The Real Battle for Marriage

J. Matthan Brown:

This is a short article I wrote for the Christian Watershed back in 2012 but it still seems applicable today . . .

Originally posted on The Christian Watershed:

The real battle for marriage is not taking place in the political arena.  It’s not being waged on the street corner with ‘colorful’ signs and bull-horns.  It’s not occurring at your favorite chicken restaurant  with a side of waffle fries.  The real battle for marriage is being waged on an entirely different front: our homes.

With every broken promise and broken heart, every adulterous wife and lecherous  husband, every abusive or neglectful parent, every struggling single mom, every distant and removed father, every argument or divorce . . . there you will find the real battle for marriage taking place.  Have you ever asked yourself why it is that the majority of young people are rejecting the traditional definition of marriage?  Certainly, there are many factors which are contributing to this trend–one of them being the overarching influence of Secular Humanistic, Nihilistic, thinking in our universities and in the…

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Sexual Identity and Cultural Revolution

Originally posted on Symposium:

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I would not normally comment on such things, but the recent Irish referendum on instituting same-sex marriage has brought out an ugliness of language that fairly compels any person of conscience to speak out. Indeed, the great irony of our time is that what was once the most liberal of causes has become a locus for the most illiberal of behaviours: Western society’s current obsession with human sexuality has, over the course of a very short period, mutated into a litmus test for social orthodoxy, and in so doing, become a stick by which those who fail the test are beaten.

I do not believe in conspiracies, which is why I detest phrases like ‘gay agenda’, as if homosexual people secretly gather someplace to plot the overthrow of society. As far as I know, the gay people I am privileged to call friends tend to want to get on with…

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On Atheists and Straw Men with David Bentley Hart

“I can see why a plenteously contended, drowsily complacent, temperamentally incurious atheist might find it comforting–even a little luxurious–to imagine that belief in God is no more than belief in some magical invisible friend who lives beyond the clouds, or in some ghostly cosmic mechanic invoked to explain gaps in current scientific knowledge. But I also like to think that the truly reflective atheist would prefer not to win all his or her rhetorical victories against childish caricatures. I suppose the success of the books of the ‘new atheists’–which are nothing but lurchingly spasmodic assaults on whole armies of straw men–might go some way toward proving the opposite. Certainly, none of them is an impressive or cogent treatise, and I doubt posterity will be particularly kind to any of them once the initial convulsions of celebrity have subsided. But they have definitely sold well. I doubt that one should make much of that though. The new atheists’ texts are manifestos, buoyantly coarse, and intentionally simplistic, meant to fortify true unbelievers in their unbelief; their appeal is broad but certainly not deep; they are supposed to induce a mode, not encourage deep reflection”

Duplicity

J. Matthan Brown:

So, I’ve started writing a novel . . .

Originally posted on How I Killed Nietzsche & Became the New Übermensch:

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The congregation raved about his eloquent homilies, his intellect, his moral fortitude, his perfect family . . . I remember their words as if it were yesterday:  “Just look at how well he manages his household. His children are so perfectly behaved!”

“Oh what a blessing it must be to have a minister for a father!”

“That man is a prophet.  You hear me boy?  A genuine prophet!”

How pathetic and blind they were.  They couldn’t see through his disguise, they couldn’t feel the truth as I did when he went into a rage.  My father, the great prophet . . . the great lie.  Let me tell you about his righteousness.

At church he could maintain the facade, he could preach about the judgement and fire of a holy God, he could pat the children on their heads and smile, he could quote you an encouraging scripture, he could…

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Mary as Mediatrix: An Incarnational View

Originally posted on The Christian Watershed:

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Many Christians find the notion that Mary played a role in our salvation extremely blasphemous. They particularly find the ascription of the title Mediatrix to Mary, found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, offensive.  In their eyes this ascription stands in direct opposition to Jesus’s role as the sole mediator between God and man. After all, Sacred Scripture is crystal clear on this matter:

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 NKJV).

While I completely embrace these words from St. Paul, I deny that they constitute a defeater for Catholic Marian dogma. I contend that the aversion to Mary’s role in our salvation, endemic in so many Christians, is a form of Neo-Docetism. I further maintain that shedding this Neo-Docetist attitude, and embracing…

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Introducing . . . “Facebook” for Nerds!

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I recently joined “Facebook” for nerds (a.k.a Academia.edu)! I’ll be sharing my academic work in philosophy on my profile there. So, if you have nothing to do today and are feeling slightly nerdier than usual, I strongly recommend you take a look.

I uploaded the first draft of a paper I’m working on entitled Logicism, William Rowe, and the Mystery of Existence. Here’s the introduction to wet your appetite (the full paper can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF on the link below):

Why is there something rather than nothing? Theism is often put forth as an answer tothis question but is by no means the consensus view. One major opponent to the theistiexplanation is William Rowe who not only contends that theism is unable to explain the existence of contingent states of affairs, but concludes it is impossible to provide an answer. In so arguing, Rowe appears to have undermined the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR).
In this essay I suggest Rowe is guilty of logicism; i.e., employing logic to answer what is fundamentally a metaphysical question (Gilson, p8-16). More pointedly, I argue that Rowe has incorrectly formulated the theistic solution to the mystery of existence. Rowe expresses the mode of God’s existence in the form of modality De Dicto when theist’s express the mode ofGod’s existence in the form of modality De Re. By drawing attention to this error I hope to show (1) we need not abandon PSR and (2) theism can explain why there is something rather than nothing.
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Evolution and Reason with G. K. Chesterton

“Evolution is either an innocent scientific description of how certain earthly things came about; or, if it is anything more than this, it is an attack upon thought itself. If evolution destroys anything, it does not destroy religion but rationalism. If evolution simply means that a positive thing called an ape turned very slowly into a positive thing called a man, then it is stingless for the most orthodox; for a personal God might just as well do things slowly as quickly – especially if, like the Christian God, he were outside time. But if it means anything more, it means that there is no such thing as an ape to change, and no such thing as a man for him to change into. It means that there is no such thing as a thing. At best, there is only one thing, and that is a flux of everything and anything. This is an attack not upon faith, but upon the mind; you cannot think if there are no things to think about.”

Exploring the Eastern Catholic Church

As many of you know, my family and I came into full communion with the Catholic Church in 2013. This momentous event took place at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Greek Catholic Mission in Raleigh NC – an Eastern Catholic parish of the Byzantine Rite.

Most of my Protestant friends and, surprisingly, the majority of Roman Catholics I know, have never encountered the eastern Church.  In fact, most assume “Eastern Catholicism” is just another name for Eastern Orthodoxy.

This common mistake is understandable.  Practically speaking, Eastern Catholics are Orthodox – they use the same liturgy, and share a common theological and spiritual tradition.  Like the Orthodox, Eastern Catholics utilize icons and incense in their worship and have married priests.

The only substantive difference is that Eastern Catholics are in full communion with Rome and the Pope.  That  means that they are fully Catholic.

If you find any of this interesting I encourage you to watch the video above!  Also, I would urge you to read this powerful apostolic letter written by St. John Paul II: Oriental Lumen.

 

Cadbury Lectures 2015

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Thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to listen to William Lane Craig at this years Cadbury Lectures at the University of Birmingham!

Dr. Craig lectured on the challenge that “heavyweight” Platonism – the idea that abstract objects, like numbers, sets, and possible worlds, exist and are as real as concrete objects like cars or persons – poses to Classical Theism.  He surveyed the range of possible responses available to the Theist and put forth several arguments against the traditional notion that abstract objects exist in the mind of God.

Ultimately, Dr. Craig advocates an anti-realist approach to abstracta; which is quite a controversial position for a Christian philosopher to adopt.  While I can appreciate why he is making this move, I’m not convinced it’s the correct one to make.

Nevertheless, it was a great experience and a wonderful opportunity to meet a great scholar.  Here’s a picture featuring WLC with my dear friend Tyler McNabb (a PhD candidate at the University of Glasgow) and yours truly:

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Philosopher’s Diary

Periodically, I’ll share some news about my studies at the University of Birmingham.  Like, right now . . .

The next seven weeks are going to be intense. I’ve got three major essay’s to write and my dissertation proposal needs major revision!  Here are my essay topics:

(1) In the frist essay I’ll be arguing against David Benatar’s controversial thesis that existence is always a harm in favor of the Eastern Catholic view that existence is good.  Once establishing this ontological principle I will demolish Benatar’s “qualified defense” of suicide.

(2) In my second essay I’ll be arguing against David Lewis’s form of modal realism.  I will also argue in favor of an Aristotelian/Thomistic conception of modality.

(3) Finally, in essay three, I’ll make the case that natural rights theories of human rights are compatible with agreement theories.  Both theories have drawbacks and merits but are often juxtaposed. My aim is to show that the theories are not mutually exclusive.

My thesis, which I will explain in greater detail later, will involve arguing for the incoherence of ontological physicalism.  It should be really fun!

In addition to all this writing, I’m very much looking forward to meeting William Lane Craig in a couple of weeks.  He’s delivering this years Cadbury Lectures.

Well, that’s all for now.  More updates to come soon!