Dear Mr Andrews
I just want to say that I appreciate you website and twitter account. I had looked on it in the past but only in recent months took more attention to it.
I am after some advice if at all possible. I pastor a small church in England, and also work full-time. I studied a BA in Theology at an independent college. I would like to further my education, but mainly due to time and finances am unable to enrol with a college, university or seminary institute.
Studying myself seems to be my current and only available option. I have seen you list of fantastic resources on iTunes. My only issue with that is my discipline!
Would you have any advice on to structure a self taught study?
I hope you don’t mind me asking!
Hello there Max Andrews, my name is Brian Urias. I’m 19 years old, live in Virginia, and am planning on transferring to Liberty University, or to whatever school the Lord leads me to go. I have a heart and passion for Gods kingdom and seeing lives change for Jesus Christ. I’ve been particularly interested in theology and apologetics since my junior year of high school. I literally have a whole library of books on theology and apologetics in my house haha. My long term goal is to be a professor and publish my own work and continue to spread the gospel throughout the academia as you are. I know this is all random so let me get to the point. One day I decided to look up local Christian apologists on google and your website came up. I watched a portion of your debate and read some of your other material and I must say that God has given you a gift! It honestly inspired so much. I know this is all very random, but I have a question. I saw that you got your bachelors in Biblical studies, and I want to know what exactly you did from that point? I love Gods word and I feel that he might be calling me to major in Biblical studies as well. I don’t necessarily fear what people would think, I just fear what people say about “Bible majors.”read more »
I understand very few, if anyone, would consider Dostoevsky to be a theologian; however, his philosophy has a tremendous impact on existential theology.
In Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, a story of four brothers in Russia is a grim description of the reality of what the world would look like if God were not to exist. One brother, Ivan, an atheist, tells another brother that there are no objective truths, specifically that there are no moral absolutes. Ivan’s brother then kills his father, an act that obtains no condemnation if God does not exist.
This can be understood as ☐(~Eg ⊃ ∀ϕ~Wϕ), also known as Karamazov’s Theorem. It is necessarily true that if God does not exist then any action cannot be wrong. It may also be true if a conjunct of rightness is inserted into the theorem. This ultimately leads to moral nihilism—a nonexistence of value. Without God, everything is permitted. Nothing can be praised and nothing can be condemned. This world, as Dostoevsky understands it, is a world of nothingness.
Friedrich Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols commences with his maxims and missiles, the wisest of proverbs Nietzsche embodies his thought in. Initially, the maxims are not so clear and one may only speculate as to what Nietzsche really intends for them to mean. His succeeding work is an exegesis of these maxims, an illumination of the text, and an expository revelation of Nietzsche’s assailment of the Christian church.
“The Problem of Socrates” was Nietzsche’s understanding of the life of the philosopher, or better yet, the death of life. Socrates was the philosopher, one who embodied the reason, virtue, and happiness, one who understood the vanity of life. Life was a sickness, as an individual philosophizing and as an aggregate society. Socrates and Plato were the “symptoms of decline” for life. Life’s sickness progressed as more reason revealed the sickness many covered. This revelation was only known through the philosophers. What then is the value of life? Nietzsche’s response, a paradox:
A living man cannot [estimate the value of life], because he is a contending party, or rather the very object in the dispute, and not a judge; nor can a dead man estimate it—for other reasons. For a philosopher to see a problem in the value of life, is almost an objection against himself, a note of interrogation set against his wisdom—a lack of wisdom.read more »
God created both us and our world in such a way that there is a certain fit or match between the world and our cognitive faculties. This is the adequation of the intellect to reality (adequation intellectus ad rem). The main premise to adequation intellectus ad rem is that there is an onto-relationship between our cognitive or intellectual faculties and reality that enables us to know something about the world, God, and ourselves. This immanent rationality inherent to reality is not God, but it does cry aloud for God if only because the immanent rationality in nature does not provide us with any explanation of itself.
In reality all entities are ontologically connected or interrelated in the field in which they are found. If this is true then the relation is the most significant thing to know regarding an object. Thus, to know entities as they actually are is to know what they are in their relation “webs”. Thomas Torrance termed this as onto-relations, which points more to the entity or reality, as it is what it is as a result of its constitutive relations.
The methodology of the epistemological realist concerns propositions of which are a posteriori, or “thinking after,” the objective disclosure of reality. Thus, epistemology follows from ontology.
A friend of mine recently shared an old out-of-print book, Toward a Theology of [sic] Pipesmoking, by a seminarian from the 1970’s by the name of Arthur Yunker. The subtitle is:
In which it is argued that worthy pipesmoking is one of the ultimate gifts of the Holy Ghost and brings its practitioners very close to the nature of the Kingdom of God, which arguments are diligently supported by unassailable proof texts and incontestable logic.
This is obviously a humorous take on pipe smoking. The content is not just hilarious, but it is certainly educational for the avid pipe smoker, connoisseur, and lover of all things good and righteous. I’ve taken the time to type up the table of contents to give you a quick perspective for what awaits you.
Chapter One: Dogmatics
That smoking involves risk and should simply be avoided
That the pipe is merely a high-church way of doing to the body what cigarettes accomplish more efficiently
That pipesmoking is bourgeois and has no place in relevant theology
If everything God does is GOOD, and if God controls EVERYTHING, then it would be BAD had one less child been murdered in Newtown, CT.
This is the argument we find particularly among open theists but I would consider it an important existential question. It primarily focuses on the problem of evil and the hiddenness of God. Here’s the argument in a formal depiction:
- If everything God does is Good [and]
- If God controls everything [by weak and strong actualization]
- Then, it would be bad had one less child been murdered in Newtown.
- It would have been good had one less child been murdered in Newtown.
- Therefore, either not everything God does is good or God does not control everything.
- God is good and everything he does is good.
- Therefore, God does not control everything.
It seems like we are posed with interesting dilemma (at least for the Christian who affirms that God’s means of providence is not exclusively causal, but that he controls all things).
Pantheism is the idea that God is immanent in all things. Modern pantheism rose from the transcendence vs. immanence debate in the 19th century. The closing of the age of Reason appeared to leave religion in a predicament. It seemed that the choices were to opt for the traditional Christian emphasis on human sin and divine salvation, maintained by appeal to the Bible and the church. Or one was forced to follow the modern skeptical rationalism that arose as the final product of the enlightened individual mind. Theologians of the pre-Enlightenment era agreed that one could not just return to pre-Enlightenment dogmatic orthodoxy, they refused to accept post-Enlightenment skeptical rationalism as the only alternative. Thus, they began to search for new ways to understand the Christian faith. Thus they sought to move beyond the Enlightenment while incorporating the advances it had made, which could definitely have been to the detriment of the Christian Faith. More specifically, they attempted to establish a new relationship between transcendence and immanence in the wake of shattering the medieval balance.