Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Outline of Moreland's Kingdom Triangle

  1. Recover the Christian Mind
    1. Naturalism as intellectual stronghold
    2. Thick and thin worlds
      1. “possible world”  : philosophical jargon for the way things could have been.
      2. Thin and thick possible worlds
        1. Thin world:  world with no objective value.
          1. Nothing is as important enough to rise above custom.
          2. If there is no objective meaning and value, then there is no drama.
        2. Thick worlds
        3. Tearing down intellectual strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-5).
        4. Naturalism defined
          1. view of knowledge:  whatever exists should be knowable by third-person scientific means.  Only scientific related knowledge counts
          2. In the beginning was the particles
        5. Problems for naturalism
          1. Consciousness: if you start with matter and simply rearrange it, you will only come up with more complex arrangements of brute matter.
          2. Secondary qualities” naturalism can account for primary qualities, but not secondary ones like color, taste, texture.
          3. Normative properties: naturalism can only tell us what, not should or ought.
          4. The human will:  the will is immaterial and responsible for actions.  Why are alcoholics not responsible for their actions but pedophiles are?  A naturalist cannot answer that.
          5. Intrinsic value:  
    3. Postmodernism:
      1. Scientism has eroded the ability to make transcendent judgments.
      2. Identifies pomo as a form of cultural relativism about reality, truth, reason (77; possibility problematic).
        1. Knowledge is a social construction.
      3. Postmodern tenets
        1. denial of objective knowledge and reason.
          1. psychological objectivity not the same as rational objectivity.
        2. Denial of correspondence theory of truth
          1. CTT holds to a correspondence relation between truth-bearer (propositions) and truth maker (facts).
          2. Those who reject CTT hold to it in order to reject it.
        3. Confusion between metaphysical and epistemic notions of truth.
          1. metaphysical (correct): absolute truth is same as objective. People discover truth, not create it.  Conforms to laws of logic
          2. Postmodernists think absolute truth grounded in Cartesian anxiety.   However, a claim to truth says nothing about my inner, psychological state.
        4. Problems for postmodernism
    4. From Drama to Deadness
      1. Shift from Knowledge to Fideism
      2. From human flourishing to satisfaction and desire
        1. The ancient “good” life was constituted by intellectual and moral virtue.
        2. presupposes the availability of real, nonempircal knowledge.
      3. From Duty and Virtue to Minimalist ethics (m.e.)
        1. m.e. = do whatever you want as long as you don’t harm others
        2. severs the connection between rationality and moral truth.
      4. From Classic Freedom to Contemporary Freedom
        1. Classical freedom meant the power to do what one ought to do. Presupposes availability of relevant knowledge.
        2. Contemporary freedom
      5. Classic Tolerance to Contemporary Tolerance
  2. Recovery of Knowledge
    1. Overview of knowledge: ability to represent things as they are.
      1. Knowledge by acquaintance (direct intuition)
      2. propositional knowledge (Moreland calls this justified true belief)
      3. Know-how (wisdom, skill)
    2. Certainty, Confidence, and Simple Knowing
      1. Knowledge does not require certainty (and this moves the discussion closer to Plantinga)
        1. One’s degree of knowledge can grow over time
      2. You can know something without knowing how you know it.
        1. problem of the criterion: if we don’t know how we know things, how can we know anything at all?
          1. skepticism: bites the bullet.  No knowledge
          2. Methodism: starts with a criterion that does not itself count as knowledge.  But this leads to an infinite regress.
          3. Particularism: we just know many things without knowing how we know them.  It can respond to skepticism by asking the skeptic for a reasonfor his skepticism.
    3. Three Kinds of Knowledge
      1. knowledge by acquaintance.  rational awareness.  Humans have the ability to be aware of stuff that aren’t empirically verifiable.
      2. Propositional knowledge: I must believe something is true and have adequate grounds for it.
      3. Know How
  3. Renovation of the Soul (virtue ethics)
    1. False self: the self we present to others in order to make the world safe for us (141).
      1. Individualistic
      2. Infantile
      3. Narcissistic
      4. The empty self is passive
    2. Growing in Christian art of self-denial
      1. Classical happiness as virtue-life “Christianized” as eternal life.
        1. Less dependent on external circumstances like “pleasure-seeking.”
        2. Allows one to become an increasingly unified person.
    3. Fostering Spiritual Disciplines
      1. Habit, Character, Body, Flesh (Romans 12:1-3)
      2. Warning and Dangers.  Moreland recommends some good writers (Dallas Willard) and some dangerous ones (Richard Foster), though to be fair he does offer his own warning (157).
  4. Restore the Kingdom’s Power
    1. Chapter is mainly anecdotal.  
    2. The gospel of the kingdom: the reign and rule of God available in Jesus Christ
      1. God has power over demons, darkness, and disease.
    3. Jesus’s ministry of the Holy Spirit
      1. Dependant on the Spirit’s Power (Luke 4:14)
      2. Moreland doesn’t mention it, but this is the Reformed doctrine of the unionis theologia.
    4. Abandonment of Cessationism


  1. Can an uneducated laymen understand Moreland? What authors would you suggest for someone who wants to dip their toe in the waters of Christian Philosophy?

    1. Moreland has books for the layman. In specific answer to your question, I recommend James K. A. Smith's

      It is very accessible. Then go to the following

      If you want to combine discipleship with epistemology, then I HIGHLY recommend

      That book changed my life in college.

      Finally, go to Peter Kreeft's Shorter Summa

    2. Thank you Jacob. That is very helpful information. I appreciate it.