Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why Does This Blog Exist? Answering Some Questions

Ever since the William Lane Craig-Sean Carroll debate, I’ve been getting occasional comments from those who are, shall we say, unhappy with Craig overall. They want to triumphantly crow about how Craig was finally “exposed” as a “charlatan” of science by Carroll, and whatnot. Then, when I either do not allow or otherwise attempt to get them to back off the rhetoric, I am accused of wanting to censor. This is, ostensibly, because, deep down, I know the truth that Christian theism is bankrupt and that almighty Science is the true king. Obviously, I’m being a little sarcastic. But I thought that perhaps I should clarify what this blog is for, and what it is not for.

First, I’d like to say that this blog is not for everyone to have an equal say about just anything. This is because, after all, this blog is about “Christian philosophy, theology, apologetics, and life in general,” with the distinct adjective “Christian”! So, no, if you just want to advertise your weird foreign-made shoes, I’m not going to allow your comment to stand. More pertinently, however, it means I need people to stay on topic. If you want to write about the Euthyphro on a discussion of the kalam, I’m going to ask you to get back on track. Simple as that.

Second, this blog is not for other people’s views to be demeaned and harassed, especially those of Christians. You may wish to do this, and you may even have great reasons why you think it should be done. Fine. Just not on my blog. I’m not interested in the majority of the rhetoric that goes on in these debates. If I want to be involved in some kind of insult contest, I’ll let you know. ;)

Third, this is not an equal opportunity blog. That is, I don’t have guest posts to promote atheism, or paraconsistent logic, Buddhism, Mormonism, etc. This is a specifically orthodox Christian blog, and while I may have guest posts that diverge from my views, they will always be on non-worldview-altering things. I’m not interested in the promotion of things that are non-Christian. Now that we know some things this blog is not for, let’s talk about some things it is for.

First, this blog is for fair and honest discussion. In my articles, I will do my best to treat the topic fairly. While I may get some things wrong, it won’t be because I have sought to misrepresent the view I am discussing. Now this fairness and honesty run both ways. This also means that I expect fairness and honesty out of my commentators as well. Recently, I “held someone’s feet to the fire,” so to speak, when he made a particular claim about the kalam. I pressed him on his claim, and all he wanted to do was talk about something else. A surefire way to uncover something as mere rhetoric or dishonesty is to try this. Now he wasn’t interested in retracting the claim, but he wasn’t interested in discussing it either. That reeks of dishonesty. I don’t intend to go any further with such a person.

Second, this blog is for my own personal enrichment. I, clearly, have not arrived philosophically. I have a long way to go. I do feel, however, that I am a better philosopher than I was a year ago, and I hope that a year from now I can say the same thing. I’m writing as I’m growing, a kind of formalized stream-of-development blogging. So there are already some articles I’ve written in the past which I would discredit entirely, and others I would amend significantly, and others I would amend only slightly. Still others I am happy with as-is. The point is that, with my schedule and goals, I don’t have time for silly disagreements. I can tell you why I believe something, and why I think you’re wrong, and I’ll both listen to and interact with criticisms of why you think I am wrong. But I don’t have the time nor the energy to deal with what I call the “conversation stopper” criticisms: Christianity would never be justified no matter the evidence, Christianity is child abuse, religious belief is bad, etc. I know it’s important to have these addressed, but they’re so rudimentary (in most cases) and so irrelevant to what I’m doing (in that I’m proceeding forward with the antithesis of these to see what would be the case) that I am not interested in engaging it. It would be like every time a scientist published a paper, some anti-realist came around and said, “Yes, but it’s not the actual truth of the matter,” and expected her to discuss that every time. Or it would be like the scientist who has to debate a flat earth with someone before discussing anything else. It’s so counterproductive, it’s silly.

Third, this blog is for the equipping of other believers. What do I do here? I try to write articles that help answer questions that believers have. These questions can be easy or very complex or anywhere in between, but almost everything I write on has been asked by a Christian (at least by me, anyway). I don’t know that I’d say I’m training people to be apologists as much as I am trying to strengthen people in their Christian faith. Too many brothers and sisters are barely clinging on to their faith, all because they have questions that they are either completely discouraged from asking or that no one they know can answer. All I want to do is to encourage them: they don’t have to get all their questions answered in order to be rational, but they will have to get some answered, and know that there are answers to others even if they aren’t certain of which one is correct.

Fourth, this blog is for the evangelization of unbelievers. I make no apologies for that. I invite people to place their active trust in God’s Son Jesus Christ for their salvation. There are some people out there who would do it, if only a few intellectual obstacles were removed from their path. They are the ones who, when questioned with, “If intellectual obstacles were removed so that you would be justified in becoming a Christian, would you do it?” honestly answer “yes.” I do this, in part, to try to answer their questions.

There you have it. I tried to use more words to describe what this blog is for than what it is against. I’m going to do a video in the near future discussing what role this blog plays in my overall ministry, and where I’d like that to go in the future. So if your comment is never approved (I do have them set to be moderated after the first few days of an article’s posting), ask yourself: did I violate one of the comment guidelines, or is what I wrote against what he is for? If it is, don’t worry: I haven’t banned you. Just write something a little different, and all is well.

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