To purchase the entire Summit Lecture Series, Vol. 1 on DVD, go to: summit.org You can know something without being sure that you’re right. This is due to the fact that you can have propositional knowledge: a true belief based on adequate or good reasons, not necessarily conclusive reasons. In other words, you can know something, but still be able to admit that you may be wrong. I know that God is real. If someone were to ask me if it’s possible that He isn’t, I could admit, “yeah, it’s possible. I could be mistaken.” It’s also possible to know something while still having unanswered questions or doubts about it. Therefore, when we claim that we know that God is real, we claim that we experience God through knowledge by acquaintance; and that we have propositional knowledge – true belief based upon adequate reasons. A third kind of knowledge that we should be aware of is knowhow or skill. This is the ability to do something well. Now, the Bible is an incredible source of knowhow or skill at life. If you want to learn how to be a good parent or spouse, if you want to learn how to become a forgiving person or honest businessperson, if you want to learn to give and receive love better and better, the Bible is full of wisdom when it comes to these life skills. So, to sum up (including the last five video podcasts): It’s important that we Christians know that Christianity claims to provide knowledge of reality and not just truth. We actually claim to know the things which we talk about. Firstly, we have knowledge by acquaintance with God by directly experiencing Him and His attributes (love, joy, peace, forgiveness, righteousness, etc.). Secondly, we have propositional knowledge that Jesus is the risen Son of God through good, adequate reasons – even if those reasons are not 100% conclusive. And, the third kind of knowledge Christianity provides is knowhow, skill, or the ability to do something well. So, when I claim that Christianity is a source for knowledge, I’m claiming that it provides these three kinds of knowledge for us in different ways. For more engaging and encouraging videos and podcasts, visit the E-Squared Media Network at www.e2medianetwork.com+ More details
To purchase the entire Summit Lecture Series, Vol. 1 on DVD, go to: summit.org If I were to go home and my wife says, “You’re angry.” To which I reply, “No, I’m not angry.” And we go back and forth – I need to take a second and decide whether or not what my wife is saying is true. I introspect. And, on this particular situation, I realize that I actually do have a seething rage down deep inside of me that my wife picked up on. Now, I have my thought: “I am angry”; I also encounter anger through introspection. And, when I compare the two, I say to myself, “There’s that thing again – the matching between my thought and what is real... also known as TRUTH.” You see, we need to have reality and a belief about the subject in question in order to derive truth. So, what is a belief? A belief is a thought that you take to be true with somewhere between 51% - 100% certainty. If you are only 52% certain about something, you believe it… but weakly. On the other hand, if you believe something with 80% certainty, you have a pretty strong belief in it. So, if I have a true thought (which matches reality) that I believe with some degree of certainty, I still don’t have knowledge – I simply have what’s known as true belief. To prove that this is not knowledge, consider this story: In Newport Beach, CA, there’s a public restroom. Nearby, there is a resident drunk who has formed the habit of believing everything that gets written inside the second stall of the men’s room at Newport Beach. His idea is: “If the stall says it, he believes it, that settles it.” So, one day, he walks into the men’s room and sees on the second stall the words, “George Washington was the first president of the United States.” Prior to this, he had never heard of George Washington. He doesn’t have a clue. But, the stall says it, so therefore (to him) it must be true. And he believes that George Washington was the first president of the United States. Now, compare and contrast this guy to an historian who has congressional records, personal letters and newspaper clippings from the time when George Washington was made president. These two gentlemen have two things in common: they both have the same belief; and they both have the truth that Washington was our first president. Both of their beliefs match reality. BUT, the historian has knowledge, but the Newport Beach drunk is just lucky. What’s the difference? The historian’s true belief is based on good, adequate reasons, whereas the Newport Beach guy doesn’t really have any good, adequate reasons supporting his belief. So, knowledge is a true belief that’s based on adequate reasons. If I claim to have propositional knowledge that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, which I do, I claim that I have a true belief that Jesus rose from the dead based on good, solid, adequate reasons – in this case, historical reasons. The same applies if I claim that God is real. Now, there’s something very important here that I don’t want you to miss: Propositional knowledge does not require certainty. JP will continue his discussion of Loving God with Your Mind in next week’s video podcast.+ More details
To purchase the entire Summit Lecture Series, Vol. 1 on DVD, go to: summit.org Truth is a matching between thought and reality. To illustrate this, consider a podium and a ball-point pen. The podium exists and it has certain attributes. It’s brown. It’s rectangular. It’s four feet tall. It weighs 40 pounds. These are all attributes that are true about the podium. Not only that, but all these attributes are true independently of any other object. Likewise, my pen has attributes: It’s black. It’s five inches long. It weighs two ounces. It’s shaped as a cylinder. Again, all attributes that are true regardless of any other truth or object. But there are truths about each of these items that are not captured by their attributes. For instance, the fact that the podium is larger than the pen is not captured by the podium’s attributes. “Larger than” is not an attribute of the podium. “Larger than” is actually a relation between the podium and, in this case, the pen. In order for “larger than” to apply to a situation, at least two items must be involved. Truth is a relation, similar to “larger than”. It is a “matching” relation. So what objects need to be present in order for truth to be involved? The answer is: Reality and Thought (or Belief). Here’s an illustration: If I had a thought that there was a clock in the room, that thought would be true if reality supported it. In other words, if reality matches the thought, then the thought would be true. Now notice, it’s not my belief alone that makes the “clock in the room” true. That would be Relativism. Contrarily, reality is what makes my thought true. A thought could be true, and you could have absolutely no way of knowing that it’s true. Suppose everybody was born blind. And suppose that one man (let’s call him Joe) is walking about with a cane and God suddenly puts a thought in Joe’s mind that grass is green. Joe’s thought would be true, even though he would have absolutely no way of knowing that it was true or not. You see, despite his blindness and not being able to visually see the grass, his thought would still match reality and thus his thought of green grass would be true. By the way, in case you’re interested, this is called the Correspondence Theory of Truth, and it’s the main theory that’s been held since the days of Aristotle and the Old Testament. It was pretty much the standard of defining truth up until the late 1800’s when other views sprouted up. To defend this theory of truth, consider a bookstore. If I order a book and the bookstore calls me to tell me that it has arrived and can be picked up, I then can go to the store and see that it is, in fact on the shelf waiting for me just as they said. At this moment, I have an experience with the book. My experience is “seeing the book”. I also have a second experience at that moment that’s very different from seeing the book. I also have the experience that my thought about the book being at the store is true. The object of this second experience is not the book, nor my thought about the book, but the matching relationship between my thought and the book. JP will continue his discussion in Loving God with Your Mind next week. For more engaging and encouraging videos and podcasts, visit the E-Squared Media Network at www.e2medianetwork.com+ More details
To purchase the entire Summit Lecture Series, Vol. 1 on DVD, go to: summit.org Knowledge of your own consciousness is a form or non-sensory knowledge by acquaintance. It is an example of where you can have knowledge by acquaintance with things you can’t see, touch, taste, smell, or hear. And that’s very important. Now, when I claim that Christianity provides us with knowledge, one of the things I mean by that is that it gives us knowledge by acquaintance, in that we can be directly aware of God. Sometimes God shows up and we can experience Him directly. We are aware of Him. We sense His presence immediately. That is a form of knowledge by acquaintance, where I can actually perceive God and be aware of Him with the eyes of the heart and the eyes of the soul. The same thing is true with demons and angels. I know people who have had encounters with seeing angels. They’ve been aware of their presence. I have been aware of demons. I’ve been involved in exorcisms, where I’ve helped cast demons out of people. I remember years ago, I was in a meeting in a gymnasium where a Christian speaker was going to speak at a secular campus. There were 2,500 people who came to hear him. I was sitting in this basketball arena at the half-court line, talking to some people. And I perceived or sensed the presence of evil walk in the door. I looked over and saw three guys walk in. I noted very carefully where they sat. After the meeting was finished, I made a bee-line to them to talk to them. And I came to find out that all three of them were heavily involved in the occult and had come to the meeting that evening to see if they could find a way to disrupt something. They were demonized. And I had knowledge by acquaintance with the demonic. Now, the fact that people in our culture are not aware of the demonic is an oddity of our culture. It’s not the way Christianity is worldwide. I had two students from Africa, who came to study with me at Talbot School of Theology, who tell me regularly that they see and are aware of demons as well as angels even at Biola University’s campus. They’re able to perceive these things because they learned that it was okay to do so as a child. And they’ve developed the ability to see into the unseen world. Whereas we tend to treat all that as psychological and so on. So here’s the point: Does Christianity provide us with knowledge of reality? I believe it does, and the first kind of knowledge that Christianity gives us is knowledge by acquaintance. What do I mean by that? There is a form of knowledge where we can be directly aware of God and the unseen world. There are times in worship where God literally manifests His presence in a special way and you can sense that He’s there. You can sense His presence. That is knowledge of God. You are aware of Him being there. That’s the first kind of knowledge. The second kind of knowledge is extremely important. And it’s the kind of knowledge that receives most of the discussion in today’s universities. It’s called “Propositional Knowledge”. Here is a simple definition of propositional knowledge: It is a true belief based on adequate reasons. Now, in order to understand this type of knowledge, I need to clarify three things: 1) What is truth? 2) What is a belief? 3) What is meant by “adequate reasons”? Firstly, a simple definition of truth: It is when things are the way one takes, says, thinks, or believes them to be. Another way to define truth is a matching between thought and reality. JP will continue his discussion in Loving God with Your Mind next week. For more engaging and encouraging videos and podcasts, check out the E-Squared Media Network at www.e2medianetwork.com+ More details
A recent award-winning book by Myron Penner declares 'The End of Apologetics'. It critiques William Lane Craig in particular. What is Craig's response?+ More details
http://www.jpmoreland.com - Lecture by JP Moreland, on the topic of hopelessness and how to deal with it. From Moreland: "In a recent talk at my church, Vineyard Anaheim, I spoke on the topic of hopelessness and how to deal with it. Hopelessness is a leukemia of the spirit. It stagnates life. Clearly, hopelessness has to be treated. But it can't be changed by simply willing it. Curiously, we will not change, unless we have hope to change. For people change when they expect that change can happen. That's why the desire to change is not sufficient to bring about change. So, how can we renew our hope and thereby deal with hopelessness? In my talk, I offer two main suggestions. 1) We need to re-kindle faith 2) We need to re-frame our difficulties. I counsel that hope will be a by-product of 1) and 2). With 1), we can see how faith and hope are interrelated with each other. From passages like Romans 5 and 15, we learn that faith produces hope and not the other way around. Faith nurtures and empowers hope. But how do you re-kindle faith? I suggest that there are two basic ways to do this (and hear you might be interested in reading In Search of a Confident Faith): a) be exposed to testimony about what God is doing around the world, indeed, in our own world. How is God at work? How might that strengthen our faith?; b) be actively remembering what God has done in our lives and in the lives of those that we know have experienced God's work. Finally, we can learn to re-frame our difficulties in light of a re-kindled faith. First, be learning to relabel our hardships in such a way that we are not preoccupied with "worst-case scenario" thinking. Second, we can learn how to refocus our attention on God and learn to discipline our distracted and often worrying hearts."+ More details
How should we think about our lives at the end of year in light of an upcoming year? This talk by JP Moreland offers some vision and practical advice toward this end. What is the biggest hindrance to us flourishing in an upcoming year? Perhaps its not merely just the speed at which our lives accelerate due to busyness, etc. The biggest challenge that I face every year is what I call, "drift": simply letting your habits, schedule and routines turn me into a passive consumer. For many of us, our default position at the beginning of a year is to simply let "life happen" to us. Overcoming the inertia of drift is the single biggest factor that we have to overcome each year. Much of this "overcoming" involves picking the right goal for the right reason and staying focused. Moreland attempts to unpack this and much more in light of a reflection on Philippians 3:13-15.+ More details
Lecture by J. P. Moreland.+ More details
J. P. Moreland explains how it is impossible to cross an actually infinite number of things. This is philosophical evidence the universe had a beginning. Can the universe reach the present moment if it was infinite and had no beginning?+ More details
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