Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Priority of The Inner Life With God

Most contemporary people base their inner life on their outward circumstances. Their inner life on their outward circumstances. Their inner peace is based on other people's valuation of them, and in their social status, prosperity, and performance. Christians do this as much as anyone. Paul teaches that, for believers, it should he the other way around. Otherwise we will be whiplashed by how things are going in the world. If Christians do not base their lives on God's steadfast love, then they will have "to accept as success what others warrant to be so, and to take their happiness, even their own selves, at the quotation of the day. They tremble, with reasons, before their fate." #TimothyKeller #Prayer

Friday, October 17, 2014

Textus Receptus vs modern critical text

I was recently asked why I don't read the KJV. I personally feel that that not many people even know how we got the KJV, or any of the other modern translations.

Believing sincerely that they were improving the New Testament text, Westcott and Hort rejected a number of familiar readings in preference for what they thought were more accurate readings. Since 1881 the majority of English translations of the New Testament - including the New American Standard Bible, the New International Version, the Revised English Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version - have used a text that is much closer to the one published by Westcott and Hort than the one issued by Erasmus. The main exception to this is the New King James Version, which is based on the Textus Receptus. Major differences between the Textus Receptus and a modern critical text include the following: (1) the omission or addition of substantial passages (Matt. 16:2b, 3; Mark 16:9-20; Luke 22:19b, 20, 43, 44; John 7:53-8:11; 1 John 5:7, 8); (2) the omission or addition of shorter passages (Matt. 6:13; 17:21; 18:11; 21:44; Mark 9:44, 46; Luke 9:56; Acts 8:37; Rom. 16:24); (3) the substitution of a word (or words) for another (1 Timothy 3:16; Rev. 22:14); and (4) the omission or addition of a single word or group of words (Matt. 6:4, 6; Cor. 6:20; 11:24; 1 John 3:1).

In the twentieth century the New Testament in Greek has been edited by both Protestant and Roman Catholics scholars. The most widely used forms of the text are the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (26th ed.) and the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th ed.). Other scholars, arguing that the text underlying the King James Version is closest to the originals, have edited The Greek New Testament According to the Majority Text (1982). The differences between these various Greek texts are often significant, and cab be seen in the marginal notes provided in the standard English translations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Problem of Evil and Suffering

If God existed, he would be all-powerful and morally perfect. An all-powerful and morally perfect being would not allow evil to exist. But we observe evil. Hence, God does not exist.

I often times here such statements by skeptics claiming that if God truly existed would not allow so much evil in this world. Isn't God powerful enough to end the evil of ISIS? Isn't God powerful enough and all-loving to just end the epidemic disease of Ebola?

I believe we can add many problems we face on a daily basis, we often question the existence of God, "Why Lord, if you are real, do you allow this... or that...?"

There are many ways to understand the phrase "the problem of evil." I understand this phrase as a label for a certain purely intellectual problem - as opposed to an emotional, spiritual, pastoral, or theological problem (and as opposed to a good many other possible categories of problem as well). The fact that there is much evil in the world (that is to say, the fact that many bad things happen) can be the basis for an argument for the nonexistence of God (that is, of an omnipotent and morally perfect God. But I take these qualifications to be redundant: I take the phrases "a less than omnipotent God" and "a God who sometimes does wrong" to be self-contradictory, like "round square" or "a perfectly transparent object that casts a shadow."

That God is omnipotent means that he can do anything - provided his doing it doesn't involve an intrinsic impossibility. (Thus, even an omnipotent being can't draw a round square. And God, although he is omnipotent, is unable to lie, for his lying is as much a intrinsic impossibility as a round square.) To say that God is morally perfect is to say that he never does anything morally wrong - that he could not possibly do anything morally wrong. If omnipotence and moral perfection are nonnegotiable components if the idea of God, this fact has the following two logical consequences.

(1) If the universe was made by an intelligent being, and if that being is less than omnipotent (and if there's no other being who is omnipotent), the atheists are right: God does not exist.

(2) If the universe was made by an omnipotent being, and if that being has done even one morally wrong thing (and if there isn't another omnipotent being, one who never does any anything morally wrong), the atheists are right: God does not exist. If, therefore, the Creator of the universe lacked either omnipotence or moral perfection and if he claimed to be God, he would be either an imposter (if he claimed to be omnipotent and morally perfect) or confused (if he admitted that he was less than omnipotent or less than morally perfect and still claimed to be God).

One premise of the simple version of the argument set above - that an all-powerful and morally perfect being would not allow evil to exist - might well be false if the all-powerful and wholly good being were ignorant, and not culpably ignorant, of the the existence of evil. But this is not a difficulty for the proponent of the simple argument, for God, if he exists, is omniscient. The proponent if the simple argument could, in fact, defend his premise by an appeal to far weaker these about the extent of God's knowledge than "God is omniscient." If the simple argument presents an effective prima facie case for the conclusion that there is no omnipotent and morally perfect being who is omniscient, it presents an equally effective prima facie case for the conclusion that there is no omnipotent and morally perfect being who has even as much knowledge of what goes on in the world as we human beings have. The full panoply of omniscience, so to speak, does not really enter into the initial stages of a presentation and discussion of an argument from evil. Omniscience, omniscience in the full sense of the word, will become important only when we come to examine responses to the argument from evil that involve free will.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Faith in Training

Now Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods 'where they get off', you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and from, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

The first step is to recognize the fact that your moods change. The next is to make sure that, if you have once accepted Christianity, then some of its main doctrines shall be deliberately held before your mind for some time every day. That is why daily prayers and religious readings and churchgoing are necessary parts of the Christian life. We have to be continually reminded of what we believe. Neither this belief nor any other will automatically remain alive in the mind. It must be fed. And as a matter of fact, if you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?

#CSLewis

When Worlds Collide

The word Faith seems to be used by Christians in two senses.... In the first it means simply Belief - accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Christianity. That is fairly simple. But what does puzzle people - at least it used to puzzle me - is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as a virtue. I used to ask how on earth it can be a virtue - what is there moral or immoral about believing or not believing a set of statements? Obviously, I used to say, a sane man accepts or rejects any statement, not because he wants to or does not want to, but because the evidence seems to him good or bad.....

Well, I think I still take that view. But what I did not see then - and a good many people do not see still - was this. I was assuming that if the human mind once accepts a thing as true it will automatically go on regarding it as true, until some real reason for reconsidering it turns up. In fact, I was assuming that the human mind is completely ruled by reason. But that is not so. For example, my reason is perfectly convinced by good evidence that anesthetics do not smother me and that properly trained surgeons do not start operating until I am unconscious. But that does not alter the fact that when they have me down in the table and clap their horrible mask over my face, a mere childish panic begins inside me. I start thinking I am going to choke, and I am afraid they will start cutting me up before I am properly under. In other words, I lose my faith in anesthetics. It is not reason that is taking away my faith: on the contrary, my faith is based on reason. It is my imagination and emotions. The battle is between faith and reason in one side and emotion and imagination in the other.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Rule of Love

The rule for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you injure someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, not to please God and obey the law of charity, but to shoe him what a fine forgiving chap you are, and to put him in your debt, and then sit down to wait for his 'gratitude', you will probably be disappointed. (People are not fools: they have a very quick eye for anything like showing off, or patronage.) But whenever we do good to another self, just because it is a self, made (like us) by God, and desiring its own happiness as we desire ours, we shall have learned to love it a little more or, at least, to dislike it less.

- from Mere Christianity 1905 George MacDonald, whose writings greatly influenced Lewis, dies at age eighty. 

1956 Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold is published by Geoffrey Bles, London 

#CSLewis 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Decision Making

Decision making is an art, which requires the decision maker to combine experience and education to act.