Welcome all who have visited and browsed. My apologies for the slow start. It has been a combination of finding the time to gather my thoughts and type as well as avoiding topics that I think about very often but simply don't have the energy to dive into just yet (we'll get there...). I have, however, been contemplating the idea of original sin to a certain degree lately, and I'm thinking I might start there.

But first, I've been having a conversation with a very good friend of mine on a MySpace blog that he actually started (I don't want to take the credit). So far, I've been the only one to reply, so it's been limited to a two-way conversation thus far. So after the last post, I asked him if I could re-post the conversation thus far over here to see what interest it may spark. Please join in and share your thoughts. Let's learn from each other (although I really mean that, I concede that it does sound a bit like an after-school special :) ).


Subject: Atheism

"...atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there is no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning."

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I am not sure anyone ever reads these blog things, however I am interested in what people think. I am not looking for "Christian" answers I want real thoughts based upon this quote I found while reading. Please critically think about it and write. If you are not a Christian, please write write write. I really what to know what you think. Thank you, hope I get some good well thought statements.


As a philosophy major I am forced to think about this sort of stuff every day. Approaching this from the subject of logic, here's what I have to say:

"If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning". This argument implies that humans need to have meaning in order to be able to think and reason. It's an interesting notion, but one would have to prove that first, and I'm not sure that it could be done.

Also the comparison that is being made here is committing a classic fallacy known as Weak Analogy. It is suggesting that there is an accurate correlation between "meaning" and "light." This is hard enough to do when comparing two things that might both be physical objects. Here, it's even more difficult because the two things being compared are 1) an idea and 2) a form of energy. The same problem arises with the Teleological argument for the existence of God, also known as the argument from design. To suggest that the complexity of a watch inferring the existence of a watchmaker is the same as the complexity of the universe implying the existence of a universe-creator is another classic Weak Analogy. The primary focus here is that we have a very good understanding of how a watch is made because we (humans) invented the watch, whereas we have no proven idea (only a few theories) of how universes are made. It's certainly possible that there could be a correlation between the two, but it isn't proven as of yet and therefore isn't enough to make an analogous claim.

As I think about it, it commits yet another fallacy known as Begging the Question. It poses a premise that implicitly relies on the conclusion that it is trying to prove. In other words, if the universe has no meaning --> we shouldn't be able to find that out because we wouldn't have meaning --> but the reason we wouldn't have meaning is because the universe doesn't have meaning --> but if the universe has no meaning, we shouldn't be able to find that out because we wouldn't have meaning.....and so on. It's simply a circular definition.

For the record, I don't believe any of this necessarily disproves the existence of God, it's just an evaluation of an argument.


"This argument implies that humans need to have meaning in order to be able to think and reason."

What are we reasoning about if or thinking about if there is no meaning? When thinking about something aren't we trying to understand the meaning of that thing? Asking the why?? Question at least modern science continues to ask that question and modern Christianity. Most are lost if there is mystery. I also could be talking out of my butt.

<> Tony-I am still thinking about the rest. I will answer soon enough. But this is my initial though after a couple of days. :)


I think we need to definite the word "meaning." Does it just mean that something has a nature, a form, a predictable (or even unpredictable) behavior? Or are we defining it as something that has an intelligent design of some sort.

And with regard to meaning and reasoning, I'm not suggesting that our ability to reason isn't the result of our having meaning. I'm only saying that you cannot logically use something to define itself.

Premise + Premise = Conclusion.

If one of the premises relies on the conclusion (which by the definition of logic must rely on its premises), you end up with a circular definition. You would have to go back and think more about why reasoning implies meaning (whatever "meaning" means). But you can't say that reasoning implies meaning simply because that seems to make sense.

This is a circular definition.

P: reasoning
C: meaning

P: meaning
C: existence of god

P: existence of god
C: why we're able to reason

I will admit, I could also be talking out of my butt, this is a tough one to digest, mostly because words like "reasoning" and "meaning" are really difficult to define.


You are right that it is circular reasoning, however in this case what's the problem with that? I also agree that it is hard to define "reasoning" and "meaning". Go ahead and post this on your blog and lets keep talking about it.


First Things First...

I first must admit, I'm really not a big fan of the "blog" scene. I apologize to those whom this refers, but there's something about me writing a blurb about my life every day and expecting the whole world to care that's just a little sad. Now, to those of you out there who write poetry and try to express your artistic side or even your commentary on relevant issues via the blogosphere: right on, I salute you. But if you're writing a blog to tell the world that you had Cheerios for breakfast.....well, you get the idea. My point is that this particular blog won't consist of any Cheerios.

In any sense, you could consider this first post a continuation of the blog description, since I was only allowed a few words up there. In essence, I have spent several years in the evangelical Christian bubble and almost all of that time working in Christian leadership of some kind. I've had influences from all over the place and it has definitely stretched my brain a bit. During my sophomore year of college at a Catholic university (studying theology, no less) I began an intense struggle with and new appreciation for different approaches to understanding faith. That process hasn't ceased to continue ever sense and, as a result, has drawn me farther and farther away from the mainstream Christian sub-culture. For some time I simply avoided the issue by not talking about it with others that I was involved in leadership with. But the more I studied, the more I found that many of the ways in which we do this "Christian" thing just didn't seem to be right. However, for the first time in years I am no longer involved in ministry leadership and I thought it would be a good time to pursue this discussion head on, thus the origin of this blog.

An important blurb: I would still consider myself a Christian in the sense that I believe that there is compelling truth to the life of Jesus and I do my best to follow him. However, many western evangelical Christians might not qualify me as a Christian myself if they were inside my brain, since it seems that there is more to being considered a Christian today than just following Jesus. The unnoticed irony of that statement, of course, is that we do not agree on what it means to "follow Jesus."

So in the following posts I shall do my best to approach more specific issues. If they interest you, reply. If you think they might interest others, tell them. Let's have a discussion and learn from each other.

To spark any interests out there, here are a few topics that I would like to approach (sooner or later):
- what it means for God to be omniscient (all-knowing)
- heaven and hell and why people actually like this concept
- pragmatism and it's role in the development of religions (including Christianity)
- the "authority of scripture" and the fact that there are over 40,000 versions of Christianity
- the role of emotion in shaping our personal theologies


p.s. In case you were interested, the origin of the blog title "A New Paradigm" comes from the honest realization that as I attempt to approach an new understanding of truth, I am undoubtedly influenced to varying degrees by everything I learn. In other words, it is impossible for humans to develop an objective worldview, and even if we could, something tells me that would be quite boring. And even though we do our best to think outside the box, for too long now I think that only means that we've done so only to find ourselves inside yet another box. Here I will do my best to avoid boxes, but I have little doubt that they will creep in here and there.