Friday, November 24, 2006

Some recent designs

A website for a highschool to announce their new logo and to allow student, teachers and family to send e-cards to make this joyful news known to the world.

Schelde Sports, an internationally well-known supplier for all kinds of sports organizations, including the MBA, needed a new style. What you see here is one of he designs I did for them.

These are some proposed Schelde Sports ads.

Duhamel, yet another school. Also a new name and a new logo. This design was developed a part of a larger over-all face-lift.


Province, elections and youth

Recently I designed this website for the province of Zeeland, Netherlands, to create an awareness among young people of the importance of the provincial elections. It's a site that features a lot of teen-related topics. Above all it looks 'cool'. Click on the image to get a bigger view.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Is faith as evil as smallpox?

This is an interesting exchange of views that took place in blogworld:

Today I read where the statement was made that Faith is as evil as smallpox. I responded by saying that:

"Funny enough Richard Dawkins is a believer too. He believes in naturalism. And you really need quite a big faith to believe that the material reality that we experience is all there is. The very statement that 'faith is evil' requires a set of presuppositions that can't be proven themselves and thus require belief."

The response I got was the following:

'Yossman, to apprehend this world all you have to do is look around. But to try and explain what we do know, ie., all this that we see and experience, by means of something we neither see nor experience requires a leap in the dark. Literally, a leap of faith. The difference is clear enough.'

I gave the following response:

No, I don't agree.

First. We do not know for sure that what our senses perceive is really true. If there is anything out there at all. In order to prove it rationally we have to use our logical thinking, the effectiveness - or rather truthfullness - of which we can only prove by using the very logic we try to prove, thus creating circular reasoning. (This is rather Kantian I suppose.) What I am trying to say is that we have to believe our senses and logic in order to interact with the world and interpret the world. By giving a rational/material explanation of all that is, we are already taking huge steps of faith. Believing in a God might be just a higher form of believing than believing the senses.

Secondly looking around doens't explain for a lot we see and experience. For instance our morality, or the big bang, or the apparent mind-boggling design on both macro and micor levels, or consciousness, or beauty and our ability to perceive it. It might actually be a very logical thing to postulate the existence of a powerful Being that has brought everything about.

Thirdly, the material worldview runs aground trying to build a lasting basis for morality for instance. How on earth can we derive an 'ought' from the 'descriptive' fact of zillions of atoms that are out there?

Truly, saying that faith is an evil thing is an illogical thing to say. The statement itself is based on faith as it can't be proven. It's a self-refuting claim.


I got a lot of feedback on that post and gave the following reply. I'll leave it at that.

Apparently you don't seems to understand that to interpret data is so much as to impose a mental (ie. invisible) mental structure upon those data. To arrive at any origin from a given amount of perceivable states you have to take a leap of faith. Postmodernism has shown us that much.

My point is to argue not in favor for a leap of faith, however, but to show that any position that interprets the world takes certain steps of faith. To believe in God is therefore not less rational than not to believe in Him. My interpretation of the facts at hand has led me to believe there is a God (in fact just by looking around me).

Furthermore I would like to point out that 'faith' as such (whatever it really means) can neither be wrong or good. It is rather the content of faith - and very often the way in which it has been working out in people's actions - that has led to destructive consequences. As has the content of non-religious 'isms'.

Islam for instance holds to the idea that unbelievers have to be converted by force. Although it needs to be said that most muslims would not advocate this at the present.

I know that many self-proclaimed Christians have done horrible things even in the name of their religion (slavery, crusades, imperialism, etc.)

As far as naturalism goes, here is an 'ought' derived from evolutionary naturalism that is not very nice either:

Nazism cannot be condemned by means of a naturalistic morality. The nazis were trying to advance their race and were doing the logical thing in order to diseminate their genes as widely as possible.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006


A sonnet describing my experience of living in Karachi many years ago. This poem captures the essence in a frame. The English translation is provided below.

Een langgerekte ijle toon
die blijvend om verlossing smeekt
al duizend en eenmaal betoond
zolang het morgenlicht ontbreekt

De regen van augustus komt
en de oktoberwinden vluchten
maar meestal schijnt de zon
en daalt hij mooi in vuile luchten

Veel rechte straten door het zand
een goed bedacht project vervuild
door management en de migrant
die in zijn eigen basti schuilt

als de azan stopt is het laat
tijd voor paratha van de straat


A thin and stretched tone
begging for redemption again and again
for a thousand and one times
for as long as dawn tarries

The rains of August come
and the October winds flee
but usually the sun will shine
and descend beautifully in dirty skies

So many straight roads in the sand
a proper project polluted
by mismanagament and the migrant
that hides in his basti

When the azan is finished it is time
time for paratha from the street


Saturday, November 11, 2006

The death of democracy

The congressional elections in the US are finished. The Dutch parliamentary elections are coming up. Time for some thoughts on the matter. I often feel uncomfortable with democracy. The way I've seen it in operation it often seems to work against Christianity. Having said that I also admit to feeling a bit uneasy with this uncomfortableness. It's politically incorrect to have qualms about democracy. So I did some thinking on it and here is my analysis, or rather, here I offer my musings.

There are basically two kinds of democray in the West historically speaking. When democracy was first conceptualized it was embedded in a framework of absolute morals. There was a foundational belief in a transcendental moral good. This democracy operated with fixed moral guidelines that were not to be altered. The subject matter of democracy concerned itself with the practical gouvernance of the state with the means of these moral principles. The application or consequential structuring of society by these principles was what democracy was all about instead of relying on the whims and fancies of a potentially immoral monarch. Democracy had as its aim to bring morality back at the center.

The other kind of democracy which has developed during the first half of the 20th century has made morality subject to the democratic process. It is a form of democracy which ultimately has its roots in naturalism or a materialistic view of the universe in which morality is relative and situational. In the first one there is no discussion whatsoever about truth, morality, the intrinsic value of the human being andsoforth as they are seen as fixed by a transcedental source. In the second basically everything is up for grabs as soon as the majority of the public is ready for it.

The second form of democracy has become a platform for the naturalistic ideology and thus has transformed itself into a battleground for opposing worldviews: the theistic Judeo-Christian worldview versus a relativistic worldview.

It needs to be said that the reason why the 2nd form of democracy could come into existence lies in the fact that the first one already lived on borrowed capital. I.e. its foundational principles were based on an optimistic epistemology that characterized much of the Enlightenment. The epistemological despair so central to post-modernism has introduced moral relativism in the political arena.

Now given this fundamental change from the first form of democracy to the second, from working within the parameters of a fixed moral framework to an extension of the democratic process to the realm of ethics and morality, one would expect a considerable amount of discussion going on about the difference beween worldviews. That is a discussion between a worldview of moral absolutes and one that holds to moral relativism. What we see instead is a tremendous degree of confusion and hardly any discussion if at all on this all important topic. Rather we find pro lifers pitched against pro choicers, environmentalists against those who oppose environmental measures. Politicians reiterate their points of view in a cloud of unknowing.

What are the consequences of this shift in democracy? First of all politics has become utterly boring if not trivial. Most political statements are merely statements in mid-air and are not part of a thought system built from the ground up. They talk well, these politicians, but they are blind guiding the blind. Moreover most of the political views expounded, however different they may seem to be from each other, are often part and parcel of the same underlying worldview based on moral relativism. I haven't met a politician willing to think through the consequences of his naturalistic worldview, or consciously basing his political agenda on such a worldview.

Secondly democracy is bound to collapse sooner or later. If not by the insurmountable worldwide threats like terrorism or environmental hazard then by the increased corruption and moral decay in the West. In any case with morality being made subject to the democratic process it is the majority in our nations that will decide on the ethical course that we take. The majority as of old will only want 'bread and games'. To be entertained is the higest good. Democracy thus becomes descriptive of a civilization's moral decay. Eventually these democracies will lead to annihilation or turn into dicatorships. Democracy has turned on itself.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Mind renewal

Tough thinking for beginners
I have recently started a biblestudy series for beginners in the faith. It took me a while to get started as I wanted to do it differently this time; get it right. The series I developed this time (and that is still under development) is actually very tough. Instead of getting right away into the scriptures to analyze the message of salvation I decided to do a bit of culture engagement, i.e. to address issues non-christians bring up during conversations like: why the Bible? Is there a God? etc. Apologetics precedes biblestudy I thought.

After giving the first study I was a bit apprehensive about the results but not in the least doubtful in my opinion that such philosophical questions and their answers from a Christian viewpoint are important.

Yesterday at the beginning of the second meeting I found my audience very excited. Yes they found it hard stuff, but did not find it odd that even a 'beginners' biblestudy deals with the heart of the matter at hand. One of them used whatever little apologetics I provided in his classroom to defend his newly found faith over against the entire group, and succesfully!

All of this has confirmed my resolve to bring hard thinking back to the pulpit. The way I see it revitilization of the church (which is something of a prerequisite to revival) needs two components:

(A) An earnest searching of the Lord to restore ALL the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the church. This entails perseverance in sanctification, prayer and fasting. Let's take Jesus' words for real for once.

(B) A lifelong quest for intellectual excellence, like Groothuis, JP Moreland and others advocate. This will be fed by four things: (1) A realization that all creation is God's creation and thus points to Him. (2) A dedication to the reality of the historicity of the NT. (3) That faith in God is not an existential leap in the dark but the logical consequence of hard and honest thinking. (4) Good arguments for the case of God take people by surprise, because they don't expect Christians to have a coherent worldview that bears on reality.

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