Friday, October 21, 2011

Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch07

Today we continue with chapter seven of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 7 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] - Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 7 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) - PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] - Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Seven: Why Truth Matters Most
(pages 139-154)

While chapter six defined and defended truth, chapter seven makes the case "for the significance and value of both objective truth and truth seeking." This includes a discussion of 1) the relationship of truth, self-deception and personal virtue; 2) the will to disbelieve; 3) how humility relates to the quest for truth; 4) the vice of intellectual apathy;  and 6) the truth-attracting possibilities of silence.

Throughout the chapter, Groothuis shows how attitudes of mind and heart, as well as disciplines and distractions, play a role in the quest for truth. Along the way he counters some of the false conceptions of postmodern thinking. The author argues finally for the discipline of silence and reflection as a key to being more receptive to the truth.

Notable quotes:
Whenever we state an opinion, defend or critique an argument, ask a question, or investigate one kind of assertion or another, we presuppose the concept of truth-even if we don't directly state the word, even if we deny that truth is real or knowable. (Christian Apologetics, p. 139) 
While Jesus frequently engaged in intellectual arguments, he was acutely sensitive to the moral status of those with whom he was communicating, realizing that the state of a person's soul affected his or her ability to know certain things. (Christian Apologetics, p. 141)
Truth should be sought for its own sake, but also in tight relation to the intellectual flourishing of the individual. That is, there should be a conviction that it is best for us to follow truth wherever it leads, whatever the effect may be-and that this is the imperative for anyone with a modicum of intellectual rectitude. (Christian Apologetics, p. 145)  
Certainty is no vice, as long as it is grounded in clear and cogent arguments, is held with grace, and is willing to entertain counterarguments sincerely. (Christian Apologetics, p. 149)  
  1. What attitudes or disciplines that should be cultivated in the search for truth?
  2. What scriptures suggest that one's receptiveness to truth is connected with the condition of one's soul?
  3. Regarding one's level of certainty or confidence, how should apologists make their case?
Next week
Chapter Eight: Faith, Risk and Rationality


The Atheist Missionary said...

We're still early in this tome but I'm surprised at the extent of the quotes from the Gospel of John. This is not the basket where I would think a serious Christian apologist would want to place their eggs. You don't need to go to as radical a higher critic as Robert M. Price to learn that there is considerable doubt about who wrote John and when. Sayeth Jimmy Dunn: "Few scholars would regard John as a source for information regarding Jesus' life and ministry in any degree comparable to the synoptics" Jesus Remembered (Eerdmans, 2003), p. 165.

I think you've got a better case to argue that the Gospel of John is divinely inspired than you have to suggest that it was written by the apostle John himself.

The Atheist Missionary said...

Even the edifice of Darwinism is being challenged scientifically and philosophically.: p. 149. Really? If you want to call positing a supernatural cause to the first biological replicator a philosophical challenege to the theory of evolution by natural selection, that is fine but I trust you understand that the theory of evolution makes no positive claim about that cause (aside from the form conviction that it was naturalistic). However, I am hoping that you will fill me in on the scientific challenge to Darwinism because you might be in line to win a Nobel prize.

Ironically, later on the same page we are told: Even if we argue convincingly that Christianity is a rationally warranted worldwview, it is still the case that some Christians have made improper judgments as to what their worldview contains. Precisely! Such as denying the theory of evolution by natural selection when the overwhelming weight of evidence, including the tracing of mitochondrial DNA, supports it.

Brian said...

I suggest you wait till we get to the chapter by Craig Blomberg to address any issues with Gospel reliability. Then you can interact directly with the case made there.

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