Kindling Conversations with Modesto Neighbors

kindling conversationsYou want to love your neighbor as yourself, but it’s hard to get to know them in the space between when the garage door opens and closes. No one answers the door anymore, because the only ones knocking are trying to sell you on something. What do you do? Hang out on the front lawn, or take your dog for a walk in the park, and start talking to random stran…neighbors. Here are a few questions you can ask, depending on the circumstances. Base your follow-up questions on whatever answers you get back. Be mindful for your neighbor’s signals that they’re overloaded and need to go home and recharge.

The Questions

What do you love most about your dog? Did you rescue it from the pound or adopt it?

Doing anything new this weekend? Have you walked the Virginia Corridor Trailway?

Are you going to see the upcoming superhero movie? What would be your super power if you had one?

How long have you lived in the neighborhood? What do you like about it? Continue reading

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Reply to WLC’s answer to my question regarding anti-realism (QoW #379)

I am saving my reply here, as it is already getting buried.

Dr. Craig, thank you for answering my question. I am glad you are a realist about the Good and concede *that* much to the realist. Do you actually mean the Platonist when you say you “see no reason to concede so much” to the realist (see links ‘a’ and ‘b’)?

a) https://www.facebook.com/reasonablefaithorg/posts/10152300210348229
b) https://www.facebook.com/williamlanecraig/posts/10203920584525754

You see the importance of conceding the existence of the Good to the realists (not the Platonists, to be sure). So why take an anti-realist position? Why not take a divine essentialist, rather than a Platonic essentialist, position? I don’t think that is conceptualist, because I see it as describing his nature–the Logos wills/thinks in accordance with his nature. I am curious how you base the Good in God in a non-conceptualist way, but think it would concede too much to base other seemingly abstract objects in God?–I say seemingly abstract, because they aren’t so abstract if they are grounded in God, are they? Btw, I’m not so sure Plato didn’t consider the Good to correspond to real Being, but that’s a slightly more involved discussion: http://www.christianapologeticsalliance.com/2012/10/16/resolving-euthyphros-dilemma

What I know of realism/anti-realism I learned from Christopher Norris’ “Epistemology”. It is interesting to note that Dummett: “denies the existence of objective, recognition-transcendent truth-values for statements of the so-called ‘disputed class’, i.e., those for which we possess no means of ascertainment or decisive proof”—including “standards of objective moral good or natural justice” (from Norris’ concluding postscript I). That’s why Norris is a convergent, or critical, realist — though, I think his morality lacks ontology (only in his mind, of course), considering he leaves no room for God in reality. The theist, however, grounds the Good in God, so…why not the rest of the “disputed class” (even to the same extent, where you do not consider essential certain extrapolations, only the basic core underlying all the extrapolations–like the Golden Rule, for example…the sum of the Law and the Prophets Jesus came to fulfill on the cross)? — how is the Good different from the rest of it, so that you would allow for its reality, but be anti-realist about the rest? Would Dummett agree with you that you have means of ascertainment or decisive proof for the Good? Do you think ontology is more decisive than justification when it comes to knowledge? I think both are needed (I agree with Plato, but not with Platonism).

No worries if you have no time to answer. Thank you for the answer you were able to provide. I am truly honored.

Posted in Norris' Epistemology, William Lane Craig | Leave a comment

Positive Modesto News

10502074_779965998720980_6272097615267583232_nCheck out the new Facebook page just created to shed light on all the  good stuff going on all around us in this city we love. It’s called Positive Modesto News, and it will feature relevant articles I publish on Examiner.com, as well as positive blog/news articles from other like-minded authors. If you’re one of those, contact me with your work and I will gratefully promote it!

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Since January, I’ve been…

ubiee-banner-small-extra-extra-read-all-about-it…Working at Athanatos Christian Ministries and Bard and Book, but currently taking a hiatus.

Obtaining an Associate of Arts degree in Humanities, finally achieved this past spring semester at Modesto Junior College. I was privileged enough to be able to take the first astronomy lab after the opening of the best planetarium in the world. After my husband has achieved his BA in Organizational Management and my sons are out of high school, I will hopefully be able to continue on.

Helping Ethan acquire a new cat, Mia:

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Celebrating 17 years married to my best friend:

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[Did you notice the aquarium in the background? Got it for $50 from family. It didn’t stop there. There are now three tanks in the house, with many, many fish in them.]

Day-trippin’ it to the beach:

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Waiting for Lee and David to collect drift wood off the beach for the fish tanks:

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Volunteering as President for The Christian Apologetics Alliance since June 1:

Going to see Wicked in Sacramento:

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Getting involved in Modesto’s neighboring movement:

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Blogging:

Training my kids in apologetics:

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  • David turned 13 in February and Ethan just turned 16 in June! David is continuing in honors classes when he starts 8th grade, and Ethan is beginning early college classes when he enters his junior year in August.
  • Ethan presented this at his school: The Problem of Evil (guest post)
  • Ethan and David read these books with me, then Ethan goes with me to meetings:
    • “Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Kreeft & Tacelli for Apologetics @ the Bean
    • “On Guard” by WLC for Reasonable Faith chapter meetings

[David’s deal in 7th grade was Minecraft Club. Ethan got to go to a beach by Cal Poly and also to Disneyland with his Robotics and Skills USA peeps.]

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Going to Apologetics @ the Bean before Ethan made it cool:

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Creating a YouTube playlist for Young Apologists (and compiling other resources).

***

Current:

I am job hunting, as we are in need of more predictable income that freelancing so far has not provided.

Future:

I will continue hang-time with God and family, improving as a neighbor, and developing various projects with The Christian Apologetics Alliance, like the CAA Catechism and other resources for young apologists.

***

What have YOU been up to? This year is half over!

Here is our most recent family pic, in case you missed it:

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Leibnizian Moral Argument?

I think my moral argument for God’s existence is similar to Leibniz’ cosmological argument (except it has to do with the explanation of the Good, a.k.a. the Golden Rule).

If you’d rather not say “the Golden Rule,” then say what everyone else says: “objective moral values and duties.” If it isn’t obvious, I took my phrasing from William Lane Craig.

1. Everything that exists has an explanation of its existence, either in the necessity of its own nature or in an external cause.

2. If the Golden Rule has an explanation for its existence, that explanation is the same explanation for God’s existence: the necessity of His own nature.

[That statement is logically equivalent to the atheist’s own statement that if God does not exist, a) the Golden Rule has no explanation for its existence (or does not exist), or b) the Golden Rule exists by the necessity of its own nature (only a personal being can have a necessary nature that is described by the Golden Rule). Now, if the atheist would rather claim that the Golden Rule is a social construct and that different cultures will come up with different values and duties, they must account for premise 3. However, if the atheist accounts for premise 3 by claiming that the Golden Rule is a natural construct common to all humans, and thus all cultures, that is (again) logically equivalent to premise 2, but doesn’t jive with our moral intuitions–it equates to claiming the universe doesn’t really exist.]

3. The Golden Rule exists (is discovered independently) in various forms in every major culture in history.

4. Therefore, the Golden Rule has an explanation for its existence (from 1 and 3).

5. Therefore, the explanation of the existence of the Golden Rule is the same explanation for God’s existence: the necessity of His own nature (from 2 and 4).

Related: Resolving Euthyphro’s Dilemma

Posted in Apologetics Toolbox, Divine Essentialism, Euthyphro Dilemma, Golden Rule, Is-Ought Fallacy, Natural Law and Divine Command | Leave a comment

The Problem of Evil (guest post)

This post was put together from the power point slides of a presentation given by my soon-to-be sixteen-year-old, Ethan Spikes. He delivered this presentation in front of 19 fellow students and a teacher.

The Problem of Evil


What is it?

The problem of evil is THE argument used in favor of God not existing. It is the objection that an all powerful and all loving God does not reconcile with the existence of evil. There are two parts to the intellectual version of this problem: the logical problem (if evil exists, then God cannot), and the evidential problem (it is improbable that an all loving and all powerful God would let suffering exist). The emotional problem of evil deals with a non-intellectual rejection of God based in feelings. I will focus on the intellectual first. Continue reading

Posted in Apologetics Toolbox, Euthyphro Dilemma, Evil as Privation of Good, Problem of Evil | Leave a comment

Stanislaus Quatrain

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Linger down good ol’ Briggsmore or McHenry;

sun-bathed tulip trees and queen palms line these

rarely wet streets plastered with autumns’ leaves.

Murmurations of starlings eclipse Scenic’s foothills.

***

Submitted to MoSt for inclusion in the Stanislaus Poem.

More Poetry

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The Seven Acts of the Universe, in Reverse

abell426_franke_900Final Act-

Everywhere it is cold and still.
The final frontier is the only thing,
but there is only darkness to explore.

Act 6-
Things could not be moving faster and
further away from eachother, drawn away
by oblivion.

Act 5-
Galaxies brighten the abyss
as their supernovae shrink into stars
that dilute into multicolored nebulae.
The stage is set. Continue reading

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With Dad On A Windy Day

Jay foxtailFox tails move violently
past our feet.
I brace myself against
the hair whipping my face,
wind pushing so hard
against me,
I stumble.

“Woah! That wind’s
going to take you away!”
Dad shouts.
He doesn’t know I take
everything literally.
I grip his hand tighter.

“I got ya!” he booms, stronger
than the wind.

I tame my wild hair
with my free hand.
I am in the moment,
walking in the wind, through
chaotic grass, but at least
still on the ground.

He knows I won’t let go
and I know he won’t
let the wind
take me away.

More Poetry

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Growing Up

stock-footage-boy-is-holding-a-model-aircraft-in-his-hand-one-summer-dayOn my way to my desk
in my office, I open the window
to the spring-autumn scent and birdsong.
Below it, under the drum stool,
sits an old Marvin the Martian toy.
Which of my sons left it there?—probably the oldest.

He still plays with toys despite
being in high school.
He flies and flips them through the air
and bombs everything with their
imagined weapons
and his special-effects noises. Kbpshhhh!

That never gets old.
I wish children never got old.

More Poetry

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