Posts Tagged ‘skepticism’

I took a stab at the Controversy a few years ago after reading (or trying to read) Herman Hoeksema’s book.  That post remains quite popular.  I’ve been meaning to read Van Til on the incomprehensibility of God, but more important matters have hindered me from investing the time necessary.

But I finally began John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God.  Early on in the book, he interacts with the Controversy and makes what I think are some helpful comments on it.  I’ve been meaning to blog about this, but have been (yes) busy.  Since today is something of a sick day, I’ve got a bit more time.

“We should be gentle with those who differ from us; they may not be rebellious or sinful in their disagreement, only immature (in other respects they may surpass us).  And, of course, we must always recognize the possibility that we may be wrong, that a brother or sister who disagrees with us may have something to teach us.”

Frame asserts that this controversy was not the highlight of either man’s career, and that they seriously misunderstood one another.  As the first, such controversies tend to bring out the worst in us.  This is why many godly men offered warnings about how to conduct themselves in theological controversy.  It is quite easy for pride to deceive us and distort our thinking, motive and goals.  Part of that deception ties into the misunderstanding of the other person’s actual views that takes place.  As I mentioned in the earlier post, controversy tends to move us to further extremes in the quest to be right (as opposed to understanding truth).

Both, however had valid concerns.  Van Til wished to preserve the Creator-creature distinction in the realm of knowledge, and Clark wished to prevent an skeptical deductions from the doctrine of incomprehensibility, to insist that we really do know God on the basis of revelation.  Van Til, therefore, insisted that even when God and man were thinking of the same thing (a particular rose, for example), their thoughts about it were never identical– God’s were the thoughts of the Creator, man’s of the creature.  Such language made Clark fear skepticism.

Here is how they were talking past each other in some ways (there was a real disagreement, but not as vast as either made it out to be perhaps).  They wanted to protect different ideas in their discussion of the topic.  Different agendas or concerns, which led to different expressions and therefore misunderstanding.


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The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller is a great book.  It was critically acclaimed, and I found the book very helpful (aside from his openness to evolution).

It makes a great give away book.   But they have just released a new way to use the book.  They now have a DVD in which Keller interacts with people about their doubts and objections.  These are not “man on the street” confrontations.  Instead, they sit together and talk through the issues, modeling for us how to actually do this work of apologetics.

The publishers have also released a study guide to help people work through  the material (sample pages).  This helps churches to utilize the material in small groups or Sunday School, to better equip people to interact with the skeptics around them.

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Glenn Beck had Dr. Richard Lindzen on his show tonight.  Dr. Lindzen is a professor of meteorology and atmospheric and planetary sciences.  Teaching at MIT, one would think he would be a respected voice on the matter of global warming.  Guess again! He worked on the IPCC- a lead author by the way.  Yet, he disputes the Summary for Policymakers which was not put together by scientists.  It was literally Shanghai-ed.  It has been politicized and used by the fear mongers as their latest pet project to get people up in arms. In his interview he stated (best as I can remember) “In 1998 Newsweek was claiming scientists were all in agreement.  Agreed on what?  That the overall temperature had increased slightly, yes.  That Antartica was going to melt?  No.” He likens belief in Global Warming to religious belief.

“With respect to science, the assumption behind the [alarmist] consensus is science is the source of authority and that authority increases with the number of scientists [who agree]. But science is not primarily a source of authority. It is a particularly effective approach of inquiry and analysis. Skepticism is essential to science- consensus is foreign.”

That’s enough on global warming for awhile.

Update: Climate Scientist Roy Spencer has questions for Al Gore about his movie. Other scientists not part of the ‘consensus’ include: Dr. Timothy Ball, Dr. Robert C. Balling Jr., Dr. Robert E. Davis, Dr. David LeGates, and I could go on.  Apparently these gentlemen are too difficult to find.

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