Physicalism

Top 3 Posts of 2017: #2 - Two Exceptional Women and One Extremely Fortunate Son: Three Lessons Learned (1 of 3)

Top 3 Posts of 2017: #2 - Two Exceptional Women and One Extremely Fortunate Son: Three Lessons Learned (1 of 3)

(As we look back on 2017 I'm posting the three blog posts which received the most views. If you missed these the first time around, hopefully you will enjoy these reposts!)  In the spring of 1962 “Jean” was eighteen years old, pregnant, unmarried, and scared. Her boyfriend wasn’t interested in marriage or raising a child. Her whole world was changing before her eyes, but she never considered abortion.  On December 5, 1962 she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. On September 7, 2017—almost 55 years later— I discovered I am that child. From this discovery I have reflected on three essential truths in new and deeper ways.

Two Exceptional Women and One Extremely Fortunate Son: Three Lessons Learned (1 of 3)

Two Exceptional Women and One Extremely Fortunate Son: Three Lessons Learned (1 of 3)

In the spring of 1962 “Jean” was eighteen years old, pregnant, unmarried, and scared. Her boyfriend wasn’t interested in marriage or raising a child. Her whole world was changing before her eyes, but she never considered abortion.  On December 5, 1962 she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. On September 7, 2017—almost 55 years later— I discovered I am that child. From this discovery I have reflected on three essential truths in new and deeper ways.

The “Reason” for the Las Vegas Shootings May Be There Is No Reason (2 of 2)

The “Reason” for the Las Vegas Shootings May Be There Is No Reason (2 of 2)

We continue to search for a reason for the Las Vegas shootings. So far, no “traditional” reason has emerged. Last week I suggested that the reason may be no reason. I outlined a philosophy that is becoming increasingly popular in our culture: nihilism. Is this ringing any bells as we learn more and more about Stephen Paddock? Might it be that he had obtained all which he thought could bring him meaning “under the sun,” and found it was meaningless after all? Might he be someone who so thoroughly embraced the Enlightenment that he lived the nihilistic worldview consistently? And if so, what should we learn from this?

The “Reason” for the Las Vegas Shootings May Be There Is No Reason (1 of 2)

The “Reason” for the Las Vegas Shootings May Be There Is No Reason (1 of 2)

My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew and his friend were on their way to the Life is Beautiful concert in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1, 2017 when Stephen Paddock began shooting. Had they not been delayed while on their way by just a few minutes, they would have been in the line of fire. Though I am thankful they were running late, I continue to grieve over the 58 who were not so fortunate. In my grief, I ask the same question everyone else is asking: Why? The answer may be right in front of us, but it is not one we want to acknowledge.

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral and Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 8 Of 8

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral and Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 8 Of 8

Can we hope to find common ground in “the public square” over the critically important social issues of our day? Over the past seven weeks I’ve illustrated how the three different answers to “What are we” determines our answer to this question. But our view of what we are also determines our view of whether abortion and euthanasia are ever justified, whether the gospel makes sense, how Christians best grow in their faith, what constitutes “ministry,” and so much more. Let me explain…

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral, and Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than the Other Two) Post 6 of 8

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral, and Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than the Other Two) Post 6 of 8

Understanding what we are determines how we treat one another. In this series I’ve argued we are essentially a soul-body combination (Substance Dualism). But some say we are essentially material—only a physical thing. Over the past few weeks I’ve discussed five reasons given for this view, and showed why these arguments fail. We now come to the final argument for Physicalism.

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral And Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 5 Of 8

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral And Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 5 Of 8

Are there any good reasons to think we are purely physical, and not a unity of soul and body? Last week I considered four reasons that fail. This week I’ll consider a fifth.

Some argue that we should have “blind” faith in science, believing that though now it cannot explain all we are physically, one day it will. I’ll share four reasons this is wrong thinking.

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral And Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 4 Of 8

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral And Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 4 Of 8

All disagreements about what promotes the good life—human flourishing and the common good—depend on one’s answer to the question “What is it to be human?” The last two weeks I’ve argued we are a unity of soul and body. This week I’ll consider the second answer: “To be human is to be a purely physical thing—a human body.”  Here I’ll discuss four reasons people give in favor of this view, and next week I'll discuss another two reasons. I’ll also explain why I think these reasons fail--why physicalism is not the right answer to the question.

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral And Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 3 Of 8

What Are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral And Political Disagreements (And Why One Answer Is Better Than The Other Two) Post 3 Of 8

What we believe we are, determines how we approach life, how we define human flourishing, and how we think about political, cultural, moral and spiritual issues. Last week I offered three reasons to believe we have a soul, in addition to a body. This then grounds our equality and dignity as human persons. This week I offer three more reasons.

What are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral and Political Disagreements (and Why One Answer is Better Than The Other Two) POST 2 OF 8

What are We? The Three Answers Underlying Many Spiritual, Moral and Political Disagreements (and Why One Answer is Better Than The Other Two) POST 2 OF 8

We want to believe in equality, human dignity, value and worth, and the possibility of human flourishing and the common good. But these ideas make sense only if we have a shared human nature that makes us all the same and equally valuable. This shared human nature is not part of our physical dimension (our physical “substance”), but is part of our immaterial dimension (our immaterial “substance”). Therefore Substance Dualism is the only way to ground and defend these ideas.