3 Lessons From A Rebooted Phone

I knew it would happen to me eventually, and it did, my phone had a spasm and all my data had to be deleted and restored to factory settings. There's a certain fear about this, that some of our data isn't protected and will be gone forever. All those years of great photos of friends, videos of blowing out birthday candles, flirty texts from that special someone, all gone, poof, just like that, and you can never have it back. In one sense, this is silly. We have memories, and we revisit those times in our memories, and it isn't like phones are extensions of our minds. But if we had a limited amount of photos of our loved ones, we would feel a bit of loss if those photos were to be destroyed. There's something to these memory aids. Anyways, here are some lessons I've learned going through a reboot of my phone.

1) Repent For Tomorrow Is Not Promised

Some years ago, after some time being friends with this young woman, call her Jewel, we decided to give dating a try. I …

Final Essay on Cartesian Dualism

This is a draft of my final essay for my Modern Philosophy class. In it, I look at Cartesian dualism and Cartesian skepticism from a Thomist view. Feedback welcome.

On An Argument for Irresistible Grace

I was having a discussion with a Calvinist friend of mine, and he presented this argument from analogy to me, and I thought it was interesting. He was wearing a hat, and he tossed the hat upon the table. He asks me, "Do you believe I just tossed the hat on the table?" I nod. "And did you have a choice in believing that I just tossed the hat on the table?" I say probably not. So likewise, when God presents us with His grace, we have no choice but to accept it. 
It's a cute and memorable argument. I don't think it really works though. So, I have this belief about his hat being tossed onto the table. Why? Because I visually sensed it and I abstracted from it with my intellect, and when my senses and intellect function properly, I have knowledge, and we are knowledge/truth oriented beings. So, it seems like a strange question to ask, where in the process of knowledge did I have a choice? 
It isn't clear that grace works in the same way. Grace is not origin…

What Are The Images On The Ignatius Bible?

I have a beautiful Ignatius RSV Bible. It has my name inscribed on it, but what really stands out are the images on the cover. You have Jesus in the center, but then you also have a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle surrounding him. What do these signify? In the Old Testament, these four images are found in one scene described in Ezekiel 1, which reads,  In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance: they were of human form. 6 Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. ... 10 As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle; 11 such were their faces.In Ezekiel 10:20 we learn that cherubim, or angels, were being described. Some theologians take these descriptions to correspond to some attribute the cherubim have. Man for the power of rationality, the lion for majesty, the ox for strength and the eagle for agi…

Should We Celebrate Birthdays?

One of my co-workers is a Jehovah's Witness. I overheard in conversation, while I was clocking in, that she doesn't celebrate birthdays. I asked her why not. She said that in the Bible, the only time birthdays were celebrated was to celebrate the birth of pagan kings. So they think it is pagan in origin, and they want to avoid paganism. This kind of reasoning isn't unique to Jehovah's Witnesses. Many Christians don't celebrate Christmas or Halloween for similar reasons. 
I asked her if she thought celebrating anniversaries were wrong. She did not. Birthdays are anniversaries of our birth, and the Bible does seem to celebrate the anniversaries of things, like Passover, so there is nothing intrinsically wrong with celebrating a birthday. She seemed to cede a bit, and told me that every year "around" her birthday, her dad made it a point to get her ice cream. And that's cool. It's an act of love. Just because some acts of love were done by pagans, or …

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…