Make America Think Again: On Cultural and Christian Mindlessness

-By Jacob Brunton

There are many things that could be said about this campaign season, and there are many competent people saying them. But there is one essential similarity between both “liberals” and “conservatives” this election which I think has gone unnoticed. It is this essential similarity which reveals the root of our current political plight––and therefore, the potential solution. That similarity is mindlessness.

Read the full article…

Friday Feature: Alvin Plantinga and the Death of the Mind

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A scandal brews within Christian philosophy: the rejection of reason and the death of the mind.

In his recent article at The Christian Egoist, Jacob Brunton explained the consequences of the presuppositional trend within Christian apologetics and worldview. It amounts to the rejection of the mind. 

Brunton points out that Christian intellectuals are committing the same errors as their secular counterparts. It is only a matter of time until the errors bear the same deadly fruit. In the end, the rejection of reason always means the rejection of life and values.

Presuppositionalism is only a “sanctified” version of cultural relativism. Brunton explains the connection. In Bloody Evasions: The Common Ground between the Church and the Baby Killers, he writes,

“How is [the baby-killer’s] retreat into relativism on this issue [of abortion] any different than that of the modern Christian “intellectuals” who proclaim that the human mind is incapable of knowing truth with certainty; that there is no way to establish by reason whether or not God exists; that truth must simply be presupposed (i.e. arbitrarily assumed)? Answer: There isn’t a difference. The situation with abortion is just one bloody, concrete, example of the logical implications of the presuppositional-perspectival-narrative-obsessed-relativistic-orgy currently plaguing conservative evangelicalism.”

He comments that,

“Their guilt lies in the fact that they are perfectly capable of using sound, objective, reasoning processes in order to earn a paycheck, in order to feed their family, and in order to fight against abortion––it’s only when it comes to issues of philosophy and theology that they suddenly lose that ability.”

This criticism applies to the entire presuppositional school of Christian philosophy: to all who believe we must make pre-theoretical faith commitments (and thus that any reasoning which does not assume the truth of Christianity is invalidated at the outset).

Brunton especially applies his criticism toward the reformed Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga. Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, Plantinga was recognized by TIME magazine as “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God” and “the world’s most important living Christian philosopher.”

What are Plantinga’s accomplishments? He has put forward a novel argument about faith. He argues that it is invalid to reject belief in God on the basis of lack of evidence.

Why? Because faith is knowledge, he claims. We don’t need evidence or arguments for our faith to be rational. Instead, it is “possible” that God created all people with an inner knowledge—a natural tendency to believe that God exists. 

What is the evidence for such an idea? Plantinga dismisses the very need for evidence. He interprets Romans 1 as an argument that this mystical inner sense exists. If it does indeed exist, then Romans 1 would be sufficient to prove it.

It is too generous to refer to Plantinga’s case for faith as an “argument” or a “reason.” It is an evasion of the nature of knowledge. He bases his whole claim only on an arbitrary supposition that it is “possible” that God could miraculously implant knowledge into our minds. But Scripture itself says nothing about this. Romans 1 and 2 say quite the opposite. It is by the evidence of creation that man rationally must conclude that there is a God (Romans 1:20).

Plantinga’s purpose is to not to show that Christianity is rational, for he does not believe this can be done. Rather, his purpose is to show that, if Christianity is indeed true, then a person’s choice to believe in Christianity might “possibly” be rational. 

Plantinga’s notion is designed merely to defuse the claim that Christianity is irrational. But he never attempts to establish that Christianity is true or rational. He does not even seem to grasp the importance of these questions. For Plantinga, “I believe it,” is enough.

This is the death of the mind.

As Mitch Stokes of The Gospel Coalition points out, Plantinga’s goal is to put philosophy “in its place.” By this, he means that philosophy has no place. As an analytic philosopher, Plantinga has done his best to put an end to the very subject.

To all this, Jacob Brunton writes: 

“If I believed, with Plantinga, that Christianity was no more objectively true than a fairytale which I choose to believe, I could not (and should not) love Christ as I do. We do no honor to Christ when, in the name of humility, we reduce Him to the level of a fairytale.”

To that conviction, I can only say, “Amen.”

Plantinga has nothing to offer the man who values the truth—or his one tool of obtaining it.

Plantinga’s chief reason for believing in God is, “It feels reasonable, and I don’t know of any reason it isn’t.”  His chief defense against atheism is, “You can’t prove I’m wrong.” 

Why do Plantinga and the similar school of presuppositionalists consistently err? Their shared mistakes come from a shared premise: that knowledge, to be real, must be founded upon omniscience. Since we don’t have omniscience, they become skeptics regarding the unsaved man’s capacity for knowledge, and they become mystics regarding saved man’s capacity for knowledge. Then, in place of reasons, they assert the arbitrary. 

Brunton summarizes the scandal:

“They are desperate to make room for the arbitrary in order to make room for Christianitythus demonstrating that they assume Christianity to be arbitrary. “

Philosophy has indeed died. In such darkness, what can be done? The time has come for a Second Renaissance.

Wednesday Workshop: Create a Portfolio at Carbonmade

This is the most fun I’ve had setting up a website.

It’s a portfolio app called Carbonmade. Here’s what I created:

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It’s a portfolio of my online bases and outposts (blogs and social media sites). Making this was as easy as loading some screenshots and filling in the blanks.

Click here to check out my portfolio.

The site that let me do this is called Carbonmade. I’m not affiliated with them, but I’m really excited about their product, so let me tell you about it.

Carbonmade is free. It’s just for portfolios. As opposed to a blog site, Carbonmade does a lot less, but it does it to perfection. In 10 minutes you can have your own portfolio running, displaying collections of photos or PDFs.

In the future I might use Carbonmade for displaying information products that I make. For now it’s a cool way to introduce people to what I do online.

Here are my favorite features:

  • Beautiful aesthetic.
  • Several templates to choose from.
  • A ruthlessly narrow set of features, making it ridiculously easy (I mean as easy as turning on an Xbox).

To see examples of people using Carbonmade to the full, check this out.

To set up your own, here’s where to go.

Monday Mention: Hugh Whelchel

Intelligent and worthwhile reads from opposing viewpoints

In his article What is Biblical Self-Interest, Hugh Whelchel of The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics explains:

“While the Bible cautions that self-interest can devolve into the sin of selfishness and greed, biblical self-interest enables us to become well-functioning, contributing members of God’s community.”

Whelchel affirms the Bible’s positive view of self-interest. He writes:

“The biblical idea of self-interest, rightly understood, allows us to work creatively, using all of our God-given gifts in a way that serves our own needs while serving the needs of others.”

Read the full article…

Friday Feature: 15 Abortion-Related Verses to Share on Social

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Using Tweetdeck or similar web applications, you can send out a new verse every day. Why not send these?

Click to download in a Word Document.

You shall not murder -Ex 20:13

Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood. -Deut 27:25

Children are a heritage -Ps 127:3

You formed my inward parts -Ps 139:13-16

You do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child. -Eccl. 11:5

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? –Is. 49:15

Let the little children come to me. -Matt 19:14-17

Are you not children of transgression, the offspring of deceit? -Is 57:3

You who burn with lust among the oaks, under every green tree, who slaughter your children in the valleys. –Is 57:4-5

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord. -Prov. 17:15

From my mother’s womb you have been my God. -Ps 22:10

He burned his sons as an offering, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord drove out. -2 Chron 28:3

They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. -Ps 106:37

They poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. -Ps 106:38

The land was polluted with blood. -Ps 106:38

Thursday Thought – Bloody Evasions: The Common-Ground Between the Church and the Baby Killers

-By Jacob Brunton

As I observe the increasingly evasive tactics of those who are defending Planned Parenthood, I can’t help but notice the sad similarities to those who so evasively defend blatant irrationality in theology. And I’m not surprised, because it all comes from the common root of relativism, and is supported by the militant insistence of moderation. Relativism and moderation: those are the destructive twin “narratives” of our time, and though evangelical Christians would love to protest otherwise, they are, in large part, complicit in that destruction.

Read the full article…

Wednesday Workshop: Sell a Course on UseFedora

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-By Cody Libolt

At UseFedora.com you can create your own school and landing page and get started selling courses—and you can do it for free.

This is a top quality site. It’s a great way for bloggers or writers to get creative. Turn a book, an essay, or a series of blog posts into a course. Use video, audio, slides, text, and quizzes to wow your customers.

Unlike a book, a course is a premium product. Customers are willing to pay more for a it because you offer a complete package: a step-by-step series of learning activities and resources. The pace in a course is more relaxed than a book. You can take the time to express yourself and let the student get to know you and your ideas more fully.

You can also edit the course at any time. This means it’s easier to launch a “minimum viable product.” Then you can get people’s feedback and improve the course over time.

As a blogger, I’m fascinated by what UseFedora offers. Courses will allow me to repurpose ideas from my blog into something of greater lasting value to me and others. I’ve worked hard to create it, so why not take the extra step and give it an awesome package?

For people who want to create change by teaching others, there is no more powerful tool than an online course. It allows us to connect more personally and create a “wow” package. It also has the potential to earn more than our other channels. This is the one channel that all others in a sales funnel should drive toward:

  • It’s scaleable
  • It has a premium value
  • It gives us the chance to impact the most people most deeply.

I’ve also been amazed to find how easy the site is to use. Setting up my own school was easier even than setting up a basic blog. (I promise I’m not paid to tell you this. I’m just excited!)

If you’d like to check out the course I’m working on, you can find it here.