But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Triablogue - Apologetic Report
Thursday, 25 October 2018 01:06

Giving the outsider test a failing mark

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It's been many years since I commented on John Loftus's outsider test of faith. His position went through various permutations. The book is supposed to be the definitive version, so I was reading his book recently. A few observations:
This chapter supports my first contention–that people who...

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Wednesday, 24 October 2018 10:56

When are we saved?

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When are we saved? That's an important question. Is there a simple or single answer to that question? What's the benchmark? 
1. In traditional Catholicism/Lutheranism/Anglicanism, there's a sense in which you are saved when you are baptized. That's the benchmark. I reject that paradigm, for...

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Wednesday, 24 October 2018 00:39

The king of the north

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At the same time, Whitcomb raises some legitimate arguments that call into question whether the prophecies in Daniel culminate solely in the second century BCE. If the King of the North was only the Seleucid Empire, Whitcomb asks, why does he take such a circuitous route to get to Israel, attacking...

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Tuesday, 23 October 2018 10:54

Father of the fatherless

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1. In this post I'm going to present my own arguments for infant salvation. I'm using "infant" as shorthand for children who die below the age of reason. That includes miscarriage. I think universal infant salvation is possible, but I'm skeptical about that. However, I think God saves many dying...

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Tuesday, 23 October 2018 01:03

Born of the word?

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In this post I'm going to respond to somebody who thinks everyone who dies before the age of reason is damned:
If it were enough be regenerated to be saved then the gospel was useless, the sacrifice of Christ would have been in vain. God could save those he wanted by simply regenerating them by...

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Monday, 22 October 2018 13:06

Parsing the Ligonier survey

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A few observations about the recent Ligonier survey. They plug this video:
I don't see the point of going to downtown Seattle and sticking a microphone in the face of random pedestrians. Is that supposed to be a representable sample? Of whom? Notice, too,...

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Sunday, 21 October 2018 10:27

The paradoxes of hell

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Bill Dembski has written a very long essay in defense of inclusivism:
This post will be long, not because my responses to Dembski are all that lengthy, but due to my quoting him before responding. 
Dembski's a Roman...

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Saturday, 20 October 2018 10:36

Museum piece Catholicism

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Limbo is nearly defunct. The official softening up exercise is well under way.
After Vatican II there are basically three factions: liberals,...

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Saturday, 20 October 2018 09:32

Roundup on creationism

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To my knowledge, these are the most competent books of their kind:
Old-earth creationism
C. John Collins, Reading Genesis Well: Navigating History, Poetry, Science, and Truth in Genesis 1-11 (2018)
Vern Poythress, Interpreting Eden: A Guide to Faithfully Reading and Understanding Genesis 1-3 (2019)
New-...

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Saturday, 20 October 2018 01:00

Doppelgänger

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One of the stock objections to Calvinism is the allegation that according to Calvinism, the spiritual experience of the reprobate may be indistinguishable from the spiritual experience of the elect. 
i) To begin with, evangelical Arminianism believes that some people are deluded about their...

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Saturday, 20 October 2018 00:25

Dualism and model airplanes

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If dualism is true, our relation to our bodies is analogous to the relation of the operator of a remotely controlled device (such as a radio-controlled model airplane) to that device. Now consider Alfred, who is operating a model airplane by remote control. Suppose that something–an unwary...

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Friday, 19 October 2018 13:37

Survey of contemporary American religious beliefs

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I may comment on this for later, but for now, here are the statements given to respondents, percentiles, as well as demographic breakdown:http://lifewayresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Ligonier-State-of-Theology-2018.pdfhttp://lifewayresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Ligonier-State-of-T...

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Friday, 19 October 2018 10:38

Paradise on earth

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Fourthly, what natural evils a world contains depends not just on the laws, but also on the initial, or boundary conditions. Thus, for example, an omnipotent being could create ex nihilo a world which had the same laws of nature as our world, and which contained human beings, but which was devoid...

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Friday, 19 October 2018 04:38

Our Lady of Lourdes

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To my knowledge, Fatima and Lourdes are the showcase Catholic miracles. Fatima because it's supposedly well-attested by so many witnesses and Lourdes because it's supposedly well-attested by so many miracles. Not only as Catholic miracles, but miracles that specifically attest the cult of Mary....

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Friday, 19 October 2018 00:22

The Fatima legend

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The second part of the book is more interesting. The authors examine the evolution of the Fatima legend, showing how the simple testimony given by the seers in 1917 evolved into an elaborate web of "secrets", creating a credulous cult around Lucia while enhancing the influence of Fatima within the...

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Thursday, 18 October 2018 12:19

What was Job thinking?

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According to Alvin Plantinga:
There are at least two ways to understand Job. On the one hand, it seems that his problem is intellectual: he can't see what reason God could have for permitting this suffering (or visiting it upon him); he infers that probably God doesn't have a reason. But...

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Thursday, 18 October 2018 10:48

Are the genealogies complete?

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Are the genealogies in Genesis complete or incomplete? Let's consider two striking features:
i) Unless I missed something, the genealogies only mention male descendants. But the antediluvians undoubtedly had female descendent as well. 
ii) In addition, even if the genealogies only mention the...

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Thursday, 18 October 2018 10:22

Bored to death

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I'm going to revisit a statement by atheist philosopher Michael Tooley:
Finally, there is the brief span of human life, and the inevitability of bodily death. This feature of human life seems very unsatisfactory from a moral point of view, as it both places a severe limit upon the possibilities for...

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Wednesday, 17 October 2018 13:19

A catalogue of evils

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In his written debate with Alvin Plantinga, secular philosopher Michael Tooley has "A brief catalogue of some notable evils", Knowledge of God (Blackwell 2008), 109-15. Since Tooley is a high-level atheist, and this is an impressive list, I'd like to interact with his examples.  ...

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 23:02

The metaphysics of resurrection

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There are different models of resurrection. I don't mean the resurrection of Christ, in particular. I mean the more radical case of resurrecting someone whose body completely disintegrated. 
One model is replication. God creates a new body that duplicates your old body. The new body is...

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 12:08

Strategic inscrutability

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There's a family of objections to God as an explanatory principle. There's Elliott Sober's objection that you can't draw a design inference unless you know the intentions of the designer. There's a related objection to skeptical theism as a double-edged sword: it relieves the problem of evil at the...

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 10:52

Platonic realism to the rescue

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Platonism is the view that there exist abstract (that is, non-spatial, non-temporal) objects (see the entry on abstract objects). Because abstract objects are wholly non-spatiotemporal, it follows that they are also entirely non-physical (they do not exist in the physical world and are not made of...

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 04:50

Dale doubles down on dumbing down

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LOL. I'm a cult leader & a big bad bully as I'm not interested in arguing whether his silly insult was an insult. He tried to get back at me, to accuse me of insulting, by googling up a poorly done editorial in my old school's student newspaper! Anything but taking responsibility
— Dale...

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Tuesday, 16 October 2018 04:46

Is a foundation unrepeatable?

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1. At the risk of belaboring Eph 2:20: a foundation has a horizontal dimension as well as a vertical dimension. Cessationists focus on the vertical dimension. I believe their argument goes something like this: according to the law of superposition, the bottommost layer is the earliest layer. The...

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