The topic of lying and deceit (if one can separate the two) is one that has been in my mind since Alexander Pruss blogged it about it a few months ago (see this Google search). Pruss has some good things to say, but I think he has neglected some fundamental aspects of the subject.
One of my favorite literary moments, from Thomas Pynchon’s short story “Entropy”:
Callisto had learned a mnemonic device for remembering the Laws of Thermodynamics: you can’t win, things are going to get worse before they get better, who says they’re going to get better.
The story is a fascinating literary representation of entropy; I highly recommend seeking out Pynchon’s anthology Slow Learner for the story. (And for the initiated into Pynchon’s corpus, it is much easier to ingest than his amazingly dense Gravity’s Rainbow.)
In a strange twist, given my reference to the Manichees in the last post, Fred Sanders at the Scriptorium has posted some (concocted) Manichean evangelical literature. If you have read St. Augustine’s Confessions (and shame on you if you haven’t), you will find the cartoons and text very amusing. I know I did.
I am a critical person by my nature, and I mean that in a double sense: I tend to favor a more analytical approach to engaging situations and problem-solving, but I am also very temperamental and opinionated about things I find absurd, ridiculous, or just annoying. So, in an attempt to keep something going here, I will try to post on pet peeves that arise and engage in some meta-criticism – critically looking at those things which I am most critical of.
In the time I have been blogging, I’ve touched on a lot of different things, but none has quite blown up in my face like my attempt to take the site God vs. the Bible to task. Trying to take advantage of the fact (or so I thought) that few people read this blog in the vastness of the Internet was not one of my prouder moments, but it did introduce me to some interesting lines of reasoning in more depth. So, while I will not be jumping back on the “bash John Armstrong” platform, I would like to take a second look at something he says both on the site and in the comments and – perhaps more importantly – on what authority he makes those comments.
The problem of evil (henceforth POE) is a philosophical issue that I find intriguing, even though (to a degree) I do think that the satisfactoriness of any solution is going to be marginal if only because of the emotional weight the problem bears. A former professor of mine, Dr. James Sennett, is often quoted by John Loftus of Debunking Christianity as expressing the sentiment that if the problem of evil doesn’t keep students up at night, they aren’t thinking about it enough. I tend to think this is a fairly true statement, and I find myself coming to the topic for this same reason.
However, I think there are issues peripheral to the problem of evil that deserve attention for their very real impact on theism and its acceptance (or non-acceptance).
In a recent post, I blogged briefly about the analytic personality and what things a person of this inclination must be aware of when dealing with others. In many ways, there are some caveats that one should take care to avoid that are simple matters of how the analytical mind works.