Saturday, December 25, 2010

Universally Quantified Quantified Statements

Quantification deals with statements about all, none, or some of a group.

One may indeed conclude that:

1) All Cats are black.
2) Sophie is a cat.
3) Therefore, Sophie is black.

BUT, not with any of the laws of Logic priorly taught. For symbolically, one can see that this wouldn't follow in any modus ponens kind of way.

1) P
2) Q
3) R

Obviously, this is an invalid argument. That's why we need Quantification!

This is not a new form of logic, it's just a bit of the science behind "Quantified Statements". In reality, Quantified statements turn out to be a form of the rules taught earlier.


Universally Quantified Statements


Universally Quantified Statements are statements about all or none of a group. These are actually, "if, then" statements disguised as "all x is y". For example, if I say, "All cats are black", I'm basically saying, "If anything is a Cat, it is black". Or if I say, "No dog is yellow", I'm saying, "If anything is a dog, it is not yellow".

"x" is used as the Variable to represent "Anything" in order to symbolize Quantified statements.
So, when I say, "All dogs are confused", I say, for any x, if x is a dog, it is confused.

To symbolize this, we say, "(x)(Dx->Cx). (x) represents the "For any X". "Dx" represents the antecedent clause, "If x is a dog", and "Cx" represents the Consequent clause, "x is confused".

This way, we can put a subject in as x:

(x)(Dx->Cx) (For any x, if x is a Dog, x is confused)

Let's say Sam is a Dog. Sam, then, becomes the subject for the argument to apply to.

1) (x)(Dx)->Cx)
2) Ds (Sam is symbolized as "s" attaching to the D "Dog")
3) Ds->Cs (Sam is symbolized as "s" attaching to the C "confused")

The only way you can learn these is through examples, so try some of these out:
1.
1) Every car is oily.
2) Sally is a car.
3) If Sally is a car, Sally is oily.
3) Therefore, Sally is Oily.

Symbolized
1) (x)(Cx->Ox)     (For any x, if x is a car, x is oily)
2) Cs     (Sally is a car)
3) Cs->Os    (If Sally is a car, Sally is Oily)
4) Os     (Therefore, Sally is Oily)


2.

1) No humans have wings.
2) Sam is a human.
3) If Sam is a human, Sam does not have wings.
4) Therefore, Sam does not have wings.

Symbolized:
1) (x)(Hx-> ¬Wx)     (For any x, if x is a human, x does not have wings)
2) Hs     (Sam is a human [Note how "H" represents the human and "s" represents Sam])
3) Hs -> ¬Ws     (If Sam is a human, then Sam does not have wings)
4) ¬Ws     (Sam doesn't have wings)


3.

1) All Christians are morally reprobate.
2) Evan is a Christian.
3) If Evan is a Christian, then Evan is morally reprobate.
4) Therefore, Evan is morally reprobate.

Symbolized
1) (x)(Cx->Mx)     (For any x, if x is a Christian, x is morally reprobate)
2) Ce     (Evan is a Christ [Evan is symbolized by "e"])
3) Ce->Me     (If Evan is a Christian, Evan is morally reprobate)
4) Me     (Therefore, Evan is morally reprobate.


One last and slightly more complicated example:

1) All bears have claws.
2) Everything that has claws can kill.
3) Bobby is a bear.
4) If Bobby is a bear, then Bobby has claws.
5) If Bobby has claws, then Bobby can kill.
6) Therefore, if Bobby is a bear, Bobby can kill.
8) Therefore, Bobby can kill.


Symbolized

1) (x)(Bx->Cx)    (For any x, if x is a bear, x has claws)
2) (x)(Cx->Kx)    (for any x, if x has claws, x can kill)
3) Bb     (Bobby is a bear [Bobby symbolized by "b"])
4) Bb->Cb     (If Bobby is a bear, then bobby has claws)
5) Cb->Kb     (If Bobby has claws, then Bobby can Kill)
6) Bb->Kb     (Therefore, if Bobby is a bear, Bobby can Kill)
7) Kb     (Therefore, Bobby can Kill)


If you have any questions, please comment on this post or send me an email. I'm more than willing to help, as I know these posts aren't as clear as a text book would have them.

Conditional Proof and Reductio Ad Adsurdum

Here are two types of argumentation which will prove incredibly useful.

The first is called a "Conditional Proof". A Conditional Proof isn't any special law of Logic, it's just a mode of reasoning. Many times when we lay out a set of premises which lead to a conclusion, there are some premises we actually "Suppose", which is another way of saying, "Suppose this is true". Instead of arguing, "This is true, and this is true, therefore this is true", with a conditional proof one can argue "If this is true, then these conclusions follow."

Here's an example.

1) Michael is either in the Library or at Sonic.
2)     Michael is not at Sonic
3)     Therefore, Michael is in the Library.


Ok, so look at the first premise. In this case, we're not supposing the first premise, so it's just like any old P->Q premise. But see how the next premise 2) is indented? This is a way of saying, "Suppose 2) is true". We may or may not know two is true, so we're supposing it to see which conclusions follow. The next most important thing to remember is that all following conclusions which result from the "supposed" premises must also be indented. That's why the third premise is indented in this argument.


Here's a more complicated example:

1) If God exists, he is timeless.
2) If God is timeless, he is unchanging.
3) If God is unchanging, he could not have created the Universe.
4)     God exists.
5)     Therefore, God is timeless. (MP 1,4)
6)     Therefore, God is unchanging (MP 2,5)
7)     Therefore, God could not have created the Universe. (MP 3,6)
8)Therefore, if God exists, he could not have created the universe.(CP 4-6)

Obviously, I take issue with 3), but this is a good argument for the sake of example. The last premise is NOT indented, because the CP (Conditional Premises) show that 7) results when God's existence is supposed. So one can conclude based on these premises that if indeed God does exist, he could not have created the Universe.



Reductio Ad Absurdum

The Technical meaning for this is "Reduction to Absurdity". You've probably used this a lot! A Reductio Ad Absurdum argument makes use of the Conditional Proof mode of argumentation to show that, if a certain premise is true, it entails contradictions. If a premise's truth entails contradictions, it necessarily cannot be true.

Here's an example:

1) If Humanism is true, God doesn't exist and we have a morale obligation to love other humans.
2) If God doesn't exist, all humans are just jelly bags with no more ontological value than rocks.
3) If all humans are just jelly bags with no more ontological value than rocks, then we have no morale obligation to love other humans.
4)     Humanism is true. (CP)
5)     Therefore God doesn't exist. (MP 1,4)
6)     Therefore, all humans are just jelly bags with no more ontological value than rocks. (MP 5, 2)
7)     Therefore, we have no morale obligation to love other humans. (MP 6,3)
8)     Therefore, we have a morale obligation to love other humans. (MP 4,1)
9)Therefore, if Humanism is true, we have a morale obligation to love other humans and we have no morale obligation to love other humans. (CP 4-8)
10) Therefore, humanism is not true. (RAA)


One can see that RAA arguments are very useful. Simply suppose that proposed premise is true, and allow it to contradict itself and show itself to be false.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shameless Venting

I feel as if I'm about to write one of those posts I'll regret later. It's one of the kinds you write when you're in a desperate mood and just want someone to listen to you. Well, hey. If you see this more than a day after I wrote it, I didn't regret writing it.

I want to take care not to become overly personal on this blog because I resolved to orient it towards apologetics months ago. I do, however, hold to a personal and heartfelt form of "counseling" apologetics. I do this because in the midst of the horrifying doubts I experienced, the thing I needed most was a friend to speak truth into me-- not arguments. Perhaps if people see that I've gone through the same struggles that they've been through and made it, it will give them strength. Alas, here I am, broken, confused, tired, mad, sad, frustrated, and everything on the list.

Is wrong to be frustrated with God? Or to want to pick a fight with Him? I don't necessarily think so. It's probably stupid looking to God, who has all of time in view. Job, in the midst of his trials, was pretty frustrated at God, and God basically tried to make it clear that he was being stupid to not trust Him. I do think that God can take our questions, though. I don't think he's offended when we yell at Him, telling him to clear away the confusion. It's not that it's not stupid, but I think God understands that we're human and have the desire to know everything when all we need to know is, "Be still and Know that I am God."

What I'm asking now is, "What is my life about?" I know the purpose of my life is to enjoy God and glorify Him forever. But how specifically do I do this?

Will my life ever amount to anything? Will I ever feel God again? Will the overwhelming anxiety which has plagued me the past few months ever be replaced by God-filled peace?

Will I ever overcome this unbelief? What's causing it? Unwillingness? All I want is to live a life; a beautiful life of God-filled happiness. What's stopping it?

I most of all do not want to waste this precious life I've been given.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why?

Who am I? Where am I going? I know God is there, but to what degree is he really there? Is Open theism true? Is Sovereignty only a human ascription to God? What does it even mean?! Does he really have a plan for my life? If he does, why on earth does everything seem so confusing right now? Why?

I know this seems a bit out of line as compared to the posts I usually put up on this blog since I decided to orient it towards apologetics. Right now, however, I need to be vulnerable; if not with anyone, to myself. I struggle with these ridiculous questions too, and right now my heart is in absolute anguish. Earlier in my life I thought to suffer was to experience physical pain, but now as I have lived through the past few months, I see that real suffering is the absence of God in one's heart. I can't imagine the cross, oh, I can't; I don't even want to think about it. In fact, the thing that is specifically bothering me right now is m unwillingness to think of the cross.

Why has my heart hardened so? Why do I not desire God? It would seem at the current moment that I do desire God, but I don't at the same time; I'm afraid of what he's going to do in my life. What has gotten into me? I know the wonder and joy that it is to be filled by God, but I don't want to go there, even though I do. Am I afraid of loss? But how could I lose anything when such a Great and Wonderful Heavenly father waits for me? Am I afraid that I'm making the wrong decision by deciding to live a life in America instead of being a full-time Missionary? Having made this decision, am I becoming less of a "living sacrifice?" Aren't there plenty more challenges to fight living in America? Just because I am not a full-time missionary doesn't mean I cannot be a warrior with a war to fight. Just because I plan on being married doesn't mean I can't have the heart of a lion and the flesh of a lamb. Just because I have someone to love dearly doesn't mean I'm cleaved to this world.

I feel, [gulp], like I am for some reason in rebellion against God because I'm unwilling to jump off the cliff and live. I'm doing everything "right", of course. No "big" sins; not even bad or impure thoughts (as far as willingness goes. I'm fully aware that my every thought is tainted by sin) But there's so, so much more than just abstaining from bad things. How much more should we indulge in the good? I feel the inability to indulge in the goodness, love, outrageous devotion, sacrifice, peace, wonder, awe, spontaneity, glory. What happened to the beautiful life I wanted to live? What happened to the life of praise mine was supposed to be?

In December of last year, I was filled to the brim with the Holy spirit. I was planning on heading to the 10/40 window to preach until I died a horrible, beautiful death. But then I began to experience a small doubt. Wasn't heaven too amazing to be true? To dance and sing, to breathe in and out the love of our Creator, Christ, in his very presence? Then Evolution entered my mind. Were we really evolved from apes? If so, how could we be dignified creatures at all? Was our world really created by God? Or did the Universe create itself ever so slowly? Is the bible reliable at all or even true? All of these led me into eight horrifying months of existential despair, depths of depression, suicidal thoughts, self-doubts, slippery reality, and unending questions about my world view. When it was all over and I came back to faith after hundreds of hours studying, my heart had lost almost every spiritual truth I had gained in the previous semester and summer at college. Although I have moved forward quite a bit from that loss, I still have very far to go.

Part of the battle, however, is an endless mental conflict. As I try to take baby steps to return to the faith I once had, all I can begin remember is how sanctified I once was and begin to beat myself up for my inability to see into these great spiritual truths. When I finally become settled on starting small and growing deeper into Christ, I begin to question myself and why I've allowed myself to become so backslidden through the doubts I had. I also beat myself up for not planning on being a missionary full time. Any of my brothers and sisters in Christ who read this, I would appreciate advice, prayers, anything. Its not on every occasion that I open myself up so, but I feel that the degree to which my heart aches for a taste of the reality of Christ requires my confessing these struggles.

Peace to you all

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ends and Means

Maturation is a constant process of replacing means [functioning as ends] with things which are ends in themselves. To be more simple: life is about realizing things which you once idolized as the prime satisfaction are only means towards accomplishing something which is a true end of established value in itself. As we grow, we realize that the things which we once thought to be end-alls and true satisfiers are only in themselves means towards accomplishing a much higher and truer goal. When I was 14 and 1/2, I thought the end all and supreme realization of happiness in life was to have a car and a cell phone. Once I obtained a car and a cell phone, I realized that this truly wasn't an end in itself, but rather only a means - transporting myself around and communicating with people. But still the question remained, "Why do I transport myself around and communicate with people?" I could come up with no answer other than, "I thought this was what it meant to have true life." Now I say, "I transport myself about and communicate with others because I have a reason for doing so, and thus I count car and cellphone of little value except for what role they may play in accomplishing a much greater goal.



When I was younger; interested in theology and ministry, I looked at those whose lives are filled with successful evangelism, security, peace, and happiness. I again began to look at these things as the supreme end in life, the chief gratification of the desperate heart of man-- and so I endeavored to reach fruits of ministry. I tasted these things, however, and found that they truly could not be end of all things. For to be happy, secure, and successful in ministry was not the reason I ought to have performed the tasks which brought me such things. To portray successful evangelism as an end of man's existence is to remove his source of joy when for whatever reason evangelism isn't successful. I again realized, however, that successful evangelism or relations with people is not the cheif end of all human life, but only a means of accomplishing some deeper and more wonderful end. What then, is there that man can see as the deepest End of all things he does? Why do anything if everything we strive towards only ends up being a means towards accomplishing else?

Do you want to be a rockstar? Once you become a rockstar, you'll realize that you deeply long for a reason to be a rockstar; a motivation to keep going.

Do you want a girlfriend/boyfriend? You'll realize pretty fast that recieving the priviledge to have a significant other is only a means towards the end of loving that person with everything you are.

Do you want to be famous? You'll wish, once you get famous, that you had a deeper reason for what you're doing, other than the satisfaction of being in the spot-light.

Do you want to be rich? You'll realize that money is only a means towards accomplishing something else once you see how miserable it makes you to objectify it as the end-all satisfaction of man.

Do you want to be skilled at something? Once you realize that objectifying excellence as the supreme end all of man makes one empty once perfection is reached, you'll see that the only reason people truly ought to become excellent is to accomplish something else.



This is a collection of my thoughts concerning how we ought to approach life. Recently, I found that I was idolizing the idea of becoming a professional philosopher/ apologist without realizing why I ought to be doing it. If one becomes a philosopher only for the sake of becoming a philosopher, what remains left to be accomplished once you've become a professional philosopher? Why not just die already? Alas, there is one answer which my heart may give; and it shows the true end of all man's life:



"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New podcast


Yes, Indeed, I'm starting another podcast! This one, however, will actually consist of podcasts with my own discussions. Please pray that I put diligent research into these podcasts, with a respect and humility before the truth. The topics discussed will include Apologetics, exhortations, and issues relevant to Christianity today.
Subsequently, the formerly "in christ alone" podcast name has been replaced with the title, "Lecture and Debate Feed"; this new podcast will be called, "in christ alone" as usual.

Currently, all the podcast contains is a test file and thus is quite empty! We shan't be disappointed, however, because as I blab, it will be filled!
Links:
RSS feed
Add to Itunes

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stephen Hawking's Latest Claims about the Universe

Stephen Hawking, a brilliant theoretical physicist/cosmologist has recently paired up with theoretical physicist/science writer Leonard Mlodinow to write "The Grand Design", a book about Hawking's (and possible Mlodinow's?) views on the universe. This book, according to many websites, has "reignited" the debate about God's existence! Well, to me, it hasn't been too noticeable, since I've pretty much had my head stuck in it the whole time! Regardless, I have seen the controversy it has caused.

First: I have not read the book. Therefore, making the proper assumption that one cannot speak much on a book unless they've read it, I will not say much. I have, however, read articles and reviews summing up the main message of the book. Does this mean I totally understand it? Nope! I do, however, seem to have picked up the same message that all of the reviewers of the book have as well, that including Roger Penrose.

There are only two ideas that I found quite surprising based on my analysis of the reviews and articles on the book, and I simply want to mention these and my thoughts.

1. "Philosophy is dead" -- A statement made on the first page of the book! I will resist the temptation to simply laugh at this (in agreement with Einstein, "the man of science is a poor philosopher"), and try to understand why he might have said this. After all, this is a man who is hundreds of times smarter than me and I can't be ignorant of the fact that he may mean something I do not understand.
Perhaps he meant something along the lines of, "Philosophical attempts to answer questions about the beginning of the universe have all fallen short, and are, in essence, unreliable." This seems to be more in line with what he said in the rest of the book. An Amazon reviewer in agreement with this statement said, "Philosophy is dead; long live (lowercase- P) philosophy!" Now, we live in a time where philosophers are invited to conferences concerning physics and cosmology because of the incredibly complex findings about the beginning of the universe. However, Hawking seems to believe that, ultimately, now that the randomness of quantum mechanics has been introduced and considered, we can no longer trust "Philosophy", but rather use modern science's assumptions to uncover the truth about the universe.

The problem here is that there seems to be no difference between "Philosophy", and "philosophy". "Philosophy" is made of the same "stuff" as "philosophy" (assumptions, logic, reason, etc). Modern science is completely filled with philosophical assumptions and philosophy in order to guide it. To claim that "Philosophy" is dead is to proclaim the death of "philosophy", which is a philosophical statement. Why ought we dismiss "Philosophy"? It seems to me that modern "Philosophy" has lead to existence of an external and non-physical cause of the universe as a logical deduction. When Hawking claims that philosophy is dead, does he mean that logic no longer has a place in determining the truth about the universe? If this is true, what better options do we have for determining truth? Scientific data? But, the thing is, scientific data is governed by philosophy. What, then, is there available for determining truth?

As a last point, it seems that Hawking assumes that God does not exist, to reason that philosophy is dead. For if God exists, how could philosophy be dead? God is inherently rational, should He exist, and God defines reality. Thus philosophy could never be dead if God existed. If God doesn't exist, philosophy is not necessarily alive, or at least epistemic rules are not morally binding. It seems that Hawking makes the assumption that God doesn't exist to come to the conclusion that we cannot trust "Philosophy" today, which seems to prove the existence of God.


2. The next claim is not old. I will be very simple about this. Hawking claims that
the universe essentially created itself in his new book. This idea is based on the fact that there is no singularity point, but rather there was a certain realm of energy and laws of physics, which equalized and thus produced material: our universe. This has nothing to do with the Kalam Cosmological Argument, however. You see, the universe, laws of physics, and space time fabric must exist in order for energy to exist and equalize. In order for a sequence of events to exist, a time dimension must be present. In order for energy to exist, physical laws that govern it must be present. Therefore, if physical laws exist and time exist, one cannot reason that the universe no longer needs an explanation, because they have assumed the universe to prove the universe! Can the universe create itself? Certainly not!

I hope I'll get to read this book sometime soon.... :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Continuation of Lessons in Logic

Now that I've written posts on the Eight laws of sentential logic, I would like to continue on summarizing the things I've learned.

This Post will be about Logical Equivalencies. Subsequent posts will be about universally and existentially quantified statements.


Logical Equivalencies


Before one starts talking about so called "equivalencies", one must first define the word "equivalent". Since the words "Equivalent" and "equal" essentially carry the same "one-to one relational" meaning, one might infer that an equivalency is simply a statement which means the exact same things as that which is compared to it, only perhaps expressed in a different way. There are more distinct definitions of equivalencies and equals in mathematics, but for the sake of this post they will not be explored.

These Equivalencies will be expressed in symbolic Logic.

P    =   ¬¬P (P equals not not P)
P v P    =    P (A choice between P or P obviously is the same as "P")
P -> Q   =    ¬P v Q

(This one (^) is a little harder to grasp. It means, "P logically implies Q" is the same thing as "Either P is not true, or Q is true. For example, take this statement: "If I am a soccer player, I am an athlete." A saying equivalent to this is, "Either I am not a soccer player or I am an athlete." You really have to sit down and think about this for a while. Try applying the rule of Disjunctive Syllogism to this to test it:

The rule of Disjunctive Syllogism states that if (P v Q), and ¬P, then Q is true. The English version of this is: If it is true that either P or Q is true, and P is not true, then Q is true. Let us apply this to the soccer player/athlete statement.

It is either true that I am not a soccer player or I am an athlete. Logically symbolized, this statement is: (¬P v Q) Now if we add a "¬" to P, thus negating "¬P" and making it "¬¬P", then Disjunctive Syllogism says that, since "¬P" has been negated, "Q" must be true. So if it is not true that one is not an soccer player, then it logically implies that one is an athlete. (Q is true)

One more Equivalency:
P -> Q   =  ¬Q -> ¬P   (This, we learned because of modus tollens. If it is true that P is sufficient for Q to be true, then if Q is not true, P cannot be true)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Can naturalism provide a warrant for forgiveness?

"An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." - Ghandi



The Inefficiency of Naturalistic Justice and the Motivations of Grace


The Prodigal Son, existing as one of many stories drawn from antiquity, easily stands out for the beauty of the grace and mercy its plot portrays. The tale revolves around a heartwarming act of forgiveness and allows the reader to view the act through two fundamentally different points of view. The older brother, harsh and callous as he is, portrays a paradigm of logical, justice driven morality. The father, as one would derive from his actions, actively depicts a paradigm of morality that derives its justice from a higher level than that of the logical morality of the older brother, thus introducing the concepts of grace and forgiveness. In-depth analysis of the storyline and the ideas represented by each character raises serious questions about the success of each morality system represented. In The Prodigal Son, the reader can clearly analyze the ability of logical, justice driven morality to remain logical in the face of the concepts of forgiveness and self. Upon examination, the concept of justice among peoples is incapable of accounting for or logically permitting such concepts as forgiveness and self sacrifice among peoples without an external source of compensation for unpaid debts accessible to the individual involved.

In order to gain an understanding of the offense facing the father, the significance of the younger son and his behavior towards the father must be taken into account. According to Jirair S. Tashjian of the Christian Resource Institute, the first century Jewish societal context of this story reveals how "unthinkable" the acts of the son were. Tashjian writes, " 'I wish you were dead,' the prodigal son was saying to his father when he asked for his share of the inheritance." The younger son lived in a time in which asking one's father for inheritance rights prematurely was incredibly inappropriate and offensive. (Tashjian). The Father certainly could have sought retribution for such insolent acts from his son. Tashjian later elaborates on the implications of Jewish Societal laws, stating that "even if a father decided to divide up his property among his heirs, neither the father nor the heirs could dispose of the property while the father was still alive" (Tashjian). Not only was the son's action offensive, brash, and rude from the start, but it violated the Jewish laws of the time. The father, of course, being the authority and owner of the estate, had the right to severely discipline his son's hurtful actions, but never did. Thus, it can be concluded that the father was made well aware of the fact that his son did not find him valuable or respectable as father, nor as an authority figure over the estate. The son then preceded to sell his inheritance and waste it in "riotous living" as a last affront to the father. (Luke 27) Indeed, the father's response to these agonizing pains he was confronted with should be understood in this context.

The older brother is an important figure in this story, as he well depicts justice and logical morality. This man's reaction to the younger brother must be understood in order to sufficiently paint a picture of justice among peoples. When the younger son returned to the estate, repentant and begging the father to give him the status of slave, the older son was astounded and infuriated when the father reinstated the other son as a distinguished member of the family and "killed the fatted calf" in order to celebrate his return (Luke). The older brother obviously believed, according to logic and justice, that in general every wrong should be paid back its due. He believed that the father should have severely disciplined the returning son, and that the young man should be refused to yet again hold the status of "son". According to The Republic, a dialogue written by Plato, the character Glaucon would agree. In Book II of The Republic, Glaucon argues that justice, by its very nature, arises from and is intrinsically subservient to the assumption that one should not do wrong without being repaid and that one should not suffer wrong without being given the right to execute retribution or to see the wrong compensated (Plato 31). According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the social contract is "the view that persons’ moral and/or political obligations are dependent upon a contract or agreement between them to form society"(Friend). In light of these assessments of ethics among peoples, the idea of "justice," though hard to define, can be seen as an agreement among peoples on the idea that every debtor is to be paid back their debts in order to retain peace. Justice depends on the idea that all men are equal, and that among inter-personal relationships, there should be no double standards for retribution of wrongs. According to this assessment, logic impels the reader to agree with the brother's position; however, the father has different idea of what true justice is.

On realizing that he was not going to succeed in life with his foolish escapades and deplorable behavior, the younger son returned to the father on his knees, requesting the mercy hat he might just be a slave in his father's house. The compassionate father, however, ran to receive his son, kissing him and ignored the young man's apologies, saying,
Bring forth the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring hither the fattened calf, and kill it, and let us eat, and be merry. For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found (Luke).

It is no wonder that the older brother is surprised and infuriated after the father warmly welcomes his son home. All logic, according to a social agreement between men, points towards the injustice of this act! After being deeply offended and heartbroken by his son, the father sought not revenge for his actions. Seeing that the young man had repented, the father canceled all the retribution his son deserved, according to the social contract, and reinstated him to the status of "son." According to Susan Eastman of Duke University, the benevolence of the father puts him in the minority of Jewish leaders of the time. Eastman explains, furthermore, that in Jewish Society, the father had to relinquish all claims to honor in society, absorb the loss of perhaps the largest portion of his estate, and go against Jewish societal laws in order to forgive his son. According to culture in this era and the writings of Paul, an early apostle, a leader in the early house churches must have strict control and discipline over his children. The father had fallen short of all of these requirements in his excessively forgiving nature (Eastman). What can be concluded from this? The father canceled out an enormous debt at his own expense, even when justice required that it be paid back.

This represents a serious problem for logical and equal justice. Small acts of forgiveness and self denial are absolutely necessary in everyday life, and therefore a person will undoubtedly be required to forgive another more than once in his or her lifetime; however, in order to remain logical upon doing so, something external is necessary. According to the social contract, an agreement between men requires that if, an individual has been wronged, they see retribution and justice carried out to their satisfaction as payback, or that they be compensated with the due value of their suffering in a different type of currency. Does this allow for forgiveness, or the cancellation of debts by one person at their own expense without an outside source of recompense for the person who forgives? Is not forgiveness itself unjust according to the social contract theory of general justice among people, unless the person who forgives is ultimately paid back? Suppose, for example, that three men of equal status have a relationship that will, for the purposes of this essay, be called a "closed system". In this "closed system," it will be assumed that no outside forces or higher authorities are involved but strictly justice according to the social contract theory. The system includes the relationship of the three men to each other and excludes every other variable such as each man's religion, family, possessions, or transactions with any individuals apart from the other man in this closed system. It may help the analogy to figuratively describe the relationship as three men locked in a small room. Consider a situation between two of the men in the room: if one man commits a large injustice to the other, such as breaking his nose, the social contract dictates that the injured man break the other's nose in return. If one man steals another's coat, it is only logical, according to justice, that the victim receive his own coat back, that he steal the other thief's coat, or that he is recompensed with an amount equal to the value of his stolen coat. Suppose, however, that the victim deeply cares for the thief and wishes to forgive him for stealing his coat, deciding not to require payback. At this point, the concept of grace and forgiveness, or self-sacrifice is introduced. Self-sacrifice, of course, is unjust for the man who forgives, unless he is paid back by an external source. Logically, the man who forgives or sacrifices himself must now find a way to recompense himself for the injustice he has received. According to social contract logic, if the man cannot find a way to substantiate for the wrong he has received within the closed system, he cannot forgive; therefore, the act of proceeding to forgive requires that a depart from logic be made. Clearly, humans can just be illogical and forgive, but is there anything that can make it logical? The fundamental question is, "What recompense, theoretically, gives man the ability to logically forgive?"

What ways exist in which compensation for a wrong can be obtained by an individual during an act of self-sacrifice or forgiveness? What drives and provides for the legitimacy of the concept of self- sacrifice, and what makes it possible? If one man forgives another for a wrong and decides not to require payback, in order to be logical and just, he simply must find payback for his suffering elsewhere. He can hope in his riches-- but that still logically does not grant him any payback. His riches were the same before he suffered as afterward, so though he may have been emotionally consoled, he has not actually received any payback. If the wronged man searches anywhere within his own possessions for payback, he may be emotionally consoled, but he still cannot be truly reimbursed according to the laws of logic and justice. According to the laws of logic, there must be compensation from an outside source. If the victim is paid back on a man-to-man relational level by someone else other than the offender, then self- sacrifice is not involved within this closed system because compensation for the wrong has been obtained. The third man in the room must be considered for a better illustration of this point. If one of the men in the room steals the other's coat, the innocent bystander in the closed system has no obligation to help the victim or punish the offender. However, if the victim of the coat theft decides to forgive the offender because the third bystander offers him a coat to make up for his loss, then the victim's forgiveness cannot be considered self-sacrifice, because he has been compensated. In order to truly logically deny oneself to forgive, in the eyes of other people, a man needs a source of repayment that is worth more than anything he lays claim to, and something which is not on the level of a man-to-man relationship. For this reason, the social contract theory logically fails when justice is left on the level of men. Unless there is an ultimate price paid to every man, giving him access to recompense for whatever wrongs befall him, forgiveness remains illogical. What could provide this necessary attribute of justice? One such possible answer to this includes Christian theology, where the believer has received an infinite reward to hope for - that being the Lord's presence forever as a recompense for all injustice received on the believer's earthly life (Rood). This implies that man is given the ability to logically and willingly self-sacrifice for others, even when there is no reimbursement available for their suffering on a social-contract level. The Christian beliefs ultimately raise the ultimate level of justice from the level of men to the standards of the Christian God. In conclusion, one can concur with the opinion of Socrates as described in the Internet Encyclopedia of philosophy: "although Plato is perhaps the first philosopher to offer a representation of the argument at the heart of social contract theory, Socrates ultimately rejects the idea that social contract is the original source of justice" (Friend).

It can be seen that true, strict, logical justice cannot stand up or remain logical in the face of self-sacrifice and forgiveness, and the paradigm of grace simply must be embraced. The morale paradigm of grace, however, is all the more illogical unless there is a higher and significantly valuable source of recompense for those who deny themselves. The Prodigal Son is a wonderful story that shows the effects of grace, and the possibilities for peace that forgiveness leads to. The tale points towards the fact that theology may be an answer which contributes to the quest of keeping grace as a logical action, and even emphasizes that, for the person to whom grace is logical, more and more grace will flow out of the person's heart. The Prodigal Son allows the reader to look at life through two different lenses and allows him or her to decide for themselves where the ultimate source of justice truly lies in life.


I'm opening up this essay for any and all critiques- whether they be grammatical or philosophical. I want to be sharpened on this subject, so I beg that anyone who would like to make a contribution would do so. I hope this helps to construct a justification for the logic of the Christian worldview in the realms of Justice and forgiveness. Peace to you all in Christ.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

How to love my future Family?

I had been writing this a while ago, but I thought I would finish it tonight. I was thinking a lot about the fact that, as my family lovingly reminded me (:P), I'll probably have a family within the next decade. Even though that scares the heebie jeebies out of me, I figure I might as well start thinking about the way I would raise my kids/ maintain a God honoring home. I so deeply want to raise my kids in an environment where they will be free from the attitude of our culture. I don't want them to be sheltered, no, not in the least. But I hope that they would be something like this:

"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."


I think it's a problem when many parents hope to shelter their kids from the poisoning secular atmosphere for as much of their life as possible. Of course, there I go saying that, and I'm heading off to a Christian college for three years. But it might redeem me that I'll probably be getting my masters at a secular college haha :D. Rather, it is best that parents raise their kids, first in a good environment where they can learn to counter the secular ideas such as post-modernism, and then to allow kids to see and be submersed in secular culture. I think you should train your kids up in the ways of God, teaching them how righteousness and goodness is the most wonderful and joyful way to live- not even worldly righteousness-(recycling) (ok no just kidding haha, but rather worldly goodness), but heart satisfaction in the Glory of Christ.

As John Piper emphasized, "Don't let your kids leave the house with the attitude, 'How far can I go before I have to stop, because God is watching?', but rather let them leave your home with this attitude:'How, by any means, no matter what the cost, can I make God look glorious in my life? How can I serve the most high God?"

To sum it up, I think its best to train kids to counter secular ideas and pray that their hearts would find satisfaction in God, and then turn them loose in secular culture, in order that they, pure in heart, can love those who are lost and destroy the ideological strongholds of secular culture.


3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.


That being said, how are you to train your kids up? That's the main thing I've been thinking about. You can talk about all this stuff, but in what ways can you contribute to your kid's spiritual formation while raising them? I'm just going to blahh a bunch of stuff out here and hopefully change it if necessary, but these are a couple things that I think are good honest goals.

The only way you can hope to accomplish anything for the hearts of kids is to first make changes/resolutions for yourself. So, here are my ideas:

Resolve to know and study every worldview within reach. Study the most formidable opponents to Christianity: (Atheism, Post-modernism,etc..), and be prepared to "give an answer" to each philosophy and show it to be faulty. Understand the emotional objections to Christianity. (suffering, emotional doubt, self-doubt, etc.) and have a heart for any and all who deal with them. Refuse to be ignorant of anything. Accept anything which is true, an maintain a high regard for all that is true, including scientific data which may prove something contrary to your worldview.

Love your family as Christ loved the church. Give yourself for your wife in every way- in mind, heart, and body. Hold nothing back. Any moment you find yourself trying to save part of yourself instead of giving it up to your family, take these thoughts and desires to God and make them captive to Christ. And, most of all, love your family with all your heart! Let no part of you become corrupted by sinful desires, but rather be renewed by "the renewal of your mind" and the truth and reality of Christ's love.

Pray/read with your family. Every day. Now, a family's devotion time together should never be the only devotion that they do, just as a husband and wife's time together in devotion should never be the sole time spent with God for each individual, but a family should ALWAYS have devotions together every day, if possible.

Forget Cable. Yes, it's important to know world news and stuff, but you can read that stuff on the internet. Of course, TV's for watching movies are awesome and a great thing to do, but cable leads to massive amounts of wasted time, and the stuff on cable these days, and likely in 20 years, will not be worth watching.

Talk to your family. Be open and one hundred percent transparent. Let all things you do be open for all to see, and keep no secrets. Have family talks (I suppose that would go with devotions)and speak to each kid in the family individually and ask them how their hearts are doing. Confess your failures (oh, and I'm sure my failures will be countless) with humility and work to start anew. Fight for your family's heart. If there is any sin in any person in the family, just as Paul said, gently bring them to repentance for their own joy.

How many times can one repeat it?? Love your wife! With everything you are, give your heart to her. Set an example for your kids! There is no end to the emphasis that could be put on this. Flee addictions to anything which would lead you away from her. Pursue her heart, adore her, give your whole heart to her. Enough said.

EDIT: Practical Additions:

1. Friday Night Dates
2. Confessing sins and shortfalls out loud.

Be Joyful. See the glory in everything. Sing and whistle and clap and make noise and make yourself look stupid and let your family join in! Be mindlessly, deliriously, goofy with your family and have fun in this wonderful world God has created!

Worship God with heart and mind and word and deed. What else is there to be said?

Those are the personal commitments that I would hope to have for my family. Now, there are further some things I would hope to do with kids, and I'll put those here:

Gradually introduce them to doctrine.

Ask them questions. J.P. Moreland constantly asks his daughters questions like, "Why should you be good to people?", or, "What makes humans unique?" (To which his daughters answered, "we all have belly buttons!!" HAHAHAH!!! ok ok,,) But the main goal here is to make them think about life, question basic assumptions, and get their brains in gear.

The next thing is to tell your kids to ask questions to YOU about Christianity and life in general. Have them write down all the questions that ever come to their mind, and talk with them about all of them.


I'll add more stuff to this as it becomes clear to me, but for now, this is my springboard.

I know all of this seems INCREDIBLY hard. And yes, just looking at it scares me. But what other kind of life would you want to live? Why not strive for the best and fall somewhere short of it than not strive for anything, and fall short of nothing? I know I'll fail multiple times. I know I'll mess up. But you can gradually introduce this stuff to family life, and I can absolutely guarantee you- just wait, and see the joy creeping into all of the family member's lives.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Podcast - Sermons

I decided to create another podcast mainly focused on sermons. While the other podcast contains sermons and mostly apologetics, this podcast will consist of sermons and perhaps an apologetic in sermon form. It will probably have a lot of sermons from Sermon Audio.com, and also anywhere else that looks good!


Here's the link to subscribe to the podcast: Itunes


Here's the link to the feedburner audio:RSS feed

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Love

1 Corinthians 13
1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

This has perhaps been one of the most challenging passages in the Bible for me lately. I want to have more love for people. I want to genuinely care for each and every person. I want to be able to see clearly the amazing value of every human heart, and be moved to give everything I am for every single person. Sure, you can be a Billy Graham, or a William Lane Craig. You can be a genius, an evangelist, very generous, helpful, iconic, or very good at discerning the truths of the Bible, but if you do not have a genuine love for all, you have nothing.

It can be seen easily here that Paul counts everything a person is worth in their effectiveness towards sustaining God's Kingdom as nothing if it does not first and foremost result from love.

I want to be heart-broken and convicted about this. I want to care for every person deeply, but honestly I haven't been feeling that lately. Thus, I shall pray. I know that freedom awaits in Christ's love.


Here is a list of sermons by John Piper, concerning love. I hope that everyone would take time to listen to these and allow them to change your heart just as I'm hoping they, with God's help, will change mine!

The Greatest of these is Love - Intro - John Piper




Link to the list.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Apologetics Mega Page by Bryan Auten, from Apologetics 315

I just wanted to make any readers aware that I've placed a link to the Apologetics 315 blog's MP3 MEGA page.

This web page is stocked with perhaps thousands of MP3's (some college courses) on philosophy, apologetics, counseling psychology, theology, and every realm of knowledge surrounding the Christian Faith. It is HIGHLY beneficial to listen to them!

The link is here. But it is also on the right hand side of the page, underneath the list of other apologetics websites. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The LAST one! Sentential Logic Rule 9 - Constructive Dilemma

The Constructive Dilemma is a bit of a tricky one. But, once learned, it can be useful for some either-or situations and discerning their consequences.

Everyone has gone through one hard situation in their life in which he or she was required to make a difficult decision. For example, have you ever had to decide between what your parents said and your friends said? Or have you ever had to choose to do one thing over another, based on the outcome of each? If so, then you have set up a constructive dilemma and chosen the most favorable outcome.

Say I am on a road trip with a jazz band, and we just happen to be running seriously low on cash. We pull up into a town that has two jazz clubs looking for a gig. They both want us! If we go to the St. Louis Jazz Club, they will pay us three hundred dollars, and if we go to the Skylight Jazz club on the other side of town, they'll pay us five hundred dollars. This is our situation-- we either go to the St. Louis Jazz Club or the Skylight Jazz Club. That also must mean that either we'll be payed 300 dollars or 500 dollars! Being low on cash, we chose the latter, the Skylight Jazz Club, because it more efficiently met our needs.

That was a constructive dilemma ^^. (or, CD)

1. Situation P leads to situation Q, and situation R leads to situation S
2. Either situation P will happen, or situation R will happen.

3. Therefore, Either situation Q or situation S will happen.

1.(P -> Q) & (R -> S)
2.(P v R)

3.(Q v S)

This type of logic draws on modus ponens, of course, because it logically makes sense that if P means Q, then if P is true, Q is true. It simply takes two situations which would logically follow according to modus ponens and puts them into an either or situation.

So, a more complicated argument.

1. (P->Q) & (R->S)
2. (T->P)
3. (U->R)
4. (P v R)
5. ¬ T

6. ¬ T (given)
7. (Q v S) (CD 4,1)
8. ¬ P (MT 5,2)
9. R (DS 4,5)
10. S (MP 9,1)

Try and see if you can follow that. It's a little complicated though.

That's it! There's still more to come, but that's it for the rules!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why the Universe is the Way it is


This is a great book. I've only read the first chapter or so but it's great!

Needless to say, I need an accountability partner with my addiction to buying books off of amazon kindle. Either that or a leash. :P

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

C.S. Lewis on Joy

The past two days have been laden with convictions. I want to quote C.S. Lewis to kind of sum up my opinion about myself recently.

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desire, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis

It's good to reflect on this.

I also want to add some song lyrics to this. "See the Glory" is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that I've not come to understand until recent years. It's so powerful when you think about it!

So what is this thing I see
Going on inside of me?
When it comes to the grace of God
Sometimes it’s like …

I’m playing Gameboy standing in
the middle of the Grand Canyon
I’m eating candy sittin’ at a gourmet feast
I’m wading in a puddle when I
could be swimming in the ocean
Tell me what’s the deal with me
(I know the time has come for me to)
Wake up and see the glory

Ever star in the sky tells His story, oh
And every breeze is singing His song
All of creation is imploring
Hey, come see this grand phenomenon
The wonder of His grace
Should take my breath away
I miss so many things when I’m consumed with …

How could I trivialize it
This awesome gift of God’s grace?
Once I have come to realize it
I should be speechless and amazed

Wake up and see the glory
Open your eyes and take it in
Wake up and be amazed
Over and over again

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sentential Logic Rule # 7 & 8- Addition & Disjunctive Syllogism

This is part of the Lessons in Logic Series.

The 7th rule of Logic is called Addition.
It's kind of weird and funny.
First, let me define disjunction in this sense. When we use verbal logic, a disjunction is a divide between two statements, or, a parting. "Either I will go here, or I will go there." A disjunction has two possibilities within one statement. In many cases these possibilities can both be true at the same time, but in all cases, they cannot both be untrue (if it is a true statement). For example, the two disjunctions in the statement, "Tonight, either I'll go bowling or Susan will go bowling." could both be true. But, if one of them is false, then we can rightly conclude that the other must be true. If the aforementioned statement is a true disjunction, then if I don't go bowling, Susan must have gone bowling. It's the same vice versa- If Susan didn't go bowling, then I must have gone bowling. Though it might be tempting, we can't conclude anything from knowing that one of them is true, since it is logically possible that the other is true at the same time.

Some more examples:
"On this fishing trip, I'll either catch a blue fish, or I'll catch a Bass."

Notice how, above, both of statements could be true. I could catch a bluefish and a bass at the same time on the fishing trip. But, if the disjunction is true (which means I'm going to catch something), then if I don't catch a bluefish, I'll catch a bass. And vice versa

"I'll either go to the prom, or I won't."

Now it's clearly obvious that this is a case where only one of the disjunctive statements/possibilities can be true. If I know that I didn't go to the prom, then the disjunct, "I'll go to the prom" has been negated and is not true. If one of the statements is not true, then the other is true.

Rule # 7 , or, Addition (add.) states that, if you know one thing to be true, then it can be put in a disjunction with an outrageous truth and be a true disjunction. For example: I know I am a man. So I can say, "Either I am a man, or my car is made of green cheese." It's a bit weird, but it is a valid conclusion. We know that I am a man, so if I'm not, we can suggest any other ridiculous truth to be it's disjunct if it isn't true.

Addition:
1. P


2. (P v Q)


Rule # 8, or, Disjunctive Syllogism (DS) states that, if there is a true disjunction, then if one of the possibilities is not true, then the other must be true. I've outlined this law in the above writing.

1. Either I will go to the gas station or go straight home
2. I didn't go to the gas station


3. Therefore, I went straight home.


Disjunctive Syllogism
1. (P v Q)
2. ¬Q


3. P


What you can't conclude with hypothetical syllogism.

1. (P v Q)
2. Q


3. ¬P

This can't be concluded, since it is logically possible in some cases (not this one) that both (either/or) statements can be true.

Addition isn't used very much in arguments, so it's not necessary that any examples be given.


Here's a more complicated example of Hypothetical syllogism.

1. P -> Q
2. Q -> (R v S)
3. S -> T
4. R -> U
5. P
6. ¬S


7. P-----(Given)
8. Q-----(MP)
9. (R v S)-----(MP)
10. (¬S)-----(Given)
11. R-----(DS)
12. U-----(MP)
13. ¬ T (MT)


:P

Sentential Logic Rule #6 - Absorption

This is part of the Lessons in logic Series.

The next rule I want to summarize is called absorption. (absp.)

This rule is kind of peculiar, yet pretty simple I think. The law of absorption states that , if P implies Q, and P is true, then P and Q are true.

Logical Form:
1. P -> Q
2. P

3. P & Q

Why is this true? Well, we know this: (P -> Q), or, that P implies Q. That means that if P is true, then Q is true. But if we know P is true, and we know that P -> Q, then by knowing P is true, we also know Q is true. So if we know P and Q are true, we can conclude : P & Q.

Here's a verbal form.
1. If I am a soccer player, I am an athlete.
2. I am a soccer player.

3. Therefore, I am a soccer player and an athlete.


Seems pretty simple!! Here's a more complicated argument that it's useful in.
1. P -> Q
2. Q -> R
3. (P & R) -> S
4. P

5. P-------- (Given)
6. P -> R--------(Hyp. Syllogism)
7. (P & R)--------(Absp.) (If P is true, then R is true. P is true, therefore P and R are true.)
8. S--------(MP)

:)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Idols

"When you cry out, let your collection of idols deliver you! The wind will carry them off, a breath will take them away. But he who takes refuge in me shall possess the land and shall inherit my holy mountain." - Isaiah 57


Oh Lord, my God! Be my true God! Be my object of worship, that all can see the glorious freedom that it brings! Rid me of my idols, for they will not satisfy the deepest longings of my heart..

Sentential Logic Rule #5 - Simplification

This is post number 5 of the Lessons in Logic Series.

The 5th rule of Sentential logic is called "simplification", or, "Simp."

Simplification, like Conjunction, is very simple. If there is a sentence that contains multiple truth statements, the law of Simplification states that you may derive each truth statement into a single proposition. For example: "I have a car, a plane, and an apple." can be derived into- "I have a Car. I have a plane. I have an apple".

The Logical form--
1. P & Q

2. P (Simp. 1)
3. Q (Simp. 1)


Since we knew that P and Q were true in one statement, we could derive it into multiple statements.

A more complicated argument involving Simplification would look like this:
1. P -> Q----- If P is true, then Q is true
2. (P & R)-----P and R are true

3. P-----(Simp., 2) ----- Therefore, P is true.
4. R-----(Simp., 2) ----- Therefore, R is true.
5. Q-----(MP 1,3) ------- Therefore, Q is true.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sentential Logic Rule #4 - Conjunction

This is Post #4 in the Lessons in Logic Series.

The next few laws of logic are pretty simple, after getting past necessary and sufficient truths.

Rule #4 is called "Conjunction", or, abbreviated: "Conj."

Conjunction is simply adding two(or more) propositions together to make a statement which contains both truths. For example: I am a Parrot. I am Green. -> I am green, and I am a Parrot. Or you could say I am a green Parrot.

1. P
2. Q


3. P & Q

P is true. Q is true. Therefore, P and Q are true.


A more complicated argument this could be used in looks a little bit like this.

1. (P & Q) -> R-------(If P and Q are true, then R is true)
2. S -> P-------------(If S is true, then P is true)
3. T -> Q-------------(If T is true, then Q is true)
4. S------------------(S is true)
5. T------------------(T is true)


6. S-----------(#4)-------------------------S is true (taken from the given truth)
7. T-----------(#5)-------------------------T is true (taken from the given truth)
8. P-----------((MP-modus ponens) #2, #6)---Therefore, P is true
9. Q-----------((MP-modus ponens) #3, #7)---Therefore, Q is true
10. P & Q------(Conj. 8,9)------------------Therefore, P and Q are true
11. R----------(MP 1,10)--------------------Therefore, R is true.

Any questions just add a comment! If you're learning these, make sure you try making up your own situation and arguments and try practicing them!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Look out for the Holy Spirit

Careful... convictions of the Holy spirit will hit you like a train wreck, cause you to burst into tears of sorrow, effect in you the most painful, yet willful repentance, seize you with daggers of unrelenting sorrow and pain, and assure of future joy. Jesus wasn't kidding.
"I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lessons in Sentential Logic, Rule # 3 Hypothetical Syllogism

This is post number three in the Lessons in logic series.

Hypothetical Syllogism is very simple. It's almost like an identity rule, which is very natural to us.

This is the Logical Form:

1. P -> Q
2. Q -> R

3. P -> R


1. If I wake up, I will go to work.
2. If I go to work, I will get paid.

3. Therefore, if I wake up, I will get paid.

1.If I am dog, I am an animal.
2.If I am an animal, then I am a physical entity.

3. Therefore, if I am a dog, I am a physical entity.

Simple enough?

Thus, Hypothetical Syllogism! or (HS)

Here's a more complicated argument that you could use (HS) in.

1. P -> Q
2. Q -> R
3. ¬ R

What Happens?

Well, if R isn't true, we know that if Q -> R, and ¬R, then Q can't be true. And if P -> Q, and ¬Q, then P can't be true. Therefore, if we have the above listed information, we can conclude:
4. ¬ P

Any questions let me know!

Lessons in Sentential Logic - Rule # 2 Modus Tollens

Ok, so this is going to be the next post about "Lessons in Logic".

Last post, I covered the first rule of Sentential logic, modus ponens. (Hereafter to be substituted as (MP).

What MP stated was, if Q's truth logically follows from P's truth, and if P is true, then Q is true.

The Logical Form:
1. P -> Q
2. P

3. Q

So, according to (MP), if P -> Q (if P's truth implies Q's truth) , and P (P is true), then Q (Q is true).


Before I go onto the next rule of Logic, I want to talk more about sufficient causes/conditions and necessary truths.

In the last post, I described a sufficient cause as a something which, if true, implies certain truths which are necessary.

For Example: If it is true that I am a soccer player, then that naturally requires that several things have to be true.

I'll list a few of these things which must be true if I am a soccer player:
1. I must be an athlete.
2. I must play a sport.
3. I must be alive.
4. I must have touched a soccer ball.

So, If I am a common soccer player, then ALL of these truths listed above naturally follow. You'll notice that the truth of my being a soccer player is sufficient to cause all of the above to necessarily follow.
Here's an interesting way I like to think about it: A truth is like a house, resting 10 feet in the air. If the house is up in the air, you must ask, "How in the world is it resting 10 feet in the air? There must be something supporting it!" Then you notice that the house (or, the truth) is resting on four columns. These columns are sturdy and are strong enough to keep the house stable at 10 feet in the air.

But what happens if one of the columns breaks down and falls over? The house will fall over! The house's altitude is absolutely dependent on each column, and if even one of them falls, then the house will topple. A logical truth is very similar! You have a sufficient cause: a house, ten feet up in the air. If the house is ten feet in the air, then you know it is necessary that there are columns supporting it. These columns are the necessary truths which not only logically follow from an argument, but also support its truth.

Here's a picture I attempted to draw to illustrate it (have mercy on my bad art skills!):


So, observe from this pictures that you've first got P, the house. If P is true, or, the house is sitting up 10 feet in the air, then that means necessarily that Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 are true, or, there are 4 columns supporting it. That means that the house, P, is the sufficient condition, and that the four Qs are the necessary conditions.

Here's where I'm going to introduce the next rule of logic, modus tollens.

Notice that, if any of the columns falls down, the house will topple also. If the house is sitting up in the air, that means that all four columns MUST be supporting it. (remember this is an illustration, there are certainly more Q's that could be added as necessarily implied truths from/supporting the truth of my being a soccer player)

But, if one of the columns falls down, then the house must fall, and P must not be true.

Modus Tollens, or (MT), states that, if Q's truth is implied by P's truth, and if Q is not true, then P can't be true. (note that "¬P" means, "not" P, or, "P is not true". Or, you could say, "¬¬P" means "not not P", which is the same thing as "P".

Logical Form:
1. P -> Q
2. ¬ Q

3. ¬ P


So, let's return to the soccer player example.

We know that, if I am a soccer player, it logically follows that I am these things:
(labeling them as the necessary truths they represent)
1. I must be an athlete. (Q1)
2. I must play a sport. (Q2)
3. I must be alive. (Q3)
4. I must have touched a soccer ball. (Q4)

So, P implies these four Q's (and more, but I'm not adding these).

Let's try taking out the columns underneath the house, or, "P", or, "I am a soccer player".

1. If I am not an athlete, then I cannot be a soccer player. (¬ Q1 -> ¬P)
Even if this Q1 column is taken from underneath the foundation, P's truth cripples, or, is "¬", negated.

2. If I don't play a sport, I don't play soccer. (¬ Q2 -> ¬ P)
The same for the second one. If I don't play a sport, I don't play soccer!

It's the same for the rest of them. You may be wondering why I'm using 4 Q's instead of just one like you've seen in arguments, but no worries: you select one of the Q's and deal with them.

For Ex:
1. If I am a soccer player, I play a sport.
2. I don't play a sport.

3. Therefore, I am not a soccer player.


But remember! Just because you have one or two columns, that doesn't mean the house is up there! Just because I am a alive, or because I am alive and I play a sport, does not mean I am a soccer player. In other words, If (P -> Q) and you know Q is true, you can't conclude anything.


So, now you know...

1. (P -> Q)
2. ¬ Q

3. ¬ P

Peace!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Finding Meaning and Identity in Life

Just wanted to share some of the things I've thought about in my struggles to find a place to rest my heart and form my identity. I hope this isn't confusing.


It is improper for a man to base his confidence on what he has done, what he has on earth, what he hopes to have on earth, or who he is. For what becomes of such a man's confidence when he finds another who is, in the eyes of the world, worth more? Or what becomes of his confidence when he meets another who has more-- or will have more?

It is true that if a man's confidence is based on the aforementioned things, if he should lose them, devastation will occur.
For our hearts are like foundations resting on columns. If the columns fail, our heart's confidence collapses. The pain of a collapsed human heart is unequivocally related to losing the very essence of one's existence. If I lose who I am, who am I?

In my life, I have built the fortress of my identity around pride, relationships, personal abilities, possessions, and hope in future gratification of similar nature, but the fortress was wrecked and destroyed each time. My heart is an idol factory, and I have a tendency to desire anything but a solid foundation for who I am.


Not in relationships, nor things, nor pride, nor future hope in earth's riches can a man derive his heart's confidence. Those columns on which rest the very foundation of his heart's strength and identity cannot be those which crumble in an instant. They must be strong and sturdy-- unyielding to the regular devastation that occurs in a man's life.


If no hope in the earth, if no confidence in things or other people, where does man rest the precious identity of his heart? Upon which sturdy columns may the heart rest and be unafraid of falling?

It certainly, then, must come from a universal truth which does not fail nor collapse. It must come from hope in a truth which rises and does not recede in times of peril and possible devastation. That I am man is certain. But what is man? Is man from God? The evidence says so. But if I am from God, what does that mean? If I am from God- then it follows that there is meaning in life. If the Christian God exists, then an objective truth- a source of meaning exists which I can tap into.

This is hard to think about... It all depends on what the meaning is, if I'm going to draw a foundation from it! If the truth is that God is the portion of my heart- then it is true that God will be my satisfaction. But what does it mean for God to be the portion of my heart-- my satisfaction? Does it mean that fellowship with God is my satisfaction? If fellowship with God is my satisfaction, how do I find fellowship with God? And how does fellowship with God provide a firm foundation for my heart to rest on??

Again.. a hard thing to think about. Some relevant truths you can derive from the truth of Christ the eternal king are these:
1. There is an objective truth which WE conform to, not which we create.
2. There is a standard of righteousness that we ardently seek out.
3. That since we are in the image of God, the essence of God's truth- righteousness- is what makes our hearts come to life.
4. God has a will- justice, sanctification, and salvation. God desires that we work to counteract the lack of His sustaining power, which results in the evil on earth, be sanctified in order to have more Life, and that we devote ourselves to sharpening ourselves in order to better love others by leading them to Christ.
5. That it is not our accomplishments which give us favor in the eyes of the Cosmic King of Eternity, but His sacrifice.
6. We were worth enough for Christ- God- to give up everything in order that he fellowship with us forever.
7. We find our identity in Jesus.


If these are true, then I would take it to mean that fellowship with God is simply letting His spirit of truth saturate your heart with the knowledge/meaning that follows from knowing that Christ has died for you. If Christ has died for us- then our confidence comes not from things, pride, relationships, or hope in similar things, but from knowing that He who created the Universe has a love for us which is unfathomable. Who cares what other people think? Who cares what I have on earth? If I have this knowledge-- that Christ has given Himself for me- and that he has broken the power of sin in me, I can place my heart's identity and confidence in this, in the truth that there is an objective will that I conform to- the will of the one who died for me- that matters more than my own flimsy desires. When the foundation of my confidence- my identity in Christ- has been laid, my heart overflows with thankfulness. But on top of this, when I know that the trivial things I desire- that other people think good of me, that I have many things- don't matter, I am given the ability to cast them off and be freed in solely worshipping Christ in doing his will.

It's a miracle.

Podcast Feed

Somehow I figured out how to make a podcast feed and run it through Itunes, so I made a podcast! This podcast will not consist of things I have recorded (I may record a few things, but not all of them), but rather it will be an rss feed of just great audio files I find on the internet. If I don't like them and don't think they're that great, I'll take them off- but it is available through itunes if you click this link: itpc://feeds.feedburner.com/armstrong/zfIr.

The link to the xml web page of the site is here: RSS

I hope you enjoy it! It doesn't have a huge amount of files on it now, but I'll be adding a few every day. The file types will be great sermons and great apologetics lectures/podcasts I find.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Let Your Heart Rejoice

I want to re-post a blog post that I made in September 29, 2009. It consists of several ideas which are based on scripture. I think that, if we pored over every point, and thought about how to apply them in every area in our life, we would experience so, so much joy in the living Christ. If we pray for the spirit's power, He will be faithful to "lead us into all truth."
John 16:13 - "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."

I believe the Holy spirit works by giving us truth- that is, you can have head knowledge of the logical truth of something, but the Holy Spirit's power turns truth into meaning.

This meaning is truth, but it is a different form of truth. It is a truth that the heart identifies with and orients around. These verses and reflections can help you, of your own power, to realize their logical truth, but the Holy spirit will give you the power to have your heart recognize and rejoice in it. So get on your knees and pray before the father!

Tuesday - September 29, 2009

Forget what is past. Strive toward the future, run the race in order to obtain more of Christ in heaven and in your heart. Philippians 3:13-14

Seek Christ and the beauty of His sacrifice out first- remember that embracing the beauty of His given love, and giving it, is more valuable than anything else. It does not perish. It is more beautiful than the highest quality gold or silver. Matthew 6:33

Just as we have been loved, cherished, and died for- let us follow in His footsteps by loving, cherishing, and dying to ourselves for other people. Matthew 16: 24-25 Hebrews 12:2

Worry about today only. This afternoon, or tonight, may never happen. Live like your burden only rests in today, in the task of storing up treasure, and healing and freeing hearts. Matthew 6:34

Get rid of the stuff that slows you down, fix your eyes on Jesus Christ solely. All else inhibits. Hebrews 12:1-2

Basic Lessons in Logic - Sentential Logic Rule #1

I've been reading "Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview" by William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland, and I thought I'd share what I learned on here.

Propositional Logic, or, Sentential Logic, has 9 basic rules, and wish everyone knew about them!

Here goes:


The first rule of Propositional logic is called modus ponens.

modus ponens states that if Q's truth leads to P's truth, then if Q is true, then P is true.

"P --> Q" is another way of saying "If P, then Q.", or, "If P is true, then Q is true."

Therefore, since P --> Q means "If P is true, then Q is true, then the proposition "P", or, "P is true", logically leads to the truth of Q.

A symbolic Logic demonstration
1. P --> Q
2. P

3. Q


See how it's almost like a math equation? Here is that translated verbally.

1. "If P is true, then Q is true."
2. "P is true"
3. "Therefore, it logically follows that Q is true"

Notice how each statement is numbered. Each numbered statement (For example: 1. "P-->Q") is called a premise. A premise is a proposition which an argument depends on to be true. In deductive logic, if an argument's premises are true, then the conclusion logically follows.

You'll also observe that between #2 and #3, there is a line drawn. This is kind of like a math equation.

Ex--
5
+5

10

Arguments in logic are very close to mathematical. The line between the 2nd and third premise in the last argument I showed separated the conclusion from the supportive premises. So, the line between the two is kind of like the big "therefore".


So, to review this a bit, we know that:
1. Q --> P  1. "If Q is true, then P's truth logically follows"
2. Q   2. "Q is true"

3. P      3. "Therefore, P is true"


Now, we can translate this into a verbal argument.

Let us say that "I can play guitar" = P and "I can play music = "Q"

1. If I can play guitar, then I can play music.
2. I can play guitar.

3. Therefore, I can play music.

or,

1. Q --> P
2. Q

3. P


Now, let's assess the validity and the soundness of this argument.

If conclusion follows from the premises, then the argument is valid. But, even if the argument is valid, if the premises are not true, then it is unsound.

Does the conclusion follow from the premises? Yes. It is true that if I play guitar, I can play music. Therefore, no matter what my second premise about my ability to play guitar is, if I make a conclusion about the truth of the conditional statement "If I play guitar,then I play music", based on the true or false statement "I can play guitar", my conclusion is valid.

Are the premises true? This will determine if the argument is sound. We've already made sure that we logically used the premises correctly, but we also we know that it is highly plausible that if I can play guitar, I can play music. We'll also assume for the moment that it is true that I can play guitar. (that's debatable :p)

Both premises are true, and the conclusion is valid! Looks like a sound argument. See, an argument is unsound if the premises are false or if it is invalid. Because of this, an argument can be valid and unsound at the same time!

Lets do another one:

Let us say that "I have a dog" = P and "I have a pet = "Q"

1. If I have a Dog, then I have a pet.
2. I have a dog
3. Therefore, I have a pet.

This is a sound argument (for the purposes of this post)

But what if you were have a different premise in there?


1. If I have a Dog, then I have a pet.
2. I have a pet.
3. Therefore I have a Dog.

This is not a sound argument, because the conclusion does not follow from the premises.

Why, though?

This is when you start getting into conditional statements.

In logical arguments, P's truth will be sufficient for Q's truth to be necessary. BUT, Q's truth is not sufficient for P's truth.

The truth of the fact that I have a dog is a sufficient condition which is sufficient to make the necessary condition, or, the necessary truth of my having a pet, follow.

But, my having a pet is only a necessary truth. That means, it is necessarily true only when verified by a sufficient truth, which is P. You cannot switch Q and P(once you're already defined them), or you will end up coming to invalid conclusions like I did in this argument. (note that Q and P are not the letters you absolutely HAVE to use-- you can use any letters you want, just remember what they stand for)

So, you know that P's truth is sufficient to cause Q's truth to necessarily follow. But you also know that Q's truth is only a necessary attribute of P's truth. Therefore, P is a sufficient condition, and Q is a necessary condition.

Examples:
The truth of my being a man is a sufficient condition, being sufficient to cause the necessary condition of the truth of my humanity to necessarily follow. But the truth of my humanity, only being a necessary condition for the truth of my manhood, is not sufficient to justify the truth of my manhood, since it takes more than my being a human to be a man.

I am a canoe racer. I am also an athlete. Is it true that, if I am a canoe racer, I am an athlete, or is it true that, if I am an athlete, I am a canoe racer?

Of course, you logically choose "it is true that you are an athlete if you are a canoe racer" because being an athlete is a necessary condition which follows from the sufficient condition of your being a canoe racer.


So, some of the terms you should remember if you decided to tough this post out to the end!

Premise
Conclusion
Argument
Valid
Invalid
Sound
Unsound
Sufficient condition
Necessary condition
modus ponens

Peace! (and pray for me that I'll make it through this book... :p)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hard Questions: Why does God allow me to Doubt?

Why Does God allow me to Doubt?

This is another question that burned inside me as I went through a period of excruciating doubts. It's funny how your doubt leads to even more doubt. Well, it really stinks actually.

Here's how I want to deal with this. There are several issues which singe the intuition of the typical doubter, and these issues need to be taken care of first.

Before you can deal with the pain of the doubts themselves, a common sense principle that will direct you to eventual healing needs to be laid out. What is it? You may be surprised at how obvious it is, but you'll also find that you forget it a lot! Here it is: Truth exists apart from your opinion or any other person's opinion. If something is true, it is true no matter what you or others think about it. If Christianity is true, Christianity is still true even though you're doubting it. If Christianity isn't true, it never was true. Sound good? If you disagree, take a class on logic and get acquainted with the law of non-contradiction :)

Now, let's go through several points that should help you:

Misplaced Beliefs

Misplaced beliefs is a good place to start. Have you ever had set beliefs about someone or something based on experience? Whenever your expectations were, at one point, not met, did you start to doubt your core beliefs about that thing or person?

For example: Suppose you've been married to your wife for 25 years, and not for a minute has she ever indicated any kind of desires for or intentions to be unfaithful to the marriage. You have learned and become well acquainted with her behavior and expect nothing different.

One day, however, you briefly part from her while shopping at the store in order to go hunt for your own guy stuff. Upon obtaining your things,(guys don't browse, they determine and execute the task of shopping :P) you turn the corner and find her giving one man you don't recognize a kiss on the cheek, and after doing so, she looks around (to your mind)as if to make sure no one saw her, and walks off.

You would, of course, immediately be horrified and start to question your initial assumptions and your faith in the fidelity of your wife. Past experience tells you that she isn't like this, but current experience tells you otherwise! You assume that she is cheating on you and become horribly hurt by her actions, but don't say anything about it and try to probe about it in the car on the way home! After driving for about 15 minutes, somehow you get her on to the topic of this man she was with. You're nervous as all get out, scared, on the edge of being angry, and all reality seems to have fallen out underneath you. But.. as soon as she finds out that you saw her with the man, she laughs and says that it was her brother Bob who you're well acquainted with, and he was home from a tour in the military and was wearing clothes neither she nor apparently you recognized! "A likely story!", you think to yourself, and then ask, "What about that fleeting look around after you... kissed him on the cheek???" Starting to look hurt, your wife explains that Bob had his kids with him and just before he said goodbye, he asked her if she had seen his kids. After kissing him goodbye, she looked around to see if any of them were toddling through the store. You suddenly start to think about it and realize that you may be wrong. You apologize to her, and when you get home, you check your email to find a message from Bob about his recent arrival home and how he'd like to meet up with everyone and say hello. Weren't you wrong in your initial assumptions? Should you have jumped to those conclusion automatically?

(Ok sorry, cheesy demonstration, but do you get my point?)

If you have a set of beliefs about something or someone, and they are not met, when you expect them to be, you start to doubt your original beliefs about that thing/person.


It works the same way with our relationship with God. Do you expect to feel God's presence all the time? Do you expect to have easy access to God's spirit of joy and boldness and power 24/7/365? Do you never expect to be in a situation where you are so overwhelmed with doubt that you start questioning how you ever believed in such a thing such as "the Holy Spirit", and thinking crazy thoughts about those who entertain the idea of it actually existing?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you have formed false beliefs based on your experience. Take it from someone who made that mistake. You need to pay attention to what scripture says, and not what your experience has told you.

So, my first contention is that the reason many of us doubt is because of misplaced beliefs about God and His interactions with us. My second contention is that there is no reason to adopt the misplaced belief that doubt should not happen.

One of the horrible questions that bothered me so much was something like, "God, why in the world are you letting me doubt?? I don't even know if you exist anymore and you're not doing anything about it."

Well, now that I've emerged out of that horror, being overly thankful for it, I will see if I can write something to provide a bit of comfort for anyone enduring these hard times.

Why I believe any kind of doubt is a gift

First of all, in asking the question, "why do I doubt?" a person must consider the function of their brain/mind. Having studied psychology for my counseling major in college, I am amazed at the ways the brain/mind handles its beliefs.

If the brain/mind believes one thing, then it will project that belief onto everything it sees. Sorry to burst your bubble, but when you have a sense of God's presence, its most likely not God's presence that gives you that, but your confidence in God's presence. After all, the atheist believes there is no God, and they confess to feel no such thing as "God's Presence" or anything like that. God is present everywhere no matter what we think about it. This serves to support my point that, when your brain believes something, it projects that belief onto everything. Yet, God's presence is still here, no matter what anyone's brain is projecting onto the situation.

In working on theories of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs, I've come to the conclusion that our beliefs about reality govern our experiences of reality. Remember that story I told about the man who believed his wife was most likely cheating on him? Did not his new-found beliefs shape his experience and interpretation of reality? If he believed that his wife was being 100 percent faithful to him, he would not have experienced such troubling emotions, nor entertained such suspicions. His wife's unfaithfulness, even though it was non-existent, became his reality.

Now, when your brain starts to doubt God's goodness or existence.. what do you think is going to happen? You guessed it! Because your cognitive faculties have lost their total confidence in God's existence, they will fail to project God's presence on everything you see. When your beliefs about God's presence begin to weaken, your experiences of reality will project less and less of God's presence onto reality. In the same way, when an atheist starts to doubt his or her atheism, suddenly they start to feel God's presence surrounding them.

As a side note, I want to be careful to add that, again, I'm not saying that God's presence isn't here. God's presence is everywhere, but the only way you could possibly experience it is through beliefs about it. That's why the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (not the spirit of emotions-- like I've said earlier, emotions are the brain's projection of beliefs onto reality). When He reveals amazing truths to us, He reveals timeless and spaceless truths (that have always been true) to us. It's not like God was less glorious when you believed him to be less Glorious-- He's always been infinitely glorious no matter what you've thought. Its just a matter of God revealing truths about Himself to your heart and mind.

What I'm trying to communicate is that, in day to day life, our feeling that God is near is based on our confidence that he is near. In the same way that the atheist's lack of a sense of the presence of God is because of their own confidence that God is NOT there. I do not deny experiences with the Holy Spirit in the least, as I've had plenty of those myself.  My point is, whether God's presence is there or not, usually what we feel about it is based on our confidence in the validity of our beliefs about God.

So, in the end of all this, you end up doubting the goodness of God and then suddenly your mind loses its confidence in the presence of God, then suddenly you don't "feel" God anymore, and everything comes crashing down on you! And yet, you pray and feel God does nothing. You've lost His sense of presence, and suddenly every moment of silence is more agonizing than anything you've ever experienced. Why isn't He answering? What's going on up there in heaven?

First of all you simply must consider this possibility. (as much as I know you don't want to) The reason the brain does these things is because it is an incredibly complex tool for survival. The brain is designed to be rational. If your brain is rational,  it only makes sense that your sense of the presence of God will disappear when you doubt so heavily as you may be now.

Imagine with me for a moment. (You're going to have to think hard about this) Suppose, for example, that an invincible man went about having total confidence in his invincibility. After a while of going about life, not ever experiencing excessive amounts of pain, he started to question his invincibility based on his reasoning. "How is it that everyone else feels pain and experiences injury and I don't? Can I really be sure that I'm invincible?" The man then loses his sense of confidence in his invincibility and is a nervous wreck everywhere he goes because of his new found fears and anxieties. Of course, he would rather have not lost confidence in it, because it made him terribly daring and bold and fearless, and allowed him to conquer hard things in life which require much more confidence than the regular man can claim. Is he not still invincible? But, if he wasn't invincible, wouldn't it be a smart move on the part of the brain to cause him to lose his confidence in his invincibility in order that he take greater precautions in light of the possibility that he was not invincible? The brain is a wonderful thing, I promise you. It is incredibly rational!
So, take this into consideration. God may be right beside you (in fact, He is). He may be holding you in his powerful and mighty arms, but your mind is undergoing a process that is only to be expected for someone who is doubting.


Why I believe religious Doubt is a gift
My third and last contention is something that your doubting brain may find the hardest to agree with. And that is-- that Doubt is God's will for you. I don't care what kind of doubts you are experiencing, people have been there (and worse) who have risen up and become great men and women of God, strengthened by their experiences with doubts. Gary Habermas is a great example. He was a Christian who started to experience a few doubts, then became a full blown skeptic for ten years in his search for the truth, and he ended up arriving at the conclusion that indeed, Christianity is true. Now he is a world class apologist who has made significant contributions to the scholarship surrounding Jesus' resurrection and has encouraged and sustained the intellectual faith of thousands and thousands of people.

The plain and simple truth that you may not want to accept is that the horrible tunnel of doubts you may be experiencing is possibly for your own good. Do you know how much better I understand people who have trouble believing Christianity now? Before-hand, I figured it was all sin that made people doubt. Then I started doubting while I wasn't sinning. I experienced a dark night of the soul, which is a period that people go through in their life where they are enveloped with loneliness and despair and questions which make them want to rip their hair out! But has it benefited me? Oh, yes.

These are the benefits that going through periods of intense doubt gives us.

1. It gives us an understanding of other people who doubt.
2. A heart for people who doubt, and a desire to help them solve their doubts
3. It humbles an already humble person, even more deeply.
4. It skills us in defense of the faith.
5. It makes us aware of just how weak our own ability to believe is.
6. It makes us so, so, thankful for the truth of the Gospel, once we return to faith.
7. It causes us to be "wise as serpents but harmless as doves".
8. It gives us deep confidence in the Gospel.

Doubts help you. You will make it. God has a plan and He wants you in it. Refrain from falling into sin and pray, staying in the Word, despite the tricks your brain is playing on you. You're going to make it. Thousands of other people have. The main thing that is bothering you is that your doubts seem pointless to you, like God has left you to deal with it on your own. And perhaps He does want you to deal with it, but that doesn't mean He's not right beside you, waiting on the right moment to bring you back to faith. Read the Bible- God's will always leads people into places they weren't expecting to be and places they didn't want to be.

If you want to check out Gary Habermas' articles, go here: Dealing with Doubt

Peace and Joy to you! Christ has risen indeed!