Monday, September 26, 2016

Norman Geisler: There Is Some Truth In False Views

Introduction
In the process of defending views (whether they are worldview, political, or others) we will always come across people who hold to other views. Usually people hold to a particular view because they believe the view accurately reflects reality. However, since no two contradicting views can both be correct, one or both must be incorrect. But why would someone believe a false view? Norman Geisler provides insight into this in his book "Christian Ethics: Options and Issues":
"Few positions are totally without any merit. There is usually enough truth in any false view to make it hold water."

"Few positions are totally without any merit. There is usually enough truth in any false view to make it hold water."

Distinguishing the True and False Parts
It is often difficult to persuade someone of the truth of your view if they believe that their view is accurate. The fact that their view may be able to explain certain parts of reality is what is the foundation for their holding their view. If their view did not have portions of it that were correct, they would not believe it. It is important to recognize these true parts as areas of agreement between the two different views. This will usually establish some trust between the two parties and allow for intellectual (rather than emotive and rhetorical) discussion about the false areas of their opposing view. We can then challenge the false views and show how our view not only explains the true views we've already agreed upon but better explains the areas of reality that the other view cannot.

Could WE Have The False View?
It is important that we also recognize the fact that none of us is omniscient. It is very possible that we would be the one with the incorrect view and are holding to that view because it explains enough (has enough truth) to appear accurate. The difficulty in persuading someone thatbelieve our view is correct could be founded in the fact that our view is actually false. We need to be willing to not only challenge other views but allow our views to be challenged. If our views are the false views, we must change them.

Conclusion
All views that people hold to explain reality contain some portion of truth that allows them a logical reason to believe the view. However, if the true parts are the only part they focus on, they can be blinded to the falsehood of their overall view. It is important that we recognize the true parts of their view to establish unity, but we do that in order to show them where they have gone wrong. If we expect others to recognize that their views may be false and need changing, we must be willing to examine our own views and change them when the evidence and logic is against our view.

To Investigate More, I Recommend:



Monday, September 19, 2016

John N. Oswalt: Progress Requires God

Introduction
Nobody likes to think that they are holding back progress. The idea of progress is used in many areas of political and moral debate as a weapon against those who tend to hold to "traditional" values. "Progressives" argue against the objective truth of Judeo-Christian morality in an effort to legalize their particular desires. In an effort to do so, though, "progressives' are trying to eliminate the only foundation for judging what can be rightly called "progress" and what can rightly be called "regress." In his book The Bible Among The Myths, John N. Oswalt uses philosophy of history to show the necessity of the Creator for progress to even be possible:
"The idea of progress is dependent on the idea that our Creator has a goal for us, outside of ourselves, toward which we humans were made to progress and against which our progress can be measured. Give up that truth, and 'progress' becomes a chimera."

"The idea of progress is dependent on the idea that our Creator has a goal for us, outside of ourselves, toward which we humans were made to progress and against which our progress can be measured. Give up that truth, and 'progress' becomes a chimera."

The Foundation Removed
Without an objective goal set, there is no way to determine what truly is progressive and what is not. If an event or action moves a group closer to the realization of the goal, then progress has taken place. If an event or action moves a group away from the realization of the goal, then progress has not taken place. Without a goal, this cannot be judged. In their efforts to eliminate objective morality from public life, "progressives" must argue against God's existence in order to show that morality is relative. But in doing so, they have also forfeited the right to call themselves "progressives."

Conclusion
Interestingly enough, if a "progressive" skeptic wishes to assert and be committed to the idea that progress can objectively be made (by judging those who stand against their views as "regressive"), they implicitly assume that an objective purpose exists outside themselves and outside humanity as a whole. It is up to them to ground such an obligation without God. The reality that progress can be judged against an ideal purpose is evidence that an ideal purpose exists, and that ideal purpose must have a Purposer. If "progress" is possible, God exists.

The Bible Among The Myths contains several nuggets regarding the existence of God, like this one. If you have not taken the time to read this book, you will not be disappointed.

For further investigation into moral relativism, ethics, politics, and purpose, I highly recommend checking out these books:

Monday, September 12, 2016

Norm Geisler and Frank Turek: Legislating Tolerance

Introduction
As a defender of the Christian worldview, I often defend the rightness or wrongness of certain acts, and with that, whether they should be made legal or illegal. I will usually appeal science and logic in these discussions. If the person is a Christian, then I will also appeal to the Bible, if it speaks specifically or general to the topic at hand. When it is clear that all the evidence stands against their view, in a "last-ditch" effort to undermine my arguments the challenger often resorts to appealing to "tolerance." This comes in the form of the person who wants to legalize some particular act saying that by not permitting the act (legalizing it), those in opposition to the legalization (conservatives, usually) are being intolerant and trying to force their morality on the world.

I recently finished reading the book "Legislating Morality: Is It Wise, Is It Legal, Is It Possible" by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek. Here is their response to such a challenge:
"When libertarians or liberals seek to give people more freedom (i.e., by passing a law that legalizes a formerly illegal activity), they do exactly what they condemn conservatives for doing. They impose their morals (and thereby the associated effects) on people who do not agree with those morals."

"When libertarians or liberals seek to give people more freedom (i.e., by passing a law that legalizes a formerly illegal activity), they do exactly what they condemn conservatives for doing. They impose their morals (and thereby the associated effects) on people who do not agree with those morals."

Who's Legalizing Their Morality, Again?
The problem with any law is that it affirms that something is right and its violation is wrong. Laws often include penalties for violating the right that has been provided by the law. What is right and what is wrong is morality. If we truly want to avoid legalizing morality then no law should ever be created. So, if someone is successful in getting their particular behavior legalized, they have just legalized their morality and have successfully forced it on the masses. This means that the complaint of the person trying to get their act to be made legal has just violated their own moral standard of "tolerance."

Conclusion
The next time that someone complains that you just want to force your morality on them, remind them that they are in the same position- they are, in fact, attempting to force their morality on you. Ask them to explain how their doing so is right and your doing so is wrong. This is not something that can be logically defended without affirming the right of the other to do the same. This results in a "stale-mate" and requires that both sides go back to the evidence. This will (hopefully) keep the discussion focused on actual reasons and not go down the "rabbit hole" is emotive rhetoric.

To Investigate Further, I recommend:



Monday, September 5, 2016

Greg Koukl: A Challenge to Your View Could Be A Blessing

Introduction
As I have argued in many different posts it is important that we not be afraid of someone challenging our views. If we are committed to truth, then we will naturally desire to know when we have believed something false. In his book Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, Greg Koukl explains how such challenges to our views may actually be beneficial:
"A commitment to truth -- as opposed to a commitment to an organization -- means an openness to refining one's own views. It means increasing the accuracy of one's understanding and being open to correction in thinking. A challenger might turn out to be a blessing in disguise, an ally instead of an enemy. An evangelist who is convinced of her view, then, should be willing to engage the best arguments against it."
"A commitment to truth -- as opposed to a commitment to an organization -- means an openness to refining one's own views. It means increasing the accuracy of one's understanding and being open to correction in thinking. A challenger might turn out to be a blessing in disguise, an ally instead of an enemy. An evangelist who is convinced of her view, then, should be willing to engage the best arguments against it."


The Blessing
When a challenge comes against our view, that is an opportunity for us to see exactly how accurately that view reflects reality. We can see how strong the arguments are for the truth of our view and how strong the arguments are against the truth of our view. If our view is actually true, then it will be able to withstand the most powerful arguments against it. These arguments will be found to be faulty in one way or another- a false premise or invalid logic. If we cannot find the logical fault in the argument against our view, then we need to consider the possibility that our view is false and needs to be altered.

As evangelists for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is important that we engage challenges to our particular views of reality. For if we hold to and defend a false view, then those who see the fault with our arguments will project that falsehood onto the Gospel. We must not hold to a view when the arguments against it cannot be overcome, lest we misrepresent Christ to an unbelieving world. If we find that we must change one aspect of our worldview, it does not mean that the whole worldview must be changed. However, that one aspect must be changed to provide a more accurate witness of Christ.

Conclusion
Koukl's book explains how to navigate conversations in a winsome manner that allows us to not only get the other person thinking about their worldview, but it allows us to consider the other person's points and arguments without feeling threatened. If you have not read Tactics: A Game Plan For Discussing Your Christian Convictions, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy.

Recommended Reading To Investigate Further: