Fundamental Astuteness

The Essence of Astuteness: Non-Partisan Intellectual Honesty

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The latest trends

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As mentioned previously, I had no idea how hard a senior year could be, but I”m enjoying every minute of it. That being said, I have also found out that it is not possible to devote equal amounts of brainpower to every interesting subject in a meaningful way. Therefore, three things of hard thought have been occupying my thoughts recently.

  1. Theological subejcts: God cannot create a rock so heavy he cannot lift it. This in no way contradicts the rationale for believing in God. More on this later
  2. Abortion: This is a subject I will write about more. The main thing here for the pro-life movement is that we haven’t been as effective as we could be in how we debate the issue. Of course we’re pro-life because we believe the unborn are living human persons. But we’re not good at taking on leftist rhetoric about “choice” and “rights,” and we do not effectively demonstrate why we believe the unborn are persons. This must change, and I hope to communicate what I have learned in this regard through this blog. Maybe someday I’ll get a chance to speak on it.
  3. The Drug Debate: I’m beginning to suspect that the war on drugs is over-rated. People like the libertarian ABC Anchor John Stossel have used their cynical writing skills to provoke me to re-think what most of my associates assume about the matter. Its a divisive issue, but research into the matter, and studies about the effectiveness of keeping them illegal seem to substantiate Stossel’s claim. In short, there’s a lot of evidence out there that needs plenty of thought and critique, and so I’m beginning to suspect that I will one day enter politics with a very libertarian position on the issue. I hope to develop some of those thoughts here in the mid to far future. Time right now is being spent collecting the evidence on both sides.

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November 5, 2008 at 7:27 pm

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On Faithful Skepticism and Rational Faith

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It is my observation that the mainstream media and academia stigmatize faith as something intellectually inferior and antithetical to both science and reason. This is not always true of every respected scientist. Some, like Michael Shermer (editor of Skeptic Magazine and the one to whom I also like to refer to as “my favorite skeptic”) have a less villifying take on faith in general, and the Christian Faith in particular. Still, atheists like George H. Smith boldy assert that “Christian theism must be rejected by any person with even a shred of respect for reason”. Websites too, like Importance of Philosophy make assertions such as “The result of using faith consistently is the complete inability to think.” Richard Dawkins is quoted as saying “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.”

I disagree.

To either replace their faith and justify their rejection of it, skeptics turn to other pinnicles on which to view truth and analyze the world. Some go all out in support of Science. Its all about science. What do emperical experiments tell us. What’s happening in the labratory. Others are all about reason. “This is rational.” “That is not.” “If God created everything, then God created evil. And since evil exists, and acording to the principle that our works define who we are, the we can assume God is evil.”

Media and acadamia potray these alternatives to faith (reason, science, etc) as exclusive to faith. “Science and Faith are not compatible” or “Reason and Faith cannot be reconciled”. The implication is that if you have faith, then you are not rational. You are not scientific. You wonder in the wastelands of stupidity and cluelessnes. Such implications are used, particuarly in our college campuses, as tools by which to destroy people’s religious faith.

And it works. The Christian Church doesn’t do very well educating its people on how to defend the faith. The de-conversion rate of college students is at an all time high. So when our young people go to college, who wants to be called “irrational” “stupid” “clueless” etc? And so people fall away from the faith or cower from the mighty intellecutals in fear because someone convinced them that faith is inherently exclusive to the other faculties of reason, science, and so on.

Part of the problem may be that we let our opponents define what faith is. And when that happens, they are more than happy to define it in the negative. “Faith is the opposite of reason” or “Faith is antithetical to science”.

But is faith merely a dictionary antonym for intellectual glory?

I think not.

I propose that we as Christians take our definition of faith from the 19th book of the New Testament, the Book of Hebrews, the 11th chapter, and the first verse, which says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

In other words, strictly speaking, faith is merely the belief in something that we have not directly seen or experienced firsthand. That’s it.

If this is the case, then it has far reaching implications into whether or not faith should be stigmatized as something inherently irrational. Because if it is true that faith is merely belief in something not directly experienced, then everyone has faith.

I have not been to England. But I have strong faith that it exists. I haven’t seen it first hand, but Rick Steves has apparantly been there and made a movie about it. The name appears in my history books and all of them agree on the general size and location of the country on the map. Its a well grounded faith too, because there is good evidence for it.

Scientists have not actually seen macro-evolution happen. No one has gone to the zoo for a few million years and watched a monkey turn from ape to homo-sapien. Its a matter of faith because they’re believing in something that they have not actually seen.

In light of this, the argument in our culture ought not to be about whether faith is inherently dangerous or evil; everyone has faith; the argument ought to be over who has the best faith supported by experience, reason, science, and logic.

As a historical faith, Christianity has, in my experience, been able to meet the burden of proof to my satisfaction such that I am convinced that, while theism and christianity are not proveable with mathmatical certainty, the archeological, scientific, philosophical, and historical evidences make faith in God and the Bible a reasonable state of existence not outside the realms of science and rationality.

The evidence that makes this so will be explored on this blog as time goes on. But for now, remember: Faith is not irrational in and of itself. Everyone has to one varying degree or another in various fields of thought and persuasion. The debate ought to be over which faith is best supported by our deductions and observations.

I conclude as I often like to do with the great quote from the great Voddie Baucham:

“Is that your final answer? I hope its not. voddie-baucham.jpgLet me give you an answer to that question that I believe is better than ‘I was raised that way’ or its better than “Well I’m Southern Baptist and that’s the way we believe’ or its better than “I tried it, and it worked for me” Let me tell you why I choose to believe the Bible. I don’t believe the Bible because I was raised that way—because I wasn’t. I don’t choose to believe the Bible because I tried it and it worked for me. My mother’s Buddhism worked for her—that’s why she was a Buddhist! I need something more than just ‘because it works’. Here’s the answer—I’ll give it to you and unpack it for you:

I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They report [of] supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claimed that their writing are divine rather than human in origin.”



No posting lately…

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Life in the summer has been so busy, and I haven’t posted a lot lately, although the hits counter still counts away the visitors despite my prolonged absence. The rush of life has still given me enough time to remember this blog and think about the nature and purpose of its existence.

I’m thinking of starting a new blog, or just reforming one I have. The truth is, I like the template over at blogspot that wordpress doesn’t have.

The new blog would be different in several ways from this one:

1. It will narrower in focus. Just a few things. Probably philosphy, ethics, and apologetics. A little bit of political commentary, but not much. Philosophy, logic, ethics, theology, etc. is too much to cover at once. Bring it down to a central theme. A few core issues. Like Philosphy/Ethics (abortion, euthenasia) and Apologetics/Christianity (Problem of evil, etc)

2. It will be better planned. Think ahead and decide what the central focus will be

3. It will dwell on a few issues more often rather than on many issues quickly. Develop an idea over time, not just skim over it and rush onto the next sensation or topic.

4. I will post on it more consistently.

So right now, I’ll be taking a lot of stuff down and wiping the slate clean, so to speak. I will fool around with this blog a little more and see if I like it. If I get a new one, the link will most surely be placed on this site for my loyal fan base to follow 🙂

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July 6, 2008 at 1:49 pm

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Best quotes this week

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I’m working on composing a layout of what I’ve been studying on abortion issues. In the meantime, other people say some rather astute things.

Regarding the Media:

“I’ve been contemplating some very weighty matters of late. Is there a God? What is the meaning of life? [and] Why do liberals hate Fox News?“–Bernard Goldberg; Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right; page 41

“USA Today has come out with a new survey: Apparently 3 out of every 4 people make up 75% of the population.”–David Letterman

For Every Politician:

“No commendation is greater than the condemnation of one’s fiercest sworn enemies”–TR Roosevelt

“I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts…There is not trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you”–Will Rogers

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May 2, 2008 at 12:10 pm

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Voddie Baucham: “Why I believe the Bible”–Fundamental Astuteness on Christian Apologetics, part 3

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March 13, 2008 at 11:38 am

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Technical Difficulties with Youtube

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 Some of you may have noticed the order of the videos in the previous post made no sense regarding the order they were put in. Attempts to fix this have been numerous, but without success. For a fix in one area has always been met with a similar defeat in another. The plan right now is to present a series of posts, one video per post, that will present the videos in their proper order.

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March 11, 2008 at 10:40 pm

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Voddie Baucham: Fundamental Astuteness on Christian Apologetics

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The half hour is well worth it. This man has Fundamental Astuteness some pretty key areas.

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Part 3 of 6

Part 4 of 6

Part 5 of 6

Part 6 of 6

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March 10, 2008 at 12:32 pm