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

Validity of the Process of Elimination

I want to take a few minutes to discuss the process of elimination regarding everyday life, science, and philosophy. 

As most of you know, I work in the Information Technology (IT) department at my company. The other day I was doing some troubleshooting for one of our graphic artists. She called me and said that her monitor had started flickering. She stated that she thought that there was something wrong with the monitor and wanted it replaced.  Just to get this on the table now, I was not thrilled with having to replace this specific monitor. It is one of the more expensive ones in the company.

Starting with that thought, I made a list of the possible causes in my head: cables, video card, specific monitor input (it has two), or software on the PC (that could be any range of possibilities). I begin going through some troubleshooting steps to eliminate the possible causes: I reboot the computer; I check (and replace) the cables; I check a different input on the monitor; I try the other output on the video card; check some settings... None of those fixed the problem.

Experience and Reliability

Over the last several years I've come across a couple of "philosophies" when it comes to how a person's personal relationship to a belief affects their ability to represent it accurately. I have heard people state that if someone does not believe something, then they cannot accurately represent it. The "support" provided is that if they were familiar enough to represent it accurately (and in its most powerful form), the person would believe it. But then I've also heard many say that those who believe something cannot accurately represent it. The "support" provided is if someone believes something, they obviously want it to be true, so they will misrepresent a false belief in order to support its truth.

What's interesting is that I've heard both from a couple of the same people, but with regards to different topics: "You can't trust the disciples of Jesus to tell us the truth about him because they obviously wanted to believe he was God and the resurrection happened," and "You can't trust a Christian who used to be an atheist (or other worldview) to accurately represent atheism (or other worldview) because he does not want it to be true." The only identification of when to use which is, "whichever one supports my own view." But that is not a valid reason because of its subjective foundation. When I apply either critique is dependent totally on me, and I can change it whenever I please.

Dangers of Consistent "Tolerance"

The new tolerance has plenty of philosophical and pragmatic problems. Last year I discussed the intolerance of the new tolerance. I showed how the new tolerance is actually self-defeating. However today I want to talk about the effects if the new tolerance was the philosophy and practice of the earliest humans.

Traditionally tolerance has been described as being able to civilly live alongside a person if they hold contrary beliefs. The person being tolerant could still be considered "tolerant" if they questioned and debated the other person. However, today tolerance eliminates that last bit. In order to be considered "tolerant" we not only must be able to civilly live alongside those who hold contrary beliefs, but we cannot question or debate the other person. Some would even take it as far as to say that one person must celebrate or even accept the contrary view as containing the same level of truth as their own belief.

Can We Be Good Without God?

One word and one phrase need clarification in this question. "Good" and "without God".

I want to look at the phrase "without God". My first clarifying question would be "do you mean 'without God's existence' or 'without believing in God'?" The answer to this question will determine how my unasked question about the meaning of "good" will be answered.

If the atheist answers "without God's existence," then it is quite easy. The answer is "yes" and "no"- both meaning the same thing and being just as valid as the other. Since atheists must base their morals on sociocultural contract theory, "good" (which is a moral term) has no objective, intercultural definition. So, one person in one culture may answer the question "yes" (basing his answer on the "goodness" of general behavior), and another person in another culture may answer the question "no" (same basis). If God does not actually exist, this answer does not change even if someone believes that He exists.