Truthseekers Fellowship!

16. People and Isms

1. The Best Belief
2. Understanding God
3. God's Requirement
4. Need for Perseverance
5. Spiritual Dynamics
6. Fellowship
7. From Twelve to Sermon
8. Jesus in Galilee
9. Judea thru John's Gospel
10. Key OT Teachings
11. Hermeneutic; Definitions
12. Ecumenical Monotheism
13. History of Beliefs, Part 1
14. History of Beliefs, Part 2
15. Moral, Political and Doctrinal Issues
16. People and Isms
17. Poems, Songs & Sermonettes
18. Miscellaneous

Alpha-List and Brief Description


[Contributors to the history of ideas are identified briefly.  Dates are A.D. unless

specified as B.C., pr. means "preached/promoted", f. means "founded/first"]

Abelard, Peter:  taught at Paris Cathedral School, had affair with Heloise, d.1142, wrote Sic et Non  – pros & cons, sin is bad intention, nominalist  (universals name individuals); moral influence theory of Christ's atonement, opposed confession to a priest & doctrine of original sin
Altizer, Thomas:  1967, wrote The Gospel of Christian Atheism - death of God

Anaxorgas:  c.428 B.C., f. atomic (seed) theory

Anselm of Canterbury:  archbishop, d.1109, wrote Monologion, Proslogion and Cur Deus Homo - ontological argument for God's existence as the    first cause & greatest conceivable being; satisfaction theory of Christ's atonement; universals exist independently of human perception; "I believe that I may understand" 

Antisthenes:  c.360 B.C., taught by Socrates, f. ascetic Cynicism that led to Stoicism

Apollinarius:  c.310, Christ was Theos ensarkos rather than human

Apostolic Fathers:  Early Christians (mainly bishops) who lived one generation later than Christ (whose writings are either lost or barely known), including Clement of Rome (d.99,  wrote 1 Clement pr. apostolic authority of presbyters as rulers), Ignatius of Antioch (d.117, wrote letters pr. the Lord's Day and using "catholic" to describe Christian church), Polycarp of Smyrna (d.155, wrote Letter to the Philippians pr. perseverance in faith and works), Papias of Hierapolis (d.c.130, writings about the sayings of Jesus are lost except what is quoted by Irenaeus and Eusebius)

Aquinas, Thomas:  teacher at University of Paris, d.1274, wrote Summa Theologica, pr. Aristotelian logic, God is act/being instead of matter/form, cosmological and teleological arguments, analogical language, natural theology; reason and faith should not be in conflict; grace is requisite for salvation and is received via seven sacraments; utilized Avarice's translation of Aristotle

Aristotle:  d.322 B.C., father of science, Lyceum, virtue is the golden mean, wrote Nichomean Ethics, happiness accompanies virtuous activity, tutored Alexander

Arius:  c.320, pr. Christ created before time & different in essence from God 

Arminius:  c. 1600, opposed Calvin's doctrine of predestination

Athanasius:  c.325, opposed Arius, pr. Christ is eternal and same essence as God

Augustine of Hippo:  c.345-430, wrote Confessions (et al.) pr. predestination (opposed by Pelagius) and Original Sin/infant baptism

Aulen, Gustaf:  1931, wrote Christus Victor – Lundensian school, predestinationist

Averroes:  d.1198, wrote The Agreement of Religion & Philosophy - “The Commentator”, pr. Aristotle in Moslem world

Ayer, Alfred:  1936, wrote Language, Truth & Logic, verifiability principle, logical positivism

Bacon, Roger:  d.1626, pr. science as the servant of theology

Barth, Karl:  d.1968, wrote Church Dogmatics (et al.) - pr. divine sovereignty, dialectical theology, universal atonement, hypostatic union of Christ.

Bentham, Jeremy:  d.1832, pr. utilitarianism - the greatest happiness for the greatest number, consequences rather than motive determine rightness, influenced J.S. Mill

Berkeley, George:  d.1753, wrote Three Dialogues, pr. empiricism – sensible things exist in divine mind

Boethius:  d.525, wrote Consolation of Philosophy - quadrivium = math, music, geometry & astronomy

Bonhoffer, Dietrich:  d.1945, wrote The Cost of Discipleship – against cheap grace, pr. religionless Christianity

Boniface VIII:  d.1303, issued papal bull Unum Sanctum, declaring that Pope is over the Church and the Church is over the world

Brunner, Emil:  1927, wrote The Mediator – faith=hand, pr. conditional election, God=love, natural revelation

Buber, Martin:  1937, wrote I & Thou – I-it vs. I-thou relationships

Bultmann, Rudolph: d.1976, wrote History of the Synoptic Tradition, viewed most of NT as myth

Calvin, John:  d.1564, wrote Institutes of the Christian Religion - predestinationist, pr. "TULIP" doctrines, f. Reformed Church 

Comte, Auguste:  d.1857, pr. humanist religion based on positivism/materialism

Constantine, Emperor: d.337, issued Edict of Milan, pr. Nicene Creed against Arianism (later Councils continued to debate the doctrine of the divine Trinity through the Third Council of Constantinople in 681); empowered Papalism, which corrupted NT Gospel 

Cullman, Oscar:  1945-, wrote Christ & Time – functional Christology, heilsgeschichte, already-not yet

Darwin, Charles:  d.1882, wrote On the Origin of Species, pr. theory of evolution and natural selection

De Bruys, Peter:  d. 1126, studied with Abelard and led Petro-Brusians until burned at the stake 

Descartes, Rene:  d.1650, wrote Meditations, pr. "I think, therefore I exist"

Diogenes:  Cynic, pr. asceticism/withdrawal from an evil world/society.

Dodd, Charles:  1935, wrote The Parables of the Kingdom  – realized eschatology, kerygma vs. didache

Dominic:  c.1170, founded the mendicant order that became Pope Innocent III's heresy hunters

DuBois, W.E.B.:  c.1896, wrote The Souls of Black Folk – organized the Niagra movement that became the NAACP

Eckhart, John:  d.1327, pr. mystical union with God

Epicurus:  c. 270 B.C. pleasure/avoiding pain via simple living is good and fundamental motivation (hedonism)

Erasmus, Desiderius:  d. 1536, wrote The Praise of Folly in support of Thomas More (cf. moron); published a Greek NT used by Martin Luther  

Erickson, Millard:  1985-, wrote Christian Theology - Calvinist

Erigena, J.S.: d.877, wrote De Divisionae Naturae – God, ideas, world & return

Fichte, Johann:  d.1814, pr. absolute idealism, immanentist, volitionist, cosmic Ego = God, influenced Hegel

Forsyth, John:  d.1921, The Principle of Authority  - sight instead of faith would coerce, end justifies


Francis of Assissi:  c.1226, founded a mendicant order that aided the poor

Frege, Gottlob:  d.1925, wrote Concept-Script:  a Formal Language for Pure Thought Modeled on that of Arithmetic, f. analytic philosophy, influenced B. Russell

Gadamer, Hans-Georg:  d.2002, wrote Truth & Method – subjectivist, language=reality, text has meaning beyond author’s to that of interpreter

Harnack, John: d.1930, wrote What is Xianity?  – Christ shows God as much as possible, Paul universalized  Christ, gospel not dogma

Hegel, Georg:  d.1831, wrote Philosophy of History - thesis/antithesis/synthesis, the Holy Spirit is the essence of reality/world, Christ=example

Heidegger, Martin:  d.1976, wrote Being & Time, existentialist, phenomenalist, pr. the essence of being is caring about possibilities, influenced by Husserl and Kierkegaard

Henry, Carl:  d.2003, wrote The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism - pr. plenary verbal inspiration, autographs innerrant, believers baptism

Henry VIII:  1534, f. Anglicanism in England against Roman Catholic papalism

Heraclitus:  c.500 B.C., all is in flux, the One is world, symbolized by fire, opposites define each other

Hick, John:  c.1966, wrote Evil & the God of Love – Sin vs. sins, end justifies means, God is all-loving, love requires volition

Homer:  c.850 B.C., wrote The Illiad and The Odyssey

Hume, John:  d.1776, wrote Treatise of Human Nature, pr. knowledge as subjective/intuitive 

Hus, John:  d.1415, a Czech priest and reformer disciple of Wyclif; protected by King Wenceslas until he died; burned at the stake for heresy by the Roman Catholic Pope, which began the Hussite Wars or crusades; his followers became the United Brethren and then the Moravian Brethren. 

Husserl, Edmund:  d.1938, wrote Logical Investigations, f. of phenomenology, pr. transcendental idealism in opposition to positivism, influenced Heidegger

Innocent I:  d.417, first Pope to claim supremacy, which led to Emperor Justinian (d.565) punishing heretics and Pope Gregory (d.604) compelling all bishops to be approved by him

Innocent III:  d.1216, defined transubstantiation, employed the Dominicans as Inquisitors,  sent armies against the Waldenses and Albigenses, and gave England as papal fief to John

Irenaeus:  d.200, Adversus Haereses – apostolic succession, life is learning process

James, William:  d.1910, wrote The Varieties of Experience, pr. pragmatism – truth works in experience; e.g. John Dewey’s instrumentalism
Jaspers, Karl:  d.1969, wrote Philosophy, pr. taking a leap of faith beyond empirical science to (atheist) transcendence and authentic existence (cf. Kierkegaard)

Jerome:  d.420, wrote Latin translation of Bible which became the Vulgate

Jesus: d. c.33, f. Christianity along with Paul of Tarsus

Jones, Jim:  d.1978, led mostly black followers to commit mass suicide

Justin Martyr:  d.166, wrote Dialogue with Trypho  – pr. volition, Plato knew Torah, Logos=Christ, virgin birth, Christians=Jews

Kant, Immanuel:  d.1804, wrote Critique of Pure Reason  - a priori knowledge, unavoidable problems, deist, goal/hope is virtuous joy, cannot comprehend infinity, moral argument for God is needed or what ought to be, the aim of reason is the systematic unity of knowledge, my body is not me, 3 objects of reason are I&world&God, skepticism seeks certainty, use words consistently, darkness known by light, categorical imperative - act as if that way should become universal law  

Kierkegaard, Soren:  d.1855, wrote Being & Time, pr. existentialism - faith is leap/blind/a-rational

King, Martin Luther Jr.:  d.1968, pr. non-violent aggression & led Civil Rights movement, had a dream

Knox, John:  1559, f. Presbyterianism in Scotland

Kung, Hans:  1980-, wrote Does God Exist?  - nihilism is possible but not provable

Ladd, Alan:  c.1959, wrote The Gospel of the Kingdom – both a present and future reality, resistible, MT 24:14

Leibniz, Gottfried:  d.1716, wrote Theodicy – this is the best possible universe

Lessing, Gotthold:  d.1781, wrote play Nathan the Wise pr. religious tolerance, influenced Schweitzer
Locke, John:  d.1704, wrote Essay Concerning Human Understanding, pr. empiricism – mind begins as tabla rasa and knowledge is obtained via senses, joy motivates will, seeks truth

Luther, Martin:  d.1546, wrote Freedom of a Christian Man  - pope is fallible, justification by faith, 2 kingdoms; preached against the sale of indulgences; affirmed the views of John Hus; began the Protestant Reformation in 1517 by posting 97 theses on the church door in Wittenburg; protected by Frederic the Elector, uncle of emperor Charles V; opposed the Zwickau prophets, Peasant Wars and Zwingli's view of the eucharist.


Machiavelli, Niccolo:  d.1527, wrote The Prince - described expedient immoral political behavior

Malcom X:  c. 1944, followed Elijah Mohammed into Nation of Islam/Black Muslim, militant

Marcion:  c.144, pr. inferiority of the Old Testament, denied the humanity of Jesus and accepted only the writings of Paul and a "sanitized" Luke 

Marx, Karl:  d.1883, wrote Das Kapital  - atheist, Jews worship money, proletariat class, communist

Menno Simons: 1536, f. Mennonite branch of the Anabaptist movement in Friesland

Mill, John Stuart:  d.1873, wrote On Liberty, pr. utilitarian ethics (cf. Bentham)

Mohammed:  d. 622, f. Islam, wrote Qur'an, pr. forced conversion, required 5 prayers daily and fasting during Ramadan, urged giving alms and pilgrimage to Mecca

Moltmann, Jurgen:  1967-, wrote Theology of Hope – theology seeks to answer MT 27:46,  God is free to love

Montanus:  c.150, pr. doctrines similar to charismatic denominations, with emphasis on Holy Spirit 

Moody, Dale:  1981-, wrote The Word of Truth - Arminianist

Muntzer, Thomas: d.1525, sermon Furstenpredigt – joined “Zwickau prophets” in leading peasant’s revolt

Neibuhr, H. Richard: d. 1962, in1951 wrote Christ & Culture – Christ vs. =, above, transforms or converts culture, relativism ends in nihilism

Nelson, J. Robert:  c.1951, wrote The Realm of Redemption – disagreement is discouraging, Holy Spirit gives koinonia/agape

Nestorius:  c.428, opposed Cyril of Alexandria, who pr. Mary mothered God (theotokos)

Nietschze, Friedrich:  d.1900, wrote Thus Spake Zarathustra  - God is dead; goal of evolution is superman, life is amoral will to power, I am Antichrist & immoralist, God is devil & father of evil, joy is destroying, 

Origen:  d.253, De Principis - volition includes God's, universalist, neo-platonist, traditionalist, Christ is logos, eclectic

Otto, Rudolph:  d.1937, wrote The Idea of the Holy, defined God as "the numinous" sensing of transcendent power 

Pachomius:  d.346, established the first Christian monastery, followed by Basil in 358 and Benedict in 543

Pannenberg, Wolfhart:  1968-, wrote Jesus—God and Man  – Christ from below, revelation is at end, Christ-prolepsis

Parmenides: early 5th century B.C., being is eternal and change is illusion

Pascal, Blaise:  d.1662, Jansenist, wrote Pensees - a rational person should believe the Christian God exists

Pelagius:  c.417, opposed Augustine of Hippo's doctrine of predestination

Petrarch, Francesco:  d. 1374, considered the founder of Humanism and the first modern man; coined the concept of the Dark Ages; published his letters modeled after those of Cicero; his poetry was set to music by madrigal composers

Plato:  d.347 B.C., wrote Dialogues and The Republic  - gadfly, God is good, good is absolute, eternal Ideas/Forms, 4 virtues, 3 classes

Protagoras: d.c.420 B.C., sophist, relativist, humanist, man is the measure of all things

Pythagoras:  c.525 B.C., transmigrationist, essence of world is math

Rahner, Karl: d.1984, wrote Foundations of Christian Faith – unity in difference, theology=anthropology

Rauschenbusch, Walter:  d.1918, wrote A Theology for the Social Gospel – kingdom of God, need moral revival

Ricouer, Paul:  d.2005, wrote The Symbolism of Evil – Adamic myth, hermeneutical circle, distanciation, wager

Ritschl, Albrecht:  d.1889, History of Pietism, - priority of MK, X is Archetypal Man

Robinson, John A.T.:  d.1983, wrote Honest to God – pr. Christ was a mere man, situational ethics

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques:  d.1778, wrote novel, Emile: or On Education, sceptic, deist

Russell, Bertrand:  d.1970, co-wrote Principia Mathematica, pr. logical atomism/positivism

Sartre, Jean-Paul:  d.1980, wrote Being & Nothingness, pr. we shape reality, art subs for God, no basis for love

Schaeffer, Francis:  d.1984, wrote Escape from Reason – critic of rationalism, pantheism, humanism

Schelling, Friedrich:  d.1854, idealist, pantheist, romanticist

Schleiermacher, Friedrich:  d.1834, The Xian Faith – pr. faith=feeling dependent, Christ is most God-conscious, universalism

Schopenhauer, Arthur:  d.1860, wrote The World as Will and Representation, pr. pessimism

Scotus, John Duns:  d.1308, knowing God is possible via analogy, God created world out of Himself

Socrates:  -399 B.C.? , opposed sophists, used dialectic method with inductive logic, taught Plato

Spinoza, Baruch:  d.1677, wr. The Ethics, pr. determinism, relativism 

Tacitus:  d.117, Roman historian, wrote Annals and Histories, mentioned Christ and killing of Christians

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre:  d.1955, Christianity & Evolution – Logos is A & O, universe is evolving toward spirit of Christ

Tertullian:  d.220, Apology etal. - Logos, traducianist, justice requires hell, 7 mortal sins

Thales:  c.585 B.C., founded early Greek school of philosophy at Miletus, viewed water as basic element

Thomasius, Gottfried:  d.1875, f. kenotic theology, tried to explain PHP 2:6-8 or how God can limit Himself

Tillich, Paul:  1933, Sys.Theology – ground of being, Sin vs. sins, nat.rev., anti-TS, kerygma, wrath

Trotman, Dawson:  d.1956, f. Navigators/BS in homes, mem.Scripture, each 1 win 1 per year, wheel symbol

Tyndale, William: 1525, published New Testament in English, permitting access to source of Christian ideas by literate people

Urban II:  c.1095, pr. first crusade to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims

Van Til, Cornelius:  d.1987, wrote The Defense of the Faith – apologetics reveals presuppositions

B.T. Washington:  d.1915, pr. strategy of accomodation at Tuskegee vs. DuBois

Voltaire (Arouet, Francois-Marie):  d.1778, anti-Roman Catholicism, pr. freedom of religion, deism

Waldo, Peter:  d. c. 1205, f. Waldensees or the Poor of God in Lyons, France; stressed memorization of Scripture, witnessing in pairs 

William of Ockham:  d.1349, God is free and determined moral laws; a nominalist regarding universals, agreed with Duns Scotus that reason cannot prove faith

Wittgenstein, Ludwig:  d.1951, The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. – pr. logical atomism, task of philosophy is linguistic analysis for clear thinking
Wycliffe, John:  d.1384, translated Vulgate Bible into English, opposed Roman Catholic papalism; said the state is above the church in secular matters; wrote Dei Ekklesia defining church as invisible consisting of true believers; followers were called Lollards; declared a heretic (by the same Council that condemned his disciple John Hus in Bohemia) in 1415, his body was exhumed, burned and the ashes tossed into a river in 1428 by the Council of Constance. 


Zeno:  d. 264 B.C., f. Stoicism (cf. Buddhism), pr. apathy/indifference re predestined events, freedom = no desires, tranquility is the ideal; e.g. Epictetus

Zinzendorf, Nikolaus:  d.1760, helped est. the Moravians or Brethren (c.1727), pr. mystical experience of HS

Zwingli: c.1523, began the Reformation in Switzerland independently of, but a year later than, Luther in Germany


[List of various isms or belief systems shared by numerous adherents for several years: 1.identified, 2. validity, 3. fallacy.]


1. Agnosticism literally means "without knowledge" and in theology refers to the belief that a person cannot be absolutely or infallibly sure whether or not God (or something else) exists or is true at this point in time/history.  2. Its validity is that we do indeed live by faith rather than by proof (2CR 5:7):  We are born agnostic, then as we grow older we learn, interpret and form opinions regarding reality.  3. Its fallacy on the part of many is believing there is insufficient evidence of God’s existence for truth-seekers to be relatively sure (HB 11:1), so they assume God does not exist rather than realize they should (logically) have a propensity to believe in Him (Lesson 1). 




1. Atheism is the belief that a supernatural God does not exist.  As such it is amoral, so most atheists are adopt humanist moral philosophy, such as the "golden rule".  Atheism is also anti-Christ or rejects Jesus as God's Messiah.  2. It validly notes that the existence of God cannot be proved at this point in time or with the present degree of knowledge.  3. It wrongly assumes that lack of proof must mean God does not exist.  Some atheists fail to acknowledge the unique universe as evidence for the possibility of Deity.  Another flaw is rejecting the Propensity Principle (cf. Lessons 1 & 18).


1. Jakob Arminius taught that God allows normal human adults to have limited moral free will, so that God neither causes souls to do evil and be condemned to hell nor elects in an unfair or irresistible way some to repent of their sins and be saved to heaven.  2. This view rightly affirms both God's sovereignty and His love for all humanity.  3. In the opinion of Augustinianism-Calvinism, this makes saving faith/will meritorious, but the act of receiving a gift does not mean the gift is deserved.


1. These terms refer to the doctrine of predestination stated by Augustine of Hippo that was affirmed by John Calvin, which viewed God as determining who is saved or condemned.  2. It does seem easier to explain divine sovereignty in terms of cause and effect than in terms of moral free will.  3. However, it fails to understand that moral volition is requisite for human personality and to affirm biblical teachings that God is both just (2THS 1:6) and all-loving (JN 3:16).  If God predetermined souls, He would choose everyone to be saved (1TM 2:3-4, Universalism).

Buddhism Compared with Christianity

Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama, of an           Christ was born Jesus, son of Joseph and

Aryan, Hindu Rajah in India about 563 B.C.             Mary, in a Judean stable about 4 B.C.  He

He married at an early age, and had one son at          never married, and when he was twelve, he

the time of his Great Renunciation.  At first he         announced to his parents the higher duty of

studied the Vedas and Hindu wisdom under            obedience to God, his heavenly Father.  He

Brahman teachers, then he practiced severe               probably studied the Hebrew scriptures and

self-mortification.  He was tempted by mara,            possibly was aware of Indian religions.

the evil one, to give up his quest, but finally he         When thirty, he began public ministry as

sat under a Bodhi tree in meditation until he             God’s chosen one (Messiah) after a period

attained enlightenment and became a Buddha.1          of being tempted by the devil.2

Hinduism had been developed by the priests             Judaism had been developed by the priests

into a burdensome sacrificial and ritual system.3          into a burdensome sacrificial and ritual

Buddha’s mission was to reinterpret or give it           system.  Christ’s mission was to reinterpret

new meaning.4  He first gathered a handful of           or fulfill the Law and the Prophets.6  He first

disciples, to whom he preached his first sermon        called a dozen disciples, to whom he

on the kingdom of righteousness, which began          preached his sermon on the kingdom of

with the doctrine of the Middle Way.  He                 heaven, which began with “How blessed are

described four great truths:  life is full of pain,          those who know their need of God.”7  He

the cause of suffering is craving, desire can be          described two great truths:  the law of love

done away with, and the way is the Eightfold           and salvation by faith.8  Faith involves

Path, which essentially is right knowledge and          repentance from sinful behavior and

right behavior.5                                                                               knowing Jesus as Messiah/Christ.

For 45 years Buddha travelled in India,                     For three years Jesus travelled in Palestine,

preaching, founding monastic orders and                   preaching, healing and counseling.  He

counseling.  He followed a pattern of work               He followed a pattern of work and prayer.11

and meditation three times a day.9  He died at          At about the age of 33, he was crucified,

the age of 80, possibly from eating poisonous            buried, and resurrected from the dead to be

mushrooms.  His body was cremated, and his            with God until his Second Coming.12  After

ashes were divided among ten stupas.  After              his death, many people began to worship

his death, many people began to worship him            him as God the Son.13

as a god.10

At first, Buddhism was considered just                     At first Christianity was considered just

another sect of Hinduism.  It was a missionary          another sect of Judaism.  It was evangelistic,

religion, and its method was preaching.  Its               and its method was preaching the Gospel.15

original message concerned the way to end               The old message concerning obedience of

suffering, but it came to emphasize faith in                God’s law became “accept Jesus as Lord.”

the Dhamma.  Emperor Asoka (264-227 B.C.)          The apostle Paul undertook missionary trips

sponsored missionary efforts to Egypt, Syria,            to Asia Minor, Greece and Italy, and others

Macedonia and throughout the Far East.14                      went to Africa and India.16

Two schools developed:  the Theravada                     Two schools developed:  the Roman

(later known as the Hinayana), which taught               Catholic, which taught the authority of

moral philosophy for the few; and the Mahayan        the RC church/Pope; and Protestantism,

(greater raft), which taught worship of the Buddha   which taught the Bible and included many

and salvation for the world.17  Buddhism died out    denominations in America.  Christianity

in India, but elsewhere it has spread until it is one     died out in Israel, but it became one of the

of the world’s largest religions. Its earliest scripture    world’s largest religions.  Its new canon

is the Pali canon, written about 25 B.C. in Ceylon.18   was written from 65-125 A.D.

Ultimate reality is beyond our finite conception.       God is beyond complete comprehension, but

                                                                                He communicates His will sufficiently.

Man is reborn until he reaches enlightenment.            Man must be reborn spiritually once.

Morality operates according to cause and effect.       Morality operates according to love and


The worst sin is ignorance, and a man is                     The root of sin is rebellion against God, who

punished by his sins.                                                   consigns evil people to just consequences.

Motive is more important than the deed.                    God judges thoughts, which motivate deeds.

The day of judgment is at all times for everyone.      Everyone will be resurrected to judgment at

                                                                                    the eschaton.

Happy is the man who is full of love for all               Happy is the man who loves everyone in

things in the world.                                                     the world.

Hurt none by word or deed which pains yourself.     Do unto others as you would have them do

                                                                                    unto you.



1. Cosmaterialism (aka logical positivism) is a form of atheism that defines reality as consisting of only four dimensions (space plus time); there is no supernatural, spiritual or objective moral dimension. 2. It is valid to note that our physical senses perceive the material dimensions. 3. It is a fallacy to assume that there is no fifth, divine or objective moral dimension perceived by a sixth intuitive or spiritual sense.




1. Creationism affirms that God created the world by instantly willing the universe and creatures into existence rather than by employing evolutionary means.  2. It is right to preserve the possibility that a Creator exists.  3. However, there is a lack of sufficient evidence to affirm a literal interpretation of the creation stories in Genesis.




1. Deism views the unique universe as evidence consistent with belief in a Creator, but that the Creator does not interact with humanity or judge moral behavior.  2. At least it admits that the evidence warrants belief that God is possible.  3. But it denies that a supernatural Creator would have a moral nature, as revealed most fully in the New Testament.




1. Determinism says that moral free will is an illusion, because people's psychology is determined by heredity and environmental experience.  2. Its validity is that people are indeed influenced by these factors.   3. Its fallacy is denying the ability attained in adolescence to resist and affirm various influences, so that a person may be viewed as responsible to some degree for their beliefs and behavior.



1. Evolutionism is a theory that the current biosphere (life on earth) developed from nonliving ingredients during the course of billions of years. 2. As such, evolutionism is not a theological stance either for or against faith in a God who directs the process.  2. However, atheist evolutionists deny the possibility that an evolutionary mechanism was directed by God.  Also, some theorists fail to acknowledge either gaps in the fossil evidence or a circular logic (species evolved because of certain conditions; these conditions caused a wide variety of species to evolve), so that there is no predictive value. 


1. Hedonism believes that happiness is mankind’s highest good. 2. The desire for joy does indeed motivate much human behavior, including suicide.  3. Atheist hedonists do not value the eternal joy that is found by satisfying God’s requirement for salvation, which includes the mandate to love everyone.




1. Humanism says that man is the measure of morality and "all things" (Protagoras) or the highest form of existence, who determines what is right/good, because a superhuman God does not exist.  2. Humanity is the highest form of life that we know.  3. But it is not morally as high as it should be, so faith in God is warranted by existential concerns.  (Again, see the Propensity Principle in Lessons 1 & 18.)


Islam (Mohammedism)

1. Islam is the belief that God’s will is most fully expressed by the Qur'an, the writings of Mohammed.  2. While it affirms monotheism and many Jewish and Christian scriptures and moral values (see Surah 2, verses 62, 83, 87, 89 and 256.)  3. It fails to preach religious tolerance and denies that Jesus is Messiah and many of Paul's teachings.  (See Lesson 12 on Ecumenical Monotheism.) 




1. Judaism is the belief that God chose the nation of Israel and revealed His will through the writings of Moses (Torah). 2. Israel does play a significant part in the history of salvation—from the call of Abraham through the Exodus led by Moses to the birth of Jesus.  3. However, ever since the restoration of the Mosaic law by Ezra after the Babylonian Captivity it has ignored prophetic proclamations (IS 42:6, 45:22, 49:6, 66:23) that God’s plan was for Messiah to bless people in all nations with the hope of eternal life as by faith they become spiritual Jews (cf. DT 18:15).



1. Karmaism is the belief that souls are reincarnated according to a natural moral law that judges a person’s deeds.  2. Its validity is that there needs to be an objective moral judgment in order for life to have ultimate meaning. 3. Its fallacy is viewing the scant evidence for reincarnation as better than the suffiient evidence for theism.




1. Legalism is the belief that souls are judged and saved (via reincarnation or resurrection) by obeying a set of moral laws. 2. Its validity is that only the righteous will enter heaven.  3. Its fallacy is viewing good behavior as meriting God’s forgiveness rather than as motivated by gratitude for God’s grace.  (Legalism has been the heresy of most unorthodox "Christian" cults (groups that pervert God's requirement for salvation from faith in Him to working in their organization).



1. Mormonism is the belief that God revealed a more complete gospel (GL 1:6-9) through Joseph Smith.  2. Its validity is that the close of the NT era marked the beginning of the latter days moving toward the last day (ACTS 2:17f.), so Believers may be called latter-day saints (ACTS 2:17f., p.47). 3. Its fallacy is viewing only good members of the Mormon church as Believers who qualify for (the highest) heaven, which is the mark of a legalistic cult or pseudo-Christian denomination (see the previous ism).




1. Nihilism is the belief that there is no basis for universal morality and meaning.  2. Its validity is that without an objective rationale (whether karma or divinity) for why one belief or behavior is better than another, life does not have an “oughtness”.  3. Its fallacy is refusal to view the threat of subjectivity and moral relativism (see KOTH) as a reason to have a propensity to hope that the moralists are right.



1. Pantheism is the belief that God is omnipresent in nature.  2. Its validity is that the material universe does manifest the word of God.  3. Its fallacy is that nature is not omnitemporal/eternal or self-creative.  Thus, God is supernatural or the Creator of nature (GN 14:19), which is not identical with deity.




1. Universalism is the belief that God saves everyone.  2. Its validity is affirming the fact that God loves everyone (MT 6:44-48, JN 3:16, RM 5:6-8). 3. Its fallacy is misunderstanding the role of volition in personality, the theoretical goodness of the evil option, and the justness of hell.