Saturday, December 13, 2014

A problem with presuppositional apologetics

Presuppositional apologetics, as advocated by Cornelius Van Til is popular in some circles. Although there are certain sentiments behind it that I have sympathy with, it can be quite problematic, particularly in practical application, and its attitude to secular scholarship.

The latest issue of Science and Christian Belief has a review of a recent book What the Heavens Declare: Science in the Light of Creation by Lydia Jaeger.
The reviewer, William Simpson, has the following valuable insight.
Unfortunately the presuppositional school persistently confuses the ‘order of knowing’ with the ‘order of being’: from the insistence that God is ‘the foundation of everything that exists’, it simply does not follow that we must begin with God’s existence in order to explain anything. 
For example: in the order of being, the university town of St Andrews precedes any road sign that points to it; the one, presumably, would not be present without the other. In the order of knowing, however, the road signs may precede the town for a traveller trying to find his way to it. The theological twist behind the epistemic slip is more serious: in Calvin’s nomenclature, it involves an unbiblical refusal to seek common ground, grounded in common grace, with non-Christians.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Christian physicist on rationality

Andrew Steane is a Professor of Physics at Oxford. He has recently published a book Faithful to Science: The role of religion in Science. I am looking forward to reading it.

On the Oxford University Press site he has an interesting blogpost Questioning the question: religion and rationality. It gives the flavour of his thinking and writing. His blog also explores these issues.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A cogent case for Christian Platonism

The next book for the monthly theology reading and discussion group is Returning to Reality: Christian Platonism for our times by Paul Tyson. One thing that is a little different is that the author is a member of the discussion group!
Christian Platonism holds that the unseen God really is the present source and ongoing ground of all created reality. Further, Christian Platonism holds that the qualities of beauty, goodness, and truth, wherever they are in some measure discovered, are divine revelations of real meanings that give the world in which we live its value and purpose.
page 3.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

From revolution to disillusion

Adam Michnik, a historian who helped to overthrow the Soviets in Poland, once said: 
“Revolutions have two phases: first comes a struggle for freedom, then a struggle for power. The first makes the human spirit soar and brings out the best in people. The second unleashes the worst: envy, intrigue, greed, suspicion and the urge for revenge.”
This is in fascinating article about Iran,  The revolution is over, in a recent issue of The Economist.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Comparing leading newspapers in India

Like on my last trip to India I took the newspaper daily. It costs 4 rupees (about 8 cents!). Following my thoughts from last time, I got The Hindu, rather than The Times of India. I was glad I did. I thought the coverage and analysis was much better, and thankfully there wasn't the pages of Bollywood gossip, that the Times reports.

It was interesting to be reading the reports of the G20 Summit in Brisbane from an Indian perspective. It was also embarrassing and frustrating to read reports about the Australian government's policies and actions on Ebola, refugees, and climate change.

This advert nicely captures the difference between the Hindu and The Times.

A similar one is here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Science and the Bible in Hyderabad

Last week I gave a talk "Science and the Bible" to the Naga Christian Fellowship at Hyderabad Central University. Here are the slides. The majority of the audience were Ph.D candidates in social sciences and humanities. After the talk there was an extended question and answer session which I thought was stimulating and helpful.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The mystery of the providence of God

I don't know.

A week ago at the SAIACS morning chapel service I gave a talk, "The mystery of the providence of God", based on Job 38. I began by showing this video.