On True Religion and Ending Modern Slavery

What does it mean to be “religious”? Not in the generic sense, “spirituality” for example, but a religion that God accepts. I’m always taken back be the fact the genuine Christianity cannot conform to a religious “system”. Only through loving action can one call themselves religious. By way of James 1:27, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep keep oneself from being polluted by the… Read more

The Heart of Nick Givas

Imagine you are young man in high school. Excellent grades, aspiring young basketball star – the world is your oyster. Enter the back pain, the initial medical consults, and the first cancer diagnosis. Surgery and redo surgery. Basketball career over, in and out of hospitals, a new reality takes form. Repeated spine surgeries not only have the pleasure of extended hospital stays, but an unspeakable pain of which most of us could only imagine. High school goes from the best of times… Read more

Frankl on the Highest Good

Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in my life. A pyschotherapist whose landmark theory was lived through the horrific experience of not only losing freedom, but facing a new reality in a concentration camp. Such horror I cannot pretend to understand – only recollect a harrowing feeling I experienced watching Solomon Northup’s story in 12 Years as a Slave. There is no shortage of philosophies of the highest good, but for extraordinary individuals like Solomon Northup… Read more

Book Review: Is God a Mathematician?

An interesting read from author and astrophysicist Mario Livio. Unlike the title’s suggestion, the text is not a metaphysical deep dive on God and the applicability of mathematics. While this may be disappointing, it is important to consider the author’s perspective. Livio himself is not religious, though he has respect for those with a religious worldview. The tone of the text is agnostic as his interests are not in metaphysics/philosophy of religion, but mathematics. There is no cross-comparison of theological realism/irrealism and mathematical realism/irrealism…. Read more

Copleston on Knowledge of God

For Aquinas, knowledge begins with sense perception. ‘Our natural knowledge takes its beginning from sense. Therefore it can extend only so far as it can be brought by (reflection on) the things of sense.’ (S.T., Ia, 12, 12) Neither a strict empiricist, nor a strict rationalist, though Aquinas believed that though knowledge starts with sense perception, it’s completed in abstraction – experiencing the particulars and reasoning towards universals. Knowledge of God entails both this metaphysical inference as well as a faith… Read more

Bryan Magee on Jesus

A surprising quote from Bryan Magee, one of my favorite historians and commentators of philosophy. His writing is clear and eloquent, and in his Confessions of a Philosopher, also very humble, personal, and autobiographical. His love of the big questions and metaphysics is loaded in every page. As he’s an atheist with a lean towards Kantian metaphysics, we’re quite far off on theology and metaphysics, but as truth-seekers and metaphysicians with an interest in morality, we stand together on the radical… Read more

Augustine on Concealed Revelation

Concealed revelation – its’s about the nature of God as comprehended by the limits of our rationality – God is the most obvious, yet most beyond our understanding. Aquinas called it ipsum esse subsistens – subsisting Being itself. Where all other living things are a combination of essence and existence , for God there is no distinction, His existence is His essence. God is pure Act (all activity with no potential), immanent in all things, yet infinitely transcending our understanding -… Read more

Indy Debate Recaps

It was more like a vacation among friends – Adam and his wife Elizabeth stayed with my family and I amongst our debates last week. We truly enjoyed their company, hanging out, the post-debate parties over some wine and snacks, and talking honestly about philosophy, theology, and politics. The tour was kicked off on Wednesday, July 1st when I picked up Adam and Elizabeth at the airport. We had to head right to Theology on Tap at the Tow Yard… Read more

Theology on Tap and Faith vs. Doubt

“Theology on Tap”. It has a nice ring to it. I’m still not sold on the title, “Faith vs. Doubt” as I feel that term encapsulates the sentiments of any believer. All of the faithful, at one point or another, face doubt. With that, “versus” sets the stage for the typical debate, of which Adam and mine are nothing like! I consider “my opponent” as a friend, one that I disagree with on many things, but a friend first and… Read more

Aristotle on the Nature of the First Mover

It’s unsurprising that Aquinas drew from Aristotle to synthesize natural theology with Christianity (Aquinas frequently labeled Aristotle “The Philosopher”). Looking at Aquinas’ Five Ways, you see signs of Aristotle through and through. Many are familiar with Aristotle’s First Mover Argument from his classic Metaphysics, but looking a little deeper reveals not only the foundation of the Five Ways, but poetic insight as to the nature of this First Mover: “That a final cause may exist among unchangeable entities is shown by… Read more

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