Tag Archives: J. P. Moreland

What does “the pursuit of happiness” really mean?

From Muddling Towards Maturity. He quotes Chuck Colson on the pursuit of happiness.

Excerpt:

Our founding fathers understood the pursuit of happiness to mean the pursuit of a virtuous life. This concept of happiness comes from the Greek word eudaimonia—which refers to a life well-lived, a life rooted in truth. That is what happiness means, and that is what every man and woman has an inalienable right to pursue—a virtuous life.

And as I wrote in my book The Good Life, this is the definition of happiness that we need to reclaim in American life—especially within the Church. After all, a Barna survey revealed that more than half of evangelicals agreed with the statement: “The purpose of life is enjoyment and personal fulfillment.”

Come on. If the last 50 years have taught us anything, it’s that consumerism and hedonism (the pursuit of unbridled pleasure) do not lead to happiness, but instead to personal and societal misery.

[…]The goal is not pleasure; it is righteous living, decency, honor, doing good—in short, living a virtuous life.

I’ve heard J. P. Moreland write about this, too, in his book “Love Your God With All Your Mind”. (And again in “Kingdom Triangle”)

J.P. says in chapter 1 of LYGWYM that freedom is “the power to do what one ought to do”. he right to the pursuit of happiness means that no individual or government has the power to prevent you from living the virtuous life that God intended for you. That is why I come down so hard on the secular left. When they force Christians to deny their faith and act like atheists in public, (e.g. – to perform abortions or lose their jobs), then the government is thwarting the pursuit of happiness, rightly understood.

J.P. Moreland asks: does truth matter when choosing a religion?

This lecture contains Moreland’s famous “Wonmug” illustration. Ah, memories!

The MP3 file is here.

Topics:

  • Is it intolerant to think that one religion is true?
  • Is it more important to be loving and accepting of people regardless of worldview?
  • How should Christians approach the question of religious pluralism?
  • How does a person choose a religion anyway?
  • Who is Wonmug, and would you like to be like Wonmug?
  • Is it enough that a belief “works for you”, or do you want to believe the truth?
  • Can all the religions in the world be true?
  • Is it wise to pick and choose what you like from all the different religions?
  • Is it possible to investigate which religion is true? How?
  • Which religions are testable for being true or false?
  • How you can test Christianity historically (very brief)

If you don’t know about Wonmug, you’re not even a Christian, (I’m pretty sure). Just kidding. Maybe.

Seriously, this is the most fun lecture to listen to, you should listen to it, if you like fun.

MUST-READ: J.P. Moreland’s argument for theism from consciousness

Here’s a post from Thinking Matters New Zealand.

Excerpt:

Last year, the release of J. P. Moreland and William Lane Craig’s Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology saw a lot of attention. And quite rightly. The Companion marshalled some of most cutting-edge work in the field of the philosophy of religion and showed why natural theology is fast becoming an exciting scholarly domain again. But in the shadow of the Companion’s release, another of Moreland’s works was published: The Recalcitrant Imago Dei: Human Persons and the Failure of Naturalism. Although it might not have got the same amount of attention, The Recalcitrant Imago Dei also represented an important entry in the contest of ideas and a powerful defense of theism. In it, Moreland argues for the theistic position by way of a stinging attack on naturalism and its failure to answer the problem of consciousness and account for the basic facts of human experience, such as free will, rationality, and intrinsic value.

And here’s the formal argument:

1. Genuinely non-physical mental states exist.

2. There is an explanation for the existence of mental states.

3. Personal explanation is different from natural scientific explanation.

4. The explanation for the existence of mental states is either a personal or natural scientific explanation.

5. The explanation is not a natural scientific one.

Therefore

6. The explanation is a personal one.

7. If the explanation is personal, then it is theistic.

Therefore

8. The explanation [for the existence of mental states] is theistic.

That’s the argument. Each of the premises needs to be more likely than not for the argument to go through. And you can read about how each premise is supported in this helpful post from Bill Vallicella at Prosblogion. This is good little argument to ad to your quiver of scientific arguments. I think this argument and moral argument are two nice little philosophical arguments that show that theism is the necessary starting point for morality and rationality. Particles in motion will not do the job.

I actually learned about this argument by reading chapter 3 of “Scaling the Secular City”, and listening to J.P. Moreland lectures. If you want to learn about this argument in a lecture, try this one. This is one of my favorite lectures. It was delivered at the University of Georgia. That’s the one I use when I’m training this argument, along with his lecture on “The Invisible Man” for Stand to Reason’s Masters Series, which is also good. Moreland also does public debates.

I notice that the new book mentioned above is quite expensive, and you’d be better off buying “Body and Soul” and “Philosophical Foundations for a  Christian Worldview”. SPCK is an academic press and so their books are very expensive, compared to IVP.

My favorite lectures from J.P. Moreland, Walter L. Bradley and Philip E. Johnson

These are the lectures that made me who I am today!

Dr. J.P. Moreland

B.S. in Chemistry, University of Missouri
M.A. in Philosophy, University of California Riverside
Th.M. in Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary
Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of Southern California

Dr. Walter L. Bradley

Ph.D. in Materials Science, University of Texas at Austin, 1968
B.S. in Engineering Science, University of Texas at Austin, 1965

Dr. Philip E. Johnson

A.B., Harvard University, 1961
J.D., University of Chicago, 1965