Evolution and the Problem of Evil

One question that human beings come face to face with time and time again, as they face the trials and struggles of life on this earth is the question of evil.  Why would God – an all good, all powerful, and all knowing creator – allow evil and suffering to haunt His creation?

As we travel life’s road, we work hard – sometimes too hard – to feed ourselves.  In our families and communities, we see illness and accidents take the health and lives of those we love.  Sometimes violence affects us in terrible ways, whether that violence is inflicted by chance, or by the intention of others.

Why?  Why does life seem so hard?  Why does death come too soon?

Through all of these challenges, throughout history, people have turned to a being (or beings) larger than themselves for the answers.

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Discuss whether you see a way around exclusivism, pluralism, and inclusivism that might still keep integrity of each particular religion in place. Discuss how religious language might or might not play a role in your conclusion.

Exclusivism (the doctrine that only one religion is “true”) is the foundation of many religions.  If Scripture is correct, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  Whatever a person believes passionately will come out of his or her mouth.  People who believe that their belief system has the only means to salvation; if they believe that souls depend on the truth of that system, that belief will be shared with others. They can fully respect the dignity of other people, and understand the depth of the beliefs of others; they want to share the truth so that all will come to salvation.  One can “witness” or “evangelize” by simply stating one’s belief, while allowing others to share their own beliefs in the same way.

Inclusivism may be compatible with exclusivism, in that (in Christianity, for example) inclusivism maintains that Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation, but salvation (through Christ) can be obtained without a specific belief in Christ for salvation, but through the “general revelation” of nature. People who embrace inclusivism have an understanding that people who have never heard the gospel of Christ, may (through general revelation) may come to a saving faith without ever hearing of Christ).

Pluralism maintains that all religions are equally valid and that any religion may bring a person to salvation.  This cannot be compatible with exclusivism (within a person) but may coincide with inclusivism.  Once cannot simultaneously believe that there is only one means of salvation and believe that there are many ways to salvation.

Within a group of people, discussions can take place that allow sharing and debates of beliefs.  These discussions can get passionate and even heated at times, and they depend on the ability of others to present their convictions and listen to other people and maintain respect and civility for the other people, even if they do not respect the other religion.  If respect and civility are not present, the “doctrine of ‘just shut up’” might come into play.

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On Free Will and the Sovereignty of God

1. Explain the difference between a libertarian and a compatibilist conception of free will.

My study of compatibilism, will, free will and libertarian free will goes deeper than the readings from the textbook…and I believe that how a person defines these terms (and how that person feels about those definitions) affects how he or she views the sovereignty of God.

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I'm odd.  The two classes this semester...GOODIE!  I get to do research papers!

10 pages each for the finals - one on the Philosophy of Religion and the other on a subject of Deafness.

Possible - linguistic development of deaf children (including brain scans on the language center of the brain) or the development of accommodation technology.

On the other hand..."the problem of evil" or "free will."

Philosophy reflection paper:

January 19. 2010

Is Religion Necessary?

John Piper once said, “Words don’t mean things…definitions mean things.” In order to answer the question, “Is religion necessary?” we must first define “religion”. Some definitions say that “religion” is “the service and worship of God or the supernatural” (Merriam-Webster) or “the belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this belief” (google dictionary).  Others define “religion” as "a set of symbolic forms and acts that relate man to the ultimate conditions of his existence” (Robert Bellah, professor at the University of California, Berkley).

Huston Smith noted that the oldest artifacts found by archaeologists have religious significance.  In ages past, before more recent scientific advances, the world around us must have seemed far beyond human comprehension…and yet creation got here somehow…and so did we.

All (or nearly all) cultures around the world, past and present, have had some sense of “religion”. Even today, many cultures do not have a mandated religion, yet most people have access to at least one belief system called “religion”. Whether the worshippers wanted salvation from the physical world around them or whether they wanted access to an afterlife, it seems that human beings are programmed to seek something (or someone) larger than themselves.

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I'm seriously considering dropping the drawing class.

I'm enjoying the challenge and I like the work that I'm doing.

But I'm overwhelmed and not doing well.  I'm behind everywhere.  I may drop the class now, finish well in Art for the Elementary Classroom and pick up the drawing again in January.

I need to decide quickly (this weekend).

I've given myself "permission to fail" one of my classes.  It's the "fun" one (it really is).

I'm overwhelmed with everything (due to things that only a few folks know or need to know) and I bit off way more than I could chew this semester.

So if I blow off homework (and I did), and still learn and enjoy the

My organization got knocked of kilter really, really fast this semester.  The only thing I'm sort of caught up on is the drawing that we need to do in class (and I need to go to class early on Monday to get it done).

I have a panel due on Thursday (3 small projects on a poster board) that will be quite fun, but will take time.

On Wednesday I have my still life due and I have a lot of work to do on that.

I'm struggling in drawing class and can't pin down why.  I can draw the structure, but I don't seem to see all of the little highlights of light and shadows and reflections that everybody else seems to see.  I'm not sure if it's because my contacts are thicker and cut down glare or if my eyes are just that bad.

the list..

Due tomorrow - 2 "thumbnails" of a still life - 11 various objects - the same objects in two different layouts.  The process is made more difficult because the cat also likes the layout.  One thumbnail is done and the "stuff" is rearranged.

Due Thursday

  • my "line" board - 3 projects on a poster board, lesson plans on the back.  I need to do 3 line drawings of a lace up shoe (the other 2 projects are already done, but need to be put on a construction paper backing
  • read 3 chapters and complete the chapter reviews (6, 7, 11)
  • my "color" sleeve - three small color projects (completed) with lesson plans on the back (not completed) in a "page protector" sleeve.

I'm having a hard time focusing today...I woke up with a headache and generally a little caffeine takes care of it...after drinking a couple of cups of coffee with no effect...realized that I had made decaf.