Oh What A Friend We Have in Krishna

“There I discovered what I had in a sense known for quite some time: the depth of my love for Lord Krishna as the person who now reveals God to me in a way essential to my spiritual life.”  — Michael Sudduth.

Sadly, the above is not a surprise to many of us who have followed Michael’s career over the years.

That doesn’t mean he wasn’t at one time convincing.  Even the late  John Robbins once awarded Sudduth with The Clark Prize in Apologetics (an award he stopped giving out after his experience with Michael who went on to make his living from the Roman state-church).

Michael’s dive into syncretism and mysticism has been evident for years.  Now that he has abandoned the faith entirely this is just the next logical move.

For Michael’s complete testimony concerning his personal savior Krishna, see:

From Christianity to Vaishnavism: The Move Eastwards.

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67 Comments on “Oh What A Friend We Have in Krishna”

  1. LJ Says:

    I read Sudduth’s “testimony” and then went to bed. His testimony, being very sensual, disturbed me. It was so sensual in fact that I, even I, upon reading and meditating upon it clearly had an experience. But mine, however, upon further reflection was with four large oatmeal cookies I ate before bed; the experience of which had an uncanny resemblance to Sudduth’s experiences. I saw things.

    Then I awoke, took some Tums for the tummy, and went back to bed.

    There I thanked my Heavenly Father for salvation in Christ alone.

  2. LJ Says:

    Sorry. I don’t mean to be flip about a man’s soul. But it seems to me the road to his apostasy is full of self-absorbed narcicissm. If I recall over the years his personal experience has consistently trumped the objective propositions of Scripture as he twisted in the theological wind. He has always been unstable in his doctrine, intellectually fertile in his thinking, and never able to plant his feet in one place. The auto accident and I suspect the accompanying emotional stress along with the meds he took afterward contributed to this most recent hallucination. I pity him; there but for the grace of God go I.

  3. Sean Gerety Says:

    I agree LJ. Sudduth provides a very real and terrifying cautionary tale. Much like those who have abandoned the one true faith for the false gospel of the the Federal Vision. At least in the case of Sudduth being a born again Hari Krishna, there is no way for anyone to ever confuse him with a Christian, much less call him their Christian brother.


  4. You guys are overreacting. It’s clearly a parallel soteriological system that’s well within confessional boundaries. I find your lack of charity disturbing.

    P.S. LOVE WINS!

  5. Hugh McCann Says:

    Winning!
    .
    .
    .
    .
    [not!]

  6. Hugh McCann Says:

    This all reads like a bizarre joke. Catholicism, Orthodoxy I can ‘understand,’ but HINDUISM?!

    LJ – Maybe we’re all sharing a cookie-induced, corporate nightmare!

  7. Hugh McCann Says:

    THANKS, SEAN!

    Now I’ve got My Sweet Lord running through my cookie-addled brain!

  8. Steve M Says:

    I am wondering. If I can refute all the models of Hinduism, will I succeed in refuting the project of Hinduism?

  9. Denson Dube Says:

    If Michael had occultic encounters before, he might be in need of deliverance from demonic bondage. His encounters with “Lord Krishna” might be just Screwtape fooling him if it is not his medication.
    Here in Africa, where some people grow up in households where demonic manifestation is accepted as “ancestors” visiting their children from yonder, demons manifest when these people hear the gospel, and they have to be prayed for, for their deliverance.

  10. Sean Gerety Says:

    Denson, Sudduth was very much involved in the occult. You can read his story here:

    http://postmortemsurvival.blogspot.com/

  11. Denson Dube Says:

    Oh dear, oh dear, Michael is in a lot of trouble! Rock music might have precipitated or made his mind vulnerable to the dark side. It seems also to be a family issue that probably has been going on for generations!
    The peace he feels from that “Lord Krishna” experience is satanic deception exploiting his depressions that he has been taking antidepressants for. The fact that God spared his life in the near fatal accident is hope that he might yet be free.
    We need to pray for Michael. Our God is gracious and able!

  12. Hugh McCann Says:

    Two men claim they’re “Savior” –
    one of them must be wrong.

    From Prof PostMort: “I’m interested in the topic of survival of death, e.g., ways of conceptualizing such an existence, its connections with philosophy of mind, and the evidences for survival.”

    Having once played with a oijia, and also in a garage band, I was much later given faith and a scripturalist testimony. Thus, I read of MS’s disintegration with some fear & trembling.

    One healthful tonic for me was reading through Edwards’ works and getting a grasp of Hell (‘eternal conscious punishment’ as we must clarify it today). This was reinforced years later when an elder at our church ‘came out’ endorsing annihilationism, and we had to go back to Writ to defend the doctrine.

    All that to say that Mark Knopfler was right when he said, “Philosophy is useless…” If not useless, at least it is dangerous.*

    Hell is real, and both our Lord and his apostle Peter testified that it were better not to have known the Way of righteousness, than to claim Christ for a season, and then later to stray from the Way.

    * Falling away from Jesus ~ it can happen by degrees;
    Maybe Michael Sudduth’s got industrial disease!


  13. Why did I feel like I was reading something written by John Piper minus the Vaishnavism?

    Desiring Vaishnavism: Meditations of a Vaishnava Hedonist?

  14. Denson Dube Says:

    Alex,
    “Why did I feel like I was reading something written by John Piper minus the Vaishnavism?”
    You read my mind!
    Piper’s flowery pink prose, which he assures us is due to his “poetic side” (and not muddleheadedness), calls for caution and not the wide eyed enthusiastic embrace and popularity he enjoys amongst those who would call themselves Christians. “Beloved, believe not every spirit.” I for one do not find anything endearing in a muddleheaded preacher nor do I think the Bible so unclear that we are condemned to poetic fudging to portray its message.


  15. Muddleheaded, heh.


  16. Dear Sean:

    – I feel so very sad after reading Michael Sudduth’s testimony.

    – “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ ” (Psalm 91:1-2 HCSB)

    In Christ,
    Benjamin

  17. Denson Dube Says:

    Hi Ben,
    Long time … how have you been? Good to hear from you.
    Michael’s story is sad indeed. It is one thing to disagree with somebody, but this raises the problem to a whole new level. Very, very sad.


  18. Dear Denson:

    1. I am fine. :- )

    And how are you?

    2. Although we differ on our assessment of the philosophy of Gordon H. Clark, I have always like Michael Sudduth.

    On the few occasions we have crossed paths on the internet, Michael never treated me badly.

    So it is very sad to learn of his conversion to Hinduism.

    3. I have re-read Michael’s “My Conversion to Vaishnava Vedanta: An Open Letter to My Facebook Friends” this morning in Triablogue.

    The letter is the writings of a sensitive soul.

    Steve Hays analysis of Michael’s letter is very perceptive – except I would not belittle it with “the juvenile tone sounds like a schoolgirl crush on a teen idol. Bieber fever.”

    Yet, in the comment section of Triablogue, Sean is surely right in quoting the Bible: “They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us.” (1 John 2:19 HCSB)

    And this makes it so very sad.

    But since Michael wrote that “I have no interest in converting any of my Christian friends to Vaishnavism”, maybe although we cannot regard him as a Christian brother, we can still be civil with each other.

    4. In my teens, I have dabbled in Zen Buddhism.

    I give a lot of credit to Gordon Clark’s *Faith and Saving Faith* (1983) for helping me see the futility of Zen.

    It is not for no reason that I am so fascinated by the writings of Gordon H. Clark.

    In the last 2 – 3 years, I have done some readings in Taoism and Chinese Buddhism.

    Unlike Michael, whose readings in the Bhagavad Gita led him to convert to Hinduism, my readings in Taoism and Chinese Buddhism has strengthened my faith in God, the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ.

    5. I appreciate your comments regarding demonic bondage. : – )

    Those who have not experience the presence of evil spirits may not appreciate how powerful and deceptive it is.

    The only recourse is to take refuge in God as fortress.

    God bless.
    Benjamin

  19. Sean Gerety Says:

    Hi Benjamin. As I recall, you did a study a while back of Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief (or maybe it was one of his other volumes). If so, can you speak to the question of whether or not Sudduth could use arguments used by Plantinga to justify Christian theism as warranted to similarly justify his new found belief in his new demonic “lord” Krishna? Besides some essays by Plantinga WCB is the only book in his trilogy that I’ve read, but it seems to me that some of the arguments Sudduth uses to justify his defection to Vaishnavism (I think “defection” is preferable to Steve Hays’ “deconversion”), particularly his various mystical experiences to include even a “visitation” of Krishna in his room, could all provide ground for warrant. Any thoughts? FWIW I thought Hays was even anticipating this in his comments that included Mike’s mental state and use of antidepressants (which, at least from an RE perspective would speak to the question of proper function).

    Also, I have always liked Mike too and would probably still like him even if I happen to bump into him while he’s dancing and chanting at the San Francisco International Airport. Of course, his attacks on Scripturalism and John Robbins in particular were vicious, not because of any intellectual rigor to his arguments (some of which were pretty good, others not so much), but because of the personal nature of those attacks. As some might recall, years ago JR was very critical about Mike (a former Clark Prize in Apologetics winner) taking a paycheck and plying his trade at an RCC university. Mike’s reaction at the time, at least on the old Clark list, was like a rebellious teenager spitting at a concerned parent. He couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around why a Reformed man would object to him getting a paycheck from the Roman state/church. While weird and childish at the time, it certainly makes sense now.


  20. Dear Sean:

    1. I have read through Plantinga’s trilogy some years ago; but I cannot say I have studied them with the care they deserved.

    So I will venture an answer with the proviso that my knowledge of Plantinga is limited.

    The question is: Could Sudduth use arguments used by Plantinga to justify Christian theism as warranted to similarly justify his new found belief in his new demonic “lord” Krishna?

    In Plantinga uses of the term, “warrant” is that “quality or quantity, enough of which, together with truth and belief, is sufficient for knowledge.” (Warrant and Proper Function 1993, v)

    So the question of warrant must be distinguished from the questions of truth, belief and knowledge.

    “As I see it, a belief has warrant if it is produced by cognitive faculties functioning properly (subject to no malfunctioning) in a cognitive environment congenial for those faculties, according to a design plan successfully aimed at truth.” (Warrant and Proper Function 1993, viii – ix)

    2. There are many strands in Michael’s “My Conversion to Vaishnava Vedanta: An Open Letter to My Facebook Friends” that are subject to epistemic evaluation.

    For definiteness sake, let’s focus on the following important paragraph:
    Around 4:20am (Friday morning) September 16th, I woke suddenly from a deep sleep to the sound of the name of “Krishna” being uttered in some way, as if someone was present in my room and had spoken his name out loud. Upon waking I immediately had a most profound sense of Krishna’s actual presence in my bedroom, a presence no less real than the presence of another living person in the room, though I was alone at the time. I responded to this felt presence, first through my thoughts that repeated Krishna’s name (and inquired of his presence), and then verbally out loud by uttering Krishna’s name twice: Krishna, Krishna. I was seized at this moment with a most sweet feeling of completeness and joy. I felt as if Krishna was there with me in my room and actually heard my voice, and that my response had completed a process that began with his name within my mind. I pondered this experience for several minutes, while at the same time continuing to experience a most blissful serenity and feeling of oneness with God, not unlike I had experienced on many occasions in the past in my relationship with the Lord Jesus. It was a most profound sense of both awe and intimacy with God in the form of Lord Krishna.

    3. I will take the experience Michael described as a sort of perceptual experience.

    According to Plantinga (Warrant and Proper Function 1993, 89): “Well, from the present perspective on warrant, a perceptual judgment – that there is a squirrel running across my backyard, for example – constitute knowledge if and only if (roughly speaking) that belief is true, sufficiently strong, and produced by cognitive faculties that are successfully aimed at truth and functioning properly in an epistemic environment that is right for a creature of my perceptual powers.”

    In this connection, I will not queried two things in Michael description of his experiences:

    (a) Whether Michael epistemic faculties are “functioning properly in an epistemic environment that is right for a creature of my perceptual powers”; and

    (b) Whether the description as given is a true description of what happened.

    Steve Hays noted that “As I recall, Michael has been on antidepressants. I don’t say that as a criticism. There can be perfectly legitimate reasons for that. Still, someone who’s been in a condition requiring psychotropic meds isn’t necessarily in the best position to evaluate his own state of mind.”

    What Hays said may be true, but I see no good (and no use) in questioning the proper functioning of Michael’s mental faculties.

    As a Bible believing Christian who believes in the reality of evil spirits or fallen angels, I see no need to question the perception of a “presence” as described by Michael.

    4. The important question regarding Michael’s description of his experiences is: Is Michael interpretation of his experiences true?

    Is this regard, I do not believe Plantinga account of warrant is of much help.

    And this is no criticism of Plantinga since his theory is a theory about warrant, not truth.

    Notice the argumentative strategy of *Warranted Christian Belief* (2000) regarding belief in God, which can be read off the “Contents” (xviii): Is Belief in God Warrant-Basic? If False, Probably Not. If True, Probably So.

    Plantinga is not arguing for the truth that God exists; his interest in that book is “warrant”.

    His argument is in the form of a conditional: if God exists, then belief in God is probably warrant-basic; if God does not exist, then belief in God is probably not warrant-basic.

    Again, this does not mean that Plantinga is not interested in the truths of the Bible; it is just that the focus of that book is “warrant”.

    5. So is Michael interpretation of his experiences true?

    And this is an important point I learned from Gordon H. Clark many years ago: truth has priority over experience as experience must be interpreted by truth.

    And where can we find the truths God spoke to man?

    In the Bible, of course.

    And Michael interpreted his experiences in the next paragraph:
    I should add, and I think this is very important, that I felt I was experiencing the same God that I had experienced on many occasions throughout my Christian life. However, I felt like this being was showing me a different face, side, or aspect to Himself, or – better yet – a different mode of my relationship to Him. I felt a certain validation of my spiritual journey, both past and present. I had gone so far in my Christian faith, but it was now necessary for me to relate to God as Lord Krishna.

    And I profoundly disagree with Michael’s interpretation of his own experiences for the reason that it is logically incompatible with the truths of the Bible.

    6. Could Sudduth use arguments used by Plantinga to justify Christian theism as warranted to similarly justify his new found belief in his new demonic “lord” Krishna?

    My answer is yes, he can.

    But a Plantingian-style argument cuts both ways.

    Michael can argue that:

    If Michael interpretation of his experiences is true, then it probably has warrant for his belief for Krishna.
    Michael interpretation of his experiences is true.
    Therefore, it properly has warrant for his belief for Krishna.

    I, on the other hand, will argue that:
    If Michael interpretation of his experiences is false, then it probably has no warrant for his belief for Krishna.
    Michael interpretation of his experiences is false.
    Therefore, it properly has no warrant for his belief in Krishna.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  21. Hugh McCann Says:

    Some don’t go quite so far east, but fall away, nevertheless:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0WY9iBKs4M&feature=related

    (Researching “Orthodoxy’s” appeal, particularly to Reformed & evangelical folk.)

    Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,
    after the tradition of men,
    after the rudiments of the world,
    and not after Christ.


  22. Errata: “properly” should be “probably”.

    6. Could Sudduth use arguments used by Plantinga to justify Christian theism as warranted to similarly justify his new found belief in his new demonic “lord” Krishna?

    My answer is yes, he can.

    But a Plantingian-style argument cuts both ways:

    Michael can argue that:
    If Michael interpretation of his experiences is true, then it probably has warrant for his belief for Krishna.
    Michael interpretation of his experiences is true.
    Therefore, it probably has warrant for his belief for Krishna.

    I, on the other hand, will argue that:
    If Michael interpretation of his experiences is false, then it probably has no warrant for his belief for Krishna.
    Michael interpretation of his experiences is false.
    Therefore, it probably has no warrant for his belief in Krishna.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  23. Sean Gerety Says:

    Thank you so much Benjamin. That is precisely the kind of treatment I was looking for and knew you could deliver.

    “6. Could Sudduth use arguments used by Plantinga to justify Christian theism as warranted to similarly justify his new found belief in his new demonic “lord” Krishna?

    My answer is yes, he can.”

    That is what I thought and is what I was looking for.

    Thank you again.

  24. Hugh McCann Says:

    James White weighs in on Sudduth & Plantinga; dropping such names as Bahnsen, William Craig, ‘Oliphint'[sic],Van Til, Gabriel Fluhrer, James Anderson, and the Lord Krishna: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4956

  25. Hugh McCann Says:

    Correction: Jamin Hubner ~not White~ wrote the above Alpha & Omega piece on Sudduth.

  26. Hugh McCann Says:

    Argh! My bad on charging Hubner with misspelling Oliphint. Good grief.


  27. Dear Hugh:

    1. I think Jamin Hubner got the context of Michael Sudduth’s problems wrong.

    In the case of Michael, now is not the time to speculate about the relations between philosophy and theology.

    Putting theology ahead of philosophy will not solved Michael’s problems.

    With all its emphasis on theology, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia has its Norman Shepherd and Peter Enns.

    2. If one is to speculate, I will go with Steve Hays and suspect there are unconfessed sins in Michael’s life.

    I suspect Michael’s problem is moral, not intellectual.

    In another post in Triablogue, Steve Hays wrote: “To my knowledge, Michael has burned through three marriages. From what I’ve heard, his current girlfriend is a former student. So a playboy deity like Krishna is a logical patron god for someone with Michael’s lifestyle.”

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2012/01/krishnas-harem.html

    The dabbling in the occult and failed marriages are symptoms of moral problems.

    If one confesses all of one’s sins to God and receive His forgiveness, the devil will have no moral claims on us.

    Sin is what makes us liable to destruction.

    My fervent hope is that Michael’s apostasy is only temporary.

    I still have hope because Michael has not outright denied Christ; he is avoiding God by re-interpreting Christian doctrines in a Hinduistic framework.

    3. “The LORD said to Joshua, “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face? Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” (Joshua 7:10-12 NIV)

    4. (The Westminster Confession of Faith 11.5):

    God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified; and, although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  28. Hugh McCann Says:

    Benjamin,
    > Amen, though I hold considerably less hope that MS is a lapsed believer.

    Sean,
    > When did W*rpress start pr*stituting itself with the bl**dy ads?!

  29. Sean Gerety Says:

    Evidently WordPress has always had ads which are blocked by Firefox (I also run adblock). I noticed them over the summer when I was accessing my daughter’s site via Chrome. If I buy (rent) the site then no ads. I wouldn’t mind the ads if I got a cut, but then WP needs to make money on their “free” blogs too.

  30. Sean Gerety Says:

    I think there is quite a few things in the Huber piece that I can agree with and would even go further. I think analytic philosophy in the guise of Reformed Epistemology is neither Reformed or even particularly Christian, epistemically speaking. Any system that can as easily accommodate Krishna as it can Christ is useless. IMO RE is attractive simply because it has just lowered the epistemic bar and has allowed Ivy League Christian professors entrance into the faculty lounge but that’s about it. It also gives amateur and self-styled Christian “philosophers” the means to sound sophisticated while treating their opponents as part of the great unwashed.

    As for his comparisons to Van Til, I think one of VT’s problems, like Sudduth, was that he wasn’t much of a theologian either and Clark ran circles around him besides being a much more consistent presuppositionalist.

  31. Cliffton Says:

    B Wong says: I suspect Michael’s problem is moral, not intellectual. Cliffton: Is there any violation of the law of God that the Logos of God would not consider to be anti-logos?


  32. Dear Sean:

    1. I agree with what have written. : – )

    In these things, you are much more perceptive than I am.

    2. The last three days is like attending the funeral of a friend.

    Michael Sudduth has apostatized.

    I have no problem with people condemning him publicly.

    But privately, I would like to cut him as much slack as I can.

    There is much in Jamin Hubner piece I agree with too.

    But if my suspicion is correct that Michael’s root problem is moral and not intellectual, then Hubner piece is in poor taste – it is like using the occasion of another’s funeral to advance one’s agenda.

    3. I think your assessment of Reformed Epistemology is basically correct.

    Where Gordon H. Clark has a comprehensive philosophy in *A Christian View of Men and Things* (1952), the scope of Reformed Epistemology is rather limited.

    I have a lot of respect for Alvin Plantinga and I am not belittling his accomplishments.

    For example, in *Warranted Christian Belief* (2000), Plantinga ably rebutted the atheists who claimed that Christian belief is unjustified, irrational, or unwarranted.

    *Warranted Christian Belief* (2000) is a very rich book and it has a lot of details in it.

    But there is no methodological way to argue to the truths of the Bible without assuming the truths of the Bible.

    So methodologically, I subscribe to Clark’s presuppositionalism.

    4. One unfortunate consequence of Plantinga’s influence is that there is a shift from focusing on the truth and falsity of theological truth claims to the different focus of whether it is rational to believe certain theological truth-claims.

    This is not a fault of Plantinga’s, whose purpose is to rebut the atheist claim that Christian belief is irrational.

    But since:

    (a) It can be rational to belief a true proposition to be true;
    (b) It can be rational to belief a true proposition to be false;
    (c) It can be irrational to belief a false proposition to be true; and
    (d) It can be irrational to belief a false proposition to be false

    I find it rather unprofitable to discuss the rationality of theological truth-claims.

    Following Gordon H. Clark, my interest is primarily in the truth and falsity of theological truth-claims, not the rationality thereof.

    (I have James Anderson’s *Paradox in Christian Theology* (2007) in mind. I have put this book on my reading list 2-3 years ago. But since then I have shifted my reading interest to Taoism and Chinese Buddhism – I have not get around to reading it. So I just put this comment in bracket here.)

    5. And in this, Sean, you are very perceptive.

    If Michael can use the argumentative strategy of Reformed Epistemology to justify his belief in Krishna, then there is something not right there.

    There is something there that is less than meets the eyes.

    It would be an interesting essay to spell out in detail why that is so.

    6. I have said so in the past but let me repeat it here: I have learned from Dr. Robbins and you that there is much in the contemporary Federal Vision heresy that Van Til has to answer for.

    By deprecating logic as “merely” human logic, Van Til and his theological descendants are losing the ability to distinguish between true and false, right and wrong.

    And pace James Anderson, it can be rational to believe theological falsehood.

    The mystical fog is thick indeed.

    God bless.

    Benjamin


  33. Dear Cliffton:

    You asked: Is there any violation of the law of God that the Logos of God would not consider to be anti-logos?

    Benjamin: I do not quite understand your question.

    Can you give me more background information about your question?

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  34. Cliffton Says:

    Mr. Wong, you suspect that a particular individual has a problem that is “moral, not intellectual”. Christ is the reason, the logos, the word of God. To violate that word, that logos, that reason, would be by definition anti-reason, no?

  35. Sean Gerety Says:

    @Benjamin. FWIW I reviewed Anderson’s book here:

    https://godshammer.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/choosing-paradox-part-one/

    And here:

    https://godshammer.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/choosing-paradox-part-two/

    As you say re Anderson (and VT before him), “The mystical fog is thick indeed.” 🙂

  36. Denson Dube Says:

    @Ben,
    I am fine, thank you.
    Thanks for your comments.
    You wrote:
    2. Although we differ on our assessment of the philosophy of Gordon H. Clark, …..

    What I remember is that we agree(d) on the primacy of truth, that truth is propositional and that truth is the mind of God. I think that is a whole lot of agreement. I cannot ask for more from a guy.
    And as a bonus, both of us are not van Tilians. 🙂

    Our disagreement was over your(my) views on “reality”(“what is the case” — as you would say sometimes). I felt, the expressions you used, besides being just plain quaint, are discredited philosophically, in that this is Kant’s unkowable “thing in itself” all over again. My views on “reality” were not Clark’s views, though not without his influence.

    I do not share your and Sean’s fond memories of Michael(“I like(d) Michael”, as you put it), but then I do not drink “iced” tea either. 🙂

    You quoted Plantinga:

    . “As I see it, a belief has warrant if it is produced by cognitive faculties functioning properly (subject to no malfunctioning) in a cognitive environment congenial for those faculties, according to a design plan successfully aimed at truth.” (Warrant and Proper Function 1993, viii – ix)

    Just what are “cognitive faculties”? Eyes, ears and noses or hunchies and women’s intuition perhaps? I hold that these are totally non-cognitive. Cognitive faculties only exist in Plantinga’s great mind. Following Augustine and Gordon Clark, I believe it is Christ who teaches from within(De Magestro), the light that lightens every man who comes into the world, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

    @Sean,
    Surprise, surprise, at his blog Anderson has written a book(a collaboration actually with Greg Welty) on “The Lord of Non-Contradiction: An Argument for God from Logic”. http://www.proginosko.com/2011/12/the-lord-of-non-contradiction/

    I guess in the mystical thick fog of paradox anything is possible.

    Anderson boasts that “this is souped up Augustine”. This ought to come from readers’ assessment of the book, not the author. It seems Pommie pomposity knows no limits.


  37. Dear Cliffton:

    1. There is no need for formalities.

    Benjamin or Ben is fine. : – )

    2. I still do not believe I understand the nature of your question.

    I like to be cautious in answering your question for two reasons:

    (a) I am not familiar with the word “anti-logos”; and

    (b) The word “anti-logos” has overtone of “anti-Christ”.

    Because the word “anti-logos” has overtone of “anti-Christ”:

    (a) I would not use the word without precise definition; and

    (b) I would not apply the word lightly to anyone.

    3. Since you are the one bringing up the word “anti-logos” and in order to understand what you meant by it, maybe can you tell me if you consider the person(s) in the following scenarios to be “anti-logos”:

    (a) Intellectually, a person makes a mistake.

    In doing an addition of 16 + 47, he comes up with 62 instead of 63.

    All truths are God’s truths.

    In coming up with the wrong answer, this person has violated a truth of God.

    Is the person thereby “anti-logos”?

    (b) There is an intra-mural debate within Calvinism between supra-lapsarianism and infra-lapsarianism.

    Let’s assume “supra” is correct and “infra” is wrong.

    Therefore, those who believe “infra” believe a falsehood.

    Are those that believe “infra” thereby “anti-logos”?

    (c) A person hears the Gospel but rejects it.

    But he respects Jesus as a great teacher.

    Is this person thereby “anti-logos”?

    (d) A person tells a minor white lie to lessen an awkward social situation.

    Is he thereby “anti-logos”?

    (e) A person who lives in a tribe that has never had contact with western civilization is in a polygamous relationship.

    Is he thereby “anti-logos”?

    (f) A drunk driver kills another person in an automobile accident.

    Is the drunk driver “anti-logos”?

    (g) A Christian is lapsed in his belief but has not denied Christ.

    Is this Christian “anti-logos”?

    Answering the above questions will help me understand the semantic range of the word “anti-logos”.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  38. Cliffton Says:

    Ben, you suggest that a problem may be moral, not intellectual. But sin is a violation of the word of god, and the word of god is the reason of god, therefore sin is a violation of the reason of god. Basically, one is stupid (not in accordance with reason) when he sins, and it is a sin to be stupid (not in accordance with reason). A moral problem is an intellectual problem for the problem is “against” the “logos”.


  39. Dear Denson:

    1. I have not expressed myself clearly.

    When I wrote:
    “Although we differ on our assessment of the philosophy of Gordon H. Clark”,
    the “we” was referring to Benjamin and Michael Sudduth.

    Whatever our differences, I think we (i.e. Benjamin and Denson) are both big fans of Gordon H. Clark. : – )

    2. The abstract of Anderson and Welty’s paper say: “We argue that if our most natural intuitions about them are correct, and if they’re to play the role in our intellectual activities that we take them to play, then the laws of logic are best construed as necessarily existent thoughts — more specifically, as divine thoughts about divine thoughts.”

    Well said.

    But if the laws of logic are “necessarily existent”, then they are not created.

    If the laws of logic are “divine thoughts about divine thoughts”, then the laws of logic are divine thoughts, not “mere” human thoughts.

    If the laws of logic are “divine thoughts about divine thoughts”, then the laws of logic are divine logic, not “mere” human logic.

    The Van Tilians are making my mind spirals.

    Are they Van Tilians or Clarkians?

    3. Denson, I was just listening to Chyi Yu (a Taiwanese singer) rendition of “Windmills of Your Mind” in YouTube when I read your post:

    Some of the lyrics of that song describe the state of my mind when I read the abstract of Anderson and Welty’s paper:

    Round, like a circle in a spiral
    Like a wheel within a wheel
    Never ending or beginning
    On an ever spinning wheel
    Like a snowball down a mountain
    Or a carnaval balloon
    Like a carousell that’s turning
    Running rings around the moon

    Like a tunnel that you follow
    To a tunnel of it’s own
    Down a hollow to a cavern
    Where the sun has never shone
    Like a door that keeps revolving
    In a half forgotten dream
    Or the ripples from a pebble
    Someone tosses in a stream

    A circle in a spiral
    A wheel within a wheel
    Never ending or beginning
    On an ever spinning wheel
    As the images unwind
    Like the circle that you find
    In the windmills of your mind.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  40. Hugh McCann Says:

    Or, for us Westerners,
    What goes up, must come down;
    spinnin’ wheels got to go ’round.
    Talk about your troubles, it’s a cryin’ sin;
    Ride a painted pony; let the spinnin’ wheels spin.

    Oh, and the bridge:
    Did you find a directing sign, on the straight and narrow highway?
    Would you mind a reflecting sign?
    Just let it shine within your mind.
    And show you the colors that are real.

    {BS&T, ‘Spinning Wheels’}

    They just don’t write ’em like that anymore!

  41. Hugh McCann Says:

    Thanks, Ben! Now the wheels are really spinning:

    I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round;
    I really love to watch them roll.
    No longer riding on the merry-go-round;
    I just had to let it go…

    {J. Lennon}

  42. Hugh McCann Says:

    Profundities proliferate:

    Winter is here again, oh Lord*,
    Haven’t been home in a year or more.
    I hope she holds on a little longer.
    Sent a letter on a long summer day,
    Made of silver, not of clay.
    Ooh, I’ve been runnin’ down this dusty road

    Ooh, the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’.
    I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow.
    Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’…

    * Was S.Perry was singing to ‘Lord’ Krishna?

    [OK, enough with the anti-edification already!]

  43. Hugh McCann Says:

    Ben & Cliffton & 2-D,

    On morality & theology, I found these Clark quotes today from ‘The Logos’:

    The doctrine of creation, asserting that the universe is not an everlasting mechanism but a teleological construction of Intelligence, needs great emphasis today because it is so widely denied in the public schools. Purposeless differential equations have replaced an omnipotent and omniscient mind. Nor does this theology affect the subject of physics only. Its implications are even more easily seen in its effects on morality, extending from Sodom on the Hudson to Gomorrah across the Golden Gate. However, before going on to these derivative subjects, we must yet a while continue with the basic theology. For theology is basic…..

    John 1:14, “The Word [Logos] was…full of grace and truth.” Three verses below, “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” The third chapter of John, whose 16th verse is so well known, in verses 20-21 teaches that morality depends on truth. In his profound theological conversation with the Samaritan woman, who had had five husbands and was then living with a man who was not her husband, Christ insisted that one must worship God in spirit and in truth…..

    A few paragraphs back I made mention of morality. Let us ask, why do so many women murder their own babies, or at least pay a hired assassin to kill or half-kill the child and throw his quivering body into a garbage can? Why does the cruel vixen kill her own child? Few people give the basic answer. She kills her baby because she rejects the doctrine of the Trinity. The Ten Commandments forbid the crime of murder. But why should anyone pay attention to the Ten Commandments? The answer to this why is found in the introduction: “I am the Lord thy God.” If that statement is not true, then abortion, child abuse, torture, drug addiction, theft, and anything else are matters only of personal preference. The basic question is not what is right or wrong, though this question has a derivative status. But the basic question is, What is true?

    For a good 1500 years Christian theologians have described human nature as intellectual and volitional. Jonathan Edwards, for example, wrote “God has endued the soul with two principal faculties: the one, that by which it is capable of perception and speculation, or by which it discerns and judges of things, which is called the understanding. The other, that by which the soul is some way inclined with respect to things it views or considers: or it is the faculty by which the soul beholds things…either as liking, disliking…approving or rejecting. This faculty is called…inclination, will…mind…often called heart.”

    The Lutherans too, at least those who, like the Missouri Synod, have preserved this orthodoxy, pay little or no attention to the emotions. Even in this decadent century their notable theologian, Pieper, in his Christian Dogmatics (page 519) very briefly, but twice, states the Lutheran position that the image consists of intellect and will. There is no mention of the emotions.

    This emphasis on the will has almost totally disappeared from what now passes as Christian preaching…..

    http://www.trinityfoundation.org/PDF/278-The_Logos_Clark.pdf


  44. Dear Hugh:

    1. You wrote: “Or, for us Westerners”.

    But “The Windmills of Your Mind” is as western as it gets. : – )

    It is the theme song of “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1968:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Windmills_of_Your_Mind

    2. “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) was re-run by a local TV station a few nights ago.

    I catch the opening song and have been listening to some of the cover versions in YouTube.

    According to Wikipedia, this song has been covered by more than 50 singers.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  45. Denson Dube Says:

    @Ben,
    “Although we differ on our assessment of the philosophy of Gordon H. Clark”,
    the “we” was referring to Benjamin and Michael Sudduth.

    I have no idea why I read the “we” as refering to Ben & Denson.
    Age is probably catching up with me. Thanks Ben for clearing up my misreading of your lines above.

    What a beautiful song! I have never heared of Chi Yu. Thanks for sharing.

    I was stunned by avowed van Tilians writing a book with that title.
    What ever happened to, van Til’s “apparent contradictions”, “paradox” and “equal ultimacy of the one and the many” ?

    @Clifton,
    You are right that moral problems are intellectual problems. However, “intellectual” is basic and general, while “moral” as a derivative subject of “intellectual” is more specific. All moral problems are intellectual problems, but not all intellectual problems are moral problems. And so Michael’s intellectual problems can be called moral problems without implying a denial of their basic intellectual nature.

  46. Cliffton Says:

    Denson, my criticism was directed at the “moral, NOT intellectual” disjunction (emphasis mine). And, truth and righteousness are one in Christ, in whose image we must be transformed.

  47. Denson Dube Says:

    @Cliffton,
    Got it!


  48. Dear Cliffton:

    Point taken.

    But I did not mean by “moral, not intellectual” a disjunction between moral and intellectual.

    Again, I may not have expressed myself clearly, but a natural reading of “moral, not intellectual” is “moral, not [merely] intellectual”.

    As Denson observed: “intellectual” is basic and general, while “moral” as a derivative subject of “intellectual” is more specific.

    There is a willful or volitional dimension to morality that is absent from a simple intellectual mistake, such as mistaking 16 + 47 to be 62 instead of 63.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  49. Cliffton Says:

    To think without volition is a contradiction in terms.


  50. Dear Cliffton:

    The Principle of Charity says read an author as charitable as you can.

    When there is doubt, give an author the benefit of the doubt.

    When I wrote “there is a willful or volitional dimension to morality that is absent from a simple intellectual mistake”, must I be read as saying one can think without volition?

    I am not interested in tit-for-tat.

    If there are no more substantial points, this will be my last post for this topic.

    You can have the last word if you so choose.

    God bless.

    Benjamin

  51. Steve M Says:

    “To think without volition is a contradiction in terms.”

    I am going to have to think about that for a while before I choose whether to believe it or not.

  52. Cliffton Says:

    Apparently, your “Principle of Charity” with respect to “doubt” only extends as far as your judgment concerning what you believe is “substantial”. By definition, Ben, you have had (or will have) the last substantial word.

  53. Steve M Says:

    I can’t figure out who got the last word. I thought it was Clifton, but he says it was Ben. Maybe it was me?

  54. Cliffton Says:

    Choose to believe?

  55. Steve M Says:

    Choose anything?

  56. Cliffton Says:

    What is doing the choosing if choosing itself is the volition? … Never mind choosing to assent. Adam received the breath of life and he became a living soul.

  57. Cliffton Says:

    I found Robbins’ lectures on thinking to be extremely insightful. I would love to see them in book format. Maybe someone can drop an influential word to the trinity foundation.


  58. Need a transcriptionist-for-hire? patrickmcw AT gmail DOT com

  59. Steve M Says:

    Clifton

    “To think without volition is a contradiction in terms.”

    Are you saying understanding and (either) assenting (or not assenting) are the same thing? If not, I have no idea what you are saying.

    “What is doing the choosing if choosing itself is the volition?”

    It is the mind (soul, spirit, heart) that understands and chooses. One cannot assent to what one does not understand. One would, in such a case, be assenting to a misunderstanding of the proposition in question rather than the proposition itself. Since a proposition is the meaning of a declarative sentence, one must understand the meaning before one can assent. One must think in order to understand. Since “to think without volition is a contradiction in terms”, I guess there is no way to understand something before assenting to it.

    I once had a discussion with someone who objected to John Robbins criticism of RC Sproul on faith. The person was using Calvin and Edwards to defend Sproul’s position. I think some of the issues dealt with are pertinent to what we are discussing here. The following quotes and commentary are from that discussion:

    John Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion:

    Moreover, it will be seen in another place (Book 2 c. 2 see. 12-26), how surely the intellect governs the will. Here we only wish to observe, that the soul does not possess any faculty, which may not be duly referred to one or other of these members (i.e. the intellect and the will).

    8. Therefore, God has provided the soul of man with intellect, by which he might discern good from evil, just from unjust, and might know what to follow or to shun, reason going before with her lamp; whence philosophers, in reference to her directing power, have called her τὸ ἑγεμονικὸν. To this he has joined will, to which choice belongs.

    Jonathan Edwards Treatise on Religious Affections:

    1. It may be inquired, what the affections of the mind are?
    I answer: The affections are no other than the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul.
    God has endued the soul with two faculties: one is that by which it is capable of perception and speculation, or by which it discerns, and views, and judges of things; which is called the understanding. The other faculty is that by which the soul does not merely perceive and view things, but is some way inclined with respect to the things it views or considers; either is inclined to them, or is disinclined and averse from them; or is the faculty by which the soul does not behold things, as an indifferent unaffected spectator, but either as liking or disliking, pleased or displeased, approving or rejecting. This faculty is called by various names; it is sometimes called the inclination: and, as it has respect to the actions that are determined and governed by it, is called the will: and the mind, with regard to the exercises of this faculty, is often called the heart.

    Me:
    Both Calvin and Edwards recognize only two faculties of the “soul”. It is clear in the Edwards quote that he equates the soul with the mind. It is quite clear that, at least in the case of Edwards, that both intellect (that part which understands) and will (that part which chooses) are faculties of the mind.

    Note that Calvin specifically says “the intellect governs the will”, so while his quote may not be as clear as to whether he equates mind and soul (although I think he does) it is clear that “assent” which he attributes to the “affections” (will) is driven by the intellect.

    Voluntary assent to understood propositions would involve both (and the only) faculties spoken of by these two authors.

    It is the will, governed by the intellect (both being aspects of the mind) that assents to the propositions, which the intellect has first understood. It seems to me that these two authors agree with Clark and Robbins rather than with Sproul, although I am not quite sure what Sproul means by the third element he adds to faith. It either is included in the other two or is some indefinable psychological state. It is, at best, confusing.

    Robbins:
    First, in the Bible there is no difference between the heart and the head (or mind). When God created man, he made only two things: his body and his mind (see Genesis 2). God breathed into the body of dirt, and man became a living soul. It is man’s mind that is the image, the breath, of God. Mind, soul, heart, spirit are not different parts of man; they are synonyms. Further, the will is not a separate faculty; what confused theologians and philosophers have done is surreptitiously to change an activity of the mind, willing, into an entity, the will. (They have done the same thing with remembering.) It is the “whole person,” that is, the mind, who wills and remembers. The Bible does not teach nineteenth-century faculty psychology; it teaches that man is a unitary creature. It is the heart, the man himself that thinks, reasons, plans, wills, remembers, and suffers. Man is a unitary creature, not several distinct faculties. Look up the verses on heart and head. Gordon Clark did so, and he published the results in his book Religion, Reason and Revelation 45 years ago. Theologians, pastors, and Seminary professors have been ignoring his analysis of hundreds of verses ever since. Sproul’s account of saving faith is wrong because he does not derive it from the Bible nor base it on the Biblical view of man.

    Second, saving faith is not an “experience” that Christians get “caught up in.” Scripture knows nothing of Sproul’s experientialism. Saving faith, according to Scripture, is understanding and assenting to the Gospel. It is understanding propositions – such as “Jesus died on the cross for the sins of his people” – and agreeing that those propositions are true. No natural man can believe the Gospel. Some natural men cannot even understand it. God alone gives men the gift of belief, and such belief is entirely an act of the mind. The mind, that is the whole person, understands, and the mind, the whole person, agrees.

    Me:
    It is the whole person that understands and agrees, but that in no way makes understanding and agreeing to be the same thing

  60. Cliffton Says:

    Steve, you claim voluntary assent to understood propositions would require both faculties. Then you quote Robbins as saying that the will is not a separate faculty. Clark argued in Johanine Logos that the distinction between assent and trust is connected with a psychology that separates the intellect from the will, something I am arguing cannot be done. Then later he states that it seems strange that any reader would conclude that the mind (the intellect) and the will are two separate things. So are there faculties (plural) as you say (“both faculties”), or simply a heart aka a mind aka an intellect.

  61. Cliffton Says:

    Steve, you make the statement that understanding and agreeing are in “no way” the same thing. This implies that one could “understand” the Bible is true, but not ” agree” the Bible is true. Or, one could “understand” that Christ entrusted himself to no man, but not “agree” that Christ entrusted himself to no man.

  62. Steve M Says:

    Clifton

    My comment was “Voluntary assent to understood propositions would involve both (and the only) faculties spoken of by these two authors.” It is interesting that you can’t quote me accurately and deal with what I actually said. You must distort what I say and then attack your own misrepresentation.

    You are very confused. I said “It is the whole person that understands and agrees, but that in no way makes understanding and agreeing to be the same thing” You state “This implies that one could “understand” the Bible is true, but not ” agree” the Bible is true.” This is nonsense.

    One can understand the Bible without believing it. If one believes it to be true, that means he both understands and agrees. You are apparently taking the position that to understand always means to understand to be true.

    You seem to be someone who is interested in arguing just for the sake of argument. You are not really seeking to understand.

    I understand what you are saying, but I don’t agree.

  63. Cliffton Says:

    Steve, as I am sure you will argue in your newest post concerning the unity of truth, any one particular proposition implies an entire worldview. That is to say, it implies or assumes thoughts concerning epistemology, metaphysics, ethics. When an individual thinks, he is by definition making judgments with respect to the propositions in his mind. And propositions are either true or false. For one to understand the bible but not believe it to be true, two judgments are being made. In the first instance, one understands (or agrees) that it is true that the bible claims to be true. In the next instance the individual understands (or agrees) that the bible’s claim to be true is in fact false. So your distinction applied to two different judgments that were being made. It is my purpose to learn. This is my last post however.


  64. Steve M is not Steve Matthews.

  65. Cliffton Says:

    Apologies steve and steve

  66. Steve M Says:

    Clifton

    You are mistaking me for another (much more intelligent) Steve M. I am not Steve Matthews.

    You are contending that every thought is a judgement. I understand what you are saying, but I don’t agree. One cannot judge what one does not first understand. These are different activities of the mind (which you equate above with the intellect).

    Robbins says, ” Mind, soul, heart, spirit are not different parts of man; they are synonyms.” He goes on to say, “It is the heart, the man himself that thinks, reasons, plans, wills, remembers, and suffers.”

    If Robbins anywhere equates thinking and choosing (or willing), I am not familiar with any such passage, but then I haven’t read everything he has written.


  67. Y’all have drunk too much of the Kool Aid.
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………….


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