Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Nature and Power of Worldview

A. Introduction: The World of The Matrix

Eleven years ago, the remarkable movie, The Matrix, was released. It was followed by two sequels in 2003, and ranks as one of the most successful Hollywood franchises. The Matrix is built around the premise that the world as we experience it is an illusion—the result of an intricate computer simulation. Human-created artificial intelligence have taken over the ‘real world’ and enslaved human beings to suck the heat and energy out of their bodies. The real world sees human bodies ‘grown’ in vast fields, hooked up to electrical inputs to harvest their resources, and also hooked up to visual simulators that treat them to a virtual reality. This virtual reality, known as ‘The Matrix’, resembles human life on earth as we know it. Human beings who are in reality hooked up to machines have the vivid experience of working normal jobs, having relationships, and so forth. The virtual reality is so accurate that people do not realize they are being manipulated and deceived.

However, a group of humans has been awakened to the true nature of reality, and they wage a quiet rebellion against The Matrix. In the movie, the focus is on Neo Anderson, a computer hacker who questions his reality but has no idea of what is out there. Morpheus and Trinity, two ‘liberated’ humans, seek to enlighten Neo. They offer him two pills, one of which will return him to his virtual reality life, the other of which will show him what is really real. Neo famously takes the red pill, and his world is forever changed. He will never look at things the same way again. Neo now sees the world through a new lens, a new theoretical structure: he has a new worldview

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Apologetic Mandate: Biblical & Contemporary

“Some people depreciate the importance of apologetics as a theoretical discipline. ‘Nobody comes to Christ through arguments,’ they’ll you. ‘People aren’t interested in what’s true, but in what’s for them. They don’t want intellectual answers: they want to see Christianity lived out.’” William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith, 3rd ed. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008), 15-16.

Within the church, apologetics is not always an appreciated ministry or intellectual endeavor. Some Christians, who themselves do not struggle with long-term or deep-seated doubts, have the mistaken notion that all Christians are (or at least ought to be) like them. Most Christians did not themselves come to saving faith in Jesus through arguments, evidences, or reasonable appeals. Rather, they encountered the Lord in a personal religious experience. If that is how people come to faith, such folk may wonder, why waste time and energy on apologetics instead of focusing on worship and evangelism?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review of Darrell Bock, "Recovering the Real Lost Gospel"

Bock, Darrell L. Recovering the Real Lost Gospel: Reclaiming the Gospel as Good News. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2010.

Over the past two weeks, I have been working through Darrell Bock’s Recovering the Real Lost Gospel: Reclaiming the Gospel as Good News, a relatively compact 136-page read. Bock writes out of concern that when “some people preach the gospel today, I am not sure I hear its presentation as good news.” (2) Sometimes the gospel is a therapeutic call to self-healing; sometimes it’s only about a transaction (“a kind of spiritual root canal”); sometimes it’s only about avoiding God’s wrath; sometimes it’s about transforming political structures alone. Bock aims to discuss key biblical texts in order to answer the question: “What does the Bible say about the gospel?” (2) His thesis is that “the gospel is good news, and its core is a restored relationship with God.” (1)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Darwinism, Intelligent Design, and the Plight of the Polar Bear

Darwinism, Intelligent Design, and the Plight of the Polar Bear

Susan McGrath, “On Thin Ice: Not Too Late for Polar Bears.” National Geographic Vol. 220, No. 1 (July 2011), 64-75.

The beloved polar bear is one of the iconic animals of the Canadian (and Eurasian) Arctic. During a mission trip from Edmonton to native communities in the Northwest Territories, I purchased a sweet plush polar bear for our then-3-year-old daughter. She has loved that little teddy bear for five years now.

Non-plush-toy polar bears are not quite as cute and cuddly as their souvenir-store counterparts. Armed with sharp claws and teeth, polar bears are also the largest land carnivore in the world. Males routinely grow to 1000 pounds; females top out around 500 pounds. The largest polar bear ever recorded was over 2000 pounds. So clearly, polar bears are massive meat-eaters with a perch atop the Arctic food chain.

Sadly, Canada’s iconic polar bear is in a fair bit of trouble right now.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Logic, Morality, and Divine Nature

The laws of logic, like the laws of morality, are not entities distinct from God (existing apart from Him), but rather are themselves aspects of divine rationality and character respectively.

Paraphrased and expanded from Steven Cowan and James Spiegel, "The Love of Wisdom: A Christian Introduction to Philosophy" (B&H Academic, 2009), 280.