Posts Tagged ‘pantheism’

Deeper Waters Podcast 5/10/2014: Is Reality Secular?

May 9, 2014

What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast this Saturday? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

This Saturday, I’ll be interview on my show Mary Poplin. Who is this? Well I’ll let her own bio speak for her.

Dr. Mary Poplin is professor of education at Claremont Graduate University where she teaches courses on learning and pedagogical theories, philosophy and education, and qualitative research. She is a frequent speaker in academic and religious forums. She has been both founder and director of the current Master’s teacher education program and dean. Her most recent research is a five-year study of high-performing teachers in low-performing urban schools in some of the poorest neighborhoods in LA. Her book, Finding Calcutta, is about her experience volunteering with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. Her more recent book, Is Reality Secular, is a reflection and analysis of four global worldviews, their principles, their similarities and differences with the Christian worldview and their consequences on lives, nations and cultures.

“Now there is great risk in sharing personal spiritual phenomenon but even greater risk comes from ignoring it.”

As a scholar and life-long educator, Dr. Poplin’s interest in issues of social justice has translated into a passion for improving education among the poor and, during the spring of 1996, it took her to Calcutta where her western, academically-minded background collided with one the most monumental lives of the twentieth century—a woman who was the founder and head of a multi-ethnic, multi-national service to the poor, but who Dr. Poplin admits, never made it into her class syllabus.

While the western, intellectual mind interprets Mother Teresa as an exemplary humanist it underestimates the spiritual framework from which she drew her work and her sense of purpose. Dr. Poplin’s story communicates how she saw one of the monumental lives of our time stand in unapologetic, countercultural contrast to the confines of the secular age.

Taking to heart what she learned from Mother Teresa that, “what you believe and what you disbelieve makes an enormous difference in the way in which you approach your work,” Dr. Poplin realized when God is missing in the university so is one gargantuan worldview.

PoplinOutdoorPicture

Poplin has a fascinating story of how she came to Christ while working at Claremont and that alone is worth the whole price of the book, but she is a thoroughly read individual who now has a deep passion for the Christianity that she was once against. She has the mind of a scholar with a heart of compassion for those who are in need and I am sure if you listen to the show, that you will be liking what it is that you are hearing.

So please join in this Saturday for a fascinating look at Mary Poplin’s book “Is Reality Secular?” It’s sure to become a great piece to use when discussing worldviews with your friends who come from a differing position. As always, if you want to call in from 3-5 PM EST when the show airs to ask a question, the number to do so is 714-242-5180.

The link can be found here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Grand Central Question

April 21, 2014

What do I think of Abdu Murray’s book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Murray has written an interesting apologetics work coming at it as an attorney and as a former Muslim. That brings a unique combination as Murray knows how to argue and handle evidence. He in fact often starts by presenting the case that the other side has given and then responds to how that side is lacking in what it states. All of this goes around the idea of the Grand Central Question. The theme is that each worldview claims to answer such a question and that overall, the Gospel does a better job of answering the claims.

The first position that he goes after is secular humanism. With this one, the question is asking if there is a purpose to life, which also gets to questions of morality. Murray agrees with a view that I’ve had about atheism in that too often, it looks like atheists have moral worldviews that are just floating in the air. I do however disagree with Murray’s response to the Euthyphro dilemma. When we say that God is the good, it ends up still providing no content to what goodness is. If God = good, how does that tell me what goodness itself is? It’s just saying “God is good” but not explaining what is meant by that. Does that mean the same as saying that the pizza I had for lunch is good or that my wife is a good woman or the book I’m reading is a good book?

Still, that would be the main criticism that I have which means the rest of the material in this section is quite good. I would say with this and other sections that Murray’s work is just a start, but it turns out to be a good start.

The next worldview is the pantheistic worldview. In this, he deals with Hinduism, Buddhism, scientology, and various proponents of New Age thought like Eckhart Tolle. The question to ask is about the question of suffering. What is the solution? The pantheist solution that Murray sees is to say that suffering is an illusion and we need to realize our own divinity and overcome the illusion of suffering. Yet Murray is certainly right in that this answer rings hollow, particularly in the face of those who have suffered severe loss, such as the loss of a child.

It is when we get to the final part that in fact, Murray shines the brightest and this is in contrasting Islam and Christianity. Murray comes at this from the position of someone who was a devout Muslim who used to argue against Christians using the classic arguments such as the idea that the Bible is corrupt and has been changed. What was most shocking to him is that in studying the Koran, he found that the interpretation he had of the Koran could not allow that possibility. The more he compared the Koran to the Bible, the more he found the Bible to be reliable.

The question then to ask is “Whose God is greater?” Now I don’t hold to the idea of Greatest Possible Being theology, although I certainly hold that God is the greatest being, but it is an important question to ask with a Muslim who bases their whole life on God being the greatest. Murray argues that if they want to hold to a God who is great, it would be better for them to recognize who Jesus is and to learn about the greatness of a God who exists in Trinity. In my opinion, this response to Islam is the best part of the book as Murray uses his own experience and research directly.

Murray’s book is a good start. One won’t find all the answers here, but for an earnest seeker, one will find the answers to some of their questions.

In Christ,
Nick Peters