Showing posts from April, 2010

Consistency in life

It is surprising that my last bit of research on faith and reason can take such a long time. Probably because I am reading the more chim stuff at this very last end of my research.

Yet, as I think about it, my answer to the question that I posted on facebook and on this blog previously about fideism is probably a biblically grounded one (I hope). An unexamined life is a life not worth living, and a life and faith based on unsound philosophy is one that cannot be lived consistently. That is precisely the reason why I wanted to think and dig deeper into the question of what really is faith in God.

A lot of time, we see people talking too superficially about the word 'faith' and even taking definitions from the bible without considering context. I sometimes jsut wonder how this is livable but I guess if you dun think too much about it, it is actually livable, even if it is philosophically inconsistent.

The word 'consistency' is probably the word that we want to explore…

Parable of the 'Good Samaritan'

Once there was this man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thorns, and the thorns spring up and choked him. And as he went on, he didn’t have money, and he met the Queen of Sheba, and she gave him 1,000 talents of gold and 100 changes of raiment. And he got into a chariot and drove furiously, and when he was driving under a big juniper tree, his hair caught on a limb of that tree, and he
hung there many days, and the ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink, and he ate 5,000 loaves of bread and two fishes.

One night when he was hanging there asleep, his wife Delilah came along and cut off his hair, and he dropped, and fell on stony ground. But he got up and went on, and it began to rain, and it rained forty days and forty nights, and he hid himself in a cave, and he lived on locust and wild honey.

Then he went on ‘til he met a servant who said, “Come, take supper at my house.” And he made an excuse and said, “No, I won’t. I have married a wife, and I can’…
From prayer that asks that I may be

Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,

From fearing when I should aspire,

From faltering when I should climb higher

From silken self, O Captain, free

Thy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,

From easy choices, weakenings,

(Not thus are spirits fortified,

Not this way went the Crucified)

From all that dims Thy Calvary

O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,

The faith that nothing can dismay

The hope no disappointments tire,

The passion that will burn like fire;

Let me not sink to be a clod;

Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

———Amy Wilson Carmichael
He came to my desk with quivering lip--
The lesson was done.
"Dear Teacher I want a new leaf," he said,,
"I have spoiled this one."
I took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave him a new one all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled,
"Do better now, my child."
I went to the throne with a quivering soul--
The old year was done.
"Dear Father, hast Thou a new leaf for me?
I have spoiled this one."
He took the old leaf, stained and blotted,
And gave me a new one all unspotted,
And into my sad heart smiled,
"Do better now, My child."
-- Kathleen Wheeler
When God wants to drill a man
and thrill a man and skill a man
When God wants to mold a man
to play the noblest part;
When he yearns with all his heart
to create so bold a man
that all the world will be amazed,
Watch his methods, watch his ways:

How he relentlessly perfects
whom he royally elects;
How he hammers us and hurts us
and with mighty blows converts us
into trial shapes of clay
which only God can understand,
While our tortured heart is crying
and we lift beseeching hands.

How God bends, but never breaks
when his good he undertakes;
How he uses whom he chooses
and with every purpose fuses us;
By every act induces us
to try his splendor out —
God knows what he's about!

- Author unknown

Yet the quality

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. - Eph 1:17-23

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its…
It's raining so heavily outside of my office, and it's becoming so dark that I thought night has fallen!

For the first time perhaps, I am now stuck in my office...
Really who are they trying to deceive when they change the naming and the separation of different time period from BC/AD to BCE/CE?
Think about it, essentially, at the very base, you are still acknowledging that the separation of time period is determined by the birth of somebody whom you deny as God! This is the same problem as Claire Disbrey, the author whom I commented on in one of my previous post.
At the end of the day, BCE or CE, BC or AD, it’s still this one man, if he can indeed be called a man, who separated history. Try denying that.

Posting by email

It is incredible what posting by email can do to your blogging life.
Anyway, the outstanding post on fideism will be out soon. I’m doing my last bit of research and consolidating all my thoughts. It is interesting to note that it’s easy for me to articulate my answer in normal conversation but it is another issue altogether when I want to write it down as proper arguments in written form.
This is a blog post sent via email to test if it works.

More thoughts

Really, when we think about fideism, what is the conflict really about?

Where do we start tracing the inception of the conflict/dichotomy?

Is the dichotomy really reconcilable?

What is the single objection that fideists have towards other viewpoints of Christianity and is it a reasonable one?

Some preliminary thoughts

I am launching myself into a study of a certain branch of Christian philosophy known as fideism.

I am not posting the result of my analysis here yet but here's some preliminary thoughts for all of us. Fideism is conceived to be a dichotomy between faith and reason. This itself should post us some questions to think about:

1. What is faith?
2. What is reason?
3. Is there really a dichotomy in the first place?
4. Does it fit consistently into the biblical worldview of Christianity?

I will leave us at such at the moment. But based on these thoughts, it is not difficult to guess the direction that I will be heading.

The bread of life

When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. - 2 Tim 4:13

Recently there is this movie by the name 'Book of Eli' showing in the cinema. Some of the brothers and sisters watched it a few Saturdays ago. Basically the story is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The main protaganist, Eli, was carrying the only copy of the bible left in the world. I will leave you to watch the movie to find out how he got the copy, but what struck me in that movie is that he read the bible every night. And towards the end of the movie, we find out that he basically had it all memorised - from Genesis to Revelation!

It struck upon me that that is a world that the word of God was not readily available, and people literally kill in order to get Eli's bible. Sound incredible... but it reminded me of a podcast from RZIM sometime back. It was a short recap from John Bechtel about a trip he had to China. He met a woman, a believer who for u…

Why I write the way I write

This post is made possible by a series of discussion and reflection that resulted from a post from Uncle Yeo's blog post which quoted my previous post. If this confuses you, just know that it originated from my previous post. If this still confuses you, I suggest you read the first sentence again. If you are still frustrated by my previous sentence, I recommend that you read the next one. If you are getting a little bit impatient what I am going to write, continue reading.

Basically, as some of you might have noticed, sometimes my posts are quite direct and sometimes criticise a lot. Other than posts that comment on politics (which I leave no mercy for the opposition), I am basically governed by a few principles in my own writing.

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. - Eph 4:15

I expect some critics of mine will say, 'huh? what love?'. But let's qualify. When Paul is writing this, he said 'spea…

Interesting video for aspiring teachers

A clearly not so correct example

I attended a talk on bribery and corruption conducted by BGST and Gracework at FMC earlier in the evening with Ps Jo. During the QnA, there was an incident when a brother stood up and told us about his dilemma in his current business, offered us three options and told us that we will vote on this and he will adopt the majority vote.

I felt a bit disgusted by the approach at the beginning and I almost wanted to walk away. Luckily the moderator took a stand and explained that they will not take the vote here, after offering him some advice.

Ok, we shouldn't be judgemental about this brother, yet there are a lot of things to learn about decision making and seeking the will of God in this example. This is clearly a not so correct and negative demonstration for many reasons. My reason (I didn't want to vote in any case) is that the method used was frivolous. It was obvious to the whole room that God was not moving in the room and this brother is trying to seek the easy way out. Som…

Opposition unity? My foot!

Kenneth Jeyaretnam, who is the secretary-general of the Reform Party, said: "It is an uphill struggle fighting the PAP (People's Action Party). So more opposition unity is a good thing."

Mr Chiam added: "We cannot be like little ants running all over the place. We should show unity and come with a solid fighting force." - CNA

I am super skeptical about this for one reason: talking about opposition I see opposition fragmentation. The only reason why the opposition parties are united as alliance but not merging into one party is because they cannot settle and agree on their fundamental ideology. This is going to be detrimental for Singapore even if the so-called 'united front' can topple PAP or even win a GRC. I would anytime prefer a strong opposition party rather than a strong opposition alliance. An alliance simply reveals their true intention rather than their 'noble' intention.