The Transcendental Certitude of Metaphysical First Principles
Strange Notions
by Dr. Dennis Bonnette
11M ago
How do we really know that basic metaphysical principles, such as, that contradictions in being are impossible, are both certain and transcendentally true? That is, how do we have perfect certitude that they apply validly to every possible thing, including the God of classical theism? Some have argued that the principle of non-contradiction (PNC), which states that the same thing cannot both be and not be in the same respect, applies merely to macroscopic reality – to the humans and horses and even bugs we see in the full size world of our normal experience. They claim, in the name of science ..read more
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What Life is Like When you Are not Alive
Strange Notions
by Dr. Dennis Bonnette
1y ago
Ever wonder what it is like to be in the next life, that is, to be dead? (I thought it best to leave the word “dead” out of the title of this essay.) Since this is something we all must face sooner or later, I thought it might be of interest to engage in some rational speculation about what a human being experiences, if anything, after he becomes unconscious for the last time. This is not a theological enquiry. So, depictions of hellfire and eternal bliss, though they may be apologetically defensible, are not where this essay is going. Rather, I shall explore what natural reason might tell us ..read more
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I’m Not a Christian, But I’m Fascinated by the Incarnation
Strange Notions
by Tamer Nashef
1y ago
As a secular Muslim, I see the Incarnation (the embodiment of God the Son in human flesh) as one of Christianity’s most philosophically rich doctrines that has likely had a substantial impact on the evolution of the European mind. As I understand this doctrine, by inhabiting a human body and being present on earth, Christ as the Son of God not only sanctified the body and material world, but he also conferred some form of divinity upon man1 and in a sense humanized God,2 thereby bridging the hitherto yawning gulf between Creator and man. My argument is that this key Christian doctrine gave ri ..read more
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Free Will Disproved by Science?
Strange Notions
by Matt Nelson
1y ago
For those who reject the notion of free will, our experience of making our own decisions is nothing more than a deep-seated illusion. “The reality is,” insists biologist Anthony Cashmore, “not only do we have no more free will than a fly or a bacterium, in actuality we have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.” Those who argue for the nonexistence of free will often do so on scientific grounds. And those who offer a scientific “proof” against free will point to one type of experiment more than any other—namely, those done and inspired by neurobiologist Benjamin Libet. In 1983, Li ..read more
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How the Blessed Mother Can Answer All Those Prayers
Strange Notions
by Dr. Dennis Bonnette
1y ago
Skeptics have long objected to Catholicism on grounds that it is obvious that the Blessed Virgin Mary, if real, could not possibly hear and answer all those hundreds of millions of prayers addressed to her personally every day by faithful Catholics and many other Christians. Given that we can barely concentrate on but a single question at a time, this objection seems, on its face, impossible to answer rationally. This element of Catholic belief seems simply absurd. Still, there exist several possible explanations as to how this central element of Catholic spiritual practice can be true. These ..read more
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Presentism and Infinite History
Strange Notions
by Jimmy Akin
1y ago
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” While the world definitely had a beginning, there’s a question of whether we can prove this by reason alone (i.e., by philosophical arguments). Defenders of the Kalaam cosmological argument often use an argument like this one, which is found in William Lane Craig’s book Reasonable Faith: 1) An actually infinite number of things cannot exist. 2) A beginningless series of events in time entails an actually infinite number of things. 3) Therefore, a beginningless series of events in time cannot exist. I have a problem wi ..read more
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Using the Kalaam Argument Correctly
Strange Notions
by Jimmy Akin
1y ago
In recent years, one of the most popular arguments for the existence of God has been the Kalaam cosmological argument. Ultimately, I think this argument is successful, but many of the ways it has been employed are unsuccessful. It is an argument that needs to be used carefully—with the proper qualifiers. Stating the Argument We can state the Kalaam argument like this: 1) Everything that has a beginning has a cause. 2) The universe has a beginning. 3) Therefore, the universe has a cause (which would be God). Is this argument valid? Is it sound? Valid arguments are ones that use a correc ..read more
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Traversing an Infinite?
Strange Notions
by Jimmy Akin
1y ago
God created the universe a finite time ago, but there’s a question of whether we can prove this by reason alone. Defenders of the Kalaam cosmological argument often claim that the universe cannot have an infinite history because “traversing an infinite” is impossible. In his book Reasonable Faith (pp. 120-124), William Lane Craig puts the argument this way 1. The series of events in time is a collection formed by adding one member after another 2. A collection formed by adding one member after another cannot be actually infinite 3. Therefore, the series of events in time ..read more
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What’s Wrong with the Countdown Paradox?
Strange Notions
by Jimmy Akin
1y ago
Sometimes defenders of the Kalaam cosmological argument defend its second premise (i.e., that the world couldn’t have an infinite past) by proposing a paradox involving counting. The line of reasoning goes something like this: A. Suppose that the universe has an infinite history (the kind of history you’d need to do an infinite countdown). B. Suppose that a person has been counting down the infinite set of negative numbers (. . . -3, -2, -1) for all eternity, and they finish today, so today’s number is 0. It took them an infinite amount of time to reach 0 in the present ..read more
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Did God Command Genocide in the Old Testament?
Strange Notions
by Dr. Randal Rauser
1y ago
The heart and foundation of Christianity is belief in a God who is worthy of worship: in the words of Anselm, that being than which none greater can be conceived. And so, when the Bible depicts God as acting in a manner that appears to be less-than-perfect, this creates a challenge for the Christian reader. There is perhaps no more glaring an example of this problem than God’s command to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 20:16-17: “16 However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. 17Completely destroy them ..read more
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