Archive for April, 2011

Atheist / Christian Dialogue…

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

http://justreality.org/2011/04/26/truth-beyond-the-provable/

An old friend of mine from Rochester, a pastor with a PhD in Physics named George, creates a mock dialogue between the believer and the skeptic.  A great summary of the different defense postures of the Christian when discussing religion with skeptics.  Of interest to me (because I never thought of them before) was his criticism of the typical skeptic refusal of a null hypothesis and doing a test that falsifies their hypothesis of God’s non-existence. That is a way to turn the burden of proof to the skeptic.

I also liked the straw-man criticism of the typical “how could a ‘good’ God do bad thing xyz…” skeptical criticism of Christianity.  How often have I heard the argument that God is “evil” from a worldview where there is no God.  I have always believed that good criticism must borrow the worldview of the the other in order to be effective.

“The Fool” of Psalm 14

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

The themes of Psalm 14, although exegetically difficult, have been popular subjects of theology and philosophy from the time of Paul until today.  Paul loosely quotes verses 1-3 in Rom 3:10-12 to describe the fallen state of godless Jews and Gentiles to a Jewish audience.  Anselm of Canterbery, who developed his logical argument for the ontological existence of God in Proslogium,  cited Psalm 14 as an important building block in his line of reasoning.  He was refuted by Gaunilo of Marmouter in an essay entitled In Behalf of the Fool, who based his criticism on the theology of Psalm 14.
Neo-Calvinistic scholarship of the later reformation era later begin exploring these themes as well with the goal to define a concrete theological doctrine to refute Arminianism.  The tenant of total depravity,  a cornerstone belief in Reformed theology, rests heavily on a universalized interpretation of verses 1-3.  It is likely that the origin of this interpretation came from an understanding based on Paul’s re-contextualization of its verses in Romans, a creative practice he sometimes employed in the formulation of his arguments but obscured their original meaning and context.
The purpose of this research is to conduct a formal study of Psalm 14 from a literary-theological exegetical approach.  Paul’s treatment and usage of this text will not be used for understanding the psalmist’s original meaning in this review, although a study of that subject would be a good compliment to more fully understand the issues they both address. Read the rest of this entry »