Bible - with heartI spent several hours tonight converting one of the essays I wrote for my Master's degree at Tyndale Seminary into HTML format. I still somewhat consider the essay a work-in-progress and will continue to add to it as I see fit, but I did take the liberty of adding some extra links to the end of most of the sections to further information on the web.

Read the article here:
The Historical Reliability of the New Testament
(Approx 4,000 words)

Whew. That took a loooooooong time. And now, I'm going to bed! :)

Oh brotherI saw a post on John Depoe's blog today where he listed eight random facts about himself. Since I haven't made a post in awhile (yes I'm still slowly working through The God Delusion) I figured I'd also post eight random facts about me:

  • I'm a huge Simpsons fan (I have a Simpsons trivia calendar on my desk) but haven't seen the Simpsons Movie.
  • I'm working through Biola's Certificate in Christian Apologetics. I submitted my first module recently. Though I have a Masters degree from Tyndale Seminary I'd love to go back to school someday to earn a second Masters and eventually a PhD.
  • My favorite band in high school / university was The Ramones. I own every studio album they ever released plus several live CDs and collections.
  • Although I've generally been quite healthy throughout my life, I've had gastroenteritis, pneumonia, mononucleosis, shingles, had an adenoidectomy, and have corneal edema.
  • I was an agnostic (occasionally atheist depending on my mood) for the first 22 years of my life. I was as surprised as anyone when that changed.
  • I enjoy many diverse web comics, including Penny Arcade, xkcd, Savage Chickens, Sinfest, Nemu Nemu, Ctrl-Alt-Del, and Activities for Rainy Days.
  • Although I don't play as often (or as hardcore) as I used to, I enjoy video games. I own a Wii and a DS. Nintendo FTW!
  • I used to write music using an antiquated DOS program (and still try every few months or so, usually unsuccessfully), but I'm really self-conscious about my songs so I can count on one hand the number of people who have heard any of them. In total I have about 60 finished songs of varying quality.

Sorry about the lack of posts lately. In the last two months, I've finished my last full semester for my masters at Tyndale and just got back from some tiring ministry training in British Columbia. Fun times, but very busy. The final course I'll be taking this summer (the last elective to complete my degree) will be Defending the Faith: Resurrection, taught by a leading scholar on the resurrection, Dr. Gary Habermas. Needless to say, I'm quite excited about taking the course!

Enough about me.

God?I was reading a magazine today where a man was asked "Is your religion truer than another?" Unsurprisingly, he replied "We'll never know that." Is this a reasonable statement? What does this really mean?

I'd like to first preface my comments by pointing out that if God exists, and religions have opposite views about God's nature, then necessarily one is "truer" than the others. If God exists He really possesses certain attributes, and therefore one of the descriptions given by one of those religions would match most closely to those attributes.

However, the real question lurking here is whether or not we can really know anything about God. "We'll never know that," the man says, indicating that he agrees God exists and possesses attributes, but doubts we can know those attributes, let alone know God personally. I've found that the majority of people I speak to about spiritual issues believe God exists. However, many of those same people claim we can't really know anything about God. Now, part of the source of this opinion is due to tolerance overindulgence, and people are just afraid of being branded "intolerant" for voicing their convictions regarding spiritual issues. That doesn't prove that the belief is wrong (genetic fallacy) but does suggest that people may not have considered the philosophical reasons for their claim.

The claim:

We can't know anything about God.

I've posted before about why it is deficient to apply the same methodology we use to study mundane things to studying God. That, I think, is an important and valid argument against the idea that we cannot "know" God, because most people making that claim are assuming (knowingly or not) entirely natural methodology.

But here's another thing to think about. If someone says we cannot know anything about God, ask why. As soon as a person tries to provide reasons by saying "Because God is …" their argument falls apart; it is self-refuting. Greg Koukl would say the argument "commits suicide". In order to defend the conclusion (that we can't know anything about God) the proponent must base their conclusion on what they claim to know about God!

Consider this analogy:

Fred: We can't know anything about Bob.
Jill: Why?
Fred: Because Bob lives alone in a house in the mountains with the windows painted black and never comes outside.

The problem with the argument should be obvious: Fred provides several facts he claims to know about Bob in order to try to prove we can't know anything about him!

Moreover, even the claim on its own without appeal to other information is self-refuting! The claim we can't know anything about God is itself making a claim to know something about God: That God is unknowable! It commits a fallacy similar to the liar paradox. So even if no further premises are expounded to support this conclusion (such as that God is infinite and therefore incomprehensible by our finite minds, a poor argument IMHO) the conclusion still fails because it self-destructs.

A much more reasonable position would be we can't know very much about God, but I think that even without appeal to special revelation (like a holy book for example), we can still know much about God via observation and reflection alone. (See "What about natural theology?") These are not ends unto themselves, but steps along the way. Faith is (at least in part) a journey and not just a destination; however, people who are searching should not be so intent upon gazing at the sky while they walk that they fail to see the yawning chasm lying just ahead.

I was bored tonight, so I made a new logo for the blog. I think it looks rather sharp. Kudos to stock.xchng and all those who contribute to it … it is an extremely valuable free resource for royalty-free photos.

(Note: You may have to hold Shift and press the Reload button in your browser to make it show up if you've been to the site before; your browser may have the image cached, and since the name of the file didn't change it may not load the new image.)

Photo credits:
Book: Book with white pages (brokenarts)
Background: Is it a bird…is it a plane…? (a_kartha)

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