Paper: A Thomistic Defense of the LCA

I wrote this paper under Edward Feser because the LCA is my favorite argument but I thought it could use some Thomistic principles to strengthen it against various objections.

So You Want to Be a Philosopher? Here Are 9 Books You Must Read

For those who are aspiring to be a philosopher but have zero experience, it is absolutely crucial to start well. I often hear from people who took a philosophy class that they ended up being more confused than before. This is in part because they’re introduced to conflicting ideas but they’re not shown how to think about these ideas. Ideas are dangerous things; capable of destroying or creating societies. I’ll be honest, I do prefer the classical philosophers over the modern philosophers – which my list will reflect – but I think you can still benefit from it despite this bias by evaluating the ideas for yourself. Without further ado, here are the books that I would recommend reading in the following order:

1. Being Logical, A Guide To Good Thinking by D.Q. McInerny

This book starts off with some key logical concepts that are really just common sense ideas. This is important. Some people mistake philosophy for contrarian pseudo-intellectual ideas. I even met someone who thought the best way to do philosophy was to smoke weed.. That’s not philosophy; that’s either sophistry or stupidity. In my opinion it’s a good idea to start with common sense, or else we’ll end up with nonsense. The author’s lucid yet concise writing style is a role model for all philosophers.

2. Ancient Philosophy (Beginner’s Guides) by William J. Prior

It is crucial to start with the very beginnings of philosophy without being bogged down by technicalities and monotonous details as the more advanced books do. What better place to start than the very origins of philosophy itself? An aspiring philosopher needs to be introduced to ideas and the reasons for those ideas in order to prime their minds for philosophical reasoning.

3. Aquinas (A Beginner’s Guide) by Edward Feser

This book is an absolutely essential introduction to medieval / scholastic philosophy. You’ll become familiar with ideas like form and matter, the four causes, universals, five ways, etc. Personally, this book did the most to transform my philosophical perspective. I felt like a child who was seeing familiar things under a new light for the first time; it literally took my passion for philosophy to a new level. Feser does a great job of communicating the ideas clearly and diffusing common misconceptions that moderns have about Aquinas.  Read More »


Why Did God Create the Tree of Good and Evil?

“The Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:9)

The standard response, which I shall improve upon here, is that God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to give man a free choice to follow or obey Him. They also add that without it, the fullness of God’s character (e.g, His justice and mercy) would not have been displayed. Thus God allowed man to fall, despite foreknowing what they would freely choose, because He had some greater purpose – namely, the greatest display of His love for mankind through the death of His Son. If the fall had not occurred, we couldn’t have known the full extent of His love. Love that loves the perfect is expected, but love that loves the fallen is completely extraordinary.

Any good story is going to have conflict and through that conflict love displays the greatest acts of courage and sacrifice. Sometimes it ends tragically, such as when a LOTR character named Boromir valiantly dies to protect the hobbits from evil forces, but it is a beautiful tragedy because of the extraordinary good that it displays. Furthermore, if the characters in question were born in a world without challenges to themselves, their paradise would be as artificial as a greenhouse. Proper freedom involves self-mastery over one’s choices and character through tests. Since God values freedom and character-building, He tests man with the tree to see if they’ll reject or obey Him – thereby removing the artificiality of the paradise.  Read More »


A Response To “You Don’t March For Life”

Courtney Hood recently published a heartfelt article that I greatly sympathize with, at least with respect to her care for others. As someone who is prolife, there is more to human life than just its birth, but I think the article gets several things wrong:

I do value all stages of life so there’s an appeal to this, but I will say that if we cannot value life at its most innocent and vulnerable stage, how can we claim to value life at any of its other stages? At what stage does life start mattering and why that stage? If we cannot properly value the most fundamental aspect of life (which is our right to live) then our quality of life is not a right either. So the question can be turned around.

Now, to address this articles’ objection, we care about the quality of life but in a different way. The article condemns our moral values as expressing “outdated views” without realizing that these values are the pillars of a thriving society. To borrow from Plato, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” The quality of life is directly affected by our moral values. So if we think it is permissible to have premarital sex, children out of wedlock, no-fault divorces, and the like then what inevitably occurs is that the quality of life suffers with it. The family is one of the most effective weapons against poverty, but once the family breaks down, so does our life.

The liberal position is like encouraging a child to play with fire and afterwards providing free governmental care. Conservatives promote moral values that preemptively discourages harm from occurring in the first place. The liberal solutions to these problems (minimum wage, food stamps, welfare, etc) at best just patches the holes of an already sinking ship. You have to get to the root of a problem if you’re going to solve a problem, otherwise you’re just delaying and covering up the harmful effects until it sinks. I should note that only God can change hearts, however, so conservatives can only offer trade off solutions in the political realm.

Also, it’s not that conservatives are in principle against healthcare or against providing some kind of safety net for struggling mothers. We just have different methods of doing so that emphasize individual empowerment rather than dependency. The problem with liberals is that they equate their policies with caring about the quality of life and anyone who disagrees with their way of doing things must not care about life. This is completely unfair. Some disagree with minimum wage laws, for example, because it increases unemployment. They may be wrong, but it’s not because they do not care about life.


A Quick Argument Against Abortion

If a fetus does not have a right to life, then when does it gain a right to life? After it comes out of the womb? This implies that changing location suddenly gives a human a right to life. That’s obviously ridiculous. What about consciousness? Well we’re technically unconscious when we sleep or get knocked out, so do we temporarily lose our right to life? Surely not. Even six week old fetuses have some level of consciousness (http://www.ehd.org/dev_article_unit7.php).

Perhaps a certain level of consciousness gives a right to life, but that’s arbitrary. Why does that level of consciousness give a right to life? Suppose a person went into a coma but had a 100% chance of recovering. Surely it’s not moral to kill them during a coma. Furthermore, this implies that people with greater levels of consciousness are more valuable than others, which is clearly false. So a right to life must not come from the level of consciousness.

In fact, rights cannot come in degrees like consciousness does as the above example shows. This leave us with the best answer: We have a right to life because we are of a certain *kind* of being at the very moment of conception: a rational animal (aka being human). Kind, not degrees of consciousness, are what give humans the right to life. Since fetuses are humans, abortion is wrong.


Questions about Entire Sanctification.

This is a brief excerpt from John Wesley’s book “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.” Wesley tells us that these questions were written by a group of British Christians in the 1760s. I thought these questions were really insightful and got me thinking about sanctification in a totally new light. I especially think questions 7 – 12 are really interesting to think about.

QUESTIONS, humbly proposed to those who deny entire sanctification is attainable in this life.

1 Has there not been a larger measure of the Holy Spirit given under the Gospel, than under the Jewish dispensation? If not , in what sense was the Spirit not given before Christ was Glorified? John 7:39

2 Was that ‘glory which followed the sufferings of Christ,’ (1 Peter 1:11) an external glory , or an internal, viz., the glory of holiness?
3 Has God anywhere in Scripture commanded us more than he also promised us?

4. Are the promises of God respecting holiness to be fulfilled in this life or only the next?
5 Is a Christian under any other law than those which God promises to ‘write on our hearts?’

6 In what sense is ‘the righteousness of the law fulfilled in those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit?’

7 Is it impossible for anyone in this life to love God with all his mind, all his soul, all his heart and all his strength? and is the Christian under any command that is not fulfilled by doing this?

8. Does the soul’s departing from the body effect its purification from indwelling sin?
9. If so, isn’t it something else besides the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin?

10. If his blood cleanses us from all sin while the soul and body are united, is it not in this life?

11. If when that union of body and soul ceases, is it not in the next? and is this not too late?

12. (On the death bed;) what situation is the soul in, when it is neither in the body nor out of it?

13 Has Christ ever commanded us to pray for something he never intended to give us?
14 Did he not teach us to pray ‘your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,’ and in heaven is God’s will not done perfectly?

15. If so, has he not taught us to pray for perfection, and if so does he not intend on giving it to us?
16. Did the Apostle Paul not pray according to the will of God when he prayed that the Thessalonians might be “Sanctified wholly and preserved” (in this world not the next, unless he was praying for the dead) and “blameless in body, soul, and spirit until the coming of Jesus Christ.”

17. Do you sincerely desire to be freed from indwelling sin here and now?
18. If you do, did not God give you that desire?
19. If so, did He give it to you to mock you, since it is impossible and can never be fulfilled?

20. If you do not have enough sincerity to even desire it, are you not worrying about topics that are too high for you?
21. Do you ever pray for God to “cleanse the thoughts of your heart” so you may “perfectly love him?”

22. If you neither desire what you ask, nor believe it is attainable, are you not praying in vein?


My Soul’s Darkest Night

I wrote this poem reflecting a dark time when I felt as if everything was coming against me. It all stemmed from my intense self-hatred and guilt from continual sinning, the overwhelming sense of abandonment by God, the mundanness of life, and the absolute emptiness I received from those I loved. At night I’d have this sensation of a burning sea of blood gushing out of my soul. The only hope I had was the possibility of not waking up the next day. I’m only sharing this because I hope it shows that even during the darkest moments, God proves us wrong and rescues us.

Remind me of who I need to be when I have forgotten what Christ has done for me.
I forget and I fret. I feel my breath go stale and my heart shiver.
Love for God no longer has its flame; its last breath exhales into a cold mist.
Once so close, yet now so far. But within the lost flame I see a spark.
But I turn away because I’ve lost my way. All I could’ve been has gone astray.
No longer here nor there, I am nowhere; lost in an unsettling void.
Will I ever find my way back? Back to the man I thought I was?
Oh wretched man that I despise! May God sever me from the light.
Lonely despair shrieks through my veins. Tears drop like the midnight rain.
Oh God, my God! Why have I forsaken you? Have you forsaken me too? Read More »


City Church Index

My goal with this post is to simply compile the most complete and comprehensive index of information on a concept called “city church” or sometimes “the local church.” This list will consist of information on movements, personalities who have tried to restore the city church in different parts of the world, it will also include many quotes, links to articles, some videos and essentially anything at all that I can find about the idea of a city church. I will not here provide a detailed explanation of what the City church is, but I will link to as many resources as I know of on the subject.  I may in some cases provide brief notes on the topic but this will not be necessarily true of anything.  Read More »


Do You Feel Unworthy of God’s Salvation?

Before I became a believer, I did not want to accept His offer of salvation because I did not feel ready. A part of me thought that I needed to be worthy of it first. I told myself that the only way the gospel applied to me would be if God spoke to me or miraculously zapped my heart so that I suddenly found myself completely different. There were intellectual roadblocks too, but the heart of it was the deep unworthiness that pressed upon my conscience which prevented me from believing the gospel applied to me. I let my self-judgement rule over God’s offer of salvation in which He would personally judge me as righteous because of Christ’s sacrifice. I treated the gospel as a mere abstraction, rather than a personal offer. I’m here to tell you the good news: I was wrong.  Read More »


Word of Encouragement: Undying Resolve for Holiness

It will take an act of God to terminate my resolve for holiness, but all it takes is one impulse of my flesh to fail that resolve. The secret is to continue in your resolve in the Spirit’s strength, so that when you do fall, you are not discouraged because His amazing grace is like a trampoline that catches your fall and propels you back up. If you fail this resolve daily, it takes persistent unbending faith in His unconditional love to hope in spite of your hopeless guilt.

Do not let your guilt and sin tear down your faith because His death on the cross covered ALL of your sins. Do you truly believe that? If you did, then no amount of failure will weaken your faith. Faith is dependence on God, so instead let your failure increase your faith. After all, if you keep failing then you must depend more on God who cannot fail. As you increase in this faith, your sin will decrease because you will walk in the freedom of the Spirit. Someone who walks in the Spirit is not striving to abide by the law because his mind and his desires are being transformed so it becomes a natural inclination. Read More »