2007

The Correspondence Theory Of Truth Within The Analytic Tradition

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The correspondence theory of truth serves an important place in evangelical
theology. It serves as the foundation for all sound theology because the correspondence theory suggests that truth corresponds to reality. It also serves as a foundation for epistemology (the theory of knowledge). This is because Christian theology is supposed to correspond to reality. Neo-orthodoxy and liberal types of theology requires something more akin to a coherence theory of truth or some kind of post-modern theory of truth. Evangelicals normally (and rightly) reject these theories of truth as being inadequate. These other theories of truth suggest that truth is not tied to reality. Continental philosophy has rejected the correspondence theory of truth is favor of theories of truth based upon justification.
Only with the correspondence theory of truth can Christian theology be united with reality. Unfortunately, the correspondence theory of truth has not always been accepted within analytic philosophy. It is my intent in this paper to explain when and why the correspondence theory of truth has fallen out of favor. I also intend to explain why the linguistic essentialist movement has restored the correspondence theory of truth back to its rightful place.

Author: 

Dr. Craig Vincent Mitchell

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Assistant Professor of Ethics Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

The Mystery Of The Freedom Of God

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Traditionally, theistic philosophers have concerned themselves with cogently and coherently defending belief in God. The charge of the incoherence of theism is a perennial objection that any theistic philosopher will inevitably encounter. I aim to address the claim that the conjunction of God’s perfect goodness, power, and knowledge with divine freedom is incoherent. I will develop the incoherence objection in the form of a reductio and then offer various theistic attempts at resolving the problem of incoherence.
Before proceeding into the thick of this essay it is necessary that I establish the force of the objection against theism. Why, after all, should the theist be at all bothered by the claim that God cannot be perfectly good, omniscient, and omnipotent as well as free? Where would the absurdity lie in believing God to not be free? I take it as obvious that traditional theism cannot regard God as lacking moral perfection, omniscience, and omnipotence. But is divine freedom really on par with these essential properties of God? Is it necessary to the nature of God that he be free?

Author: 

Joshua L. Watson

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Inductive Reasoning, Miracles, and Examples from Number Theory

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It is an obvious fact that any empirical knowledge of physical laws currently possessed by human civilization arose, not from constant observation of the universe at all points in space at all instances in time, but rather through experiments conducted at specific points in space at specific instances in time. In fact, given the relatively small proportion of human beings who are engaged in science research, and given that even scientists do not spend every moment of their time performing experiments, it should be obvious to anyone that human beings are not constantly checking the laws of physics to prove rigorously that exceptions to known knowledge are not occurring. If one additionally considers the relatively short span of time modern human civilization has existed relative to the age of the earth, one realizes the great lengths of time that have passed with human beings not observing the universe. Nevertheless, the laws of physics are assumed to hold at all points in space and time. What then justifies this assumption?

Author: 

Timothy Foo

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Graduate Student in Mathematics, Rutgers University -Newark

The Apologetic Methodology of Blaise Pascal

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Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a French mathematician and scientist who is famous for his work dealing with the pressure of liquids and the theory of probability. He also designed a calculating machine, and, at the age of 16, wrote a book on Geometry which caught the attention of the great mathematician, Rene Descartes.
Pascal was a devout Roman Catholic who had a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ. He was influenced by the teachings of the Jansenists, a heretical Catholic movement which stressed God's grace in salvation and the importance of leading a lifestyle consistent with one's faith. Towards the end of his life, Pascal began to write and gather notes for a book on Christian apologetics. Unfortunately, Pascal died before he completed the project. A few years after his death the notes were published. It was entitled Pensees, which means "thoughts."
Since Pascal did not himself complete his task on the Pensees, readers must study Pascal's ideas and attempt to organize them in as coherent a fashion as possible. Recent advancements have been made in this area by Tom Morris of Notre Dame and Peter Kreeft of Boston College.
In this paper, I will attempt to construct a basic outline of the apologetic methodology of Blaise Pascal. I will also attempt to show the contemporary relevance of the Pascalian method.

Author: 

Dr. Phil Fernandes

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Institute of Biblical Defense

Relatively Unsafe

Subtitle: 
Why The Church Must Be Freed From The Trap Of Relativism
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Just one generation ago, the most quotable Scripture in American churches would have easily been John 3:16. Today, it is arguably Matt. 7:1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged.” There are several reasons why this verse is so popular among believers today, but the most obvious is the mistaken concept that it provides a safe haven for the tolerance and acceptance of personal sin, regardless of its egregious nature.
It has become apparent in recent years that the church is faring little better than the world in regard to moral relativism. Even within the walls of the church, Scripture is rarely accepted unequivocally as absolute truth. The church is now better characterized as simply a baptized by-product of western individualism. Borrowing the words of the Lord in John 14:6, this paper will examine how the church in America has lost her way, because of the absence of truth. Without a miracle, it may cost her life.

Author: 

Jack L. Greenoe

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Ph. D. candidate and Teaching Assistant at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Latter Day Atheists

Subtitle: 
The Problem Of Omnipotence In Mormon Theology
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Mormons have taken steps to brand themselves as mainstream Christians. From recent statements by Jimmy Carter to the primary campaign of Mitt Romney, Mormonism is undergoing an extreme faith makeover. Despite these attempts to mainstream, I wish to argue Mormonism isn't a theistic religion and thus cannot be Christian.

In classical theism, God is the greatest conceivable being, possessing omnipotence, omnipresence, eternality, freedom, aseity, and omniscience. In the western tradition, the minimal properties a being must posses to be considered God include omniscience, omnipotence, and freedom. Far from being the greatest possible being of Christianity, the Mormon deity isn't a God in the classical sense. Mormon apologists will grant this, but I hope to show that the Mormon deity cannot be a God according to the standards set forth in Mormonism. The critical issue will be the attribute of  omnipotence.

In this paper, I will argue that the Mormon deity fails to be God because the property of omnipotence, among other biblical attributes in the classical tradition, cannot be instantiated by more than one being. Much has been written on the fact that the God of Mormonism isn't an eternally existing being but rather has undergone a transformation into godhood through a process called eternal progression.

Author: 

Adam P. Groza

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Director for Admissions, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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