Saturday, July 08, 2017

Gaining Greater Revelation About Our Identity

Image result for john piippo identity
A photo of one of my favorite postcards

Tomorrow morning at Redeemer I am going to preach on "Gaining Greater Revelation About Our Identity." One point I will make is this: When Scripture tells us that Satan comes to rob and steal, that which he robs humanity of is our identity. What, then, we are left with is pitiful, and leaves us on our own to fabricate our identity (on, e.g., social media).

By way of background, let me explain.

My days of teaching logic at Monroe County Community College are over. I did this for seventeen years. I will teach my Philosophy of Religion class this fall. This is one of my great academic joys. I teach this class in three sections:

I. Philosophical Arguments for God's Existence
a. Anselm's Ontological Argument for God's Existence (with a hat tip to Alvin Plantinga's Modal Version of the Ontological Argument)
b. Gaunilo's criticism of Anselm, and why this criticism fails
c. Kant's criticism of the Ontological Argument (and why Plantinga's Modal Version is not subject to Kant's criticism)
d. William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God
e. The Fine-tuning Argument for God's Existence based on anthropic coincidences at the origin of the universe

II. The Argument from Evil Against the Existence of God (The main philosophical argument against God's existence)
a. Mackie's Logical Argument from Evil Against the Existence of God
b. Buddhism's idea that evil is an illusion
c. Plantinga's refutation of Mackie's Logical Argument
d. Rowe's Evidential Argument from Evil Against the Existence of God
e. Wykstra's refutation of Rowe's argument

III. The Logic of Atheism and Theism
a. Nietsche's "Parable of the Madman"
b. Russell's "A Free Man's Worship"
c. Stephen Jay Gould's argument that science and religion do not conflict
d. William Lane Craig's Moral Argument for God's Existence

In Section III I assist the atheists and skeptics in my class to understand the logical implications of their worldview. From atheism, for example, a certain view of humanity follows. This is expressed by, e.g., atheist Richard Dawkins, who writes:

“In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.” (Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, p.133)

I agree with Dawkins, if there is no God, as does theistic philosopher William Lane Craig. Craig writes:

"If there is no God, then any ground for regarding the herd morality evolved by homo sapiens as objectively true seems to have been removed. After all, what is so special about human beings? They are just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time." (Craig, "The Indispensability of Theological Meta-ethical Foundations for Morality")  
Because Craig, and I, do believe God exists, a greater understanding of who God is gives greater revelation of our identity, of who we are.
I'm going to preach this tomorrow at Redeemer, in more detail, especially the part about understanding who God is.