German philosopher and atheist Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was the first to proclaim, “God is dead.” Nietzsche holds an important position in the history of philosophy, serving as a forerunner to the secular movements of atheistic existentialism and secular postmodernism.
While Nietzsche remained very critical of institutionalized Christianity and Christians in particular, on occasion he spoke respectfully of Jesus Christ and of his character. Continue reading
Was Charles Darwin a confident evolutionist?
It may be surprising to learn that the father of modern evolutionary theory had doubts about his proposed explanation for life’s diversity. Reflective by nature, Darwin (1809–1882) worried about the philosophical implications of his biological theory. One concern was whether humanity’s cognitive (belief-producing) faculties—which he believed had evolved from the lower animals—could be trusted to produce reliable, true beliefs about reality itself. Here’s how Darwin expressed his epistemological (relating to knowing) reservations concerning the purely naturalistic process of evolution: 1
With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? Continue reading
Every January, we honor the life and work of the great civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968). If you read only one of King’s writings, I would encourage you to read his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written in April 1963 while he was incarcerated in the city jail. The letter served primarily as a response to a statement from a group of Christian clergymen who questioned King’s methods of confronting the problem of racial segregation in Birmingham.
King, himself a pastor, sets forth his motives, intentions, and justification for the nonviolent civil rights movement that he lead in America in the 1950s and 1960s. He also provides a rational, moral, and theological defense of his life’s work.
Reading this letter would be a great way to honor Dr. King and to reflect upon the critical moral issue of justice. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” can be found online here: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html.
Does everyone have a worldview? What critical factors shape a person’s worldview compass? How important is it to correctly discern the worldview held by major influencers, such as our political leaders?
With the Presidential campaign well under way, I thought it would be a good time to revisit a recent edition of my podcast, Straight Thinking. In episode #187 I discuss the provocative documentary 2016: Obama’s America by political commentator and Christian apologist Dinesh D’Souza. My intent is not to discuss the political issues, per se, or tell people who to vote for, but rather to evaluate the important questions in the film that relate to worldview thinking.
Give the program a listen—it’s sure to make you think!
This dialogue between science and spirituality has a long history—especially with respect to Christianity.
— Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom (New York: Morgan Road, 2005), 5.
It’s basketball season and I can’t let it go by without commenting on my favorite team. I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan since the late 1960s. So here is my list of the greatest Lakers players through the decades (in historical order only). Continue reading
Blaise Pascal’s famous wager argues that believing in God’s existence is a safer bet than not believing. Before examining the strengths and weaknesses of Pascal’s proposed gamble, we must understand the context in which it arose and how Pascal1 intended it to be used as an apologetics tool. Four points of clarification2 are helpful in this regard. Continue reading
According to Winston Churchill, Albert Speer was the most important Nazi because his competence in managing the German war machine (as minister of armaments and munitions) lengthened the war by two years. Yet as the powerful quote below reveals, Speer joined the Nazi Party without applying critical thinking. A lesson for the ages (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Continue reading
Last week, I highlighted the remarkable mathematical and scientific accomplishments that distinguished the short life of French thinker Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). His ideas and inventions rightly earned him the title of “the first modern man.” But science and math weren’t the only fields Pascal impacted—his writings on theology and apologetics remain a treasure of historic Christian literature. In this post, I’ll describe Pascal’s conversion experience and involvement in the church. (See part 1 for an introduction to Pascal.) Continue reading
Posted in Apologetics, Christian Literature, Famous Christians, Famous People, Historical Figures, History
Tagged apologetics, Blaise Pascal, Jansenist movement, Pensees, religious experience, The Provincial Letters
Despite dying in 1662 at age 39, French philosopher Blaise Pascal left a mark on mathematics and science still present to this day. Part 2 of this series on Pascal’s intellectual legacy focuses not only on his practical contributions to math and science, but also on his influence on the philosophy of science. (See part 1 for an introduction to Pascal.) Continue reading