Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lesson 2 Notes – Philosophy & Ethics: Says Who?

Truth is not simply an academic concept. The way we think about truth has a direct bearing upon the way we live our lives. What's more, our understanding of right and wrong is directly dependent on our worldview: is the universe God’s creation or a closed cosmic cube?

I. Introduction – Have you been taken captive? - 2 Timothy 2:24-26

A. Scriptural warning against hollow and deceptive philosophy – Colossians 2:8

  • A warning addressed to believers
  • About deceptive philosophies
  • To be taken captive by empty deceit according to human tradition

B. Example of a hallow and deceptive philosophy

  • Carl Sagan’s Worldview – “The Cosmos is all there is, or ever was, or will be”
  • What is he telling us? >> to believe that matter is the only reality à there is no God
  • Everything-including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can all be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena.
  • Naturalist - to believe that all can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws.
  • Nothing has moral, spiritual, or supernatural significance.
  • Sagan: “Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries."
  • Interpretation >> We are the product of it all

C. Assumptive language – A powerful and dangerous form of knowledge

  • Dangerous because assumptions are caught and bought without an open conscious, dialogue
  • Without discernment, we buy into them without knowing it. If you buy intoa statement, you buy into the underlying assumptions as well. (assumptive truth claims)
  • Sagan: “We are made of “star stuff”.
  • These underlying claims bombard us from everywhere

D. The Cosmic Cube

  • Illustrates the naturalistic worldview belief that there is nothing outside the cosmos; reality is a closed box and all truth must be materially perceived
  • The philosophy that has consciously or subconsciously capturedculture that says the material world is all that is, was, or ever will be.
  • This philosophical position has severely damaging implications.
  • The largeness of the cube somehow allows us to begin to believe that it is big enough to actually say that it’s all there is.
  • Nothing exists outside of the box.

E. Biblical presuppositions
  • God is and He has revealed himself to us
  • General revelation through our world (creation)
  • Specific revelation through His word

F. God’s Nature - Transcendent and immanent – He is above and works within the box

  • Do you believe in the omnipresence of God?
  • If yes, you need to live as such

  • We’ve added a 3rd element to the box in order to remove God from the equation.

II. Philosophy – What is it?

A. Webster 1828 definition

  • Literally, the love of wisdom.
  • The objects of philosophy are to ascertain facts or truth, and the causes of things or their phenomena
  • To enlarge our views of God and his works, and to render our knowledge of both practically useful and subservient to human happiness.
  • True religion and true philosophy must ultimately arrive at the same principle.

B. Current definition – God has been removed from the discipline of philosophy in today’s culture

  • A search for a general understanding of values and reality by chiefly speculative rather than observational means
  • An analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs
  • We no longer arrive at the same point >> we are now searching for reality in the box.
  • Science dropped-off from philosophy

C. Philosophical Questions – The great quest of philosophers

  • What are the universal truths of life?
  • What is existence?
  • What is the meaning and purpose of life?
  • Universal and Particulars (the huge gap in between)
Raphael’s Masterpiece painting: The school of Athens
  • Aristotle and Plato’s philosophical dilemma – How do we arrive at Truth? How do we make sense of the unity and diversity of our world?
  • i. Plato believed that you begin with the upper level ideas. He just didn’t knowwhere to get them.

    ii. Aristotle believed the only things we have are the particulars and you must begin with them.

    iii. Both were trying to find the answers in the box. The philosophers were trying to find the universals but they shut themselves off from the Sourceof ultimate Truth.

    D. What has God done for us?

    • He gave us (the particulars) the universals so we might understand the Particulars.

    E. Hollow and Deceptive Philosophy – Contradictions

    • Materialism - matter is the only reality
    • Idealism - ideas are the only reality
    • Empiricism - knowledge comes from experience
    • Rationalism - knowledge is gained by reason without experience
    • Naturalism - true knowledge only comes from scientific study
    • Determinism - there really is no knowledge, only reaction to stimuli
    • Relativism - there are no absolutes
    • Mentalist - mind is the true reality and objects exist only as an aspect of the mind’sAwareness
    • Mechanism - everything can be explained in terms of physical or biological choices
    • Selfishism - self is all that needs to be known
    • Subjectivism - knowledge is dependent upon and limited by your own subjectiveExperiences
    • Intuitionism - knowledge comes primarily from some kind of inner sense
    • Hedonism - pleasure is good, pain is evil. If it feels good do it.

    III. Postmodernism

    Cluster of philosophies with the underlying assumption that no one worldview or belief system (metanarrative) can claim to be the truth, which often results in relativistic thinking and the use of language as a power play.

    A. What is Right? What is wrong?

    • Ethical implications of postmodernism
    • There is no basis for ethical standards or ethical language in a naturalistic worldview
    • Can you live in a world like that?
    • It’s not possible to live in a world where nothing is real.
    • Who makes the rules?
    • Examples of what people say – People should do the right thing because:
      i. my parents told me so
      ii. man will either be governed by force or by his own heart
      iii. if you feel guilty, then that is wrong
      iv. there is no set doctrine
      v. it’s good for society
      vi. it makes people feel better about themselves (good mental health)
      vii. it prevents people from getting hurt
      viii. there must be laws or else anarchy

    B. Might Makes Right

    • Plato’s Question – “Is an act right because God said it, or did God know it was right and told us about it?”
    • His laws are an expression of His nature
    • William of Ockham: “Whatever God wills must be done simply because He says so. If God had wanted; He could have ordered men to obey the opposite of the TenCommandments. Even now, He can rescind those laws and will their opposition.”
    • This is wrong because it implies that God can change.
    • Why is lying wrong? >> Lying is wrong because it’s counter to the nature of God and His character. à God is the ultimate source of Truth.
    • If might makes right à what about the minority? >> A lot of people would be oppressed and crushed.

    C. Naturalistic philosophy implications

    • Darwin’s views in non-assumptive language
    • There’s no foundation for ethics
    • Naturalism: It cannot explain ultimate meaning so it resorts to proximate or relative meaning.

    D. Statistical Ethics – Our culture determines ethics through normalcy and survey data

    • R. C. Sproul: “Morality looks at the verb ‘is’. Ethics looks at the word ‘ought’.The distinction has been obscured in our day. People use the term‘morality’ and ethics as synonyms. That leads to statistical morality.We go around the nation seeing what people are doing, how manyPeople are cheating on their spouses.”
    • Morality vs. Ethics >> this distinction has gone obscure
    • Good is determined by what is instead of what ought to be.
    • Normal is Good
    • Crisis of the loss of ethics

    IV. Worldview

    A. Formal worldview vs. personal worldview

    What is your world view?
  • Formal world views carry a comprehensive set of truth claims
  • Our worldview drives how we think, act, and feel – What we really believe
  • B. Consequences of a non-biblical worldview

    • We buy the lies and conform to the world
    • Only 9% of Evangelical Christians have a biblical world view
    • Lack of a personal, biblical worldview in America – We fail to see Christianity as a worldview that governs every area of life.
    • We live in a society of anti-intellect, anti-mind (we become lazy thinkers)

    V. Conclusion and Solution

    C. Renewing of the Mind – Metamorphoo

    • Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
    • A new mind brings a new heart >> when the mind changes, the life changes also.
    • We must seek to be “metamorphed’
    • This is the primary goal of The Truth Project: for individuals to be transformed into the likeness of Christ by gazing on the face of God. This process is not easy and we often struggle with God’s Truth claims in the “cocoon.”

    No comments:

    Post a Comment