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

Using Visions to Prove Christianity True

A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked what I thought about a Christian using a vision that they had as a piece of evidence to persuade someone else of the truth of Christianity. My initial reaction was to reject them completely on the basis of being subjective. But I started thinking about it a bit more, and this is what I came up with to provide to her. 

Explanations of Visions
My first inclination is to say that no one should believe anything based on a vision alone (regardless of who experiences it). According to the Christian worldview, there are three different unique sources that could cause visions (two for sure).

Its All In Your Head
The first explanation that is compatible with all worldviews is completely naturalistic- a mental state of affairs that causes the person to experience something as vivid as real life. This can be affirmed  regardless of which worldview one adheres to. There is no guarantee that the content of such natural visions accurately reflects reality- especially from any non-theistic worldview- see Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism. If the person who had the vision is a Christian and the person they are trying to convince is a naturalist, the naturalist is perfectly justified in rejecting the witness of the vision. The Christian would need to provide some supporting evidence.

In these states, the vision produced could support any claim about reality, or it could reject any claim about reality. Both possibilities make sense from this perspective. Since this explanation is compatible with all worldviews, anyone can explain a vision by appealing to the it- whether the content of the vision affirms or denies a specific worldview.

Dangers of Requiring Complete Knowledge

The Lack of Knowledge
A while back I wrote a post regarding our lack of complete knowledge and how, rather than being a bad thing, it is actually a good thing. I've also written regarding the fact that our knowledge will never be complete, which is something that we must get used to and be comfortable with.

This is true regardless of which worldview that one holds. However, many people act as if they require complete knowledge and understanding of a worldview before they decide to accept it as true. They argue that since they do not want to blindly accept a worldview that may be false, they must not accept a worldview unless they have certainty that it does not contain any falsehoods. On the surface, this is being quite careful. But we must remember that while we are investigating one worldview, we are holding another- that we are not investigating (maybe we haven't ever, maybe we have in the past). I have heard it commonly put that "the skeptic must be skeptical of his skepticism" to avoid being dishonest. Even skepticism must be investigated and justified, though.

Christian Music and Apologetics


Throughout the last several years of becoming more acquainted with Christian apologetics, philosophy, and theology, the way I look at different things in life have changed. I have to say that recently, I've become more aware of the Christian culture- what its doing well and what its doing not so well. For example, ever since my early teens I have loved listening to Christian rock music.

But in recent years I have more examined the lyrics of the songs and have become quite critical of the theology in many of them- especially as witnessing tools. Specifically, as an apologist, I think the message in many of them leans too heavily on the emotions. Austin Gravely has written a post that reflects my sentiments very well, here. (Please read it as this post will assume that you are familiar with the content.) But the more that I think about it, I'm not so sure that I can validly paint even a single song with the same apologetically critical brush.

I want to look at the purpose of Christian music and the availability of it to take an in-depth look at my issues with Christian music. I specifically want to identify when my critique is valid and should be accepted by the artist, and when I'm simply not understanding the artists' intentions for their songs. Because of that, this post is not only for Christian music artists but also apologists and theologians who are critical of Christian music.

Morality, Knowledge, and X-Men

X-Men Set The Stage
I was watching X-Men: First Class the other day and something stood out that I thought might help in our discussions of morality. The two main characters (Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr) are mutants- humans with special abilities. Charles can read and control minds. Erik can manipulate metal via magnetism. Both of these are very powerful abilities demonstrated throughout the series. In the series, the X-Men series story goes that there is a growing fear of mutants among the normal populace and an effort by some government officials to eliminate them. Ultimately it ends up in a war between normal humans and mutants. However, Erik and Charles end up on opposite sides. Erik (as Magneto) wishes to eliminate the lesser evolved humans (ones without mutations), while Charles (as Professor X) fights to preserve humanity.

But what caught my attention was something very subtle: a miscommunication between Erik and Charles is actually responsible for them being on opposite sides of the war, yet both believing that they are right and the other is wrong.