Let Books be Books

Many books today seem afraid to rely on pure text. They are books that seem to be embarrassed to be what they are: books, that is, orderly collections of words formed into sentences and paragraphs.

Too many books are filled with one-sentence paragraphs (usually a sign of poor style and impatience), call-outs that repeat what is in smaller print elsewhere on the page (annoying), stand-alone call-outs with little connection to the flow of the text. I find disorienting. When do I read these rude interruptions? That is their context? We also find lists, bullet points (the bane of orderly discourse, but the balm of PowerPoint), and font variations. They are more like the children’s books of old.

This is enough to send me screaming to acres and acres of pure, small, hard text: Augustine’s The City of God or any book by Kierkegaard or Dostoevsky or even Being and Nothingness by Sartre! (But Heidegger’s Being and Time…don’t go there, although I own it.) These books require concentration, fixation, and focus. One cannot breeze through them. These works have heft; they must be mastered; they cannot be skimmed. I say: Let books be books!

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Principles For Taking Every Thought Captive: Part III

Here are some principles and recommendations in how to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). If you missed the last list posted, catch up here and here.

  1. Carefully and prayerfully consider your use of all electronic communications media. These often sap our knowledge and divert us from godly habits of the heart. Consider engaging in a protracted media abstention in which you eliminate a commonly-used electronic system for a week to ten days. It will profoundly change your view of technology. See my book, The Soul in Cyberspace. For my more recent thoughts see my interview with Tim Challies at: http://www.crosswalk.com/blogs/challies/the-soul-in-cyberspace-an-interview-with-douglas-groothuis-11603254.html Consider also the thoughtful, secular book, Hamlet’s Blackberry. For a broader historical and culture critique read Neil Postman’s magisterial work, Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. The best book on television is Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death. See also my article in The Christian Research Journal, “Understanding Social Media” at: http://www.equip.org/PDF/JAF2333.pdf. For a more scholarly paper, see Douglas Groothuis, “Christian Scholarship and the Philosophical Analysis of Cyberspace Technologies,” (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 4 14 (December 1998): 631-640. This is on line at: http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/41/41-4/41-4-pp631-640-JETS.pdf.
  1. Listen to thoughtful radio programs and podcasts. Many gifted Christian teachers and preachers can be heard in this manner. Redeem the time by listening to them in your car or while exercising or when you cannot do anything else, such as when you are ill. Of the talk radio, hosts, Dennis Prager, a conservative Jew, is probably the most civil and intelligent. He is refreshing in that he addresses more than just politics. Another excellent source of cultural criticism from a Christian or Christian-friendly viewpoint is Mars Hill audio, hosted by Ken Myers, author of All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture. Some audio books of thoughtful books are available for purchase or from a library.
  1. Take periodic times of silence, for either short or long periods of time. Our culture is too noisy and over-stimulated. We need quiet to compose our bodies and souls before God in cognitive meditation, prayer, and rest. As Ecclesiastes says, there is

a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak  (3:7; see also Habakkuk 2:20).

  1. Consider Denver Seminary for further education. I head the MA in Apologetics and Ethics. We also offer a Certificate in Apologetics and Ethics (10 semester hours). See: denverseminary.edu

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Principles For Taking Every Thought Captive: Part II

Here are some principles and recommendations in how to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). If you missed the last list posted, catch up here.

  1. Develop your skills at speaking and teaching and conversation. American linguistic culture is ugly, sloppy, and lazy. Instead of blending with the inarticulate herd, broaden your vocabulary, work on articulation, and listen to the people with which you are speaking. On writing see the classic Elements of Style by Stunk and White. On public speaking see Stand Like Lincoln, Speak Like Churchill by James Humes. Consider joining a Toastmasters club to refine your speaking skills.
  1. Read thoughtful Christian books, both classic and contemporary. While we often emphasize popular books, we should not forget time-tested classics written by Augustine, Calvin, Pascal, and Jonathan Edwards. Twentieth century writers such as G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, John Stott, J.I. Packer, Francis Schaeffer, and Os Guinness make for hearty and rewarding reading as well.
  1. Certain periodicals are edifying as well. For keeping the pulse of contemporary evangelicalism, see Christianity Today. Political and cultural issues are carefully addressed in First Things, which now has a rather strong Catholic focus. To stay abreast of cults, religious movements, apologetics, and ethics read The Christian Research Journal.

4. Be aware of secular culture and non-Christian religious expressions through your reading of periodicals and books. I also read the Sunday New York Times and The New Yorker for sophisticated secular views—in, in the latter case, for their superb cartoons. Commentary is excellent for conservative Jewish views. Books and Culture reviews significant Christian and other books. This is a resource for discerning what non-Christian books you should read, as is The New York Times book review. I also check Harpers, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Time Magazine, and Wired to look for significant articles. I find browsing at bookstores especially helpful, if you can find a brick and mortar bookstore left. We should be grateful that the Denver area has three locations of The Tattered Cover.

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Being

A term referring to that which is opposed to that which is not–or, to non-being. However, it is not that simple for some philosophers, especially the existentialists Sartre and Heidegger (in his earlier work).

Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980) penned a ponderous tome called Being and Nothingness, which covers the waterfront nicely. Of course, most philosophers are more concerned with being than nothingness, since if you have being that is all you need. Sartrean existentialism loses its oomph if nothingness is removed from it. But since nothing is nothing, then nothing would—or could—be removed. Still, it is easier to sell a book called Being and Nothingness than to sell one called simply Being.

Buddhist philosophers often write books about nothing (or Nothing), though, since that is roughly what Nirvana is. However, the Buddhist Nothing seems to be more of a something than Sartre’s Nothing. But of this, I have nothing more to say.

Some may be surprised to learn that Sartre was a closet theologian, who believed in creation ex nihilo, or ex nihilo at least. Having chased God out of his life (as he himself once put it), he could not invoke God as the Creator of all else. Instead God’s role was filled by (you guessed it) Being—or was it Nothingness? This is the rather dry narrative.

Always, there was Being. There was, and is, no reason for Being. At first, Being was alone, the being in-itself—sans consciousness and worries over non-being. Then, for no reason, being-for-itself arose or immerged. That is you and me, anxious beings who would eventually claw away to understand Sartre (and, see below) Heidegger. Being for itself defines itself in relation to non-being. As such, it tries to attain what is now nothing, but could turn into being with proper anxiety and existential crises. Thus being for-itself defines itself against Nothing, having sprung from the loins of being-in-itself.

My reader may wonder how this resembles creation ex nihilo. You see, the for-itself came from the in-itself; but the for-itself has nothing (that blasted word again) in common with the in-itself. Therefore, it comes out of nothing. In other (analytical) words:

  1. The for-itself differs categorically from the in-itself
  2. The in-itself proceeds the for-itself.
  3. The in-itself and the for-itself are not on speaking term. That is, they have nothing in common
  4. If (1)-(3), then something (the for-itself) comes from nothing, ex nihilo
  5. Wow!
  6. There is no possible explanation for how this occurs, says our frowning Sartre while hunched over a table in a French café sipping coffee and surrounded by adoring For-itselves eager to know about being and nothingness.
  7. Nevertheless, something cannot come from nothing. Nothing ever could.
  8. Therefore, Sartre’s account of being and nothingness, of the in-itself and the for-itself is (hold your breath) false.

Now let us consider a frowning German, Martin Heidegger (1976), whose prose has generated a vast and unending secondary literature for his intrepid interpreters.

Once upon a time, according to the Great Being-teller—in halcyon times preceding Greek fussiness over logic—men walked with Being alone. This, for Martin, was better than simply being alone. They could commune with Being. Then, logic ruined everything, except the logic of Heideggarian Being, offered—appropriately enough—by Herr Heidegger.

This is so weighty, that a film was made called, “Being There” (1979), starring Peter Sellers. “Rotten Tomatoes,” has given this a 96% for what it’s worth. But Sellers’s character, “Chancy Gardener,” lacks gravitas, being who and what he is. Who is he? A being estranged from Being, who derives all his information from television. His being in light of Being is pointless.

Can we clear the air and start anew? Perhaps we can.

In the beginning was not the nothing, but the Word. All things, being-in-itself and for-itself, were created by the Word, who is a He, not an It. That is, everything comes from someone (John 1:1-5). This bedevils existentialist atheists, but is true, nonetheless.

Therefore, all being has its origin and owes its continuation to a Supreme Being, who is the perfect form of being in-itself and being for itself. This means that this Being, being who he is, suffers no conflicts with non-being. Of himself, he says “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14). God he has consciousness and exercises agency with respect to the being he has created (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 90:2; Revelation 4:11).

Come, let us now laud the Supreme Being with all of our created being. He answers our philosophical problems and gives us meaning. For this is how things stand with the Supreme Being and beings.

Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name (Psalm 103:1, NIV).

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Principles For Taking Every Thought Captive: Part I

Here are some principles and recommendations in how to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

  1. Remain faithful in the reading and study of the Holy Scriptures, which are God’s cognitive revelation of himself and the ways of salvation (2 Timothy 3:15-16). Acquire and use study aids such as one or more study Bibles. I recommend The Apologetics Study Bible, The Reformation Study Bible, The NET Bible, and The NIV Study Bible. Of course, there are many other tools such as commentaries and other helps. The excellent commentaries of John Calvin and Matthew Henry are available on line for no charge.

2. Discern your unique calling as a Christian. No one can do everything, so we must concentrate our energies where we are gifted and in accordance to God’s leading in our day. I highly recommend Os Guinness book on this vital topic, The Call. See also John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life.

3. Be involved in a Bible-believing local church and seek to serve through what you have learned. Biblically, we are responsible to use what we know wisely and for the glory of God. We should not hide our gifts under a table, but employ them to build up the church and witness to the world (Matthew 5; Ephesians 4:15). Specifically:

A. Develop adult education classes on the Christian worldview, biblical interpretation, theology, apologetics, and social issues.

B. Make sure your church has some way of preparing high-school students for college. Many churched teenagers either put aside their Christian convictions or lose them during this time. For how high-school students in the church tend to think, see Christian Smith, Soul Searching. Also consult the essay “Faithful Christianity in College” by Douglas Groothuis and Sarah Geis at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/philosophicalfragments/2013/04/09/faithful-christianity-in-college

C. Be involved as a mentor to those who can benefit from your gifts and what you have learned through The Centurion program. Try to find a suitable mentor for yourself as well (Proverbs 27:17; 2 Timothy 2:2).

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Becoming

Perhaps only a philosopher would muse over becoming as a noun. Everyone uses it as a verb: I am becoming old. I am becoming angry. I am becoming a philosopher. Yes, but what is becoming itself?

Becoming is contrasted with and conjoined to being (see earlier entry). If some being, say a cup, is unstained at time A and stained at time B, then it has become something different. Change happens to objects and events. The concept of becoming requires time, since time is the medium for change. If time were frozen, then nothing could be anything different than what it was (given the law of identity: A=A). Therefore, becoming requires both being and time.

Heraclitus and Alfred North Whitehead (taking his lead from Hegel) argued that becoming or process is ontologically deeper than being. All is Flux, cried Heraclitus. Becoming defines most everything, cried Whitehead. But there is no becoming without beings which are changed. For example, I remain a stable identity even as my qualities change: I gain weight, lose hair, and cut my fingernails. Heraclitus hinted at something beyond change, which he called The Logos. While Whitehead believed that God changes as he evolves with the cosmos, his primordial nature did not change.

As a Christian, I am justified through the finished work of Christ. That status before God will not become anything else. Sanctification, on the other hand is a process of becoming in which I become more like Jesus Christ by knowing and believing the Bible, by partaking of the institutions of the church, and by being filled the Holy Spirit.

God does not and cannot change in his essential being.

I the LORD do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed (Malachi 3:6).

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17).

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands.
   They will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
    and they will be discarded.
   But you remain the same,
    and your years will never end (Psalm 102:25-27).

Since God is self-existent, nothing can threaten his ontological integrity and fullness (Acts 17:15). God’s character remained the same through a process, however. In the Incarnation, the Second Person of the Trinity took on a human nature. Before this, God, the Son, had not done so. Thus, God became the God-man. This was no mixing of deity and humanity, but a union of the two. Christ is one person with two natures: divine and human (John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:6-11). Further, Christ did not shed his humanity after his ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9). What he became—the God-man—so will he ever be. Because of who Christ was, is, and ever will be (Hebrews 13:8), we may become something far greater than we now are.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

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On the Word “Faith”

What is faith? The word, like many words that fall out of our mouths, is often misunderstood and misused. No little problems result from such careless thought and speech. We may get reality wrong and suffer on account of our blunder. Perhaps we can rectify this a bit.

The general meaning of faith is a strong trust in something or someone taken as reliable. Thus, I have faith that J.P. Moreland’s next book will be worth reading. This is because all his work thus far has been excellent and because I know him to be a godly and intelligent man. Faith in this sense, requires no doubt that must be overcome by a leap of ascent.

But faith can also mean belief in what cannot be rationally justified. This epistemically weak sense of the term refers to what is likely a baseless hope or wishful thinking. The Bible never uses the word faith in this sense. In Scripture, believe in God and trust in God is not like this. The Bible does speak of faith as contrasted with sight, but never contrasted with reason or evidence. One may rightly believe in what one cannot see. You believe your neighbor has thoughts (which you cannot see; which no one can see), you believe in rational inference (which you cannot see; which no one can see), and you believe that there are subatomic particles (which you cannot see; which on one can see). One could go on, but you should see the point.

Religious people are sometimes singled out as “people of faith,” since they hold to beliefs not held by everyone and beliefs that are usually rooted in a holy book or some other seat of authority. They place their faith (assent and trust) in these doctrines, either rationally or irrationally.

However, non-religious people have faith as well in that they adhere to some stripe of worldview based on some notion of authority, albeit a non-religious authority such as “science” (a weak reed, that) or mere personal experience, which they claim to have rightly interpreted. An atheist may have faith that the universe began to exist out of nothing a finite time ago and without a cause. No atheist has observed this, but it is inferred (against all reason, since something cannot come from nothing), and then taken as a basic belief. They, thus, have a faith in (literally) nothing–everything came from nothing, plus nothing. May reason always deliver us from such faith.

Proof is not required for rational faith. (See my previous essay on this blog.) All one needs is adequate justification for belief P and the requisite trust in and response to this belief. Then you have faith. Thus, I believe on good evidence that my dentist is well-trained. That is rational assent. Then on the basis of this rational assent (belief), I open my mouth to accommodate her use of the tools (some very noisy), hoses, chemicals and other dental machinery.

As a Christian of many years, I assent that Christianity is objectively true, and do so for many reasons. My most developed testimony to this is Christian Apologetics (InterVarsity Press, 2011). As a follower of Christ and believer in the Bible as true and authoritative, I entrust my self to God through prayer, service, and worship.I not only believe that Christianity is true; I believe in God as revealed in the Bible and through Jesus Christ, God Incarnate.

Perhaps this has cleared away a few cobwebs. Faith need not and ought not be blind, whatever the object of that faith may be. And it does make a difference. If Christianity is true, the stakes could not be higher.

What Ought We Make of the Word “Proof?”

Words often confused us because we fail to press for a definition of the term. Or we can say, words often fail us because we are confused as to their range of meanings. Consider the word proof.

It has muscle, this strong word. It is insistent. “I need proof!” we demand. “There is no proof!” we insist. Or, “You may not believe it, but there is no proof.”

Perhaps this strong word needs to be tamed and not allowed to run so free and reckless across the intellectual landscape. We need to rope in this beast. But what is the range of its meanings?

Proof may mean that we evidence sufficient to warrant absolute certainty. If A=B and B=C, then, A=C. The proof is simply in the understanding of the terms. It could not be otherwise. Even an executive order could not change the conclusion, given the premises.

But few items of our knowledge know of such cognitive assurance. To be sure, we are lost without these kinds of proofs. But there is more to knowing than this. I know full well that my wife is not an alien, but I do not know this in the manner of an absolute proof about which I cannot possibly be mistaken. It is logically possible that she is an alien. However, I have no positive evidence that she is–or that my dog, Sunny, originates from outside the galaxy. The upshot is that most of what we know is defeasible. It could be shown to be wrong. However, we do not need proof in the strongest sense to have knowledge, which is justified true belief.

Proof can also mean “evidence sufficient to convince.” This is a looser sense of the word and is not as commonly used. We might say that we have overwhelming reason to believe P. Thus, it is proven. For example, we have ample evidence that the holocaust occurred. This means that the overwhelming burden of proof is on anyone who would deny it, such as the recent Presidents of Iran.

Now we come to religion. Some trouble the air without wisdom by insisting, “You cannot prove God exists.” By this, they usually mean that you cannot establish the existence of the Christian God in the manner of: if A=B and B=C, then A=C. Perhaps not. Nevertheless, one may reasonably believe in the existence of a personal, infinite, and transcendent being without relying on arguments that confer absolute certainty. The matter—and no small matter it is—concerns whether this being exists and what manner of evidence and reasoning is required to have the knowledge that this is so.

To finish up this epistemic primer, one may be justified in belief P (about God’s existence or about anything else) without having incontrovertible evidence or total certainty. We rightly believe in the existence of all manner of things without proof in the strongest sense–in teeth, tulips, turnips, and toasters; in planets, insects, parsnips, and posters; in virtues, vices, values, and lobsters; in gravity, levity, tragedy, and comedy. We believe in the past we cannot see, in the future not yet here, and in the “what if” that has never been and will never be. Yes, we do; and all without proof.

Now that this is cleared out of the way, perhaps we can get on with considering arguments for and against the existence of God, not being weighed down by the unnecessarily tonnage of  proof.

Are Miracles and Science Compatible?

One of the secular claims against Christianity is that the modern world’s increasing knowledge of the natural world through science (principally chemistry, biology, and physics) has made belief in miracles unjustified at best and positively irrational at worst. Recently, biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins has led this charge, especially in his best-selling book, The God Delusion (2007).But before responding to this challenge, we need to define our two basic terms: miracle and science.

Biblically understood, a miracle is God’s supernatural intervention into creation, which produces an effect otherwise not possible given the operation of natural laws. Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead in space-time history is a miracle, and the grand miracle of the entire Bible (see 1 Corinthians 15). These divine actions, wrought by a personal and perfect Being, break no natural laws. Rather, natural laws, such as gravity, only cover natural events. When God raised Christ from the dead, no natural laws were violated. Rather, God’s supernatural action did what natural events could not produce: brought Jesus back to life. Further, biblical miracles have a purpose; they are not arbitrary or impenetrable (though not all who behold or read of them may understand their meaning). They work as signs of God’s character as he establishes his Kingdom throughout history.

This description of a miracle already answers one of the complaints of those who claim that science has displaced or replaced miracles with merely natural events and natural laws. Since miracles do not violate natural laws, none need worry that believing in miracles will destroy explanations that trade on predictable regularities in nature. Apples still fall from trees even though Jesus once walked on water.

But why, then, do secularists think that science is incompatible with a rational belief in miracles? There are three main reasons.

First, if one believes there is no God, then there is no divine agent (or conscience actor) to produce a miracle in the biblical sense. However, there is ample evidence from science and philosophy that a personal Creator and Designer exists. Cosmology tells us that the universe began to exist from nothing a finite time ago at the Big Bang. If so, this event requires a cause outside the universe. The best explanation is God. In a sense, the creation of the universe from nothing (creation ex nihilo) is God’s first supernatural action. Physics also reveals that the laws and proportions of the universe are finely-tuned on a razor’s edge for human life. Chance and mindless natural law cannot explain this adequately. God, again, is the best explanation. No irrational leap of faith is required. If so, then one can discover sufficient reasons to believe in a God who could intervene in creation.  Whether or not he did intervene after creation is a question of historical investigation. Science itself does not preclude finding evidence for God’s miraculous actions in human history, such as the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Second, many secular people define science in such a way to exclude miracles (or any divine design in nature). That is, science is seen as giving only natural explanations for natural events, and scientific endeavor is the only legitimate source for knowledge. No supernatural explanations are allowed in principle. So, even if the universe began from nothing, science cannot even suggest that a Creator is involved. Neither can science speak to the existence of a Designer to explain fine-tuning. And, of course, no one can be intellectually justified in believing in miracles.  Such are the conditions for science as materialism: all that exists (or is knowable) is the material world.

But this definition of science is neither historically-grounded in the history of science (many leaders of the scientific revolution were theists) nor philosophically credible. This is because science becomes a knowledge-stopper if God has left recognizable signs of his existence in the cosmos and history. Whether we can find evidence for God—through science or history—should be an open question worthy of rigorous investigation. Further, when science is understood as being the only source of rational knowledge (religious faith has no such credential), it logically refutes itself. This approach, called scientism, claims the following:

  1. Science is limited to giving natural explanations for natural events based on logical reasoning.
  1. Science is the sole conduit for knowledge (or credible true beliefs).

However, these two statements yield the following:

  1. Science, as defined in (1) is not justified by any natural event or logical reasoning to be the only source of knowledge. Scientism is, rather, a philosophical claim.
  1. Therefore, since this materialistic view of science is not supported by its understanding of science itself, scientism is false.

The argument above does nothing to undermine science as one source of knowledge about reality; however it destroys an account of science which assumes only matter exists and, therefore, that a materialistic understanding of science (scientism) is the only manner to acquire genuine knowledge.

Third, some affirm that the development of technology, especially in the twentieth century, is incompatible with belief in miracles. It was a biblical scholar, and not a scientist, who put this starkly. Rudolph Bultmann (1884-1976) said that no one who uses a transistor radio can believe in the miraculous world presented in the New Testament.  But the development of technology is not incompatible with miracles, since these technologies depend on scientific discoveries and methods which themselves to not refute miracles, as argued above. This claim is a classic and egregious non sequiter—however often we hear it thoughtlessly uttered.

I said earlier that detecting a miracle in human affairs (as opposed to the original miracles of creation and design) is a matter of historical inquiry. No hard science (such as chemistry, biology, or physics) speaks directly to events that occur once or repeatedly through human actions. That is, we cannot know that Caesar crossed the Rubicon through the methods of science. However, that does not (scientism aside) mean that we can have no knowledge of historical matters such as social change within societies, the rise and fall of empires, or biography. One’s method of knowing must fit the subject of study. History consults written and unwritten items from the past to discern what has happened. While many historians (like many scientists) simply dismiss God and the supernatural from knowable history, there is no good reason to do so. If God can be known to exist, then miracles are possible. If they are possible, we can investigate miraculous claims to see if there are any actual miracles.

While many religions make miracle claims, none are as well-substantiated or as important to the religion as New Testament miracles, particularly those of Jesus, and especially concerning his resurrection. In fact, Christianity is the only religion that attributes miracles to its founder in its earliest and foundational documents, e.g., the New Testament. For example, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead in real history is affirmed in all four Gospels and directly or indirectly in the rest of the New Testament, which itself was written by eyewitness (John 19:35) or those who consulted eye-witnesses (Luke 1:1-4). Further, these original documents have been accurately transmitted through a wealth of reliable manuscripts, more so than any other piece of ancient history.

Lastly, there is sufficient evidence that miracles have not ceased to occur after the time of the New Testament. While they are not as plentiful as in the days of Jesus and the early church, many miracles done in the name of Jesus can be documented. For a thorough scholarly study of New Testament miracles and those since, see Craig S. Keener, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, two vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011). If miracles are happening today and science is going about its business today, they are certainly not incompatible!

Christian need not fear that the advancement of science somehow undermines the rationality of their belief in miracles. Science and miracles are not incompatible. Only a wrong concept of both science and miracle generates this false impression. Both science and history, rather, corroborate the biblical teaching that God is a wonder-working God of space-time history—and eternity.

My first entry in An Opinioned Philosophical Dictionary

Alienation:

Term used by Continental philosophers to refer to any system or situation that ticks them off. Hegel is likely at the headwaters of alienation talk. Given his opacity and grandiosity, this explains why many are alienated from his dialectics of alienation. Roughly, Hegel meant that when A is alienated from B, this generates a conflict wherein A gets upset with B. Then, somehow A, prevails over B on the way a mystical ascent into another alienation. But somehow things are getting better, Hegel assures us on the basis of his alienated and dialectically delicious mind. The antagonisms of these alienations form the dialectic of ideas. And so it goes. You get the idea—perhaps. But let us bring it down to earth.

In Marxism (which is more an ideology than a philosophy), claims that workers are alienated from the fruit of their labor through wage slavery. The capitalists supposedly benefit unjustly. The Marxists answer to these perceived maladies resulted in well over 100,000,000 murders in Marxist regimes in the 20th century. These dead workers, I am sure, would rather be alienated from the fruit of the labor than alienated from their earthy existence by authoritarians raving about false philosophies.