualism and inerrancy of subjective experience, we still think of the material realm as the realm of shadows that is merely a reflection–ultimately unreal–of the spiritual. We think in terms of our spiritual life being the ultimate reality, that which exists beyond the unreal and fading material existence. But allow me to suggest something I read from Alexander Shmemann: none of this dichotomy is present in the Bible! Nowhere is the spiritual life and the supernatural realm held up as the ultimate reality! In fact, in the understanding of the ancient Hebrews, we find a holistic conception of the human being, a being both physical and spiritual in which it is impossible to tell where the one ends and the other begins. Thus, we must juxtapose this concept over against the Greek ideal of the spiritual being that is real for the simple reason that it is metaphysical. If we take this seriously, we understand that our existence in this world, on this earth, is both physical and spiritual–in fact, everything that we do is a spiritual act merely because it is an act at all! And if it is an act at all, it is intrinsically related to God, having bearing on humankind’s relationship with God.

So, this existence is the venue, so to speak, whereby God has enabled us to experience Him and interact with Him in relationship. Hence, everything in the Christian’s life becomes sacramental in nature, with humankind (as Schmemann puts it in For the Life of the World) as the priests of the entire system of human existence.

It becomes a simple matter of deduction at this point, then, to relate this understanding of the nature of our reality in existence to Creation care. If our interaction with the earth is itself a sacramental act in relationship with God, then should that interaction not reflect that fact? Should we not interact with the Creation with the same reverence that we interact with other human beings? I think we too often think too highly of ourselves as human beings, as though we are the ultimate Creation, while the rest of the created order is less real and therefore worthy of only passing or bemused recognition. The fact is that without the created order, we as human beings would be unable to experience God and interact with Him in relationship the way He designed for us to do. In fact, human life is only important because it is important to God. I have myself used the terminology “the intrinsic worth of human life”. But the fact of the matter is that human life is not possessed of intrinsic worth -its worth is derived from God.

If I could sum up my argument simply, it is just to say that human life is not the end-all goal and culmination of existence. Existence itself derives meaning in that in it we share relationship with God. Care of Creation is a love decision. It is not our responsibility, but rather, it is essentially what a Christian does in existence because he or she is in right relationship with God through Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit.

The Pharisees

I’ve been working through Greek here at Asbury Theological Seminary, and I have loved every minute of it. It has not been exceptionally easy, but it has been very rewarding indeed!

Today, we talked about the Pharisees. They are so often cast in such a negative light, because they had numerous encounters with Jesus where their ethic was simply lacking the foundation Jesus taught. However, I think it is important to note the historical context in which they functioned.

There were four major sects of Judaism in the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry: the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Zealots, and the Essenes. Generally speaking, they each took a different approach to interaction with the culture in which they existed. The Sadducees chose to comply with the Roman authorities and were typically quite comfortable with compromising convictions in order to facilitate good relationships with the dominant society. The Essenes chose to separate themselves from the culture, forming reclusive ascetic monastic communities. The Zealots chose to fight the dominant culture in an attempt to regain political autonomy through militant resistance. The Pharisees, on the other  hand, were the only ones who took a truly biblical approach toward their cultural context: they recognized that God demanded transformation of character in obedience to Him. This meant a pursuit of holiness, of righteousness. In fact, I would argue that the Pharisees were very close to being Christian. One thing they lacked (and why they came into conflict with Jesus so often): their ethic was one of works and adherence to the law, while the gospel of Jesus based holiness and righteousness on love for God and love for others.

For Jesus, it was not enough to be right. No, indeed! The Pharisees were certainly right. Jesus demanded that his followers be right for the right reason. Matt. 5:20 sheds some light on this. Jesus obviously considered the Pharisees to be, as a whole group, extremely righteous -even commendably righteous! But he states explicitly that if one’s righteousness does not exceed even this extremely high level of righteousness, one will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus’ point is that the Pharisees were more righteous than anyone else, generally speaking, but that they were not righteous for the right reason -love was not the foundation of their ethic. Pharisees were not true Jews in Jesus’ mind. Almost Jews, but they fell just short. For the same reason, many Christians are merely “almost Christians”, as John Wesley coined the phrase in one of his famous sermons.

Wesley rightly responds to this problem with the admonition that we need “altogether Christians”, Christians who are righteous for the right reason. If you can read his sermon without feeling heart-wrenching pain, I would like to meet  you, because you’re obviously quite an extraordinary person. When I read this sermon, I can’t help but cry out to God to shape me and mold me in His image. I desperately yearn to be renewed and reformed, to have the evil, vile, selfish, wicked, idolatrous, rebellious, sinister aspects of who I am as a free moral agent, choosing all these ugly things for myself… to have these ripped away from me, to exist free from the bondage of self-love and self-serving.

This is what makes an altogether-Christian: a disposition of true humility before God. Until we make the intentional decision and act on that decision to make the intentional choice to recognize our standing before the righteous and sovereign God, we cannot be altogether-Christians. Today, what pride do you see in your life? What have you done recently that is a violation of what you know you should be in light of a humble disposition of your heart before God? What selfishness have you displayed in the past 24 hours that has placed your desires or needs -yourself, in any way- above that of another? When have you acted out of pride or sloth? When have you simply been unmindful of the presence of God in every moment of the day?

If you can think of a single instance from any of the questions posed above, even if you only violated one or more of them in thought though not in action, you have violated the law of love, the heart of the Christian ethic. This calls us to repent, to submit ourselves once again to the law of love in order to have true freedom.

The Pharisees came so close, but they missed the point: their righteousness was insufficient because it lacked the ethical foundation of love. Let us be mindful to pray each and every day:

“Lord, today, let me do nothing out of selfishness or empty conceit. Grant me humility of mind to recognize that I am not more important than anyone else and that to act out of selfish motivations puts others in bondage, enslaving them to my will. Help me to be wary, on the lookout for the interests of others so that I am not so consumed with my own selfish interests that I miss the opportunity to lovingly serve others, which will instead liberate them from bondage to my will. This is the incarnation of the mind of Christ in me as a Christ-one, so conform my mind to that of Jesus through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Amen”

Lego Adventures!

I’ve been talking about breaking out the old Lego sets for years now, but I hadn’t done so yet until just the other day when I decided to stop talking about it and just do it already. Then I didn’t stop working on my creations for several days! It was so much fun!

Of course, once I had them altogether, I had the Polson boys over to play. Ethan and Logan are their names, and we had an absolute blast. Well, before I could build something new, I had to take the two castles I built apart, but I took pictures before I did so that I could keep some memories of such a fun and nostalgic time…

Sin Makes You Stupid

I wrote this paper for my last philosophy class which I finished just today. This paper explores the origin and morality of beliefs from a broadly theistic position. I admittedly redefine belief in this paper in order to better articulate what I mean by use of the word in this context, so I hope anyone who reads this will appreciate the distinction I draw between belief and assumption.

It is of particular significance to note that this paper assumes a certain level of competence in this particular genre of philosophical thought, as many of the terms I use will likely be unfamiliar to anyone who has not been at least exposed to them.

1. The subject of belief will here be considered, specifically, for which beliefs human beings can rightly be held morally responsible by God. It is proposed that beliefs exist for which human beings can rightly be held morally responsible. This is a difficult discussion, relying on the acceptance of many presuppositions, so it will be necessary to begin by clarifying several of these (though not exhaustively, for it will be assumed that the reader is familiar with the subject matter and terminology concerned) as the conclusion is contingent upon the line of reasoning proceeding from them. This discussion will be in point-format, that is, a series of points, each consecutive point of which builds on those preceding it. This discussion will conclude with an evaluation as to the ability of this process to provide adequate examination of the thesis here stated.

2. In order for God to hold human beings morally responsible for the beliefs they hold, it is necessary that it be recognized that God exists; if in fact God does exist, then it must further be accepted that He is possessed of certain necessary attributes. (These have been variously defined and debated, but for the purposes of this discussion, it will be simply understood that God does indeed possess necessary attributes in order to be God, and that it is essentially His possessing of these necessary attributes that makes Him God.) In order for God to exist, He must be the only necessary Being, that is, the only Being that must exist. He is obviously therefore possessed of irreducible agency. As such, He must have had motivation to create existence as it is understood by humankind.

3. Accepting that God was motivated of Himself to create ex nihilo the universe and all else that exists, it then becomes apparent that a purpose for existence is needed. God could have as easily chosen to not create over against His decision to create. Because He chose to create, it is needful that a purpose be provided for His creation, for He could have just as easily chosen to create something other than that which He did indeed create. This purpose must be derived from God Himself, for it cannot come from any other source, else God’s agency becomes contingent upon something other than Himself, in which case He would no longer be God. Thus, the purpose for existence must come out of God’s self-contained state prior to existence, that is, that existence in which human beings exist.

4. In order to arrive at a recognition of the purpose for existence, it is necessary to evaluate the nature of that existence itself. It is understood that all things that exist only exist in relationship to one another. Nothing has real existence that is not understood as distinct from something else in existence. Hence, existence is contingent on the self-evident principle of relationship. This is the most basic and fundamental rule of existence, because it provides differentiation between existence and non-existence.

5. If the most basic principle of existence, then, is relationality, it can be inferred that the first purpose of existence is relationship with, and to, God. In order for this to be a self-contained principle of God’s existence, upon which He would then provide Himself with motivation to create what does exist, it must be assumed that God must exist in relationality, that is, in relationship to Himself. (Not only does this provide a basis for the doctrine of the Trinity, but it also provides for the ability of God to be self-reflective of Himself. Thus, that which God created brings glory to Him in its imitation of Him in terms of its existence in relationship to Him.)

6. Having therefore established the purpose of existence as relationship with, and to, God, it is possible to proceed further to the development of the nature of that relationship in human terms. It is understood that humans are singularly unique out of all else that is known to humankind in existence, for human beings alone possess the ability to reflect upon themselves reflecting. (Hence, Descartes’ famous exclamation, “Cogito ergo sum.“) The existence of humankind must have a singularly unique form of that purpose of existence which is to be in relationship with God. This special ability of self-reflection, then, is understood to be that which is uniquely human, that which lends meaning to being human over against being any other sort of existence. Hence, it is understood that as such, humankind has a unique relationship with God, over against that of any other sort of creation.

7. The nature of this relationship is actual relationship. Whereas a rock exists in relationship to God in that it is differentiated from Him, and whereas a rock exists in relationship with God as entirely subservient to Him, humankind, while by nature of existence must be universally bound by the former, is experientially possessed of the attribute of agent causation and, therefore, free to the latter. Hence, a human being is not necessarily bound to a relationship with God and, therefore, subservience to Him. This means that humans possess the ability to know God and to be known by Him. As a rock does not exist in terms of its ability of self-reflection, it is unable to know God or be known by Him. Personal agency, then, can only be consistent with personhood in human existence.

8. Because God’s purpose for human existence is relationship with humankind, this relationship requires mediation between the infinite and the finite. Humankind is not, and cannot be, God, simply by definition, and must therefore be limited in the scope of its knowledge of, and relationship with, God. This fundamental differentiation between God and humankind has led some to assume that the proper implication is that it is ultimately impossible for humankind to have any true relationship with God whatsoever, for it is impossible for that which is finite to understand or recognize that which is infinite. However, inasmuch as humans have the ability of self-reflection, they are capable of recognizing the difference between these. Hence, it is possible for humans to have meaningful relationship with God inasmuch as they are capable of recognizing the difference between God and themselves.

9. This mediation must be provided by God. As the arbiter of causation in the equation of existence, God must therefore also provide the means by which the nature of the relationship between Himself and that which He creates may have relationship. Humans are incapable of affecting God’s necessary agency on the basis that they themselves are not necessary agents. While humankind can recognize God, it is only possible for humankind to know Him on the basis that He reveals Himself to human beings.

10. Thus, as this relationship between God and humankind is the reality in which the human person exists, God has provided the system in which that person can interact with, and know, Him in a meaningful way. God, then, both enables the existential framework for human learning concerning the Divine and then initiates and sustains relationship with humans (and humankind as a whole) by revealing Himself to them through their experience with Him. In other words, God reveals Himself to humankind through history as the medium used by God to initiate and sustain relationship with humankind. Hence, it is God’s work whereby the requirement of mediation of this relationship is provided, God being the active agent and humankind the receiving object.

11. Having provided for the required mediation between the infinite (God) and the finite (humankind), human beings are made responsible to God for their individual and collective relationship with Him on the mere basis that they are cognizant of God, and therefore, their requirement to the fulfillment of the purpose of their existence. In order to allocate any culpability to human beings for their part in their relationship with God, it is necessary that they be allowed personal agency. Otherwise, existence deteriorates into the situation of God merely interacting with Himself in that He, ordering the actions and thoughts of each human being, would thereby provide no system in which real and meaningful relationship with Him could be established with them as truly possessed of the quality of personhood; this would essentially be a system wherein God has relationship to humankind, as He has to a rock, but no relationship with humankind.

12. Accepting personal agency as the medium wherewith human beings are therefore able to interact with God in a meaningful way, it can be concluded that they are thus responsible to God for their responsiveness to Him. In practical terms, this can be understood to mean that humans are responsible (at least in some sense) to God in that they recognize 1) His existence, 2) the relationship they have both to, and with, Him, and 3) His authority. Other terms or categories could be used here, and many have been proposed; however, these will be the three assumed principle categories for the purposes of this discussion to define those points whereat humans are morally culpable toward God.

A.) Human beings are morally responsible for recognition of the existence of God, because they have the capacity to recognize the principle of relationality; to reject the existence of God is therefore not simply fallacious (for it is fundamentally an impossibility), but it further rejects the principle of relationality.

B.) Human beings are morally responsible for recognition of the relationship they have both to and with God, because they have no other existence apart from their relationship to, and with, Him. To fail to recognize this, provided they have recognized the existence of God, is to again fail in recognizing the fundamental principle of relationality.

C.) Human beings are morally responsible for recognition of God’s authority, because, unlike rocks, they have agency. Just as B is contingent on A, so C is contingent on both A and B.

13. These three beliefs stated above, though properly basic beliefs, are also specifically moral beliefs, because it is entirely possible for the individual human being to refuse acknowledgement of the veracity of these fundamentals of existence. To provide oneself with alternative explanations, or to keep oneself in denial of the nature of existence, is ultimately rebellion against God, for to do so is to refuse God His position as the arbiter of existence. These beliefs must necessarily be implicit as fundamental to personal agency apart from the Divine, else human beings have no means whereby they are able to interact with existence. In other words, these beliefs are held intuitively by human beings. Thus, it is more accurate to say that the moral responsibility of human beings towards these beliefs is not in holding them (for they have no choice but to hold them), but rather in their acceptance or rejection of them. Those who accept these beliefs do so out of an acknowledgement of the nature of existence, while those who reject these beliefs do so out of a self-possessed desire to discover some means by which they may disprove them or nullify them in order to get out of, or around, the moral implications they impart. One’s development of further beliefs is contingent on, and proportionate to, his or her acceptance or rejection of these first three.

14. It can be readily recognized that the nature of the created universe is essentially amoral in terms of its existence: this includes the entire spectrum of dimensions (i.e. the natural universe -time, space, matter, all three of which are, in their simplest expression, merely three manifestations of the single entity herein referred to as the “natural universe”). In other words, it is false to say that matter -of any sort- is morally evil, as it is also false to say that time or space is morally good. Hence, it will not be anything like a stretch to infer that the realm of morality is confined to the realm of agency, and specifically human agency. If this is accepted, then God, as the only necessary agent, must necessarily be the standard against which all morality is measured; and if God is such, it must be accepted that God is therefore perfectly good. (Remember that it has earlier been established in this discussion that all existence exists in relationship to God, as differentiated over against God. This relational aspect of existence implies that God must be the most perfect, in-and-of-Himself, as the only necessary Being, and as such, all else must be necessarily inferior, even if merely in that its existence is contingent on the existence of God.)

15. If, then, morality is confined to human agency (for God can be, by definition, morally good only in an infinite sense), morality consists of the response of humans to God in terms of their responsibility toward the fulfillment of relationship with Him. This means that all morality consists of human decisions to respond positively to God or negatively to God. A positive response is understood to be good (moral), while a negative response is understood to be evil (immoral). It can be inferred, then, that humans are culpable for the beliefs that they hold in terms of their acceptance of the truths about God of which they are knowledgeable.

16. Because God is perfectly good, He is necessarily perfectly just. Human beings, then, cannot be required to be morally culpable of that which they do not have the capacity to understand, because only a person with understanding of the requirement of the fulfillment of relationship with God can be held accountable for his or her acceptance or rejection of it. Hence, guilt can only be applied to those who have knowingly rejected truth about God. For God to do otherwise would be inconsistent with that which is His necessary attribute of relationality to existence. In other words, this would be equivalent to God applying guilt to a rock that has neither self-awareness, nor awareness of its relationship to anything else, much less its relationship to, or with, God.

17. In order for morality to be universally applied to all humankind, it is necessary that God establish a universal knowledge of Himself -at least to some extent- in all humankind. He has done this by establishing human existence insofar as its nature is in relationship to Him. As noted above, humans are thus provided implicit knowledge of His existence, relationality, and authority. Hence, human beings can be held morally culpable even along the lines of their rejection or acceptance of these alone. This provides the basis for a universal moral values -and, ultimately, that which provides meaning to any value judgment or claim.

18. Having established a universal moral standard against which to measure the rightness or wrongness of something, it is now possible to proceed to a discussion of those beliefs for which human beings can be held morally culpable by God, at least, in terms of the portion of this discussion concerning morality; however, it is still needful that belief should be defined more clearly for the purposes of this examination. Belief will here be understood to mean the knowledge of the truth of a proposition or the reality of a certain state, being, or phenomenon, regardless of acceptance of that knowledge; this is not merely intellectual assent, but is assumed to also comprise some measure of credit. Hence, use of the term belief can refer to both properly basic beliefs and those beliefs that are not properly basic.

19. It might be argued that morality is not universally applied to all humankind. If this is the case, morality is subject to the individual relationship with God of each human being. In this case, it is impossible to infer any universal moral truth except in that each individual relationship between a human being and God would be characterized by the same principle of morality, applied on an individual basis. In this case, morality would again be governed by the universal principle outlined above. God cannot change, for if He changed, He could no longer be God; therefore, He will apply moral culpability in exactly the same way in every situation at all times with all persons whatsoever. Hence, morality on the basis of God’s existence stands in reference to its universality regardless of the subjectivity of its application by Him.

20. Those beliefs that are properly basic cannot be denied by human beings. The three implicit beliefs all human beings hold, provided above for this discussion, are properly basic. This means that the individual human being holds these propositions to be true, whether he or she believes himself or herself to do so or not. Hence, it is impossible for a human being to choose properly basic beliefs.

21. Those beliefs that are built upon properly basic beliefs must necessarily be consistent with them. This means that it is impossible to develop wrong beliefs. This seems, at first glance, to be a fallacious proposition itself; however, one has only to examine any belief held by anyone at any time in order to ascertain the veracity of this proposition. Take the vignette of a person who believes that Mr. Hollis is guilty of murder, given examination of pertinent and available evidence; however, Mr. Hollis is actually not guilty of murder. The development of the belief herein concerned is not truly a belief, then, but merely an assumption as to what may or may not be true. Providing the evidence of Mr. Hollis himself, pleading his own innocence as evidence for his innocence, grants the juror contrary evidence to his assumption. Because of whatever other motivations or purposes present within the juror, he nevertheless continues to pursue the false assumption. However, it is not possible that the juror would stake his own life on this assumption; and even if he was indeed called upon to do so, he would not do so for any belief that he held, but rather, for fear that he would show himself to be lacking in rightness or justice.

22. No false assumption can be given the label “belief”. This is because a belief cannot truly be based on a mere assumption. A belief is formulated as a logical conclusion of properly basic beliefs. Thus it is wrong to say that the medieval thinkers believed the world to be flat; it would be proper to say that they assumed (falsely) the world to be flat. Similarly, it is wrong to say that an atheist believes that no God exists; it would be proper to say that, while the atheist believes that God does in fact exist (because recognition of this is a properly basic belief), he or she merely assumes (falsely) that God does not exist: he or she has chosen to reject that intrinsic reality of existence.

23. Thus, beliefs will not be referred to further as either right or wrong. It is possible, however, to develop a warped understanding or a misunderstanding of a belief by choosing to reject beliefs. Beliefs are never moral or immoral, then, but instead belong to the realm of the amoral, as a metaphysical aspect, so to speak, of the natural universe (see 14 above). Personal human response to these beliefs, then, must be either moral or immoral. Misunderstanding of beliefs must be self-inflicted or other-inflicted, of course; but it cannot be God-inflicted, because for Him to do so would be to act against the relationality of both Himself and the nature of existence.

24. Mistaken understanding of beliefs and the implications of beliefs may come from either one’s self or from other human beings. It is here maintained that it is impossible to hold wrong beliefs. Yet it is an observed phenomenon in human interaction that human beings differ greatly from individual to individual on what is perceived as truth. It is argued that this situation arises out of the power of contrary choice. It has already been established above that human beings have the power of contrary choice on the basis of their personal agency and that actual relationships would be impossible between human beings and God without this (see 7 and 8).

25. Misunderstanding of beliefs is fueled by the rejection of beliefs by human beings. This may be self-induced through self-influence, or it may be otherly-induced through influence from other human beings. On the other hand, influence can be exercised to produce right understanding in a similar fashion.

26. Since misunderstanding concerning beliefs comes from human beings, it can be deduced that human beings misrepresent beliefs to themselves and to others. This is essentially immoral, because it is ultimately a misrepresentation of the nature of existence, and, therefore, a misrepresentation of God. Hence, rightly discerning all beliefs in existence stems from rightly discerning the nature of God. Right discernment of beliefs is accomplished through relationship with God. Hence, it is rejection of relationship with God that allows other influence to misshape human beings’ acceptance of beliefs.

27. Human beings are morally responsible for the acceptance of beliefs. Any belief that a person encounters must be either accepted or rejected. In this sense, each instance becomes an opportunity for the person to either respond positively or negatively to God in that he or she responds positively or negatively to the new information they have of God. Ultimately, this is the process of learning in human experience. Each new piece of information about God to which the individual person is exposed presents a new belief about God that he or she develops, the process of the purpose of existence whereby he or she is continually encountering God and developing relationship with Him.

28. Inasmuch as beliefs provide the system of existence in which relationality is accomplished between God and humankind, human beings, while not responsible for the beliefs they hold, are responsible for their acceptance or rejection of those beliefs. Hence, it is at this point that human beings are morally culpable before God.

29. In conclusion, it has been shown that beliefs do not exist for which human beings can rightly be held morally responsible. While all beliefs are moral in the sense that they elicit a moral response from human beings, in-and-of-themselves, beliefs are amoral truths of existence. The thesis stated above at 1 is thus false as adequately shown through the process of this line of reasoning.

GT 2011 Challenge!

So Aaron, a friend from college and fellow-gamer, and I have decided to get our WHFB armies ready for one of the 2011 GT’s, now that they’re sponsored by individual companies, making it possible for us to finally attend one (I think it’s near Cincinnati). I have played Dwarfs forever (started collecting Dwarfs in 1992!), and while they’re truly my “first love” when it comes to collecting miniature figurines, I have decided to do up my Bretonnians! Aaron and I have decided to keep a running of our progress as we both want to maintain accountability and motivation in order to have our stuff done by this time next summer. (www.buckeyebattles.com)

I don’t know how well they will do in terms of their competitive play, because the new rules in 8th Ed. really improved the performance of infantry, making it considerably more difficult to utilize cavalry effectively. Anyone who knows anything about Bretonnians knows that the army relies on its heavy cavalry to win games, and Bretonnians do heavy cavalry better than anyone else. Fortunately, I’m not doing them only for their competitive nature, however; I chose them initially, because I’ve always wanted to model a Crusader army. The Bretonnians have given me that opportunity now. My favorite knightly order has always been the Knights of St. John, the Knights Hospitaller. I’m excited to be doing a themed army, then, based on a contingent of Order troops from roughly A.D. 1250-ish.

Because knights were historically far fewer in numbers than their contingents of feudal footmen, I decided to base my army on a strong infantry core. (Granted, Bretonnian Men-at-Arms are some of the most pathetic troops in Warhammer… I strongly considered using Bretonnian models and the Empire Army Book, and while I have decided to go with the Bretonnian Army Book for the time being, I’m still not ruling out an Empire list.) I had bought a ton of Men-at-Arms and Peasant Bowmen after I got back from my first deployment to Iraq, back when they were all still horrible, anticipating using a BSB on foot and possibly even some Mounted Yeomen as Turcopoles. I have worked out a list for 8th Edition that I’m pretty happy with that seems to be fairly historically accurate -as historically accurate as may be viable in Warhammer, anyway. Here’s my list:

Bretonnian Lord w/Enchanted Shield and Virtue of Empathy                                                                   140 pts

Paladin BSB w/Virtue of Empathy and not sure what else yet                                                                       95 pts

Prophetess w/Lv 4 upgrade and Silver Mirror                                                                                                  265 pts

Prophetess w/Lv 4 upgrade and Dispel Scroll                                                                                                   250 pts

Peasant Bowmen x20 w/Musician and braziers                                                                                                130 pts

Peasant Bowmen x20 w/Musician and braziers                                                                                                130 pts

Men-at-Arms x30 w/Full Command                                                                                                                      177 pts

Men-at-Arms x30 w/Full Command                                                                                                                      177 pts

Knights Errant x9 w/Full Command and Errantry Banner                                                                            221 pts

Knights of the Realm x9 w/Full Command                                                                                                           240 pts

Grail Reliquae w/18 additional Battle Pilgrims                                                                                                  260 pts

Questing Knights x9 w/Full Command and War Banner                                                                                304 pts

Questing Knights x9 w/Full Command and Banner of Protection                                                             309 pts

Field Trebuchet w/ Yeoman Craftsman                                                                                                               100 pts

Field Trebuchet w/ Yeoman Craftsman                                                                                                               100 pts

Field Trabuchet w/ Yeoman Craftsman                                                                                                               100 pts

Total: 2998 pts

Characters: 750 pts; 25%. Core: 1075 pts; 34%. Special: 8 pts; 31%. Rare: 300 pts; 10%.

Now, this list isn’t finalized, because I’m not sure what rules will be used for the tournament next year. It appears that the website above still has the rules used last year and may need to be updated. My plan, though, is to go ahead and start on the units I’m likely to still use regardless, so the first unit I’m going to begin painting will be one of the units of Peasant Bowmen. These are going to be the old OOP archers with a musician. For the musician, I decided to go with a Reaper mini for some flavor: a big burly Scotchman with a kilt and a set of bagpipes! I’m still trying to figure out how I would like to paint the archers, what livery to use seeing that I want these to be my “order archers”, but I’ll go ahead and post some pictures here for both before and after.

Next, I anticipate modeling another unit of archers. These, however, will be just for fun, though I daresay they’ll be a great addition to my army. I’m going to do them as Robin Hood and his band of merry men! LOL Seriously, though, I plan to include the troubadour Allen a’Dale as my musician for the unit, Friar Tuck, Robin Hood, Will Scarlet, Little John, and even Maid Marian. For Allen and Marian, I’m using more Reaper minis: a Gnomish musician and a pirate wench, respectively, though I think they’ll work right into the theme of the unit without a hitch!

Let me start out by saying that John Wesley was a theological genius! What I will write about here deals with his view, which I cannot help but adopt when presented with the logic of his argument concerning the subjects in the title of this post.

First, let me postulate that good cannot exist apart from God.

I do not believe that any Christian will intentionally try to refute this statement on the surface; however, I do see that some may take issue with it  in regards to its dogmatic nature, because we know of many (seemingly) caring and loving people who do many (seemingly) noble and selfless things. These people may, some of which, be our friends or even family. This is sufficient cause for immediate offense in response to such a suggestion. But in point of fact, I am stating that such individuals, loved-ones of yours and mine though they may be, are incapable of love and good deeds.

I do not make such an offensive statement lightly! I will give you Wesley’s argument here (this comes from his sermon, “Justification by Faith”):

1. No works are good,  which are not done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done.

2. No works done before justification are done as God hath willed and commanded them to be done.

3. Therefore, no works done before justification are good.

There it is. Now, the first presupposition with which we begin is self-evident to the Christian: this is simply the definition of a good work. It is then the second presupposition that needs affirming evidence in order for us to accept it as true.

Wesley argues that in order for a work to be good, it must be acceptable to God; in order to be acceptable to God, a good work must necessarily originate in a perfectly pure motivation. Because of the fallenness of humankind (thus, we must presuppose the doctrines of original sin and total depravity), no human is capable of such a pure and perfect motivation; we are spiritually dead, separated from God in the completest sense of the phrase, and therefore unable to partake in any of the Divine attributes. Thus, if one fully embraces his or her own depravity and state of sinfulness, one must conclude that he or she is completely and totally without any means of self-redemption whatsoever. This being said, the only conclusion we may come to is that unless God intervene on our behalf, we must accept that we are ultimately damned, condemned by both our own heart that tells us that we are depraved, and what is more, by God Himself, Who cannot abide evil whatsoever. Thus, to put it simply, if one accepts any one of the doctrines of original sin, total depravity, or justification by faith, one must necessarily also accept the others: therefore, we can only conclude that the second presupposition presented above is true.

We can restate Wesley’s argument using symbols to test its validity and soundness:

1. p*q

2. r>~q

3. ⁂ r>~p

The implications of this are staggering! Just because one does such great works of charity that we are astounded, it does not follow that these are truly good. Just because a work is beneficial to humankind in one way or another (or even in many ways), it does not follow that such a work is done out of the motivation that makes a work acceptable to God -and therefore, good. They are then, essentially, “splendid sins”.

This must, of course, be held lightly, else we will give sufficient offense to unbelievers as to turn them away rather than draw them close. The intent in evangelism should be not to point out sin in sinners (the Law, the Holy Ghost, and their own cognizance are sufficient for the sinner to recognize his or her own sin, if one so allows), but to help the sinner come to accept the sin that is self-evident in them. This is a subtle but important difference, and abuse of this principle (mainly on the basis of ignorance of it), has done the Church and Christ in God significant damage.

What say you?

Secondly, let me propose (again, at the prodding of Wesley’s sermon) that not only does a distinction exist between sanctification and justification, but the former must follow the latter. Sanctification is the “fruit” of justification. Justification, then, is the pardon of God, His forgiveness of sins on the basis of the good work of Christ’s propitiation. God thus chooses to refrain from giving us, sinners that we are, the due recompense for our rebellion against Him. He is not the subject of some grand self-deception, as though He no longer recognizes that we have either sinned before, or are any longer, sinners. Rather, He sees all this and yet He, for the sake of His Son, is merciful to us!

Sanctification, then, follows justification. It is the natural outcome of the life changed by the living God. This is the immediate process that commences at the point of justification and that must thereafter continue.

All of these things, Wesley argues, are based on faith, that faith that leads to salvation: such faith is defined more fully by Wesley in his sermon “Salvation by Faith”, given before the University of Oxford 11 June 1738.

I pray the Lord will quicken your understanding according to His marvelous grace. Amen!

Satan is real. I want to make this quite clear before I proceed, because what I’m about to say has met with some resistance and misunderstanding recently. Satan, I believe, is a supernatural being, originally created by God as an angelic being. He has real power, influences the minds of humans, and struggles against God’s salvific plan through Jesus Christ. In this post, I will first give a brief background to the concept of Satan, followed by an examination of Satan in contemporary Christianity. I will conclude with a discussion of the problems this poses for practical application in the Christian life, along with suggestions to answer these problems.

However, let me emphasize that Satan is not the antithesis in a divine dialectic! Satan, as a created being, is necessarily subject to the realm of creation in that he cannot share the essential attributes of God. He is not divine. He does not transcend time or space, is not omnipotent, nor is he omniscient.

In early Hebrew theology, Satan was understood as more of a general antagonistic force and not even necessarily identified as possessing personhood. As the concept was further developed, ha-satan in the book of Job is identified as an angel who accuses humans of sinfulness and rebellion against the law of God. This understanding has been carried on through thousands of years into contemporary Jewish theology where Satan is still considered to be an agent of God who tempts humans to commit evil and then accuse them when they fall so that God is shown as righteous when He judges humans for their wickedness. As the understanding of Satan has been carried on into Christianity, it has taken on a much more personal identity. Satan is often called Lucifer, as identified with the “son of the dawn” (Isaiah 14:12), and has been provided the place of lordship over a host of angels who were banished from heaven along with him when they rebelled against God in some distant past.

Whatever one believes about Satan, it is clear in the New Testament that demonic entities do exist and have real power. They are not to be trifled with. However, that will have to wait for another post. In the meantime, let us consider the practical application to Christian experience.

The Christian is then left to conclude that Satan is not omniscient; therefore, he cannot attend to every temptation of every Christian in every situation all the time. To do so is to plead the “The devil made me do it!” excuse, which is simply a cop-out. Christians must understand that Satan typically holds merely the power of persuasion in their lives. This means that in order for him to have power in your situation as a Christian, his intervention is contingent on your allowance to him. YOU give him power in your life as you provide him (or his minions, more likely than not) with the opportunity to influence your decision: this is done primarily by entertaining your own proclivity to rebellion against God. In other words, when you entertain temptation, you provide Satan with the opportunity to push you further toward the eventuation of evil acts. Of course, simply being tempted is not sin; however, each time you are tempted, you have a decision to make: to reject that temptation and bring your mind once more under the authority of Christ, or to sin by giving opportunity for influence to the rebellious heart within you. Thus, even entertaining temptation is sin against God.

In contemporary Christianity in our country, Christians have sensationalized Satan in gross exaggeration or they have relegated him to a theoretical phenomena with no real practical application. This polarization is unfortunate, and as with most things in reality, the truth is somewhere right down the middle of these two extremes.

If you’re a Christian who looks for Satan or his demons behind everything, constantly working in a This Present Darkness sort of paradigm, I would encourage you to let go of that mentality. It is false. That Satan and demons are active in the world is accurate; however, the truth of the matter is that your focus and emphasis should be on your own personal responsibility in the decisions and actions of your life! Recognize that the buck stops HERE! My dad used to always say, “There’s no excuse for bad behavior.” He was right. You can blame it on demonic influence or Satanic attack all you want, but ultimately, God holds YOU responsible for YOUR sin.

If you’re one of those people who assumes that Satan doesn’t really interact with the world or influence people, assuming he even exists, I would encourage you to let go of your self-inflicted ignorance. You think you’re above such a superstitious perspective because you’re educated or an intellectual, or whatever the case might be. That is a false conception of the reality you live in as a Christian, as a human being! You all-too-often give occasion for Satan to work by denying his role or place in your practical Christian walk. That’s playing right into his hands. If you disbelieve his interaction with the world, you give him all the power of influence he needs. In effect, you keep yourself in self-inflicted ignorance out of simplistic naivety.

Thus, on some level, an allegorical interpretation of the Creation account is not too far off base in that Christians should recognize that Satan’s primary weapon in his struggle against God is humankind’s own sin and rebelliousness toward God. This means that we should practice discipline and self-denial as a means to promote spiritual health in ourselves, as Paul writes in 1 Cor 9:27: “But I beat my body and make it my slave so that when I have preached to others, I myself might not become disqualified.” A rigorous application of spiritual disciplines such as prayer, fasting, charity, fellowship, church attendance, participation in worship, etc. are not simply things to do to check off on a list of good works, but instead actually encourage and foster an environment in the Christian’s life for growth and health in pragmatic Christianity.

Well, it’s been several days since I wrote anything here. I’ve been busy. I wrote a paper on morality being contingent on the existence of God, and in the process, I discovered that the argument for the existence of God based on morality is actually a quite well-developed one. The problem that I’ve found so far in my research is that the atheistic existential arguments for meaning, value, morality, and ethics apart from God have been largely successful in dealing with either of the claims that existence is ultimately meaningless without God and that morality is contingent on the existence of God. I have found this to be quite disheartening, because I believe a strong case can be made for theism along these lines. In my paper for my philosophy of Christian religion class here at Asbury, I decided to use Jean-Paul Sartre as my opposition to represent the view of optimistic atheistic existentialism arguing for morality, meaning, and value apart from the existence of God.

I found it extraordinarily easy to rip Sartre’s arguments apart. I do not consider myself to be a philosopher even in the least, so I really was disappointed with Sartre’s performance. Give me something tough to deal with, man! Anyway, you may disagree, but I’ll provide the paper for you below:

            The origin of morality is a contemporary subject of debate. As Western society struggles with the division of the secular and sacred dialectic, many have attempted to approach the task of providing a cogent means of establishment of morality in a secular framework, apart from the sacred themes that have been historically linked with morality and ethics as their intrinsic purpose and end. Morality will here be examined in order to establish the veracity of the theistic claim to objective moral truth in light of its relationship to God -namely, that morality and ethics are contingent on the existence of God -over against the claims of atheistic existentialism as argued by Jean-Paul Sartre. A general initial refutation of Sartre’s conception of values in a Godless world will be presented first, followed by individual refutations of each of the three practical implications he presents that arise from his ethics ontology. A conclusion will then be provided as a summary of the evaluation of the thesis stated above.

            These arguments presuppose the concession of moral normativity.[i] This must necessarily begin from the discussion of meta-ethics and ethical theory, though these are beyond the scope of this discussion. Suffice to assume moral normativity is generally accepted by both theistic believers and atheistic naturalists alike. For the purposes of this discussion, it will be assumed that, simply stated, if existence consists alone of time, space, and matter, existence is ultimately purposeless and without moral meaning or value. Time, space, and matter will be referred to hereafter as physical naturalism, as opposed to metaphysical supernaturalism, which will hereafter refer to the existence of Q, where Q is the addition of any metaphysical element to the physical universe. Atheism (including atheistic existentialism) requires, by definition, that all of existence is the culmination of metaphysical naturalism: thus, in any atheistic system, all meaning, morality, value, ethics, etc. must derive from, and originate in, physical cosmology.

            Jean-Paul Sartre suggests that meaning and value -and by extension, morality- are not dependent on the existence of God.[ii] These emanate from both the individual human and from the community of humankind, which produce their own meaning and value. Sartre admits that this is indeed basically relativistic in nature, but he insists that meaning is not lost on its dependence upon the individual person or community. Sartre is completely inconsistent at this point. By setting out to prove the continuation of meaning within the closed system of physical cosmology, Sartre argues for the absurd. He argues that “To choose to be this or that is to affirm at the same time the value of what we choose, because we can never choose evil. We always choose the good, and nothing can be good for us without being good for all.”[iii] In this statement alone, Sartre presents a leap in logical thought: that a choice has meaning in-and-of-itself, simply because it is a choice made. He even goes beyond this by stating that any choice made is good! If he had left it as a purely amoral event, he might have remained logically secure here, but instead, he provides it with a judgment of value. This is logically inconsistent, because any amoral thing cannot, by definition, be rendered either moral or immoral -essentially, this means that it cannot possess value or meaning. A choice made by a human cannot be provided with a moral connotation unless some universal standard is established against which to measure the rightness or wrongness of a human decision. Sartre maintains that this universal standard is intrinsically subjective[iv]; but if it is subjective, it cannot have meaning, because when all meaning is ultimately purely subjective, it loses identifiableness and is thus no longer universal. Thus, in order to retain meaningfulness, a universal standard for morality must be established that at the very least contains some intrinsically objective truth. This is provided in theistic meta-ethics. Rationally based, the conception of God (as stated above) as the most perfect moral Being serves as the absolute universal standard of morality through His self-revelation to humankind through the reality of history.

            Sartre argues that “…man is anguish.”[v] He states, “…the man who involves himself and realizes that he is not only the person he chooses to be, but also a law-maker who is, at the same time, choosing all of mankind as well as himself, cannot help but escape the feeling of total and deep responsibility.”[vi] He goes on to explain that this anxiety is intrinsic to the human experience  and derives from the innate sense of conscience that allows for a common, or shared, human experience in regards to morality insomuch that it almost becomes a universal standard that mediates morality for humankind. Here, Sartre introduces several contradictory elements into his discussion, including anxiety (which he provides as serving a purpose in terms of human morality), conscience, responsibility toward other human beings, and right. None of these can be considered from a perspective of metaphysical naturalism unless they are proved to derive from physical cosmology, which Sartre assumes and makes no attempt to verify in regards to his argument. This cripples his argument for anguish before he even begins, leaving it with no logical foundation upon which to build.

            Sartre contends that “When we speak of forlornness, we mean that God does not exist and that we have to face all the consequences of this.”[vii] Any atheistic argument that begins in reference to God -even in reference to the absence of God- has already conceded defeat in that a logical argument cannot be made on the basis of that which does not exist. A negative existential proposition cannot be proved. Beyond this, Sartre concedes that “The existentialist… thinks it very distressing that God does not exist, because all possibility of finding values in a heaven of ideas disappears along with Him; there can no longer be an a priori Good, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it.”[viii] For Sartre to make this concession executes any argument he continues to attempt for morality apart from God, because if he then maintains that it is derived from the act of individual and corporate freedom[ix] (which he does), he succumbs to a type of fideism wherein humankind becomes God, or a collection of gods, who produce this meaning and value -introducing a metaphysical or supernatural element into physical cosmology, which, of course, is illogical. He goes on to introduce human “instincts” into his argument[x], for which he fails to provide any basis of origination; however, this suggests once again either a sense of human nature (which he rejects) or an outside universality which mediates morality in relation to humankind.

            Lastly, Sartre maintains that human life is possessed of despair.[xi] By this, Sartre means that human beings are confined to “reckoning only with what depends upon our will.”[xii] In other words, one cannot control the world of exterior circumstances and should therefore concern oneself only with one’s own actions which one may control. Sartre is not too far from the mark on this point, though he approaches the subject from the wrong point of view. He proceeds from a realm of pure relativity, whether he acknowledges it or not, and thus concludes despair as humankind’s disposition. In effect, Sartre here suggests that betterment is impossible[xiii], for no growth is available to the individual -nor to the whole of the human community[xiv]. He maintains that Descartes “meant essentially the same thing”[xv]; but his claim cannot stand, because Descartes’ system involved betterment and growth which was fundamentally at odds with Sartre’s system. This is because Descartes was a theist and therefore approached existentialism from a standpoint of eschatological hope. This position from Sartre only works to reaffirm the nihilistic eventuation of his atheistic existential system.

            In conclusion, it must be accepted that morality and ethics are contingent upon the existence of God. Sartre’s arguments for a system of morality apart from God are altogether unsound and incapable of providing such a system with veracity and logical rationale. Jean-Paul Sartre is thought of as a perpetual optimist, but despite his optimism, his atheistic existential system fails to defeat the eventuation of nihilism. His entire system is shot through with both logical inconsistencies and contradictions and must therefore be discarded altogether. It possesses no redeemable qualities whatsoever upon critical examination. The continued failure of atheism to provide a logical rationale for morality can only point to the plausibility of God, in the least; in light of the counter-postulation of the existence of God, argued on the basis of morality, it must be seen as rational to conclude that not only does God exist (at least, in a broad theistic sense), but morality is contingent upon His existence.

Works Cited

Byrne, Peter. “Moral Arguments for the Existence of God”. Stanford Encyclopedia of

            Philosophy. 25 May 2004. Web. 10 May 2010.

Peterson, Michael, et al. Philosophy of Religion. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press,

            2010.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions. New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1985.


[i] Byrne, Peter. “Moral Arguments for the Existence of God”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 25 May 2004. Web. 10 May 2010.

[ii] Sartre, Jean-Paul. Existentialism and Human Emotions. New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1985. Ethics Without Religion.

[iii] Peterson, Michael, et al. Philosophy of Religion. 4th ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pg. 623.

[iv] Ibid. Pg. 623.

[v] Ibid. Pg. 623.

[vi] Ibid. Pg. 623.

[vii] Ibid. Pg. 624.

[viii] Ibid. Pg. 624.

[ix] Ibid. Pg. 625.

[x] Ibid. Pg. 626.

[xi] Ibid. Pg. 626.

[xii] Ibid. Pg. 626.

[xiii] Ibid. Pg. 627.

[xiv] Ibid. Pg. 629. Note here that Sartre argues that humankind, both individually and corporately, are in a perpetual state of change and development, but this is not a qualitative state as much as it is a state of continuous motion toward the future.

[xv] Ibid. Pg. 626.

The Ontological Argument

The ontological argument as stated by Anselm in Chapter 2 of his work Proslogium runs something like this:

1.) If God exists, He is that than which nothing greater can be conceived.

2.) If 1, then nothing greater than God can be imagined.

3.) If 1 and 2, then nothing greater than God exists.

4.) If God does not exists, then something greater than God can be imagined (by virtue of imagining something that actually exists, assuming that something that does indeed exist is assigned value above that which does not exist, I would add here).

5.) If 4, then God exists.

I hope that I have done justice to the argument and have not simply confused everyone. In logic, we refer to this sort of argument as a reductio ad absurdum argument; because it presents a thesis, presents the ridiculous implications of accepting that thesis to be true, and concludes that the thesis must therefore be false. No one has (as of yet) come up with a satisfactory refutation of this argument. Even the most ardent atheist critics have to admit that, even though they feel something is not quite right about it, they have nothing with which to refute it. I personally believe Anselm was really on to something here. I’ve read some of his other work, and none of it that I have read has proved quite on the same level of genius as this.

What I would like to propose is that, on the basis of acceptance of a few presuppositions, we can begin to construct an understanding and interpretation of reality. This is no easy task, but I believe it is essential for all ministers to deal with, at least at an elementary level. Growing up, I sometimes wondered if anything was really real. As a teen of 16-17, I struggled from time to time with depression that was set on by doubts of the reality of anything. I  wondered what I could KNOW for certain, and if this whole Christianity thing was just a huge deception that I had bought into. I didn’t feel like I could talk with anyone about these thoughts and feelings without 1) being condemned as some kind of deviant and betrayer of the Faith and 2) making everyone around me worry about my spirituality. So, I kept them to myself, though I thought long and hard about them. I kept going back to forcing myself not to think about them and just accept what I had been told. I wanted desperately to believe that what I believed was actually true. Everything in my belief system was contingent on the fact that reality did exist and that I could interact with reality in a meaningful way. Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, and others really saved my faith. Once I was exposed to some of these, though I ultimately rejected much of what they had to say, I was able to recognize that other Christians had gone through the same struggles as I had faced, that they had come to the conclusion that we can understand existence and reality (at least to an extent), and that we are indeed able to interact with reality in a meaningful way.

Thus, even you would-be youth pastors out there really do need to know something about this, because you have no idea what some knowledgeable encouragement for a young man could mean in the grand scheme of things. Those of you who may be weak in your faith, uncertain as to whether you can responsibly throw your lot in with Christ, go ahead and dissect this argument for the existence of God. It’s grounded in strong Christian tradition, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a formidable opponent in terms of its value as a logical system.

Anselm and others who decided that they were going to look into the logical implications of their beliefs provided me with a basis on which to strengthen my faith. Today, I propose that Christianity is the only religion in the world that makes good logical sense. Every other religious system (including atheism) is shot through with logical inconsistencies and must therefore be rejected as belief systems.

For Christians, this is vitally important, because upon your  paradigm of reality, you build your theological and doctrinal interpretation of the Apostolic tradition. If you are to rightly divide the word of truth and deal responsibly as a Christian leader with both those you serve in a pastoral sense and those you serve in an evangelistic sense, you will fail without a proper paradigm from which to approach the Christian faith. This starts here: understanding why you believe what you believe, providing a logical basis on which to build a logical Faith. God is a God of clarity, of truth; Satan is the author of confusion. Therefore, be servants of God, not servants of Satan. Even the best-intentioned Christian will perish from a lack of knowledge.

In fact, let me go so far as to say that any Christian leader who does not take philosophy, logic, and education seriously is just making excuse for laziness. If you’re one of those people who thinks that “the Holy Spirit  will reveal it all to me”, let me knock you off your high-horse. You’re not fooling anyone. In fact, not only are you not more spiritually firm or possessed of more faith than us “philosophical Christians”, you’re just ignorant would-be’s! Take a good minute to do some serious self-assessment and reflection. Take a good, hard look at yourself. I’ll dare you to look me in the eye any day and tell me with full confidence before God that you don’t need to be responsible in your pursuit of knowledge outside of Scripture. If understanding that the Faith of Jesus Christ makes sense in this natural system that God created doesn’t produce an enormous and profound impact in you to quicken your faith  and give it life, then I daresay your heart is colder than the most analytic mind that tries to deny subjectivity altogether.

That being said, have a great day, and God bless!