1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a Christian Forum that recognizes that all Christians are a work in progress.

    You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

Apologetics of low interest in churches

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics Forum' started by OzSpen, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Wormwood

    Wormwood Chaps Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,346
    Likes Received:
    331
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    That is true, Stan. It also reminds us that we can never really escape our biases. We can educate ourselves and try to be diligent to understand our own biases and try to protect against those and we can humbly try to learn from others with the expectation that we could be wrong. Yet, even then, we are still prone to all kinds of cultural, educational, economic, geographic, national, linguistic biases and this is why I think we need to practice a lot of grace and judge others in the same manner we would want to be judged. Also, it highlights why I think God emphasizes love so much. A person can be right, but as Paul puts it, if they dont love then it means nothing. We all should strive to a proper understanding and put our biases aside the best we can, but even then we should strive to be gentle and gracious toward others because we know that no matter how educated or informed we are, we are still very finite, limited and in need of much grace.
     
    StanJ likes this.
  2. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    WW,

    I'm going to have to agree to disagree with you. In academic postmodernism - in spite of your protests re Derrida - deconstruction is a core element of this worldview.

    As for most young people being postmodern in thinking, that's not so here in Australia. Many are, but 'most', no! You are telling me nothing new when you say that postmodernism is not a package. However, there are many common elements.

    Why have you misrepresented what I've been stating when you wrote, 'saying Crossan represents the thinking of all postmoderns'. I have never ever said that. That's a straw man fallacy.

    Please understand that I will never adopt any postmodern philosophy as a personal perspective as I'm dealing with the God of absolute truth.

    You are into hyperbole with your 45-min, 10 point sermons! Well, hyperbole in my part of the world.

    Seeing reality 'according to their perspective' (your language) doesn't work when a person is pulled over for drug-drink driving or when a one-punch kills a person.

    You seem to be accepting self-created 'metanarratives' as truth (but you don't use 'truth' language). I don't buy into that one. I find your view to be compromising to the postmodern, metanarrative philosophy

    You ask: 'But what if the metanarrative is wrong?' There you go in promoting a modernist view of 'wrong' - assuming there is something that is 'right'.

    You ask, 'What if the whole "education" and "truth" being shared is nothing more than a particular version of history that is propagated to benefit those in power?' Historical knowledge is inferential.

    WW: 'Jesus didnt seem interested in giving people a series of "facts" so they can say, "I know the truth and therefore I am going to heaven." Jesus was interested in creating disciples'. That is not so. Take a read of John 14:1-7, 12-14. Isn't it amazing that Jesus would blow the minds of postmoderns by saying 'I am the way, the truth and the life'? 'The truth'! :rolleyes:

    Luke 8 (ESV) gives Jesus' reasons why he told parables.

    WW: 'neither was he promoting a facts-laden approach to preaching that pretends if people have the right information they will become faithful followers...which is how many moderns have tried to reconstruct Christianity'.

    Neither am I. Discipleship is much more than the kérussó (I preach), but a careful examination of the use of kérussó in the NT does not cause me to arrive at your postmodern conclusion.

    I think we are talking past each other at the moment and repeating, so I'm bowing out of this conversation.

    Oz

     
  3. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

    Messages:
    4,836
    Likes Received:
    111
    Perhaps you can explain to us what you meant in post 38 when you said; "Yes, Crossan, Funk and clan are examples of postmodernists in action. In my examining Crossan's postmodernism, I have had to evaluate other postmodernists such as Lyotard, Derrida, Fish, etc." ?
     
  4. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    Stan,

    Stan,

    That's quite an inglorious response. Any dictionary (try Oxford dictionaries online) will tell you the difference between 'examples' and 'all'. They are not synonymous terms.

    I wrote: 'Crossan, Funk and clan are examples of postmodernists in action'.

    Wormwood wrote that I was 'saying Crossan represents the thinking of all postmoderns'.

    WW misrepresented what I wrote and surely you know that as the dictionary meaning of the words confirms.

    Oz
     
  5. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

    Messages:
    4,836
    Likes Received:
    111
    It was a straightforward question Oz. Examples are just that, examples. No one shows all of the group in question. Are you saying that there are other examples that depict postmodernists NOT in action?
    Seems you'd like to accuse others of inappropriate responses, when in fact you're doing it a lot as well?
     
  6. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    That's a red herring of a response.

    You did not accurately represent what I wrote. You are falsely accusing me. No wonder I have you on Ignore. I will not continue to tolerate what you do to my posts.

    Bye.
     
  7. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

    Messages:
    4,836
    Likes Received:
    111
    Not quite, it's a response to what you posted, which did not answer my direct question from the previous post. Your obsession with red fish is very problematic in that it prevents you from having any productive conversations with anybody.
    C ya!
     
  8. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    Your continuing use of the red herring fallacy again demonstrates you do not want to discuss the issue I raised with you - the difference between 'examples' and 'all'. It's incredible that you don't want to admit the difference in the meaning of these words.
     
  9. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

    Messages:
    4,836
    Likes Received:
    111
    Actually Oz, its you who continues to use the red herring fallacy claim. It is a disingenuous way of addressing a direct question. You do this when ever you don't have an answer or can't think of one. There's a big big difference between all and example, and I'm surprised that someone with a doctorate doesn't know that. Regardless you're the one who used it and you're obviously quite unwilling to support your assertion, so were only left to surmise that you really didn't have the point to make but as usual deflect with non sequiturs.
     
  10. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    Stan,

    You continue to demonstrate that you don't know the meaning of a red herring fallacy and how you use it. See: Red herring fallacy (Nizkor Project).

    You are proving again that when you use any kind of logical fallacy, it uses fallacious logic. Therefore, it is difficult, if not impossible, to have a logical discussion with you. That's what is happening with my responses to you in showing how you use the red herring.

    Bye, bye
     
  11. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

    Messages:
    4,836
    Likes Received:
    111
    I'm not really sure what happened to you in regards to this stupid logical fallacy issue but for some time now you've used it to get out of actually answering questions or dodging issues. You may be able to fool some people here but you don't fool me. Your accusations of red herring or logical fallacies or whatever you want to call them is to say the least derogatory and I suggest you stop using that as an excuse to not be able to answer questions.
     
  12. Wormwood

    Wormwood Chaps Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,346
    Likes Received:
    331
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Oz,

    Thank you for your reply. I just want to remind you, Oz, that I am not a "postmodern" thinker. I am very modern in my approach and I do believe in absolutes and that the Bible is inerrant. I am simply pointing out that postmodernism makes some worthwhile points that need consideration. Even with an inerrant and absolute Word from God, we can see even on this forum that there are thousands of different views on that Word. The problem is not whether or not "truth" exists. As a Bible-believing Christian, I would strongly affirm that. However, the question is whether or not, and to what degree, a finite human can have a complete grasp on such truth. Certainly, I think the inspiration of the Bible and the ability of God to communicate effectively makes it such that we can know God's self-revelation to the degree that we are held accountable for it. Otherwise, I wouldnt be on here debating people or teaching others the Scriptures as I understand them. Yet, for many modern evangelicals, everything is so black and white and they is no room for debate and the world's metanarratives are scarcely questioned (which causes many evangelicals to blend cultural views with Biblical concepts unknowingly). One thing I appreciate about the biblical prophets is that they had a clear enough picture of God that they were willing to challenge the metanarratives of their day and saw though the facade of the power structures around them that were set up in competition with God. I think we need more people like that in our era.

    In America, postmodernism is everywhere. It is hard to engage in any kind of logical argument with people because feelings tend to rule the day. We hear sayings like, "That may be true for you, but its not true for me" types of responses all the time. Again, trying to use logic to refute their lack of logic is a bit of a self-defeating approach. We need to reach people where they are. That is all I am saying. The way you approach a college professor on matters of faith and the way you approach discussing with an elementary school kid cannot be the same. Its not about changing the message, but the method for reaching people. This isnt a matter of right and wrong, but just how to communicate with people who think differently than we do.

    Yes, the 45 min, 10 point sermons may be a bit of hyperbole, but I have heard that SBC pastors are prone to preach for such lengths using point-based sermons.

    No one is disputing the idea that there are facts (especially not me, since, as I have said, I am more modern in my thinking)...a drunk driver, for instance vs. a sober driver. The postmodern just questions when someone is considered "drunk" and who makes those determinations between legal limits and non-legal limits. More specifically, postmoderns are concerned about stereotypes and systems that oppress people and foster definitions that benefit those in power and keep those who are weak to be seen in such a way that they remain in that position.

    Yes, I am asking the question, "is postmodernism wrong?" Although I am not necessarily saying there is a "right" when it comes to worldviews. That has been my point. All worldviews have their faults. Modernism is laden with bad presuppositions and based on those presuppositions has done incredible violence to Biblical authority. I dont know how you can be such an ardent defender of modernism, when, modernism as a system has been very antithetical to revelation, miracles, and the supernatural. None of these concepts are based in "logic" or "right" as it conforms to human reason. In fact, some postmodern Christians would argue that human reason, which is assumed as an autonomous and self-contained human asset is false on its face an is the cause of Deism and atheism. In essence, the very concept of a univocal ontology is not biblical and can only lead people to distance God from his creation by making humans and their reason self-contained and cut off from the divine. Thus, all thoughts about God are entirely ineffectual because God is so beyond us that any effort to even reason or discuss the divine is to render God down to human semblance. Thus, modernism is based on false presuppositions that make God an object to be sifted by a self-contained rationale that is ill-suited to deal with such concepts that lie infinitely beyond its grasp. Apologetics basically makes human rationale and reason the gold standard by which even revelation and the authoritative claims of the BIble are weighed. Reason and modernity become the measuring stick for revelation! I find this to be problematic, as I think, should be the case for all who take revelation seriously.

    In any event. I hope I have not upset you in the discussion. I am just trying to share why I think apologetics are not as important to people today as they once were and that maybe it is because they are not as effective with our audience. Maybe I am wrong (see my modern mind at work! :)). Just my speculation on the matter. We both agree the Word of God is true and the revelation of God in Christ is the true means of determining all truth and purpose for human life and understanding.
     
  13. mjrhealth

    mjrhealth Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,861
    Likes Received:
    4,125
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    I thought the Gospel of Jesus Christ was important as was the truth, what does all this postmodernism have to do with that??
     
  14. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,111
    Likes Received:
    242
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Hopefully I am not coming too late to this philosophy party, but let me start by saying both Wormwood and Ozspen raise some good points. I don't think that ya'll are as far off as you or someone might read this thread might think. I see even your sort of slants or takes on philosophy reveal your positions in argumentation.

    That said, could I just throw in that Modernism and Postmodernism are both descended from the Enlightenment? I'm vastly oversimplifying the case here, but I think of the two reactions as the pendulum swinging a bit farther in the opposite direction each time. I'm not sure that either of them relate to the days of Jesus and Paul quite as directly as we like, because we all have modern (little "m") biases that influence just how we read the text. We all have our hermeneutics. We all have the vehicles to our understanding of an issue. Eastern Orthodoxy has a lot to say about this. Some of the triumphalists make bad points, but there is a certain logic to the idea that many of the things taken for granted in the West aren't presumed in the East.

    Probably first, I should confirm that 45 minute, 10 point SBC sermons are entirely alive and kicking. I know of one minister that went into a 60 minute salvation sermon at a local association meeting where I do hope all of the attending ministers were already saved... Baptists love their words here in the south. My own pastor's preaching usually lasts about 45-50 minutes. It's usually accompanied with a page in the church bulletin with 6+ empty lines or terms for filling in. I used not to mind it, but looking around I do see where he frankly loses some folks. I've found that my own threshold is probably about 25-35 minutes each Sunday. So just confirming that is unfortunately not as much hyperbole in my neck of the woods. It's reality. ;)

    I side with Wormwood (WW) in this discussion in many ways. I see postmodernism as being particularly concerned with structures and authority as a negative thing, where modernism views authority and organization as almost the end to be achieved. I'm not sure that modernism can be quite as strong on maintaining the values of eternal truth, since to me it seems to be more concerned with the classification/observation of things rather than the weightier matters. Postmodernism has a worse problem with eternal truths, but for all its bloviating about relativism, it contains a core paradox that an injection of Christ can begin to work with. For, it begs the question that if we must maintain the decidedly nonrelativistic notion that everyone must be relativist, then Houston we have quite a logic problem.

    Enter post-postmodernism that Mohler hits on. I tend to agree that this is where we are now, because it seems very much like a bit of a panicked reaction to the realization that modernism and postmodernism don't satisfactorily address everything. Modernism is too handicapped by the idea of the observable, falsifiable ability to solve everything. I should be able to "observe" God somehow for him to be real. Observe, by the way means something quite physical or quantifiable. For me, it doesn't have the epistemological hardware to answer the question of God, it doesn't even have a framework for fully understanding him much beyond drawing attention to the diversity of the world. Postmodernism is also quite flawed, because it's self-destructively bent on criticizing power structures and always finding a relativistic quibble.

    As an English major, I used to deploy deconstructionism sparingly to make a point to teachers and professors: it's all fine to deconstruct something, but we all agree there is a point where the author is decidedly not saying that thing that I am saying as a deconstructionist. If I can discern what propels the author to take a stance, and I agree with him or her along with others across time and culture, well then we have something greater than relativism at work. Ironically, a modified form of argumentum ad absurdum will often make a strong point in literature.

    The thing I like about postmodernism is that it at least opens a venue for narrative (story, testimony). It's almost an attempt to be religious without being religious, so there are so openings. However, one Evangelist I know talks about how in Europe it almost gamifies life and makes discussion difficult.

    That said, where I do disagree with my much smarter and better looking brother in the faith named WW, is that Apologetics adapts to this and becomes about interposing story with truths. To me, Apologetics has died down because with the advent of the internet, strong arguments against the faith can be made by anyone with a little time to read or Google. You're just dealing with the postmodern framework on top of that as further complication rather than impetus. Apologetics begins to look more like Philip in the Ethiopian Eunuch's chariot. Mars Hill is the famous example for Paul, but he also there describes the character of God rather than resorting to modernist proofs.
     
    StanJ likes this.
  15. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

    Messages:
    4,836
    Likes Received:
    111
    Lately, I get accused a lot of promoting fallacies when I try to deconstruct an argument. :)
     
  16. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    WW,

    Of course you haven't upset me in this discussion. I've enjoyed it, but I found you repeating yourself with more illustrations of basically what we had previously gone over. I see no point in a repeat.

    I understand that you are trying to communicate that you don't see apologetics as important today. I've been trying to say that whether one is a modernist or postmodernist in epistemology, a biblical critique is needed. That's where I see the need for continuing apologetics to deal with postmodern flaws.

    I'm not in any way suggesting I have the higher ground, but when we are to be the salt and light in our society, that includes exposing postmodernism's projections.

    Oz
     
  17. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    Hammer,

    Thanks for your detailed response. I agree with much of what you have written. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy's article on 'Postmodernism' is, in my view, a fairly accurate overview. It includes a small exposure to Jurgen Habermas's critique of postmodernism.

    I hope you have not been interpreting my posts in support of modernism over postmodernism. Both have been destructive to the authority of Scripture. I understand both are descended from the Enlightenment and evangelical Christian preachers don't seem to understand how close they are to postmodern, reader-response, deconstruction of a text with their allegorical preaching, i.e. imposing a meaning on a text that is not there.

    You don't have to go to the SBC to hear a 45-min sermon. I get that every Sunday from an evangelical Presbyterian church where the expository preaching may include 5-6 points (including sub-points), with very little illustration.

    Theologically liberal modernism has too often abandoned the authority of Scripture. You know what that has done to liberal churches in your country, mine, and throughout Europe.

    You say: 'Apologetics has died down because with the advent of the internet, strong arguments against the faith can be made by anyone with a little time to read or Google'. I disagree. I'm old enough to know that apologetics was never part of the local Baptist church where I was converted and raised as a teen and into my early 20s.It did not prepare me for attacks on my faith in university. I was a sitting duck for antagonists because the local church did not take apologetics seriously and equip me to deal with opposition. This was long before the Internet and Google.

    Oz
     
  18. StanJ

    StanJ Lifelong student of God's Word.

    Messages:
    4,836
    Likes Received:
    111
  19. Wormwood

    Wormwood Chaps Staff Member

    Messages:
    2,346
    Likes Received:
    331
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    United States
    Well, Hammerstone, you totally discredited yourself with this concluding statement. Haha.

    Oz,

    I would just clarify by saying they are not "as important" today. They are still important, depending on the audience. Personally, I can totally geek out on a 2 hour debate, but I think you and I are not the norm in most of Western society. I also agree with you that the biblical critique is needed of every worldview. Every worldview is founded on some epistemology, and most of them are not founded on using the Bible as the foundation for understanding reality. I am all for undermining the faults of postmodernism. The good Lord knows that world view is laden with faults. I just think modernism and every other worldview is laden with faults as well and we need to be cautious we do not tie the truth of the Scriptures with the god of modernism: human reason. Human reason and apologetic are great tools for promoting the faith, but they are only tools and our faith is not dependent upon the proofs of human rationality...as you know.
     
  20. OzSpen

    OzSpen Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,613
    Likes Received:
    754
    Faith:
    Christian
    Country:
    Australia
    WW,

    I agree that modernism and postmodernism are laden with faults. I most certainly do not exalt the supremacy of human reason. I'll eventually get to an article associated with my dissertation on Crossan, the postmodernist, and his exaltation of human reason.

    However, it was God himself who invented logic by sending the Word and communicating with us through propositional revelation. However, in that revelation, he encourages us:
    • 'Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool' (Isa 1:18 ESV).
    • Is there any cognitive dimension to Phil 4:8 (NIV): 'Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things'?
    I'm out of this conversation. Article writing is calling me.

    Oz
     
Loading...