Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
1. In what way does Ignorance explain his religion?
2. How does Ignorance appeal to his own good works and his own conscience?
3. What is the basis of the reply from Christian and Faithful?
Here, therefore, they met with a very brisk lad, that came out of that country; and his name was IGNORANCE. So CHRISTIAN asked him, "From what part he came? and whither he was going?"
Ignorance. Sir, I was born in the country that lies off there, a little on the left hand; and I am going to the
Chr. But how do you think to get in at the gate; for you may find some difficulty there?
Ign. "As other good people do," said he.
Chr. But what have you to show at that gate that may cause that the gate should be opened to you?
Ign. I know my Lord's will, and I have led a good life: I pay every man his own; I pray, fast, pay tithes, and give alms, and have left my country for whither I am going.
Chr. But thou camest not in at the wicket gate that is at the head of this way; thou camest in hither through that same crooked lane: and therefore I fear, however thou mayest think of thyself, when the reckoning day shall come, thou wilt have laid to thy charge, that thou art a thief and a robber, instead of getting admittance into the City.
Ign. Gentlemen, ye be utter strangers to me, I know you not; be content to follow the religion of your country, and I will follow the religion of mine. I hope all will be well. And as for the gate that you talk of, all the world knows that that is a great way off of our country. I cannot think that any man in all our parts doth so much as know the way to it; nor need they matter whether they do or not, since we have, as you see, a fine pleasant green lane, that comes down from our country the next way into it.
When CHRISTIAN saw that the man was wise in his own conceit, he said to HOPEFUL whisperingly, "There is more hope of a fool than of him".
"Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him." Proverbs 26:12
And said, moreover, "When he that is a fool walks by the way, his wisdom fails him; and he saith to everyone that he is a fool.
"Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool." Ecclesiastes 10:3
What! shall we talk further with him? or outgo him at present, and so leave him to think of what he hath heard already; and then stop again for him afterwards, and see if by degrees we can do any good by him?" Then said HOPEFUL:
Hope. He further added, "It is not good, I think, to say all to him at once; let us pass him by if you will, and talk to him anon, even as he is able to bear it."
In these two sections we see Christian, and then Christian and his friend Faithful, accused of many things. And we see how each responds.
1. In what way are their responses an example of faith?
2. In what way do Christian and Faithful differ from their accusers?
3. Is faith of this type "blind" faith, or a kind of "leap of faith," or is it based on reasoning and inference?
4. Faithful appeals to special revelation, does that mean he accepts its contents blindly or is there an implied arguement for special revelation in what he says?
Apol. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him; and how dost thou think to receive wages of him?
Chr. Wherein, O APOLLYON, have I been unfaithful to him?
Apol. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast almost choked in the Gulf of Despond; thou didst attempt wrong ways to be rid of thy burden, whereas thou shouldst have stayed till thy Prince had taken it off; thou didst sinfully sleep and lose thy choice thing; thou wast also almost persuaded to go back at the sight of the lions; and when thou talkest of thy journey, and of what thou hast heard and seen, thou art inwardly desirous of vain-glory in all that thou sayest or doest.
Chr. All this is true; and much more which thou hast left out: but the Prince whom I serve and honour is merciful and ready to forgive. But besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy country; for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under them, been sorry for them, and have obtained pardon of my Prince.
Apol. Then APOLLYON straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, "I am void of fear in this matter: prepare thyself to die! for I swear by my infernal den that thou shalt go no farther; here will I spill thy soul." And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast; but CHRISTIAN had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that. Then did CHRISTIAN draw, for he saw 't was time to bestir him; and APOLLYON as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that CHRISTIAN could do to avoid it, APOLLYON wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot. This made CHRISTIAN give a little back; APOLLYON therefore followed his work furiously, and CHRISTIAN again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till CHRISTIAN was almost quite spent. For you must know that CHRISTIAN, by reason of his wounds, grew weaker and weaker.
Then proclamation was made, that they that had aught to say for their lord the king against the prisoner at the bar, should forthwith appear and give in their evidence. So there came in three witnesses: to wit, ENVY, SUPERSTITION, and PICKTHANK. They were then asked if they knew the prisoner at the bar? and what they had to say for their lord the king against him?
Envy. Then stood forth ENVY, and said to this effect: "My lord, I have known this man a long time; and will attest upon my oath before this honourable bench, that he is –– "
Lord Hategood, the Judge. Hold; give him his oath!
So they sware him. Then he said, "My lord, this man, notwithstanding his plausible name, is one of the vilest men in our country; he neither regards prince nor people, law nor custom; but doth all that he can to possess all men with certain of his disloyal notions, which he, in the general, calls principles of faith and holiness. And in particular, I heard him once myself affirm that Christianity and the customs of our town of
Judge. Then did the judge say unto him, "Hast thou any more to say?"
Envy. "My lord, I could say much more; only I would not be tedious to the court. Yet, if need be, when the other gentlemen have given in their evidence, rather than anything shall be wanting that will dispatch him, I will enlarge my testimony against him." So he was bidden to stand by.
Then they called SUPERSTITION, and bade him look upon the prisoner; they also asked what he could say for their lord the king against him? Then they sware him; so he began:
Superstition. My lord, I have no great acquaintance with this man; nor do I desire to have further knowledge of him. However, this I know, that he is a very pestilent fellow, from some discourse that the other day I had with him in this town; for then, talking with him, I heard him say that our religion was naught, and such by which a man could by no means please God; which sayings of his, my lord, your lordship very well knows what necessarily thence will follow: to wit, that we still do worship in vain; are yet in our sins: and finally shall be damned. And this is that which I have to say.
Then was PICKTHANK sworn, and bid say what he knew in behalf of their lord the king against the prisoner at the bar.
Pickthank. My lord, and you gentlemen all, this fellow I have known of a long time; and have heard him speak things that ought not to be spoken. For he hath railed on our noble Prince BEELZEBUB; and hath spoken contemptibly of his honourable friends, whose names are, the Lord OLDMAN; the Lord CARNALDELIGHT; the Lord LUXURIOUS; the Lord DESIRE OF VAINGLORY; my old Lord LECHERY; Sir HAVING GREEDY; with all the rest of our nobility: and he hath said moreover, that if all men were of his mind, if possible, there is not one of these noble men should have any longer a being in this town. Besides, he hath not been afraid to rail on you, my lord, who are now appointed to be his judge; calling you an ungodly villain, with many other such like defaming terms, with which he hath bespattered most of the gentry of our town.
When this PICKTHANK had told his tale, the judge directed his speech to the prisoner at the bar, saying, "Thou apostate, heretic, and traitor ! – hast thou heard what these honest gentle-men have witnessed against thee?"
Faith. May I speak a few words in my own defence?
Judge. Sirrah, sirrah ! – thou deservest to live no longer, but to be slain immediately upon the place; yet that all men may see our gentleness towards thee, let us hear what thou, vile apostate, hast to say.
Faith. 1. I say, then, in answer to what Mr. ENVY hath spoken, I never said aught but this: That what rule, or laws, or customs, or people, were flat against the Word of God, are diametrically opposite to Christianity. If I have said amiss in this, convince me of my error; and I am ready here before you to make my recantation.
2. As to the second, to wit, Mr. SUPERSTITION, and his charge against me, I said only this: That in the worship of God there is required a divine faith; but there can be no divine faith without a divine revelation of the will of God: therefore whatever is thrust into the worship of God that is not agreeable to a divine revelation, cannot be done but by a human faith; which faith will not profit to eternal life.
3. As to what Mr. PICKTHANK hath said, I say – avoiding terms, as that I am said to rail, and the like – that the prince of this town, with all the rabble – his attendants, by this gentleman named – are more fit for being in hell than in this town and country; and so the Lord have mercy upon me!
Then the judge called to the jury – who all this while stood by, to hear and observe, – " Gentlemen of the jury, you see this man about whom so great an uproar hath been made in this town; you have also heard what these worthy gentlemen have witnessed against him; also you have heard his reply and confession: it lieth now in your breasts to hang him, or save his life; but yet I think meet to instruct you into our law.
"There was an act made in the days of Pharaoh the Great, servant to our prince, that lest those of a contrary religion should multiply and grow too strong for him, their males should be thrown into the river.
"And the children of
And the king of
There was also an act made in the days of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, another of his servants, that whoever would not fall down and worship his golden image should be thrown into a fiery furnace.
"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height wasthreescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the
That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the
Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who isthat God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Daniel 3:1-18
There was also an act made in the days of Darius, that whoso, for some time, called upon any God but his, should be cast into the lions' den.
"It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree." Daniel 6:1-9
Now the substance of these laws this rebel has broken; not only in thought (which is not to be borne), but also in word and deed, which must therefore needs be intolerable.
"For that of Pharaoh, his law was made upon suspicion to prevent mischief, no crime yet being apparent; but here is a crime apparent. For the second and third, you see he disputes against our religion; and for the treason he hath confessed, he deserves to die the death."
Then went the jury out, whose names were, Mr. BLIND-MAN, Mr. NO-GOOD, Mr. MALICE, Mr. LOVE-LUST, Mr. LIVE-LOOSE, Mr. HEADY, Mr. HIGH-MIND, Mr. ENMITY, Mr. LIAR, Mr. CRUELTY, Mr. HATE-LIGHT, and Mr. IMPLACABLE; who everyone gave in his private verdict, against him among themselves, and afterwards unanimously concluded to bring him in guilty before the judge. And first among themselves, Mr. BLIND-MAN the foreman said, "I see clearly that this man is a heretic." Then said Mr. NO-GOOD, "Away with such a fellow from the earth!" "Aye," said Mr. MALICE, "for I hate the very looks of him." Then said Mr. LOVE-LUST, "I could never endure him." "Nor I," said Mr. LIVE-LOOSE; "for he would always be condemning my way," "Hang him, hang him !" said Mr. HEADY. "A sorry scrub," said Mr. HIGH-MIND. "My heart rises against him," said Mr. ENMITY. "He is a rogue," said Mr. LIAR. "Hanging is too good for him," said Mr. CRUELTY. "Let us dispatch him out of the way," said Mr. HATE-LIGHT. Then said Mr. IMPLACABLE, "Might I have all the world given me, I could not be reconciled to him; therefore let us forthwith bring him in guilty of death." And so they did; therefore he was presently condemned to be had from the place where he was to the place from whence he came, and there to be put to the most cruel death that could be invented.
Friday, September 9, 2016
1. What is the Kalam argument? What is cosmological argument and why is Kalam a kind of cosmological argument?
2. Why did Aquinas reject the Kalam argument? In what way does it fail to address Greek Dualism? What is the difference between showing matter is dependent on God and that matter had a beginning?
3. What is an actual infinite and a potential infinite? Why does Feser think the hotel analogy fails? In what way does this relate to theories of time and what are these theories?
4. What does it mean to say that Craig's version of the Kalam argument is too closely tied to scientific discoveries?
5. Is there another form of the cosmological argument that shows not only the dependence of matter on God but also that matter had a beginning?
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
“It is something positive … though not real. It is called positive in order to emphasize the fact that it is not merely negative. It has two aspects. In its negative aspect it conceals … Reality and acts as a screen to hide it. In its positive aspect it projects … the world of plurality on the Brahman-Ground. It is non-apprehension as well as misapprehension” (Sharma p. 274).
“It is indescribable and indefinable for it is neither real nor unreal nor both. It is not real, for it has no existence apart from Brahman; it is not unreal, for it projects the world of appearance. It is not real, for it vanishes at the dawn of knowledge; it is not unreal, for it is true as long as it lasts. It is not real to constitute a limit to Brahman and yet it is real enough to give rise to the world of appearance. And it is not both real and unreal, for this conception is self-contradictory” (Sharma p. 274-275).
Sharma says: “The words ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ are taken by Shankara in their absolute sense. Real means real for all time and Brahman alone can be real in this sense. Similarly, unreal means absolutely unreal like the hare’s horn, which this phenomenal world is not. Hence this world is neither real nor unreal. This shows its self-contradictory and therefore incomprehensible nature…. Shankara’s intention is perfectly clear – none can condemn this world as unreal; he who does it, is not qualified to do so and he who is qualified to do so, will not do so, for he would have risen above language and finite thought” (Sharma p.279).
Shankara’s views on Brahman: “Brahman is the only Reality. It is absolutely indeterminate and non-dual. It is beyond speech and mind. It is indescribable because no description of it can be complete. The best description of it is through the negative formula of ‘neti neti’ or ‘not this, not this’. Yet Brahman is not an abyss of non-entity, because it is the Supreme Self and stands selfrevealed as the background of all affirmations and denials. The moment we try to bring this Brahman within the categories of intellect or try to make this ultimate subject an object of our thought, we miss its essential nature” (Sharma p. 280).
Sharma, Chandrahar. A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers; 1987.
1. Why don't the origins or the nature of the poisoned arrow matter? Is this analogous to not knowing the nature or purpose of the world?
2. Are there some metaphysical truths that are important to know, and others that are useless speculation? How can this be determined?
3. What does it mean for something to be useful?
4. Presumably there are many different Dharmas, or ways of living, how can we know which to follow without getting involved in metaphysical discussions?
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Every dispute about the question religious prerogatives ought to be rejected from the very first word. No one ought to be allowed to examine whether it is necessary to believe what God orders us to believe. This ought to be accepted as a first principle in matters of religion. It is up to the metaphysicians to examine whether there is a God and whether he is infallible; but Christians, insofar as they are Christians, ought to suppose that this is something already decided.
Monday, August 22, 2016
John Philoponus lived, studied, and taught in Alexandria in the 6th century. At that time Alexandria was the pinnacle of academic learning, and Christians and non-Christians argued about beliefs central to each worldview such as the eternity of the world. He is well known for his arguments against Aristotle and the eternity of the world. Below is a link to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy where his argument against the eternity of the world is summarized.
1. Why do Christians believe that the world had a beginning, or is not eternal?
2. Why do thinkers like Aristotle and Plato believe, or assume, that the world is eternal? How does this affect their definition and understanding of "God."
3. John Philoponus does not address every individual eternalist but instead addresses their claims in kind. How does he do this? Apply his argument to contemporary eternalists.
4. What are the implications for Christianity if: 1) the world is eternal (without beginning) or 2) we cannot know if the world is eternal or created?
5. Why are eternity and divinity connected so that if the stars are eternal, they are also divine?
6. Can you give his argument that the world is not eternal? His argument against a divine 5th element? Can you find correlations to this 5th element in contemporary eternalists?
7. Summarize the method of John Philoponus in respect to reason and thinkers like Aristotle.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
"Put in a nutshell, then, a belief has warrant for a person S only if that belief is produced in S by cognitive faculties functioning properly (subject to no dysfunction) in a cognitive environment that is appropriate for S's kind of cognitive faculties, according to a design plan that is successfully aimed at truth. We must add, furthermore, that when a belief meets these conditions and does enjoy warrant, the degree of warrant it enjoys depends on the strength of the belief, the firmness with which S holds it."
1. Can the cognitive environment in which a cognitive faculty is operating be known by that cognitive faculty in a non-question begging way?
2. What role does the idea of a design plan play in the definition of warrant?
3. Why is there a relationship between degree of warrant and firmness of belief?
4. Consider the relationship between knowing what is good, this definition of warrant, and responsibility.