Philosophy - Plato and Aristotle

Contesting Christianity: Philosophical Arguments

As far as my experience has shown, philosophical arguments do not play a large role in the life of most believers. Most people seem to come to be a Christian either from growing up into a Christian family or through an intense emotional experience of “conversion”. Nevertheless, philosophical arguments for the existence of God and/or the truth of Christianity have a rich historical tradition, from Thomas Aquinas and Augustine of Hippo to Descartes and Kant. And while many philosophers have conceded that these arguments are ultimately unsuccessful, they still do have their supporters even today. So I’d like to take some time to examine a few of the most common philosophical arguments for God.Continue Reading

Praying hands

Contesting Christianity: Prayer and Miracles

Religion, Science · · 13 comments

Prayer and miracles are two more key aspects of Christianity. While it seems that the Christian faith could survive without these things, it would seem to be a pretty bland religion if it did. The efficacy of prayer is often touted in church services as evidence for the truth of Christianity. And miracles are a key element of some Christians’ defense of the faith as well. But do these arguments hold up to scrutiny? I would argue that they do not, and that the reason these arguments are used is because the individuals using them don’t adequately ask themselves what they might expect if God did not exist. Like any good scientist, in order to evaluate a hypothesis, we must establish what we would expect if the statement were true, and what we would expect if it were false. I am going to attempt to do just this in regard to prayer first, and then miracles, to determine whether these phenomena can reasonably be used as evidence of God’s existence.Continue Reading

Jesus' resurrection

Contesting Christianity: The Resurrection

I think it is safe to say that of all the doctrines of faith present in Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus has to be the most fundamental. Paul himself said that “if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain…. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:14,17-19). Thus, while there are some Christians who do not believe in a literal resurrection, for most Christians it seems to be critical to the faith.Continue Reading

Kingdom Hall sign

Witnessing the Witnesses

Religion · · 22 comments

For the past few weeks, I’ve been in contact with a few Jehovah’s Witnesses. They, of course, make it quite easy, since they will show up right at my house. So, yesterday (Saturday), I invited them in to sit and chat for a while, and at some point near the end of the discussion, they offered me an invitation to come join them in one of their weekly meetings. So today, I decided to take them up on this offer and attend their Sunday meeting. It was fascinating and strange, so I’d like to take some time to describe it for you.Continue Reading

The Bible

Contesting Christianity: Biblical Accuracy

Religion · · 15 comments

One of the keystones of the Christian faith is the Bible. Without it, there is very little that can be said about Christianity. All the primary doctrines of faith are in it or derive from it, and the main figure (Jesus Christ) is only found with any detail inside its pages. So, clearly, a defense of the accuracy of the Bible is crucial for the Christian.Continue Reading

Sign with line through Christian cross

Contesting Christianity: Setting the Stage

This past weekend, I had two Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door. I immediately told them (twice!) that I wasn’t interested, but they somehow kept their foot in the door by not letting me get a word in edgewise. Certainly they were polite, but their persistence was annoying for someone who clearly wasn’t interested. But this is just one example of the influence that religion can have over people’s lives. These JWs go door-to-door all over the world with a massively coordinated workforce of volunteers.Continue Reading

Sixth birthday of Disjointed Thinking

The First Six Years

Today marks the sixth anniversary of my blog. Six years! I can’t believe it’s been that long. Well, in some ways, it feels like I’ve had this thing forever. In Internet years, it’s on the verge of becoming a senior citizen. So before I go further in this post, let’s raise a celebratory glass of any liquid you’ve got handy and toast to a wonderful six years of randomness, irrelevancy, and just a hint of honest sincerity. Truly disjointed thinking if ever I saw it. Here’s to another six years!Continue Reading