November 19-21 was this year’s annual Evangelical Philosophical Society’s conference. I coauthored a paper with Dave Beck of Liberty University. This is the third year in a row I’ve had a paper accepted for presentation at EPS.
Abstract: Due to advances in cosmology and theoretical physics the origin of the universe is being relentlessly debated. Nevertheless, whether there is one universe or even an infinite plurality of universes, Thomas Aquinas’ argument for the existence of a first cause from contingency circumvents the debate of temporal beginnings to the universe; such as those that are embedded within the kalam cosmological argument. Tensed, tenseless, dynamic, static, endurantist, and perdurantist theories of time will be irrelevant or be peripheral at best. Physical science as a system will always require further explanation, not mere description, and that explanation will always have to appeal to something outside of itself. This is true for any philosophical and/or theological explanation of science. In this paper we will attempt a consilience of Thomas’ argument from contingency and modern cosmology to show that regardless of whether the universe had a temporal beginning, or what the nature of that beginning might have been, it would still be best explained by a first uncaused cause. We will defend Thomas’ notion of radical contingency and argue against a necessitation understanding of Thomas that is often misattributed to him. This metaphysic will be used as a plausible and defensible abductive cosmological argument, which will appeal to the radical contingency of constituents of the universe, and thus take the form of an argument to the best explanation.
Recently, Liberty University had its last convocation, which had Glenn Beck as the speaker. Let me define a few things first. Convocation is not necessarily a church or chapel service. Convocation usually involves a guest speaker intended to promote an idea [of missiology, apologetics, theology, bibliology, history, politics ::sigh::]. Convocation isn’t a church service and whoever thinks it is should, please point out to me the church government for Convocation…
With that being said, Glenn Beck… I’m not going to talk about his politics but this is about his theology. Liberty has recently slipped up with Benny Hinn affiliations… Yes, that Benny Hinn. But, the slippery slope for Liberty isn’t a straight cliff but it’s a very, very gradual one that won’t get noticed. (I have a particular executive or two in mind…)
I love Liberty University. I want to get that out from the beginning so readers will have an initial filter by which to understand my concern. My concern is that Liberty is spiraling down a bad path [and has been]. The straw that broke the camel’s back is Liberty’s new affiliation with Benny Hinn. Yeah, that Benny Hinn, the heretic and prosperity gospel preacher…
In my opinion, the update at the bottom about transferring the name to the unaccredited biblical studies institute is unsatisfactory for me as well. Ties should be cut completely. Hang up the phone and remind Hinn that there’s nothing there for him (see my phone conversation with a rep. below.)
Unfortunately, truth is hidden in a knot of semantics and, dare I say, lies. Some alumni and others have done their research:
I spent seven years at Liberty–four for my undergrad degree and three for my grad degree. During my time there I also worked as an employee for the university and I know how things work over there. I used to be a defender of Liberty on things like this–claiming the alleged facts were incorrect, the person has some agenda, etc. but the evidence became overwhelming. I know what language the university speaks…
I cannot speak in the language of financial contributions, I’ll never have a building named after me, but I can speak in the language of reputation. Liberty has the potential to put out many scholars to world-class universities for terminal degrees (me being one of them–I’m completing my PhD in Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland).
From what I understand from a present employee, the administration has made efforts to improve the scholastic status of the university–to compete in academia like it should. However, partnering with a heretic does not make Champions for Christ… I could speculate as to why LU would partner with this heretical millionaire but that’s a drop in the bucket of LU’s net $1 billion net worth in assets.
UPDATE 21 APRIL 2014: I just received an email (to be disclosed later) from Johnnie Moore saying that they have never and are not partnering with Benny Hinn. I don’t know if he’s playing some type of semantic game but I also asked him, as one last request, to explain or reconcile the contradictions [below]. I called Benny Hinn Ministries and spoke with a kind gentleman and confirmed that they are in the works with partnering with Liberty University. I got the whole conversation on recorded audio and will be released soon. Liberty, Johnnie, Ron Godwin… STOP LYING!
I love Liberty University. I want to get that out from the very beginning so readers will have an initial filter by which to understand my concern. My concern is that Liberty is spiraling down a bad path [and has been]. The straw that broke the camel’s back is Liberty’s new affiliation with Benny Hinn. Yeah, that Benny Hinn, the heretic…
I’ve started making emails and phone calls (all of which have been and are being recorded) to go through the proper channels to get questions answered. Once I’ve exhausted all I can do [from Scotland!] then I’ll share all my emails and recorded phone conversations.
I worked for the university for several years and earned a BS and an MA. I cannot speak in the language of financial contributions, I’ll never have a building named after me, but I can speak in the language of reputation. Liberty has the potential to put out many scholars to world class universities for terminal degrees (me being one of them).
I have much to say about last night’s debate I participated in concerning the existence of God but those comments will come later. We asked those in attendance (at least 400) to use the #LUGODdebate hashtag if they decided to live-tweet the debate. I’ve taken screen shots of the hashtag’s feed from the beginning of the debate until now (lunchtime Friday). Most of those tweeting were Liberty students but you’ll be able to gauge the atmosphere of the debate and the performances. My Twitter handle is @maxeoa (just an FYI if you spot it in the feed). The feed is in order from the most recent uses to to the earliest uses.
I can now announce that on Thursday, March 28 from 7.30-9p I will be engaging in a debate with Dan Linford from Virginia Tech on the debate topic, “Does God Exist?” Dan is in the philosophy PhD program at VT. He and I debated each other last year (in partnership with Josh Nixon and Beau Bradley). Last year we debated at VT, and this year we will be debate on the campus of Liberty University.
The precise location has yet to be determined but it’s currently scheduled to be in DeMoss 1113. That room holds about 300 but from initial surveys I suspect we may need to find a larger room. We currently plan on having the debate filmed so we should have it available online sometime afterwards. I’m hoping to find a way to stream the debate online. If anyone knows how we can do that please let me know. I’ll be using #LUGODdebate as the Twitter hashtag (@maxeoa). This will help gather interactive thoughts from attendees after the debate. More information will be shared as time gets closer.
17 minutes opening (Max—affirmative)
17 minutes opening (Dan—negative)
7 minutes rebuttal (Max)
7 minutes rebuttal (Dan)
10 minutes cross-examination (Max asks Dan questions)
10 minutes cross-examination (Dan asks Max questions)
5 minutes closing statement (Max)
5 minutes closing statement (Dan)
20 minutes of Q&A
Total of 78 minutes of debate and 20 minutes of Q&A
This was a debate on March 21, 2012 at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, VA. It was sponsored by the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech, Leopard Zeus Fan Club, Ask Big Questions at Virginia Tech, and the Department of Philosophy at Liberty University.
Max Andrews, Department of Philosophy Liberty University
I’m sure most of you are aware of the controversy several students in the student body have raised concerning Liberty’s selection of Mitt Romney as the Commencement speaker this year. This controversy has even been picked up by the Religion blog at CNN. (Previous notables like Ben Stein, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Ted Kennedy have spoken on campus before and were not Evangelicals). I’m not commenting on anything about the situation other than I simply don’t care if Romney speaks or not. Jerry sent out an email to the student body today and here’s what it says:
The following is a guest blog post by Shoshana. She is an art communications major at Liberty University. Her interests include literature, history, and botany. In her spare time, she enjoys watercolor painting, gardening, and reading fiction.
I am a Catholic student at Liberty University. I am in my sophomore year studying studio art: painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. I very much enjoy my major and Liberty as a whole. I was raised Baptist. When I was eight years old my family entered the Catholic Church. My brother and I decided we wanted to stay at Liberty Christian Academy (LCA–the private Baptist school we had attended since kindergarten) rather than leave our friends and go to a Catholic school. There were times in high school when I regretted my decision to stay at LCA. I had a lot of friends, but none of them understood what I believed. My teachers were all great people, but all of them thought they knew what I as a Catholic believed and were often completely wrong. I cannot recount all the kindly and patiently uttered anti-Catholic speeches I endured, the many unconscious slights against Catholicism, and the few not-so-innocent remarks. One girl in my history class verbally attacked me because I “worshipped Mary”. I wish I had a dime for every time that untruth came up. Instead of asking me what I believed and taking time to listen, this girl assumed that she already knew all of my beliefs. Yet what she “knew” was based on hearsay. This is perhaps to be overlooked in a teenager, but when the offender was a teacher, he or she needed to be aware that “bearing false witness” (i.e., telling the class that Catholics believe something which they do not believe) is an offense in God’s eyes. In high school I had a teacher who told me it was his goal to convert me to Protestantism before the year was over. I found that insulting. I was a Christian just as he was (as Dr. Jerry Falwell always said, “Catholics are Christians!”).