Archive for January 2009

Debates and Dancing

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There are about ten different things that I need to (and therefore should be) doing right now, but I have to talk for a moment about the debate I saw tonight. My roommates and I went to go see a debate, sponsored by Campus for Christ, between William Lane Craig (a well-known Christian apologist) and Christopher DiCarlo (someone who I had never heard of before, but an atheist professor at a college in Ontario). The debate question was, “Does God Matter?” and before the debate even began, I thought it was somewhat of a useless question. I think it is a secondary question after the question, “Does God exist?” As it seems to me, if God exists, then he matters, but if he does not exist, then he does not matter. I think that that conclusion was reaffirmed throughout the debate.

Overall, I felt that the debate was pretty bad. I mean, both debaters were competent, and I think both made very good points, but ultimately there was little to no dialogue between the two. Both gave their opening statements, and then there were supposed to be two rebuttals – but their rebuttals primarily consisted of them saying the same things over again. Neithe really even brought up the other person’s points to assess them, other than Craig mentioning that DiCarlo claimed he was committing the genetic fallacy (something which was never addressed again by either person after that point). After these “rebuttals,” they had half an hour of questions…Continue Reading

The Case for Christ

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Well, I just finished reading “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel about fifteen minutes ago. I had read the “youth edition” way back in high school, and I must say, it was better the first time around. First off, the youth edition has pretty pictures and diagrams to keep kids’ attention. Second, back in high school I knew much less than what I know now. Back then, I found it thoroughly convincing, and it definitely reinforced the idea that my beliefs were on a bedrock-solid foundation. Now, having read the full version, with much more knowledge about the conclusions of scholars in my head, I must say that it was a horrible book.

I don’t say that lightly, either. The introduction paints a picture of a courtroom – there is the story of a man who was falsely accused because the evidence pointed towards the fact that he committed the crime. However, a later investigation of the evidence completely turned the case around. Strobel then tries to liken that to this book. He tells the reader to be the “juror” for the case of Jesus Christ, and examine the evidence neutrally and with a non-biased frame of mind. However, the rest of the book does a complete 180 on that idea. Not once does he interview a skeptical scholar that will present the evidence for the other side. He sometimes tries to summarize the skeptical viewpoint in a sentence or two, so that the Christian scholar he is interviewing…Continue Reading

Parties for Presidents

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Wow, what a day. Today was the big inauguration ceremony of the 44th President of the United States. And boy, was it a grand occasion! It’s a moment in history that we have just gone through, folks. The first black president is nothing to shake a stick at (whatever that means). I skipped class today in order to watch the ceremony. I figured, what’s more interesting, graphs of normal distributions – something I learned in high school anyway – or watching a timeless moment of history in the making? I think the choice is obvious.

Today was a tremendous day, not just for Democrats that had their moment of success today, but for everyone. It wasn’t just for the Democrats, nor for the African-Americans, nor for even just the Americans. The whole world is affected by this moment, and the whole world, I think, should be proud of it, no matter where your political persuasions lie. Today is the day that the last nail is driven into the coffin of racial discrimination. Certainly the problem isn’t completely over, but it shows that Americans have gotten past it. Today is a day when America as a whole shifts direction – whether you see that as a good or a bad thing, you must at least agree that it’s a significant one. And of course, today is the day that marks the beginning of change.

Now, I’m not all sold out on Obama’s platform of “change” and “hope” and all that. I’m…Continue Reading

Updates and Upgrades and Squash

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I just got back about half an hour ago from playing squash for an hour with one of my friends. Man alive, that game is a workout. I played some racquetball, which is very similar, back in high school for gym class, so I remembered that it was very physically demanding, but still…if you ever want a fun way to work out and stay active, try squash or racquetball. You’ll be out of breath and sweating like a pig in no time. But in a fun way.

At any rate, since I really have no energy now to even move out of my chair, I decided that I might as well put the situation to good use and blog a bit. I don’t really have much to say, though. I guess a bit of an update about my religious undoings is in order. I kind of told myself I wouldn’t blog about it for a while, but I write what I think about, and I still think about religion and religious beliefs a lot. So here we go.

Altogether, things have been getting better. I made it through the Christmas season, although I cringed at the sight of nativity scenes with the Magi present. (Much of the Christmas story that we all know and love is due to smushing the two separate and wildly different nativity accounts from Matthew and Luke together into one big story. Seriously, try reading them both one after the other some time. And try to…Continue Reading

Meritocracies and Morality

I’ve recently gained a whole new level of respect for the Chinese. Not that I didn’t have any for them before, but well…to be honest, I never knew all that much about them. Last night, I was reading my textbook for Studies in the Humanities (basically a history of the arts), and it had a small section on the ancient Chinese civilization. One of the things it mentions was their system of government, an aristocracy based on merit. Essentially, their system involved examinations testing the skill and competence of those seeking government office. Is that not amazing or what?

What was remarkable to me is that they instituted this system between 1200 and 800 BCE, and yet it’s very similar in nature to the type of “meritocracy” that Plato envisioned hundreds of years later, in 400 to 300 BCE. I mean, some of the details are certainly different, but Plato talked about “philosopher kings” in his work “The Republic,” which are essentially the intellectual elite – the wisest. These Chinese folks actually instituted this system and, well, it appears to have worked decently well if it stuck around for at least 400 years.

I think something like this should be instituted into the Canadian system of government. Right now, being a politician is a fairly lucrative business. Unstable, yes, but you get paid pretty well. And yet, the requirements for becoming a successful politician are, a) popularity, and b) popularity. There’s really no intelligence required. Just look at Sarah Palin…Continue Reading