Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A book I co-edited, In Defense of Natural Theology (InterVarsity, 2005), is now available on Kindle. This is good, since there will be no more printings of the paper edition. It includes essays by J.P. Moreland, Paul Copan, Keith Yandell, and others.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Technological Nostalgia (corrected)

Here is some technological nostalgia from an old guy. Let's go in the way-back machine to 1976.

We had telephones: one per house. The receiver is connected to the base by a short cord. You dial; you do not punch. Long-distance costs a lot of money. You get "busy signals." There are no voice mails. There is no call waiting. There are no personal computers. Computers are big, strange things that the civil government and corporations have. My mother once addressed a letter to "Dear Computer," since we were not getting resolution on an unjust bill. People wrote letters; romances were conducted this way; friendship were preserved (and destroyed) this way. Cars had no computers, so many fixed their own cars.

TV stations were received by rabbit ears (antennae). TV screens were small. You could not record TV shows; it was real time or nothing. In Alaska, where I grew up, we got TV shows two weeks late, because the tapes had to be shipped up from the lower 48 (as we called it).

Music came on vinyl discs or on the radio or live. Music was only portable in car radios. Eight-tracks allowed you to play your own music in the car.

There were no electronic security checks in airports.

Banking was done by talking to humans at a physical location or sending things in the mail. Electric guitars has wah-wah pedals, phase shifters, and distortion boxes and echoplex and reverb. That was it. There were no electronic drums. Synthesizers were just being introduced.

Video games were no more sophisticated than the glacially slow game, "Pong." There was no Internet. Books were bound in paper and not electronic.

Yes, it was pre-historic--and we puzzled less over the black boxes that pervade and dominate our technopolis today.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Doug Groothuis teaching at Metro State this fall

I am teaching Introduction to Philosophy this fall (as an Adjunct Faculty) at Metro State College of Denver on Saturdays from 11:00-13:30. These are my texts:

1. Ronald Nash, Life’s Ultimate Questions. Zondervan.

2. Plato, The Trial and Death of Socrates. Barnes and Noble.

3. Blaise Pascal, Human Happiness. Penguin.

4. Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions. Citadel.

Alvin Plantinga and Christian Philosophy

Here is a heartening essay by historian Mark Noll on the recent conference for Alvin Plantinga's retirement. It gives an instructive overview of the development of Christian philosophy in the past sixty years. As a Christian philosopher, I must gladly give thanks to God.

Mussolini and Us

Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) on fascism: “The Fascist State organizes the nation, but leaves a sufficient margin of liberty to the individual; the latter is deprived of all useless and possibly harmful freedom, but retains what is essential; the deciding power in this question cannot be the individual, but the State alone.”

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My email to Hugh Hewitt

Dear Mr. Hewitt:

For several days, you have been upbraiding Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for not appearing on your program recently, insinuating that something nefarious is going on. This puzzles and bothers me, since she may simply have more important things to do for the moment. You are not a king-maker, however influential you may be.

Mrs. Bachmann is the strongest and most principled conservative candidate (far more so than Mitt Romney). As such, she deserves far more respect than you are now giving her.

Douglas Groothuis

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Accidents of Style

From Charles Harrington Elster, The Accidents of Style: "What readers crave is writing that respects their intelligence, not writing that mimics their vulgarisms" (p. 35). I recommend this careful, witty, and needful corrective to sloppy writing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Truth Animals

Of all the creatures in the universe who experience what is the case, we are the only ones who make explicit what is the case, and assert that it is the case. We are explicit, or truth-bearing and falsehood-bearing animals, and to see truth truly is to see ourselves truly.--Raymond Tallis, "Saving Truth," Philosophy Now, May/June, 2008, p. 39.

Which worldview best explains this fact?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Backmann and ID

Michele Bachmann supports Intelligent Design in the schools. The civil government should not dominate the ideology of the state schools, as it now does. Darwinism is the de facto religion of mandatory, state education. How free and democratic is that?

My tax money goes to support a scientifically-flawed ideology that I do not accept and which I oppose. This is wrong. A wise politician will see it. Michele Backmann does.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pro-life or Not?

Find out who the consistently pro-life Republican candidates are.

Leibniz in The Monadology (1714):

And supposing that there were a machine so constructed as to think, feel, and have perception, we could conceive of it as enlarged and yet preserving the same proportions, so that we might enter it as into a mill. And this granted, we should only find on visiting it, pieces which push against another, but never anything by which to explain perception. This must be sought for, therefore, in the simple substance and not in the composite or in the machine.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Monday, June 06, 2011

Thoughts on Prayer

What is prayer for a Christian? There are so many aspects and dimensions of it. Consider a few:

1. Who is the object of prayer? All of or any member of the Trinity.
2. What is the quality of prayer? Humility, faith, claiming promises made in the Bible; singlemindedness, which battles distraction.
3. What are the modes of prayer? praise, adoration, thanksgiving, confession, petition, intercession, lament.
4. What is the frequency of prayer? Pray without ceasing: an attitude of openness and conversation with God. There are also seasons of protracted and often agonizing prayer: prayer as hard, demanding work; prayer as joyful exaltation in the being of God (rare for me)
5. What are the results of prayer (if done well)? A clear conscience (because of confession); a better knowledge of Scripture (because one prays through Scripture, especially the Psalms); answers to prayer which evoke thanksgiving and more faith; unanswered prayer, leading to lament, discouragement, and even despair (see Psalm 88).
6. What are the environments of prayer? In special sessions with others; alone; in the church service; on the go; during times of rest; even in dreams; prayer for special occasions: invocations, benedictions, exhortations.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Doug Groothuis on Denver Radio

I will be on "Backbone Radio" (KNUS-AM) Sunday, June 5, from 6:00-7:00 PM with Ross Kaminsky to talk about Christians and politics.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

A Well-Instructed Tongue for the Weary

4 The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue,
to know the word that sustains the weary.
He wakens me morning by morning,
wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. --Isaiah 50:4.

This passage is from one of the servant songs, which presage the coming of the Messiah, Christ Jesus. Since his followers are called to walk in steps, we too should learn how to be instructed by the Sovereign Lord to have a "well instructed tongue to know the word that sustains the weary." We need to learn this from God, considering the perfect example of Jesus, who comforted the afflicted.

The chronically ill desperately need a word that sustains the weary, for they are so terribly weary--weary of doctors, tests, medicines, the misunderstanding of friends of family; weary of broken dreams, broken relationship ships, bodies that betray them, weary of life under the sun and east of Eden. Instead of hearing words from "well instructed tongues," they too often her from tongues on fire with anger, impatience, unkindness, and simple ignorance. This compounds the chronic misery and tempts them to despair.

Here is a word to the well: Consult the Sovereign Lord for words that sustain, nourish, and encourage the weary. This is a skill that needs to be learned in the crucible of other's suffering. It is neither fun or easy. But it is necessary to show love to those suffering in ways that most of us can scarcely understand. "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one shares its joy" (Proverbs 14:10).

Instructed words to "the least of these," the brethren of Jesus, are words of love, from the God of love. As such, they are patient and kind, neither rude nor self-seeking; they persevere under pressure and do not fail (I Corinthians 13).

Please ask God, the God of all comfort, the Sovereign Lord, to give you a "well instructed tongue that sustains the weary. This requires heart-work, since out of the heart, the mouth speaks. But God can enter deeply into the hearts of the meek and humble.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

On Twitter

I am on Twitter. I usually use complete sentences and give links to significant articles.