Thursday, June 29, 2006

Salvo Mag-New Resource


This looks to be a good resource in the near future. It is unfortunate they don't offer an online version, but there is nothing wrong with dropping a few bucks on a good subscription. The editorial board looks very promising. This is from their mission:

Blasting holes in scientific naturalism, marveling at the intricate design of the universe, and promoting life in a culture of death.

Critiquing art, music, film, television, and literature, interrupting mass media influence, and questioning the sanity of our consumerist lifestyle.

Countering destructive ideologies, replacing revisionist fictions with undeniable facts, and paring away political correctness.

Debunking the cultural myths that have undercut human dignity, all but destroyed the notions of virtue and morality, and slowly eroded our appetite for transcendence.

Recovering the one worldview that actually works.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Focus On The Family's Truth Project

Faith at Altitude: Truth and Dare

I am a little dissapionted that I didn't hear about this local conference before it was held-I would have loved being there. I did receive, however, a promo DVD with snippets of the sessions and an overview of the project. It is all very well done and put together, but I had one reservation stemming from what little I saw on the DVD. I wish they had steered clear of some of the social advocacy issues they tackled head-on. It is not that I necessarily disagree with the positions they took (I probably agree with FOTF more often than not), but in my opinion building a worldview means building philosophical and theological foundations instead of political positions. The political positions inevitably follow, but we ought to be theological first and political second.

I am currently going through a study of Jeremiah with our church and I am struck from time to time by his ability to raise political havoc while being wholly committed theologically and completely uncomitted politically.

Maybe someone out there has seen the full set of materials and would like to comment on their usefulness and quality?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Calvinism and Irenic Encounters

I have seen this article referenced a couple times today, and when I got a chance to read it I appreciated the tone and demeanor taken by the two interlocutors regarding Calvinism/Reformed Theology and, what is in essence, general evangelical theological standards.  Albert Mohler and Paige Patterson, two university presidents in the SBC school system, interacted about the role of Calvinism within the Southern Baptist Convention and its role in the call to evangelize.

These two displayed an irenic spirit, and it seems a good grasp of the issues at hand.  As a non-Calvinist in my theology, I resonated with at least one of the points made by Patterson, the non-Calvinist in the debate:

But Patterson also said there are several areas of concern he has with “some Calvinists”:

-- the notion that if “you are not a Calvinist then you must be an Arminian.” He said he is neither.

I would modify that to say, “if you are not a Calvinist then you must be Pelagian.”  In some of my less irenic encounters, that is the bifurcation drawn by some deeply serious and evangelistic Calvinists.  But Patterson is right.  The evangelical theological world is not so easily divided into the orthodox Calvinists and the unorthodox Heretics.

Monday, June 12, 2006

George and Singer at Princeton

On the Square: Robert George about Singer and Debate

This is a great article on several levels, not the least of which is the chance to get "on the inside" just a bit in what looks to be a generally congenial relationship between two intelligent people who could not hold different views.

Reflecting on Failure and Morality

It might be the result of a deep-down dower disposition, but when I saw a philosopher opining about failure, it caught my attention. Christopher Tollephsen remarks on a handful of possible implications drawn from failure, the more interesting of which to me was in the realm of philosophical ethics. His primary examples are two powerhouses in the field.

In philosophical ethics, two of the most important treatments of failure are those of Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel, in their somewhat different essays, both titled "Moral Luck." Williams, for example, argues in his essay that in some cases it is only success or failure that justifies or disjustifies an agent's choices.

In other words, we are not in a position to judge an act morally until the outcome is known. We cannot tell the future and the “luck” of events will decide whether a decision was justified. Again Tollephsen notes:

Were this so, moral judgment would be hostage to the possibility of failure, a point Nagel argues for as well: many ventures are morally justified in part by whether they succeed or not, but success and failure depend upon much that is not in our control and that is intrinsically unforeseeable; the inevitability of failure thus conditions our moral lives in deep and possibly disturbing ways. Moral luck just is this phenomenon of being held morally responsible for what is beyond our control.

In contrast to Williams and Nagel, he concludes:

I think that the moral to be drawn is precisely the one Williams and Nagel urge we give up: the thought that morality is a matter of the heart.

I become more and more of an Aristotelian every time I read of such moral conundrums. While I do not think there is theological space to completely lay aside certain utilitarian ends or deontological concerns, I think more and more that morality has primarily to do with what I can directly affect-my heart.