Thursday, February 16, 2012

Woo-hoo! A blog! (2.0)

I actually started a blog yesterday, then I deleted it today and created another one.  Why?  One of the titles that I toyed with using was "Maverick Christian" and once I found out that the domain was available, I took it!

Why "Maverick Christian"?  (1) I'm a semi-conservative Christian who is therefore not theologically conservative but far from liberal, making myself rather different I suspect from my peers at church; (2) let's face it, the adjective "maverick" sounds really cool.  Just ask Sarah Palin, who used the word "maverick" approximately 619 times in her debate with Joe Biden back in 2008 (if anybody thinks I'm serious, I invite them to look up the word hyperbole).

The full title for the nonce is "Maverick Christian (philosophical musings etc.)," so I'll conclude by saying something about the philosophers who've influenced me.  Among those philosophers is Thomas V. Morris.  He's a Christian philosopher who wrote Philosophy for Dummies.  I read this book many moons ago when in high school, and it's perhaps largely to blame for my getting bit by the philosophy bug.  That said, I haven't read very much of his professional work.  As far as professional work goes, one influential philosopher is Alvin Plantinga.  Alvin Plantinga is one of the foremost philosophers of religion living today, as well as one of the finest living Christian philosophers.  When I first read it I found Plantinga's God and Other Minds a difficult book, but he taught me how to think like an analytic philosopher.  Between Plantinga and Morris is William Lane Craig.  While Craig is less prominent a philosopher than Plantinga, Craig is nonetheless probably at the top 1% of those who specialize in philosophy of religion and is arguably the most prominent living Christian apologist.  He's the philosopher featured in  After Philosophy for Dummies I read some of Craig's work and watched some of his oral debates.  If Plantinga taught me how to think like an analytic philosopher, Craig showed me how to debate like one.  For example, Craig's style tends to involve clearly delineating the premises of his deductively valid arguments (with slides listing the premises and conclusion) and arguing that the premises are more plausible than their denials.  One might think such an approach is fairly obvious and commonsensical for the modern analytic philosopher, but it's remarkable how infrequent I see his philosopher opponents do this.  Sometimes genius is seeing the obvious when others do not.