Philosophical Inventory: What I Believe
1. Meta-philosophy (or philosophy of philosophy): I believe in the analytic method of philosophizing, but with the realization that some continental philosophers come up with significant insights. However, the clear articulation of their ideas requires a more analytical approach.
2. Metaphysics: I am a Trinitarian and Incarnational theist, a mind-body substance dualist, a compatibilist on human agency, and an egalitarian on gender (since women and men are equally human, there should be no status differences that uniquely favor men over women on the basis of gender).
3. Epistemology: I am a critical realist (the world and God can be partially known in various ways), a foundationalist (there are basic and knowable truths on which we base other beliefs), and an internalist (we should generally have reasons to ground our beliefs as knowledge).
4. Ethics: I hold to the divine command theory. The good is based on God’s eternal character and is in harmony with the nature of the creation God brought worth. God’s commands, therefore, fit both the divine character and the character of creation. Ethics should balance deontological, virtue, and consequential considerations and should honor human beings (at every stage of development or decay) as bearers of incomparable and irreducible value, given their status made in God's own image.
5. Theology: I am broadly evangelical and Reformed, but not convinced of infant baptism. Besides the last proviso, I accept most all of The Westminster Confession of Faith. This means I hold to the inerrancy of the Bible (an epistemological standard of consequence for all other theological beliefs), that salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone, is by grace alone, through faith alone, and known through Scripture alone. Hermeneutically, I hold that Scripture must be interpreted rationally with the aim of discovering what the author intended to say in his cultural setting. This is should be done according to sound grammatical and rhetorical principles that uncover a text’s objective meaning. When this work is done, the truths derived from biblical texts should be integrated into a systematic theology, since God is not double-minded or ad hoc.
6. Theology of culture: I hold to the Christ the transformer of culture model, to invoke H. Richard Neibuhr’s somewhat imperfect categories, but with a strong emphasis on the church as a counterculture or sign of contradiction against worldliness.
7. Apologetic method: I hold to the cumulative case method (a host of metaphysical, moral, and historical arguments converge on Christianity as the best explanation of the things that matter most), but with a strong emphasis on analytically sophisticated natural theology. I believe that there are compelling versions of all the species of natural theology: ontological arguments, cosmological arguments, design arguments, moral arguments, and the religious experience arguments.
8. Aesthetics: I am a critical realist. There are objective aesthetic properties, some of which can be known through various means. I reject aesthetic relativism as sub-Christian and philosophically indefensible.
9. Philosophy of science:
A. I believe that science and theology should interact with respect to truth claims (J.P. Moreland). God is the author of the book of Scripture and the book of nature (Jonathan Edwards). Since God is the author of both books, in the final analysis, these books will not conflict with one another. Both science and theology make truth claims about objective reality; they may come in conflict with one another or support one another. (“Science” does not automatically win, given its present institutional commitment to philosophical naturalism.) In some cases, however, science will speak to an area about which theology is silent (atoms) or vice versa (angels).
B. I am an Intelligent Design proponent. Natural selection does not adequately explain instances of specified complexity in nature. Design is a legitimate and testable explanatory model for scientific investigations.