Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. He holds a BS from the University of Maryland in Political Science/History and a MA in Apologetics & Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary. Frederick holds a Doctor of Practical Theology through the Master's Graduate School Of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. Dr. Meekins is pursuing a Ph.D. in Apologetics through Newburgh Theological Seminary.

Tuesday, April 29

Lessons In Apologetics, Part 1: Introduction & Agnosticism

For anyone pursuing a degree in Apologetics that was given a dollar for every time they were asked "What is that, learning how to say you are sorry" upon answering the question of what it is that they study so many times, many would have financed a considerable portion of their academic pursuits. Unfortunately, such ignorance as to what exactly this theological discipline entails symbolizes the neglect the defense of the faith has fallen into in the contemporary church and is one of the reasons that everywhere the believer and student of religion turns today they find Christianity losing considerable ground both within and without its boundaries to a wide variety of opponents and adversaries. To the serious student of this field of study, one of the best tools around which to build a fundamental understanding of the discipline's ins and outs is "Christian Apologetics" by Norman Geisler, one of the field's foremost living practitioners.

Basic to any academic discipline is the approach or methodology which scholars and researchers apply to the subject matter. The field of Apologetics is no different. Geisler lists the methodologies to knowledge in general and about God in particular as agnosticism, rationalism, fideism, experientialism, evidentialism, pragmatism, and combinationalism. In the course of his analysis, Geisler evaluates each in terms of their epistemology regarding religious matters and how these approaches stack up under the weight of being scrutinized by their own criteria.

The first approach to knowledge of God is agnosticism. Coined by T.H. Huxley, the term agnosticism means "no knowledge" and thus contends one is unable to know anything about God (13).

Agnosticism is itself divided into two branches. The one holds that not yet enough conclusive evidence pointing in one direction or the other regarding the existence of God has been gathered. The other holds that God is not knowable.

Of the agnostics that claim God is not knowable, this claim is based upon their understanding of the nature of knowledge. Drawing upon David Hume's Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and A.J. Ayers' Language, Truth, & Logic, these agnostics have divided the tree of actual knowledge into two branches.

The first variety of valid statements are analytic statements meaning they are valid by the terms of their definitions. For example, all bachelors are unmarried. The second type of valid statements are known as synthetic and are what we would refer to as matters of fact as they are about empirically gathered data (17).

Geisler writes of the agnostic views regarding talk about God, "For the term 'God' is neither analytic nor synthetic; that is, it is neither offered by the theist as an empty contentless definition corresponding to nothing in reality nor is it filled with empirical content since 'God' is allegedly a supraempirical being. Hence, it is literally nonsense to talk about God (18)."

To the aspiring apologist hoping to present an objective case for the Christian faith beyond how warm and fuzzy Jesus makes their innards, it may seem that the agnostic methodology has struck an early and potentially crippling blow to this noble effort. However, a bit of careful reflection may even the scales once more between the agnostic and the Christian.

The lofty sounding name given to this epistemology of language is the Verification Principle. If the Christian turns the Verification Principle back on itself, one sees it is self-referentially incoherent as the concept cannot live up to its own criteria as the Verification Principle is neither purely definitional or merely a statement of fact.

Thus to remain consistent, the agnostic must admit that, since our knowledge of the empirical and metaphysical realms is limited, by definition of man's own finitude, this understanding cannot be totally comprehensive. Of those unwilling to admit God may exist in those reaches man cannot fully fathom, Geisler writes, "And there is simply no way short of omniscience that one can make such sweeping and categorical statements about reality...Hence total agnosticism is only self-defeating. Only an omniscient mind could be totally agnostic and finite men do not possess omniscience (27)."

By Frederick Meekins

Are We Heading Over A Spiritual Cliff?

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If a ministry opposed to Halloween posts pictures of its staff in costumes as children, wouldn’t that be akin to posting the picture of someone in a Playboy Bunny outfit that renounced her life at the mansion with Heff in favor of Christ?

Chrislam: Why Blending Faiths Does Not Work

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Army Celebrates Secular Humanism

So does this mean the Pentagon will prepare manuals detailing the threats posed by this belief system the way it has been done with Christianity?

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Halloween: What Are We Celebrating?

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Head Of The Southern Baptist Ethics Commission Urges Believer To Bend Over In Submission To Gay Rights Movement

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Southern Baptist Faction Categorizes Opposition To Homosexuality As "Redneck Theology"

Interesting. Apparently when White Southerners oppose homosexuality, progressive Southern Baptist functionaries condemn the conviction as “redneck theology”. When assorted immigrant communities oppose homosexuality, that sociological fact is coopted by these same ecclesiastical subversives to beat the rest of us over the head as to how far American Christianity has drifted irrespective of whether or not the congregation addressed has embraced the prevailing wave of debauchery.

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Google Delves Deeper Into Transhumanism

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Colbert Exposes Fight Club Church

How Far All Things To All Men?

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Strip Club Church?

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Leftist Archbishop Laments The Post-Christian Regime He Helped Create

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Celtic Cross Foundation For Ministry Announces Major Changes

More Christianity Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Celtic Cross Radio Ministry on BlogTalkRadio

The Family Prayer Book

Monday, April 28

Scientists Call For Mandatory Microchip Implant

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Reclaiming Francis: How The Saint & The Pope Are Renewing The Church

The Genius Of Anglicanism

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Colbert Bores Infamous Apostate A New One

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Secularists Once Again Call For The Suppression Of Knowledge

Since the 1920’s or thereabouts, secularists have invoked the imagery of the Scopes Monkey Trial as evidence that conservative Evangelicals are bent on suppressing knowledge in the realms of science and literature.

Most following the news are no doubt aware of the ongoing angst on the part of unbelievers and Modernists regarding the propriety of introducing Intelligent Design into the Biology classroom since in their eyes suggesting anything but the materialist hypothesis (itself a faith-based assumption) diminishes the rigor of so-called scientific education. Instead, they suggest such ideas should be considered as part of the Social Studies or Humanities curriculum.

Yet such gestures of enlightened magnanimous compromise are little more than a canard. For when it becomes time to examine the metaphysical issues within what liberals previously promoted as the appropriate venue for such a discussion, they then cry Separation of Church and State. Thus, what they really want is a monopoly on the perspective taught across all of public education.

As could be expected, Americans United For The Separation Of Church And State has demanded that the State of Florida alter an essay contest that encourages students to submit their reaction to The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. The Humanist front group contends some students might be offended by a work that has often been interpreted as a Christian allegory. The agitators suggest alternative titles should be made available for students to select from.

One wonders if the Lynnites would be as prompt about coming to the defense of students that did not want to read Harry Potter or other works of literature even more salacious in their content. Interesting when it comes to the boy wizard the important thing is that Miss Rowling gets the kids to read; shouldn’t this be the same attitude towards Professor Lewis among those that insist we have nothing to fear from books?

No doubt had the White Witch been the hero of the story rather than the villain, those sympathetic to Wicca and the Dark Arts would have no problem with the novel. The thing about contemporary liberals is not so much that they oppose spirituality in the classroom but rather merely traditional forms of it.

Neither do these liberals support the principles of individual mental autonomy to the extent that they claim. Where were they when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals essentially ruled parents have no constitutional right to protect their elementary-age children from perverts masquerading as educators asking these little ones all kinds of questions even an adult would be embarrassed to answer and to which no agent of the government has a right to know their answers.

These sensitive liberals whine students not wanting to read the book do not have an alternative to choose from if they still want to participate in the contest. Any other time these advocates of radical tolerance and inclusion insist that in a pluralistic society the upstanding member of the community has an obligation to subject oneself to ideas one might otherwise find objectionable.

So if students have to be subjected to putting condoms on cucumbers for their own good, then how are they going to be harmed by a novel about a talking lion? Makes you wonder what they are so afraid of.

All the fuss causes the critically minded to speculate if it’s for the sake of the children or rather about something else the hypertolerant malcontents themselves do not want to confront. A child not belonging to the Christian faith is not going to necessarily pick up on any Christian motifs Lewis might have incorporated into the text.

To pick up on any parallels, one would already have to be familiar with Christian doctrine. Thus to be offended by Aslan as a perceived Christ-figure is to have a problem with an intellect more formidable than even that of C.S. Lewis, namely God Himself.

Adherents of absolutist relativism will contend it is not the place of educators to convert students to any particular set of religious ideas. Funny, public educators don’t mind using the persuasive powers of the classroom as to influence the choices pupils make regarding viewpoints on issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and the origins of the universe. If no set of ideas is better than any other and parents are usually seen as being too stupid to decide what is in the best interests of their children, what’s the big deal if a child switches to Christianity if all paths to God or whatever else you happen to see as the supreme universal truth or lack there of really are equal?

In Lewis’ novel, it is revealed that the White Witch has placed a curse on the Land Of Narnia so it is always winter but never Christmas. With the lust of liberals to remove all vestiges of Christianity from Western culture, my guess is that they hate this book because Lewis just hit too close to home.

by Frederick Meekins

The Major Differences Between Roman Catholicism & Confessional Lutheranism

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John Warwick Montgomery Responds To Bart Erhman On The Deity Of Christ

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