God's Existence, Science and Faith, Suffering and Evil, Jesus' Resurrection, and Book Reviews

Pride vs. Confidence

Christianity requires the laying down of pride. Many interpret this to be a sacrifice of confidence. It is sacrificing confidence, but sacrificing confidence in something not worthy of it, and building confidence in Someone that is worthy of it. When you recognize that your confidence is in an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, perfectly just, and perfectly merciful God, you will have a renewed confidence in yourself. But, if your confidence in God goes below the confidence in yourself (pride) again, you will have to make the sacrifice again. The Christian must never over-estimate his capabilities, or under-estimate God's. There is a delicate balance of self-confidence versus trust in God in the Christian's life. Sacrificing our own pride has to be done constantly, because we are still sinful and always default to making God less in our lives and ourselves more. To be a Christian requires the humble desire and duty to make God more and ourselves less.

Culture's Obsession With Self-Help

Naturalism devalues humans to the point of being of equal value to dirt or having no value at all (neither does dirt, really; see short series "Human Equality and Naturalism"). This has created a psychological crisis of self-confidence. The culture has proposed what it thinks to be the answer...beauty, muscles, money, status, titles, power, education, "causes". People strive for these things constantly to the point of being obsessed, because they want to establish their value and be worthy of confidence (from themselves or other people).

This is self-defeating. If humanity has little or no value, why is confidence in humanity (thus, one's self) so important? In order to make life even seem like it is worth living (considering all the suffering involved), naturalism tells us that we have to place value on ourselves. Yet we know that that kind of value cannot simply be stated to be true- there must exist some foundation for the value, then it can be stated to be true. People will try to establish the foundation the way that naturalism offers (given above), but they do figure out that a foundation based on those things is only as strong as the value that culture places on them. Unfortunately, culture is fickle and changes what it believes to hold value constantly. When one person builds their value based on one thing, its value changes to being useless. All that time, effort, and resources were wasted, because their confidence is based on a value level, that is based on a foundation of relative value, that is based on a culture synonymous with A.D.D.

Does "Responsibility" Exist?

I want to take a post to discuss responsibility and its relationship to naturalism. This is going to build upon my previous posts "The Responsibility to Know and Act" and "Human Equality and Naturalism".

Responsibility assumes three things in order to have meaning:
Obliged Action

Person A has a responsibility to Person B to perform action X on Person C.

Subject (Person A) is the person who possess the responsibility (obliged to perform action).
Object (Person B and C) is the person who the subject is obliged to perform the action to and/or for.

Human Equality and Naturalism- Part 2

Last week, I explained how the naturalistic evolutionary paradigm cannot explain the existence of equal human value. This week, I will build upon last week and show why it cannot explain intrinsic value either. If you have not read last week's post, you will probably be lost.

The fact that we do survive is a product of the Imago Dei. We possess a mind that is capable of simple and complex thought- both of which can be and are used for survival. Unfortunately, man is fallen. One of the results of this fallen nature is the fact that man is self-focused (prideful and narcissistic). This causes man to focus acutely on his survival (survival is not wrong in itself, but the desire for it causes many to make choices based on a certain level of paranoia). Man will use this mind to come up with "ways of survival" that violate the intrinsic, equal value of other human beings (typically the illogical conclusion is one that violates another human life. They "reason" that it is the only option when it really is not). Murder is an example. In Christianity, murder is a sin because it is a direct insult to God, Himself ("I think so little of God and so highly of myself, that I will destroy a reflection of His value and His nature to further my own existence."). 

Human Equality and Naturalism- Part 1

I find it extremely interesting that many naturalists promote human equality. Human equality is a Judeo-Christian concept that is foreign to any worldview that must rely upon naturalistic evolution to explain the existence of the human race. Here's what I mean:

One of the major pillars of naturalistic, evolution is "survival of the fittest". This simply means that the lifeforms most fit for a certain environment will propagate their offspring into the next generation; lifeforms that possess any feature that inhibits their survival, will eventually die off. Value is assigned based on this survivability.

Burden of Proof: A New Perspective?

I was thinking the other day about the burden of proof. It seems that no one wants to bare it. Many atheists claim that they don't shoulder the burden of proof because "you can't prove a negative". Some theists claim that they don't hold it because you can't prove something that is metaphysical (based on the assumption that only things that can be decisively measured can be "proven").

Bonus Post: Michael Licona's New Book

If you believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ actually happened, share this with your friends (use the buttons below).   

Dr. Michael Licona has released a new book that investigates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It weighs in at 718 pages and is sure to be a great resource for those honestly searching for answers:

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach

Licona was interviewed by Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 earlier this year. Here is the interview:

Download the MP3 here.

Just Another Day...

This post was originally posted last year for Halloween. I decided to post it again, but with a few updates.

Theologian Kenneth Samples wrote an article about Halloween and recorded an episode of Straight Thinking about it. Here's the episode:

Download the MP3 here.

My thoughts?

The Case For The Cumulative Case

This post builds upon my short series on building a cumulative case (Parts 1, 2, 3) and on last week's post about authorities.

The other day I was speaking with someone who claimed that inductive reasoning was superior to abductive reasoning, and even went as far as to say that inductive reasoning destroyed the need for abductive reasoning. By "abductive reasoning" I am talking about a cumulative case- taking lots of evidence and developing an interpretation that explains it all consistently.

Do You Rely On Authorities?

Have you noticed that when you make a claim and point out that an authority on the subject agrees, the person who disagrees with the point tends to question the authority? Have you ever noticed that you do the same when you disagree with a point? I have had several people who have said that I was using the authority of the person cited as an argument for the truth of the claim; then dismiss it. Am I wrong?

Art and Communication

Painting, dance, music, etc...are forms of communication that are not verbal. Artists are attempting to communicate via means besides the spoken word. Anyone who comes to art as a deconstructionist ("it means whatever the viewer/listener wants it to mean") destroys the communicable genius of the product and cheapens the communication ability of the artist. If one was to approach the spoken word (another form of communication) as a deconstructionist ("I can interpret what you say however I want"- "it means whatever the listener wants it to mean") you and I would not be able to communicate effectively with one another (what's in my mind would not effectively or accurately be transmitted to your mind).

Responsibility to Know and Act

Can God hold us accountable for what we are supposed to know is true?

I have two thoughts on this subject:

1. Analogy from speed limits. You have a duty to know where the speed limit changes, especially if you live in the general area. If a speed limit sign is temporarily obscured from view, you are expected to have seen it in the past, or know by other means what the speed limit is (such as from friends familiar with the area or context [neighborhood, school zone, highway, gravel road, etc...], even if the context may include multiple limits, acting upon the lower possibility will eliminate the possibility of being pulled over, while acting on a higher one puts you at risk of being pulled over). You are expected to use these other means until you know for sure.. If you are caught above the speed limit (regardless of reason), you are guilty of acting against the law and should be punished according to the law. If the cop wishes to show mercy, he may by issuing a warning. If the judge wishes to show mercy, he may either cancel the ticket or reduce the fine. Either way, it still stands that you broke the law; however, it is within the power of those who enforce the law to show mercy.

Fear-Mongering Christians

I've always been annoyed by the "fire and brimstone" preachers and Christians. Not because I necessarily disagreed with them, but because of what they implied. Too many of them were almost trying to scare people into The Kingdom. "If you don't come to Christ, these horrible things are going to happen to you." Not only is this not appealing to most people, it comes from a very flawed way of understanding the choice that we make when we accept Christ.

When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are actively choosing Him. We are not coming to Him as a last ditch effort to avoid something unpleasant (Hell). Since we are relational creatures, we don't just pick the lesser of the discomforts, we make particular choices because we believe that they are set apart from the other options in a very distinct way.

My Take On Stephen Hawking's Comments

As many of you are aware, Dr. Stephen Hawking released some interesting statements to the media last week regarding the creation of the universe. There have been many responses, both good and bad. I’m going to start with sharing a couple of the responses that I found to be most beneficial (as of this post), then I will provide a perspective that I have not seen presented yet:

Book Review: The Risen Jesus and A Future Hope

The Risen Jesus And A Future Hope is a great book in which the Dr. Gary Habermas defends the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and shows the practical implications of the truth of the claim. Dr. Habermas split the book into the two sections respectfully. Habermas begins his defense by laying a few foundations in Chapter 1.

The first foundation is the inductive nature of the study of history. He then discusses the difference between miracles and miracle-claims. He cautions against accepting a priori (prior to evidence) conclusions. He then provides classical arguments against miracles (David Hume) and responds to the arguments.

Purpose, Design and Evil

It is really amazing how closely purpose and design are related, and their further relation to the problem of evil. Before someone can design some device, they must have a purpose- they don't just start throwing stuff together and find a purpose for it later. Likewise, end-users look at devices and see specific purposes for them. The sane end-user would not conclude that the useful device was not designed. Granted, some devices take on purposes different from the original; however, the device still has purpose, otherwise it would not be in the market.

Opinion vs. Truth-Claim

This post is more of an addendum to my post "Positive vs. Negative Arguments". Please read that post first.

Opinions reflect feelings and may or may not be true. If one claims that their thoughts are simply "opinions" (not claiming to actually be truth- even though it might be) then they have no responsibility to provide a reasoned defense of the position.

Can You Argue Someone Into the Kingdom?

A while back I was listening to Greg Koukl's radio show "Stand to Reason", and a caller challenged the need for apologetics (1 Peter 3:15) at all. His main concern was that nobody could be "argued" into the Kingdom, and that apologists were wasting their time with "hollow and deceptive philosophy" (Colosians 2:8).

I have to agree that his first premise is valid, but I don't agree with the second premise and thus, his conclusion. I don't think that anyone can be "argued" into the Kingdom. For example, knowing that someone exists is different from wanting a loving relationship with them. Someone can believe that the Christian God exists, yet not want to have a personal relationship with Him. That person can recognize that the evidence points toward the Resurrection being a historical event, but not want to dedicate their life to that fact. A belief that is different from a belief in.

Right Living or Right Thinking?

This post originally published July '09. It has been updated with new content and links to several related posts. 

I have come across several people who have told me that right practice  is more important than right beliefs. We're all familiar with the phrase "You can talk the 'talk', but can you walk the 'walk'?" These same people interpret this to mean that acting properly is more important than believing properly. I disagree.

Right Living presupposes Right Thinking. How one lives is dependent on how one perceives the world. Perception always precedes action. In order for someone to determine that an action is required (or not), a perception must be made. If a person makes the wrong perception, the wrong action may very well follow. Of course, if the right perception is made, the right action may very well follow also. This is not a definite equation because one still has to make a decision based on, not just one perception but, numerous perceptions; and it may not always be clear which of those perceptions should take precedence over the other(s). To make that determination (action), other perceptions must be invoked.

Consistency Among Disciplines

Everyday thousands of scientists around the globe perform experiments and observations of the natural realm. They note a certain condition, make (or allow) a change, then note the new condition. Many times, the same experiment or observation is conducted repeatedly to be certain the results of the first (second or third) were not just "flukes". Scientists combine many of these to come to conclusions about the natural realm. But what is it that allows these conclusions to hold any validity? They are based on experiments and observations, but what allows those to be trusted to reflect the natural realm?

Consistency In Nature
The entire scientific enterprise is based on one assumption: the natural realm is consistent. That means that in multiple instances when all conditions are the same, identical results will be produced. Experiments and observations are repeatable. You can be certain that if you perform the same experiment in the precise same way a second time, you will get the same results. If scientists were able to produce water from the combination of two hydrogen atoms with one oxygen atom in one experiment, then gold with the same ingredients in the second (then another substance third, and so on), they could conclude that this was not a consistent phenomena. Further, if scientists found that their experiments, when performed exactly the same way, produced different results without any consistency, they could conclude that the natural realm was not predictable, and investigation of it is futile.

Misengaged in Battle?

This post originally posted June '09. It has been updated with some new content and links to the updated posts. 

Here's something to think about:

When engaging someone in a discussion or debate, should you focus on their understanding of their own worldview, not the "correct" or "accepted" understanding of their worldview?

Greg Koukl (in his book Tactics) says to focus on the person's understanding. His reasoning is that focusing on another understanding (whether its "correct" or not- it makes no difference) will make the person believe that you are either ignoring their concern, or trying to belittle them by telling them how to believe what they believe.

Positive and Negative Arguments

I briefly touched this topic in my post "Is Consistency Important?". Today, I want to expand it a bit more.

A Positive Argument is an argument for your particular position. A Negative Argument is an argument against an opposing position.

It seems like everywhere I go, people want to point out what's wrong with the opposition's arguments. It does not matter if we are talking about political views, religious views, or any other view that is tied to a deep conviction. So many people focus so tightly on the opposition that they forget about their own point of view. This is not a very good strategy. The reason I say this is for one simple reason. Let's say you have a plan to accomplish something, and one of your teammates expresses great dissatisfaction with your plan and even provides every reason in the world not to use it. It would come natural to you to ask if your teammate had a better plan. If no other plan was proposed, then the team would have to stick with the original, no matter how many flaws it had.

Challenging One's Own Worldview

Something that I have noticed a lot in society today: people hold positions and swear that they never question or challenge their views (many believe that is a sign of how strongly they hold them). Unfortunately, for many of these people, you can easily believe that. Many of these same people are afraid that if they challenge their view, that they will find that it may not be the best or it may not even be true. I knew many Christians as I grew up who were like this. They tended to accuse others of not having "faith" because they questioned or challenged Christianity (see my post "Is 'Blind Faith' Biblical" for my answer to these people).

Is Consistency Important?

In my posts and in my discussions about worldviews, I stress consistency. When I say "consistency" I'm talking about the beliefs within a worldview being logically compatible with each other and beliefs being compatible with the adherents' behaviors (see the Psychology Class Series).
One of the "worldview tests" that Kenneth Samples discusses in his book on worldviews, "A World of Difference", is a test for internal consistency. Any worldview that claims to accurately reflect reality (be true) must maintain consistency among its beliefs. Truth cannot conflict with truth. So, if a worldview were to say that 2+2=4 and that 3x2=5, it would have a serious problem. The fact that the second claim is false has no bearing on the truth of the first claim, it only has bearing on the truth of the worldview as a whole. Any worldview that contains two contrary beliefs that cannot be resolved within the framework of the worldview without creating more contrary beliefs must be discarded.

Good Without God?

This post originally published in March of '09. I have added links to similar posts. 

Its been quite interesting to see how many atheists there are who believe that objective morality exists. Actually, I would say that the majority believe in objective morality. However, objective morality is inconsistent with the atheist worldview; they don't have a foundation for acting in a "moral" way versus an "immoral" way. I'm not saying that atheists can't be moral; they can. I'm just saying that they can't justify it. Here's why.

Morality implies "oughtness". How something ought to behave. That implies that you understand that that thing (that ought to behave in a certain way) was designed to behave in the expected way. Example: A watch ought to keep time. It is designed to keep time; therefore, it ought to. If it were not designed to do anything, it ought (is expected) to do nothing.

Can You Trust Your Senses and Reasoning?

This is quite the interesting question. If we can't trust our senses and/or our logic then we're in deep trouble. We would not be able to trust anything that we experience (not to mention the entire scientific enterprise), nor would be able to trust that we would be able to find any form of truth.

I'm going to look at three different worldviews and what they say about this. (Due to the desire to be brief, this post is in no way a comprehensive or nuanced understanding or treatment of these worldviews or the challenges I raise.) Let's start with the eastern worldviews.

The Importance of Learning to Communicate

This post was originally published in Feb 2009:

Communication is key to any kind of interaction with people. It helps us accomplish common goals, empathize with each other, or persuade of another opinion. Communication also informs people around us who we are and what we think.

Communication is an awesome tool, but it can do much damage if not used properly. This holds true in all types of situations.

As (hopefully) everyone knows, communication is a two-way street for the parties involved. If you are attempting to communicate with another person, you convey information, and they convey information. The key is for each of you to accept the conveyed information. I'm not talking about just "hearing" or "seeing", but interpreting and understanding. If one of you interprets the information incorrectly, it could result in something as small as a simple misunderstanding or as large as an personal insult (that does lasting emotional damage).

Who's in Control? Part 2

This post was originally published in Jan 2009:

In Part 1, I proposed a dilemma. Who's in control: Us or God? I showed that both beliefs have biblical support and that believing either way would undermine biblical inerrency. In Part 2, I will provide a possible answer that preserves biblical inerrency, God's sovereignty, and human free will.

I want to start by discussing God's omniscience a bit. The Bible clearly teaches that God knows all things (see Part 1 for references). He also knows our hearts (Ps 44:21; 139:1-4). I would like to propose that, based on this, God knows how every person will react freely to any and all circumstances that may be presented to them before He created them. This is referred to as "middle knowledge". (For more information about the doctrine of God's omniscience, including His middle knowledge, I will refer you to William Lane Craig's podcast Defenders. You will want the episodes on the Doctrine of God.)

Who's in Control? Part 1

This post was originally published in Jan 2009: 

Free Will vs Divine Predestination.

This is a debate that has been going on in the Church for centuries. Who's really in control, God or me? Let's start by looking at the two options:


Free Will- Man makes his own choices without the persuasion of an outside entity. Man is in complete control of his own destiny.

Divine Predestination- God is in complete control. Man's decisions are not really his own- they just appear to be.

Suffering Sucks...or Does It?

This post originally published in Jan 2009. 

Suffering is a topic that comes up quite often. This topic seems to come up for one of two reasons: someone is trying to undermine the belief in the all-powerful, all-loving God of the Bible; or someone is going through a horrible time in their life and are trying to figure out why God is allowing them to suffer so much physical or emotional pain. I'll touch on both of them here.

God made a promise to Israel, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Paul was confident that a similar promise from God now extends to the Body of Christ, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Nature vs. Scripture

This post originally published in Jan 2009. I have updated it with more information and links several times since then:

Several years ago, I was having quite a difficult time reconciling my faith with the findings of modern science. The Bible seemed to say one thing, while scientists said the complete opposite (or at least something that wasn't reconcilable). Unfortunately, I was not aware that the problem was that I was trying to reconcile interpretations rather than the raw facts.

People in the Christian community led me to believe that the doctrine of Biblical Inerrency applied to the interpretations, rather than the raw statements of Scripture. Scientists persuaded me believe that their interpretations of the data could not be questioned, rather than the raw data.

Believing these inaccuracies led me to further to believe that my faith was based on emotion, and science was based on reality- the two could not be reconciled. I was in this state of confusion and conflict for quite a few years. Would I give up my Christian faith or believe that everything I observed was really an illusion? If I kept my faith, could I live with the ideas that everything I observed was illusory, and that the God I believed in was either not omniscient or was intentionally deceptive? If I rejected my faith, what purpose do I have, and how could I even ground the idea that what I observed was actually real? I was caught between a life with no purpose and no ground for knowing anything, and another life with purpose given by an untrustworthy God and still no ground for knowing anything. Both were a leap of blind faith and neither sounded very appealing.

The Power Of A Cumulative Case- Part 3

Well, I was only going to have this series be a two-parter, but after reflecting on it, I thought I should throw in one more.

In the first part of this series I described the persuasive power of a cumulative case. In the second part I discussed the Psychological power (both negative and positive) that a cumulative case can have.

I concluded the series stating that it is quite difficult to communicate an entire cumulative case. I want to also add that it is quite difficult to communicate an entire worldview that the cumulative case is supporting. This really made me realize the importance of 1 Peter 3:15 ("...Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect").

The Power of a Cumulative Case- Part 2

In last week's post, I discussed what a cumulative case is and why it is important. In this part I want to tie the cumulative case to our psychology and go a little deeper into its importance. If you haven't read my Psychology Class Series, please read it before continuing. This will make more sense if you do.

A cumulative case has "power in numbers" on its side. If a conclusion has 100 pieces of evidence and lines of reasoning that support it, one piece or line that goes against it may not necessarily bring the whole thing down. That single piece or line may need to be verified or reinterpreted, but cannot be ignored. If someone is aware of the large cumulative case for their worldview, one discovery is not likely to bring their belief of their worldview down.

The Power of a Cumulative Case- Part 1

Investigations take place all the time. People investigate different happenings and phenomena throughout the world. Investigations are how we come to understand and are able to explain things. In any investigation, a series of evidences are compiled. Any explanation that is to be considered plausible must account for all the evidence. Investigators attempt to enter an investigation without any assumptions prior to seeing evidence. The truth is that an investigator has a reason for investigating otherwise investigating would be of little value.

Essay on Apologetics 315

As mentioned before, I wrote an essay a while back to be published on Apologetics 315 as part of a series of short essays about the truth of Christianity. Brian Auten has been publishing essays since the beginning of the month, and all of them have been fantastic. I have found many bloggers that I was not aware of. The cumulative resources among all of them is astounding. Definitely check out the series.

Today, its my turn. My essay "Making Sense of the Resurrection" was published. Enjoy and God Bless!

What's Wrong With Universalism- Part 2

Last week I looked at one of the arguments for universalism. The argument was that since all the religions teach pretty much the same moral code, the religions must lead to the same place. Since the original writing of that post, I have been provided with a more nuanced argument that eliminates that the idea that all religions are the same. They maintain that the religions can be different and still lead to the same destination. Since the argument is more nuanced now, so will my answer.

Universalism posits that all religions lead to the same destination as long as the adherent is sincerely following whatever religion. Universalists like to point to the fact that people all have different "starting points" in life . The two primary examples given is geographical location and culture- both can be barriers to receiving information about the "correct" worldview. They believe that this is not fair, and since they project their idea of "fairness" onto any deity that might exist (see my previous series "God: Your Way, Right Away"), they conclude that exclusivistic religions are not correct. They also say that since there are many ways that one can go to reach a physical destination, this must be the same with regards to the religions.

Is Christianity True? Essay Series

A couple months ago Brian Auten of the Apologetics315 blog invited Christian apologetics bloggers to contribute to a new project. His goal was to compile essays that clearly communicated some of the reasons that apologists believe that Christianity stands true while other worldviews fall. His goal was to mainly have essays that provided positive cases for the truth of Christianity.

23 bloggers, including myself, accepted the invite. On Thursday, Brian introduced the series. Here is the link:

Essay Series: Is Christianity True?

We all have a limited knowledge and understanding of pretty much everything out there, but we do know things that each other do not, and we all have careers and specialized training that bring unique perspectives to the defense of the Christian Faith. I highly encourage all my readers to read these essays and engage the authors, not only on the Apologetics315 posts, but also on the authors' own blogs. We are eager to engage questions and challenges that, not only help guide you closer to the Truth, but also train us for carrying out The Great Commission.

What's Wrong With Universalism- Part 1

Over the past few years a few people have told me that all religions are the same when they are boiled down, and there is no reason to promote my particular worldview over another. The implication of this belief is that all religions are true and lead to the same destination (universalism). For now, let's look past the fact that they just contradicted themselves (see post "The Intolerance of Tolerance") and engage one of their arguments.

God Your Way, Right Away- Part 2

Last week I discussed the danger of assumed definitions in debates and discussions. This week I want to focus on the personal danger in holding a definition that is not correct.

I have heard several atheists and agnostics say that they are looking for God but haven't found him. I have had quite a difficult time in the past understanding this claim. But then I realized (based on their objections) that they were searching for a god based on what they wanted God to be (their own definition of "God").

God Your Way, Right Away- Part 1

Everyone who's read this blog for a while or have talked with me extensively on worldview issues, knows that I am really big on defining terms. Anytime that I'm on the sidelines of a heated discussion and notice that the conversation can be cooled a bit by the participants understanding the other's terms, I point it out- it normally works to help understanding, but not necessarily agreement.

This is another short series on the power (constructive and destructive) that definitions possess.

Something that has really been getting me lately is how people are defining "God," then say that "God" does not exist. Many of the objections by atheists to God's existence come in this form. The problem with this is that if someone where to say, "there is obviously evil in this world. God would not allow evil to exist. Therefore, God does not exist," they are making this exact mistake. 

The Intolerance of "Tolerance"

It is really quite amazing how much I hear about being "tolerant." In today's "politically correct"/"don't offend anyone" culture, it really is not surprising.

Someone told me the other day that I was being intolerant by voicing a certain opinion. I had to do the equivalent of a "double-take" with what I had just heard.

I asked her if she really valued "tolerance." Of course, she said yes. My next question was not met pleasantly. I asked, "Do you realize that you are being intolerant of my view by telling me that?"

It then occurred to me that "tolerance" can only be performed, but never voiced. When "tolerance" is articulated, it is hypocritical. The "tolerant" person is being intolerant of the person he is claiming is "intolerant". It can be easily demonstrated by showing that the intolerance is actually implicit in the accusation. The "tolerant" person may defend his statement by claiming that it is an observation- making it okay. At that point, I would agree that an observation by itself does not completely destroy his tolerance. However, if he mentions it, he is demonstrating that he is being intolerant of the other person's intolerance. The articulation of "tolerance" defeats its own definition.

Psychology Class- Part 12 of 12

Well, we are finally at the end of my Psychology Class series. If you want to start from the beginning, here's the link for the introduction post. If you haven't read the series, nothing in this post will make sense.

In the introduction, I promised that I would conclude by explaining my own behavior with regard to my requirement to take this class (plus two more). As I was going through the class, I noticed one peculiar thing about the psychological theorists: they would develop a theory and seemed to apply it to everyone, except themselves. The Behavioral theorists performed experiments and theorized that all behavior was the result of the environment. My question to them is simply this: "What environmental factors caused you to do the experiment?" The theorists never attempted to answer such a question. These theorists seemed to act as if they, themselves, were "immune" to or "above" their own behavioral theories. I've noticed this with some other theorists in other disciplines, but I won't go into those right now. This is why I felt that it is important that after I posted the series, that I analyze myself based on what I have posted.

Psychology Class- Part 11 of 12

Last week I discussed the recognition of Defense Mechanisms. This week is the final submission that I made in the class. It was the final "Reflect on Learning" assignment. Here it is:

Psychology Class- Part 10 of 12

In Part 9 I provided a primer for this week's post (if you haven't read it, you might get lost on this one). This post is another "Reflection on Learning" assignment. As before, the question is in red. Let's get right to it:

Book Review: "Immortality: The Other Side of Death"

Immortality: The Other Side of Death
By Gary Habermas and J.P. Moreland.

Immortality is a book that I have wanted to read for quite some time. Wanted to read it to be familiar with the different arguments for the existence of life after death. The book did not disappoint.

Habermas and Moreland wrote this book at a lay level that we all can easily access; however, they have much information and arguments that will challenge those at a higher level. They provide their arguments then discussion and critique the strongest objections and opposing views. They are really good about defining their terms, which I really appreciated. When they make distinctions, they don't just make up a new term, they provide a reason behind the distinction. The writing style was very smooth and did not put me to sleep. The content kept me pausing every so often to add my own commentary (whether agreeing or disagreeing). I found myself, on several occasions, working through the logic of a conclusion before they presented the flow. That kept me quite engaged. So, what was the content that was so great?

Psychology Class- Part 9 of 12

In Parts 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 I talked about an interesting interaction between the emotions and reason. Next week I will post another "Reflection on Learning" that details the results of letting emotions lead one down the wrong path. But before I can do that, I need to provide extra info that needs its own post. The contents of this post were not submitted in my class, it is just to bring you up to speed, so that you won't be lost next week.

In the third week of class we discussed Defense Mechanisms. Some of you might already be familiar with the term and what it is, but for those who aren't...

Psychology Class- Part 8 of 12

About four weeks ago, I posted a forum post from my PSY300 class (start back at the intro to the series if you have no clue what I'm talking about). The last three weeks have been spent posting charts to help explain the processes described in that forum post. While finishing the writing of last week's post (just a few minutes ago), I noticed an answer to challenge from atheists to theistic moral argument for God's existence- "Can I be good without God?" After I finish with this tangent, I'll get back on track.

Psychology Class- Part 7 of 12

For the last couple weeks, I have been posting charts describing the discussion in Part 4. Last week I posted a chart showing assumptions that must be made before we can make reliable observation about the world around. I also demonstrated how emotions can sabotage this process. I explained how the updated chart connected to the chart from the previous week. Finally, I pointed out that all paths lead to an end point of either a true belief or a false belief. This will be the final set of charts for this series. I will have one more post describing some implications of the processes on these charts next week. Then I will continue posting material submitted to my psychology class the week after.

Psychology Class- Part 6 of 12

Last week I posted a chart to help explain the critical part emotions play in our cognitive processes. These charts map out the discussion in Part 4. This week's chart will show the flow from required assumptions to reliable observations.

Psychology Class- Part 5 of 12

In Part 4 I discussed how emotions and reason interact in the brain. I had mentioned that to really communicate what I was thinking, I would have to do the "nerdy" thing and create a flowchart....well, I did. :) You will want to read Part 4 as a refresher before continuing.

Psychology Class- Part 4 of 12

In Part 3 I posted the first of my "Reflection on Learning" assignments that I saw as pertinent to the discussion. Today will be a post that I placed in the class forum about a simple comment my professor made in the previous session. I started it out with quite a bit of context for the benefit of the other students, so I won't go into it up here.