Faith and Reason in Luther, Zwingli, and Lutheranism

On today's program, I dealt with the relationship between faith and reason. I began with a discussion of Luther's own thought on the topic, while addressing criticisms that he is an irrationalist. I then discussed this in relation to Luther's distinction between the two kingdoms. I then discussed the idea of paradox and contrasted this approach with that of Zwingli and later Calvinism.Here is the program. … [Read more...]

Certitude vs. Certainty: What Can Neil Gorsuch and Martin Luther Teach Us About Knowledge and Truth?

Post by Nathan RinneNeil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump’s widely lauded pick for new Supreme Court Justice, will be big news for weeks to come. Gorsuch is, like Antonin Scalia before him, an "originalist" judge, meaning that he "interprets the Constitution based on its plain language and original public meaning.” (see here)According to Wikipedia, “originalism is a way to interpret the Constitution's meaning as stable from the time of enactment” (italics mine). Stanley Fish however, right … [Read more...]

Individualism in the Age of Trump: the Unbridled Sophistry Behind Sexuality, Gender… and the Theory of Evolution

Post by Nathan RinneIn the Western world, today’s “conservatives” are increasingly libertarian when it comes to matters of sexual morality. Whatever good might come out of a Trump Presidency (full disclosure: I voted for the man), it seems unlikely that the nation’s appreciation for the importance of sexual morality will deepen.Increasingly in our society, the expectation for any romantic relationship is that it must be sexual or get sexual without much delay - married or not. Going hand … [Read more...]

The Rorty-ification – and Hegelianization – of the West: A Primer on Social Constructivism and Social Constructionism for Concerned Americans

"There is a deeper pleasure in following truth to the scaffold or the cross, than in joining the multitudinous retinue, and mingling our shouts with theirs, when victorious error celebrates its triumphs." -- Horace Mann, ThoughtsPost by Nathan RinneSocial constructivism and social constructionism. What are these things? What do they imply? What are they connected with? Can they, for example, help to explain the recent actions of the Obama administration's Department of Justice? (see … [Read more...]

For Scalia, R.I.P. – Why Nature Must Be Stopped

Post by Nathan RinneI dedicate this post to now deceased SCOTUS justice Antonin Scalia. May he rest in peace.“Not to resent offenses is the mark of a base and slavish man.” -- Aristotle"I attack ideas, I don't attack people - and some very good people have some very bad ideas." -- Antonin Scalia+++In a recent internet conversation, a woman named Arya Blynde took exception to a comment I had made about the ancient Latin poet Ovid, who said “I approve the better course, and yet … [Read more...]

Richard Dawkins’ Comments Comparing Christianity and Islam Show Knowledge, Not Wisdom

Post by Nathan RinneVery interesting five-year-old comments made by the famous atheist Richard Dawkins re-surfaced on the internet last week. Now some reading the title of this post might think I am going in a political direction here in response to Dawkins, but I’m not – at least not directly. My goal is actually to “hook you” and lure you into philosophical depths you might otherwise shy away from.I enjoyed this engaging and inspiring (for this Christian!) 5-minute video from Lutheran p … [Read more...]

“Who’s Afraid of Relativism?” – and Professor James K.A. Smith?

Post by Nathan RinneCalvin College Professor of Philosophy James K.A. Smith is a rising star in the world of evangelicalism - and justifiably so.He is a masterful teacher and clearly possess a brilliant mind, as this recent piece from the Gospel Coalition blog indicates. His book How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor is the 2015 winner of the Christianity Today Book Awards (see a piece from me on the book here). In a review of that book, Harold K. Bush relates a story about … [Read more...]

How Darwin Helps Us See the Truth: Life is About Helping Our Neighbor Survive

Post by Nathan Rinne“You have the God you believe in.” – Martin Luther[warning: this post has a central point, but also touches on many big issues in a process that both meanders and relentlessly "re-frames". Patience may be needed.]Charles Darwin talked about the “truth of the universal struggle for life”, where the “strongest live and the weakest die”. For example, “intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”As A.N. Wilson p … [Read more...]

America, Behold Your God [of “Civil Religion”]: the Underlying Meaning of Gay Marriage and Other Incoming Issues (Summary)

Post by Nathan RinneA few days ago, Pastor Cooper posted a link to an excellent podcast discussing the idea of gay marriage from a biblical perspective. In the podcast, he also talked about a recent article on the topic by the popular Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart. Pastor Cooper's analysis is very helpful and I highly recommend checking it out.And yesterday, on my blog, I posted a lengthier piece addressing the issue of gay marriage - arguing more from the basis of … [Read more...]

Thesis: Only Theists Can Rationally Believe in American Values

Post by Nathan RinneI know that title is audacious. I'm like a moth who can't stay away from flames.I am ready to be challenged on this, and quite honestly, I don’t feel terribly strongly about the statement. But I suspect that it is true.Let’s see how I do in defending this. First of all, I take the following to be an American value: “We should work hard to make sure that each person, without exception, is treated with the inherent human dignity and honor that they deserve.” Maybe … [Read more...]