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Newsong Foundations class did not encourage rigorous thinking at all. In my opinion a horrible introduction to religion/thinking and a nice brainwashing session leaving you feeling guilty for not following Christ 100%. newsongfoundations.pdf

Sam Harris Fireplace Delusion, by Sam_Harris, the same guy that wrote Letter to a Christian Nation and a few other books. Debated on Less Wrong


Old agape videos:

Current AMC videos:

Living With The Moons: Allen and Ayaka Lu interview talking about Pastor Andy, etc. articles on

Timothy Keller: Making Sense of God

Ch 1

Why are more ppl becoming religious?

  • Not necessarily ppl are uneducated.
  • Explanations would be:
Can't originate absolute justice in secularism
  • Habermas (big philosopher) “evolved” to believe secularism can't explain everything. See essay “Habermas and Religion”
  • “It was perfectly logical to conclude that it would be more socially and economically cost effective if those genetically prone to nonproductive lives did not pass on their genetic code. However, the death camps aroused the moral intuition that eugenics, while perhaps scientifically efficient, is evil.”
    • Their point is that science can't justify why something is universally evil. Only why we might feel that way.
      • But is saying “God told me so” any better justification?
    • My tangential thought: Is GATTACA (future scenario of being able to tell everything about person from sperm / egg) ok? Why would you pick something less? It's generally only because you believe/know something else to be more worth the tradeoff, like the flavor of foods or genetic diversity or societal breakdown.
      • Is it the post-fetus aborting and death camp killing that people don't like? Well, then just go with sterilization or go GATTACA.
  • Kalanithi's point is that you can't come up with sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness from secularism. no rebuttals?
    • And apparently Christianity provided the origination of them. Did they only originate with Christianity?
Transcendent realm beyond the secular

Small group

  • One person felt the Spirit, but then didn't want to go down that road. Would cost too much to change.

Why is it so bad if “there was more evidence”? More people would believe, no?

  • Personally, I want to know the truth. I like not having to ignore things because it might change my beliefs.
  • Jesus: Even though I do these miracles, they still do not believe. Why though? Surely it's from hard hearts and not

Ch 2

Keller wants to counter the claim that you must give up on rationality to believe in Christianity/religion. In fact, you adopt a set of beliefs when you believe either secularism or Christianity.

We can't really know anything for sure. This is what Glenn calls solipsism.

  • Agreed. Let's assume reality around us though! It makes for more interesting discussion.

So Keller's later point is we can't prove whether there is a God or not. Nor can we prove that the natural world is all there is! Ok, true. What's the point? Therefore there is room for God. Ok, sure

Problem of Evil (page 37)

A confusing one-page summary, but makes some good points.

  • Doesn't mention the omni-benevolent / omnipotent aspects of God contradicting the existence of evil, but I think he assumes it.
  • The only thing that's changed recently as opposed to ancient authors is that we today think we have enough understanding to judge God! If I can't understand it, then it must not be possible.
    • But like, Glenn's rebuttal is for all the miracle stories of kids getting healed from cancer, there are hundreds more where God appears to face the other way. Holocaust, natural disasters. Would you want to hang out with this person? Do you realize the gravity of the situation?
      • What was the rebuttal to this one? “Do you expect God to be a cosmic nanny, letting Satan go out of control?”
Origins of democracy / "all men created equal"

Keller claims it was from the Bible.

So what that it appeals to me today? I want the truth! I want to know reality!

“If there is no transcendent reality beyond this life, then there is no value or meaning for anything”

  • How again? I think he describes it, just need to read a few more times.

“Man descended from apes, therefore we should love our neighbor”

Often people assume Christian ideas and try to fit them into their other beliefs without justificaiton. Because they believe it to be right.

Keller's point isn't that Christianity is absolutely better to naturalism from this perspective, but rather that naturalism isn't so “truth-based” after all.

Ch ... 3?

Early main point is that a naturalist can't escape the ultimate meaningless-ness of the universe. You can ignore it and make up meaning for yourself, but it is lacking in facing “the truth”.

Also, without ultimate meaning, or by saying “everyone defines his or her own meaning” then how can you disagree about something someone else chooses to do? Well, you can do anything except harm. What is harm, and how can it be derived objectively?

So therefore discovered meaning is better than created meaning. It's objective! It's actually true!

For religious people, suffering on Earth can bring you closer to God. However, except when God is causing the suffering?

Glenn/my questions

Original sin. Why is

Rob Hill

Older people tend to be more cynical because it's hard not to become that way!

You need to eat the elephant one bite at a time.

Liked the books Of Mice and Men and the Grapes of Wrath

Slavery in Bible

Pretty good summary from RationalWiki


The bible seems to describe a long-suffering place called hell that anyone that doesn't believe in Jesus for saving them will go to. (including

Does the Bible describe a Fiery burny place?

Keller basically says FIRE of Hell isn't literal, rather it's the misery and self-loathing you experience as a result of making yourself God instead of relying on God. In other words, Hell is your ego and your false self whether that's your anger, lust, bad habits, lifestyle etc. Then he points to CS Lewis who says We choose this “Hell” ourselves. OK, I like that and it makes me feel a lot better….for about 30 seconds until my brain starts saying “But what about all those places in the Bible that describes Hell as a place of Fire and torment and gnashing of teeth?” What about all the Traditional teachings about Hell as a literal place through 2000 years of church history? What if it's not just allegorical? What if CS Lewis's idea was just his theory or hypothesis or rationalization? Keller's brain might be satisfied with a Lewis Bible interpretation, but my brain can't ignore the dozens of Hell warnings in the Bible. How does Keller know when the Bible is speaking literally and when it's speaking allegorically?

  • How did I let all those capitals in there…?

Those that don't know

AR paul hell those that don't know

  • + Supposedly Paul says they won't go? (according to Angus).
  • - However, Romans 1: “no one is without excuse…plainly seen from creation”

Is it just

  • AR: Grandmas and inherited sin. Infinite everlasting punishment for one error.
    • Much more than “eye for eye, tooth for tooth”
    • Aaron: What weight is deliberate disobedience? It's not the act done, but the motive behind it that needs correction / punishment

How do we get out of it?

  • Glenn posits it's very unclear across Christianity, as well as other religions
    • Maybe more importantly, that God would stand “silent” or vague while letting the world not know about how to avoid it is unjust


Why don't I want to believe in God?

  • “One more thing I have to worry about”, to find out whether I am wronging or not.



Mr. Domes recommends When Critics Ask, When Skeptics Ask, and Letters from a Skeptic. Amazon reviews say they don't tackle the hard questions, and in Letters from a Skeptic, Boyd seems to give “answers” but they are more potential “explanations” that don't acknowledge the difficulty of the issue for Christianity

Christian Boyd recommends First Things and probably stuff by Peter Kreeft.

The Problem of Pain

Ch 1

Gives a great intro as to the painful existence that the God of the Universe created, which Lewis originally used to justify his athiesm.

However, it's not that simple. After some stuff in the middle I skipped over b/c it was pretty dense, he says there are 4 levels to belief in a traditional Jewish/Christian/Muslim God.

  1. Ordered List Item
  2. fs
  3. The God of the scary, seemingly immoral universe is the author of your morality that you feel closely. (Don't kill, etc)
  4. You must answer the claims of Jesus. He doesn't so much <yet> claim to solve the problem of evil, as much as open it up. Because if he didn't say that God was a loving and good Father, there wouldn't be a contradiction in the first place!

Mere Christianity

Book 1

Ch 1

Do I disobey this moral law that I believe to be true? (sin)

If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?

Ch 2

Book 2

Ch 2

  • Athiesm = belief that there is no “order” to the universe / right or wrong

A reason for believing Christianity is that it does not “make sense” and is not super orderly/symmetric, just like the world around us isn't that way…it's a bit odd too.

COUNTER-EXAMPLE?? (Stephen Fry at Big Think, who incidentally, don't think very big in my opinion)

  • Shouldn't a <good, omnipotent> God create the bad things in the world too?
  • Why should we believe ideas written down in a book that's 2,000 to 6,000 years old?
philosophy/religion.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/27 13:26 by admin