Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Archive for the ‘John Piper’ Category

Best Links of the Week

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The World as 100 People

The World if There Were Only 100 People

Fight Club sequel plot revealed

Great article by J. Budziszewski entitled, “Why Hooking Up is Letting You Down

All_Location-of-all-potential-trafficking-cases-final

Article from the Polaris Project on “Human Trafficking Trends in the United States

Great long-form piece from Sports Illustrated entitled, “The Book of Tebow

Solid article from Kevin DeYoung entitled, “Seven Thoughts on Pastors Writing Books

Written by Michael Graham

December 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Best Links of the Week

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The Truth Wears Off:  The Decline Effect and the Scientific Method

Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.

John Piper’s report on his leave of absence.  I appreciate his honesty and transparency.  Thankful for his life and ministry, warts and all.

Some cogent analysis of 16 countries with potentiality of war or conflict in 2011.

Apparently the Armenian government and police have a severe problem with emo kids.

Home Price Continue to Fall… Raising Possibility of Housing “Double-Dip“”

Bomb kills 21 Christians exiting worship at New Years Mass in Egypt.

Iran says they have shot down several “Western Drones”

Forthcoming solar max.

State of German multi-culturalism

IBM predicts holographic phone calls in the near future.

Constitution has “no binding power on anything because it is over 100 years old.”

Contract free iPhone with 2gigs data for $25/mo.  The process is a bit shady but it seems to work for some people.  Note: requires and IMEI from an iPad.

In the same vein of nonsense, Nancy Pelosi’s reply to the question of Constitutional warrant of Obamacare:

Peyton Manning stars in new movie “The Darkside”

Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it’s true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.”

Why Nietzsche is Helpful for the Christian

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So, I’ve been chewing on some Nietzsche for the better part of the last 8 months (I mentioned a few things I was struck by here) .  I think Nietzsche is very helpful for Christians and is worth reading/understanding.  There are at least four reasons why this is the case:

First, Nietzsche is helpful because he presents a worldview almost completely antithetical to Christianity.  From my experience, total opposites often have a lot in common and typically this is the case because opposites employ the same categories to divergent conclusions.  Nietzsche takes many of orthodox Christianities’ categories and turns them on their head.  He preaches the opposite of the Sermon on the Mount, encouraging master morality over slave morality.  He preaches that humanity has killed God through our lack of worship of God and as a result there is no such thing as good/evil, right/wrong, or black/white because all of these depended on God for their existence.  He preaches that all that humanity has is power through the assertion of one’s will.

Second, Nietzsche and Christianity have a few common assessments and aims (The Fall, Telos, and Pleasure).  In my opinion, there is definitely a sense of the brokenness of things in Nietzsche’s philosophy.  While not coming from a theistic framework, he sees that humanity needs to rise above its current pitiful state to something higher.  While he might not refer to the ubermensch as redeemer of humanity, it is certainly Nietzsche’s telos for humanity.  Nietzsche and the Christian see very eye-to-eye when it comes to a promotion of life-affirmation (given, from very different angles).  Some may accuse Christianity of being prudish or oppressive but they haven’t read C.S. Lewis on joy, Jonathan Edwards on affection, or John Piper on Christian hedonism.  Both Nietzsche, Lewis, Edwards, and Piper all put forth a very life-affirming, full-bodied, joy-filled, and pleasure-seeking vision of life.

Third, Nietzsche is correct in his assessment that the death of God necessitates nihilism (a rejection of all morality).  For Nietzsche a large portion of his philosophy was devoted to the reevaluation of everything in light of the death of God (particularly morality).  Unlike the New Atheists who want to have their cake and eat it too (atheism with some semblance of morality), Nietzsche obliterates this notion.  Nietzsche rejects all transcendence in light of the death of God, for if God is the only transcendent thing/being in existence, then the death of God also destroys anything transcendent.  The only meta-narrative (for Nietzsche) left is the assertion of power and pleasure in the face of the harsh world.

Fourth, Nietzsche’s worldview is horribly unlivable.  The unlivability of the Nietzschean worldview is probably the greatest critique of his thinking.  I won’t even delve into the fact that Nietzsche spent the last decade of his life severely mentally ill and institutionalized (as this has been abused by Nietzsche’s critics).  It is no great secret that Nietzsche’s most faithful disciple was Michel Foucault.  Foucault was an influential post-structuralist and post-modern thinker who sought to live Nietzsche’s worldview to its logical end.  Power and pleasure were at the center for Foucault and Nietzsche and as such Foucault delved deep into the world of homosexual sadomasochism.  It was not uncommon for Foucault to have 6-12 such encounters in a single night (facilitated by the bath-houses of 70s era Southern California).  He was quite open and would brag about his sexual power and prowess.  He was one of the first public figures to die of AIDS.  He wanted to die in his native Paris and upon his triumphal entry to his city, 2 million people lined either side of the Champs-Élysées.  Those celebrating his return carried posters with Foucault’s motto, “Be Cruel.”

Your thoughts?

Nietzsche vs. Christianity: Part 5

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Lecture five consisted of a series of talking points.  Aside from Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism… this lecture explores what Christianity and Nietzsche have in common.  The content suggests that Nietzsche’s Dionysian thinking is not entirely incompatible with Christianity.  It is my contention that C.S. Lewis, Jonathan Edwards, and John Piper have carved out common ground between Christianity and Nietzschean Dionysianism.

Audio of the lecture if available here.

Best Links of the Week

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The Problematic Path of a Graduate Degree in the Humanities

I am starting a new installment of this blog for the best links of the week.  They will typically be in accordance with the major topics discussed here (theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics).  Depending on how many good articles were out on the net, the number of links will vary.  Enjoy.

1.  “Graduate School in the Humanities:  Just Don’t Go“:  controversial, informative, and lucid look at the current status of graduate school humanities programs and the dysfunctionality of finding work thereafter.

2.  MSNBC article on Matt Chandler’s battle with cancer – there are some strange things about this story involving him punching a healthcare provider…  Also excellent is a year old article by John Piper entitled, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.”

3.  Previously mentioned article by pro-choice Sally Jenkins (Washington Post) defending Pam/Tim Tebow’s Superbowl Ad.

4.  “Haiti Three Weeks Later“:  absolutely stirring images from the Boston Globes excellent photo-essay segment “The Big Picture.”

5.  Pew Survey on Social Networking: Teens Love Facebook, Hate Blogging, Are Always Online, and Don’t Use Twitter

6.  Newsweek on the ineffectiveness of Anti-Depressants.  Not sure I share the conclusions, but interesting article.

7.  “A Christian Nation“:  article exploring relationship between Christianity and pop-culture and how we are highly marketed to.   There are weaknesses to the author’s argumentation but interesting nonetheless to get an outsiders view of Christianity and pop-culture.

8.  “Should Conan, Goldman Sachs send megabucks to Haiti?“:  Interesting proposal.

9.  “The Rise of the Calvinists“: article exploring Scott Brown’s theological convictions as a member of a CRC church.

Desiring God Pastors’ Conference Live Video

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2010 Desiring God Pastor's Conference

Bored?  Snowed in?  School canceled?

The entire Desiring God Pastors’ Conference (The Pastor, the People, and the Pursuit of Joy: The Apostolic Aim of Pastoral Ministry) can be seen here live.

Here is the schedule (keep in mind that all times are CST):

Monday (Feb. 1)

7:00-8:30 PM / Sam Storms

Tuesday (Feb. 2)

8:30-10:00 AM / Eric Mason

10:30-11:30 AM / Sam Storms

1:45-3:00 PM / John Piper (on C.S. Lewis)

7:00-8:30 PM / Sam Storms

Wednesday (Feb. 3)

8:30-10:00 AM / Bob Blincoe (world missions)

10:30-11:30 AM / Speaker Panel Q&A  

Convicting Gem from Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life”

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Don't Waste Your Life: Click for the free PDF book

Oh, how many lives are wasted by people who believe that the Christian life means simply avoiding badness and providing for the family.  So there is no adultery, no stealing, no killing, no embezzlement, no fraud – just lots of hard work during the day, and lots of TV and PG-13 videos in the evening (during quality family time), and lots of fun stuff on the weekend-woven around church (mostly).  This is life for millions of people.  Wasted life.  We were created for more, far more.  John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life, ch. 7, pps. 119-120.

Ouch.  That hits close to home.  Full book available in PDF here.

Written by Michael Graham

January 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm

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