Posts

On An Argument Against the Necessity of Baptism

There is an argument I hear quite a bit against the necessity of baptism. It says something like: 
1. If it is possible to go to heaven, or be saved, without baptism, then baptism is not necessary for salvation.  2. It is possible to go to heaven, or be saved, without baptism.  3. So baptism is not necessary for salvation.
There's something funny going on with the word "necessary" here. To flesh this out, take a similar argument: 
4. If it is possible to go to heaven, or be saved, without knowing Jesus, then knowing Jesus is not necessary for salvation.  5. It is possible to go to heaven, or be saved, without knowing Jesus (Romans 1 and Old Covenant Jews)  6. So knowing Jesus is not necessary for salvation. 
This should make the proponent of the first argument uncomfortable because they often times say that we shouldn't really make big deal out of baptism, at least not to the degree that we Catholics (or any other Protestant group that believes in the necessity of b…

Hope and Despair

My uncle is dying. If he were to die tonight, I would have no doubt he would land in hell. I feel partially responsible because when I was a teen, I took his vulnerable soul and introduced him to Satanism, and encouraged him to denounce his Catholic, even if nominal, faith. So now, I have to consider what options are available to me so that I may undo my damage and help save him. My options are few, if any, and prospects do not look good. For now, all I can do is wait. And pray. Can I hope? I don't know. 

Last week, when I was teaching Catechism for the teens, I was going through the theological virtues, and I had some difficulty trying to explain hope to them. I gave the very basic, "It's a combination of desire and expectation of something good, in our case, communion with God." As far as I can tell, this is adequate, but I don't know that I fully comprehend it. Is it not presumptuous to expect God to save me? On what do I base this expectation? Probability? 50%…

How To Cite the Bible

Having started teaching catechism at my parish again, I forget that some of the kids really are starting from scratch, and some didn't know how to read bible citations. So, I made this handout to teach kids how to read, understand, and write bible citations. Hope you find it useful and any feedback is welcome! 

ICOC and Historical Roots

I came across this quotation from Alexander Campbell, founder of the Church of Christ, from which the ICOC springs. It reads,  "I have endeavored to read the Scriptures as though no one had read them before me, and I am as much on my guard against reading them today, through the medium of my own views yesterday, or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever."  This is interesting because there seems to be a trend within the Evangelical world to disassociate with their historical roots. I know many Protestant Evangelicals, including the ICOC, who are squeamish when I call them "Protestants." 'We're not Protestants,' they'll object, 'We're just Christians.' This is to be completely ignorant of history. While I consider "Protestant" to be something of a bad word, I don't understand why it would be to a Protestant. I can use it in a value-neutral way, and it can easily inter…

Thoughts on Peggy McIntosh

I had to read and give an assessment of Peggy McIntosh's essay on White and Male privilege for my Feminist Philosophy class.
Peggy McIntosh writes about the parallel between white and male privilege. She defines privilege as “unearned assets” to which she is designed to be oblivious to. What these assets are exactly, she doesn’t exactly say, but she does give some personal examples of white privilege from her own life, carefully qualifying them as “not a scholarly analysis” and “not intended to be generalizable.” From this list she says there’s some similar male privilege, like being dominant in school teachings. She expresses her frustration at men for not seeing and denying this privilege. Given this, she takes a meritocracy to not exist in the US. She makes a helpful distinction in these privileges by saying that they aren’t unjust to have, and that everyone ought to have them. But distinct from that are certain privileges that are mutually exclusive to the rights and justice o…

Thoughts on Audrey Lorde's Speech

I had to read Audrey Lorde's speech "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House" for my Feminist Philosophy class, and then give an assessment. 
Audrey Lorde is calling fellow feminist to give more attention to poor and colored minorities, as well as other minorities. To ignore such perspectives is to be part of the racist patriarchy, which is antithetical to feminism. She cites one paper in the conference she was attending, saying it was too limited in scope by not acknowledging her point of view, it presumes she had nothing to say. Shes goes on to emphasize that differences are good, and can be strengths, so they shouldn’t be ignored, and so she shouldn’t be ignored either. It is these differences that will defeat the racist patriarchy. She brings up an interesting point that if the women who attend such conferences are really concerned about the plight of women in the racist patriarchy, then they would be hypocrites to ignore poor and colored wo…

Did Aristides Believe In Original Sin?

Some Protestants have cited the following from Aristides, a 2nd century Christian, against the doctrine of Original Sin.  And when a child has been born to one of them, they give thanks to God; and if moreover it happen to die in childhood, they give thanks to God the more, as for one who has passed through the world without sins. Does this show that Aristides taught children (some translations have "infancy" instead of "childhood", while other translations, like the Syriac, doesn't have it at all!) don't have original sin? Not at all, and to think that it does is to read it into the text. So, the Protestant wants to say that if a child dies in infancy, then he dies without sin. And he can only die without sin if he has no Original Sin. This is not true. Catholics believe in Original Sin and we also believe that infants can die without sin. How? Through baptism. An infant who is baptized can pass through this world without sin. It isn't true that the on…