Earlier in the week, I introduced a story -- A story about how my life has been radically changed through a series of intense events that prompted me with the need to find meaning and purpose in life.  Through those events, I was led to make some tough decisions that combined to build the foundation of who I am today, and how I live my life. 

This video is an attempt to express that same message in a different and unique way.  My hope is that this visual aid proves to be an avenue of communication that somehow surpasses the words that I have written, and that it embodies who I am and how I have changed in a practical way...



While it can be said in many Christian circles that I “accepted Christ into my life” at a young age, genuine understanding and real transformation did not occur until my late teenage years. My lifestyle throughout middleschool and highschool was not one that reflected Christ – I was an abusive, scornful individual that was filled with desires for all sorts of things: money, good jobs, relationships, approval, and performance in sports and academics. Although I would refer to myself as a “Christian”, I was not focused on my faith, and my relationship with God was certainly not my ultimate priority and purpose in life. My mind and character was riddled with pride, pornography, envy, and malice in some cases. While it may sound like an awful lifestyle – and it was – these were all natural products of a life that was enslaved to sin.

Creative Commons Photo Credit
 Click here to read Part 1 of this essay.

In the above argument as detailed by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, only three of God’s characteristics are highlighted: omnipotence, omniscience, and his moral perfection. This is an overly simplistic view of God. People who make these arguments based on this portrayal of his attributes are attempting to put God in a box and confine him to their strict limitations and their personal ideas of who they think he is or who they think he should be. Based on what the Bible says, God is the exact opposite of a being that can be summed up in three short statements. God is infinite, and therefore he is infinitely complex and multifaceted, and he probably has an infinite number of characteristics. Whenever we think about God, we must try our best to consider all of the different aspects of his character. The index of Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology lists at least 44 different attributes--and that is still just a partial list (1278). For instance, consider God’s justice. The Bible clearly states that the evil in this world is a result of the fall of man, due to man’s free will. Adam and Eve sinned, and through them all mankind has sinned (Geisler 390). In Romans 5:12 we read, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Holy Bible 1059). Since God is a just god, man is receiving and will receive his just recourse for sin: “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) (Holy Bible 1060). As a result of man’s sin, the formerly perfect creation has been indelibly marred. It is no longer the perfect Eden that God first created.

Today is a day that is used to annually commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

As I reflect on that solemn day in history, I cannot help but recognize and stand in awe of the transformative influence that Jesus' life, death, and resurrection has had on history; and, surpassing all other thoughts, the effect that His life has had on eternity.


Even though there are many people that could and will read this that do not believe Christ was and is God, Savior of all, we can all gain a deeper understanding of life, eternity, and history by taking this time to reflect on...

  • Who was Jesus?
  • What was the significance and meaning of Jesus Christ's life and mission?
  • Why did he die?... And why did he die so willingly?
  • How has he impacted history?
  • How has Jesus impacted our lives? (Spiritually, and even culturally)
  • What is the modern significance and meaning of Jesus' life, death, 
  • and resurrection?
  • How does this man named Jesus apply to my life here and now?
  •  
Creative Commons Photo Credit.
The problem of evil: it is a topic that has haunted theologians and bolstered the faith of atheists for centuries.

In his introduction to “Nonmoral Nature,” Stephen Jay Gould references this exact problem. For his purposes, he puts a naturalistic spin on it. Gould writes, “If God is benevolent and the Creation displays his ‘power, wisdom, and goodness,’ then why are we surrounded with pain, suffering, and apparently senseless cruelty in the animal world?” (638) Gould then proceeds to defuse “the problem” by arguing that nature is actually “nonmoral.”

As a result, the problem of evil does not apply to nature. In this paper I am going to tackle a grander sense of “the problem of evil.” I will address it primarily as it relates to human pain and suffering in this world.


Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word




Plato
Click here to read Part 1.

He then makes a significant transition from this hypothetical example by claiming that it applies to real life. Plato begins to make this transition on page 453 when he writes, “this entire allegory, I said, you may now append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument.”

Plato is involving a little bit of trickery here by convincing the readers with the allegory and then leaping into his real agenda with how we should view the world and the state, using the allegory as the foundation for it. He is basically using an ancient version of the bait-and-switch scam. He baits us by using a plausible hypothetical allegory and switches by diving into his philosophical agenda without giving logical reasons for the transition.

Plato
Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” is a pivotal philosophic text for many reasons. One of the primary reasons that it is so monumental is that Plato addresses so many different areas of philosophy in this one piece: epistemology, metaphysics, asceticism, ethics, and more.

Due to the import of “The Allegory,” writers have been analyzing it for well over 2,000 years. Some have interpreted it to have one meaning, others, another.

As we seek to understand exactly what Plato was seeking to accomplish with his allegory and subsequent analysis, we must think about the argument he was trying to make, and whether or not he was successful. As I will point out, the connection between his allegory and his analysis is quite tremulous.

“Look up some porn.”

“What?”

“Go to a porn site!”

“I don’t know any porn sites,” was my response to the order from my high school principal to ogle nude women. Perhaps a bit of context might be appropriate.

"
Creative commons photo credit: matthewvenn
The following was written as a short assignment in my Advanced Composition course.

Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” is a pivotal philosophic text for many reasons. One of the primary reasons that it is so monumental is that Plato addresses so many different areas of philosophy in this one piece: epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and more. Despite the fact that this piece has had a massive impact down to our present day, it is by no means free from weaknesses. In this short essay I will discuss the many strengths and some of the serious weakness of “The Cave.”

Marcella had an enviable life as the daughter of a prominent Roman family who married a wealthy man. But less than a year after her wedding, her husband died. She was given a chance to continue living in wealth when she was proposed to by the wealthy consul Cerealis. She chose instead to convert her mansion into one of the earliest communities of women, where she and other noblewomen formed a group known as the "Brown Dress Society" and used their riches to help the poor. Marcella said she preferred to, “store her money in the stomachs of the needy than hide it in a purse.” In 410, when the Goths invaded Rome, they broke into Marcella’s home. When they demanded money, she calmly responded that she had no riches because she had given all to the poor. Though she was an elderly woman, they beat and tortured her mercilessly. Her attackers were eventually shamed by her piety and she was released.

The following is the final segment of an essay that I wrote for my 4000 level Topics in Philosophy class: "Happiness and Suffering."

Click here to read part 3. 

Since I think that this pursuit and use of spiritual gifts does justice to the philosophers that I have been examining in this paper, specifically Aquinas and Haybron, I will spend the remainder of the paper discussing spiritual gifting and some of its applications to happiness. This will in no way be an exhaustive treatment of spiritual gifts. Instead, it will be a cursory introduction. As I mentioned above, a belief in our own inability to reconcile ourselves to God and an acceptance of Jesus’s blood and his work on the cross in order to reconcile us to God is a prerequisite for an understanding of spiritual gifts. In this way, my view is completely in line with Aquinas’s view.

My school, North Georgia College and State University, is in the process of merging with another nearby school, Gainesville State College. While everyone else is boo-hooing the entire process, I decided to write an editorial for my college newspaper arguing the other way.

The following is an essay that I wrote for my 4000 level Topics in Philosophy class: "Happiness and Suffering." I have split it up into several pieces and will be publishing it here on Cranial Collision over the next week or two.

Click here to read part 2. 

Before I address the issues with Haybron’s concept of self-fulfillment, I do want to acknowledge the fact that his move from Aristotle’s broad nature-fulfillment to a narrower self-fulfillment was a wise one. Haybron spends the entirety of chapter 8 in his book The Pursuit of Unhappiness developing this transition, but I think there are a few critical points which he makes that can illuminate the transition for us in a few short sentences. On page 157 he writes, “. . .what counts toward my well-being must not depend on what any other individual, or group or class of individuals—actual or hypothetical—is like.” Later on 168 he adds, “The perfectionist’s fundamental mistake lies in not recognizing that well-being is what we might call a success value: it concerns the success of an organism in achieving its goals.” By perfection, Haybron is of course referring to Aristotle’s nature-fulfillment: becoming the perfect example of the human race.

The following is an essay that I wrote for my 4000 level Topics in Philosophy class: "Happiness and Suffering." I have split it up into several pieces and will be publishing it here on Cranial Collision over the next week or two.

Click here to read part 1.
 
Aquinas goes on to set up a distinction between “imperfect happiness” and “perfect happiness.” He says that imperfect happiness is the kind achievable in this world, and that perfect happiness is the kind that is only achievable by being with God and knowing him in the afterlife (81). “Aquinas argues” that “perfect happiness, or ultimate felicity, cannot consist in moral actions,” because “actions cannot be properly attributed to God, whereas happiness can,” among other reasons (80-81). Only “knowledge of that which is above the human intellect can perfect it directly, not through participation in something higher, and here then must lie man’s ultimate felicity” (81).



As a true freeskiing pioneer, Sarah Burke's competition and lobbying has affected the lives of countless skiers, spectators, and athletes.  Over the course of her lifetime, Sarah Burke became a 
six-time X Game gold medalist, a prominent professional ski athlete, a beloved wife, and a world-wide ambassador of professional and non-professional female athletes.  Sarah Burke was quite possibly the most influential and outstanding female skier that has ever lived.




After lobbying for and earning the rights to compete in events such as the X Games and other skiing events on an equal level with men, Sarah Burke and other women gained the opportunity to compete in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games that are scheduled to take place in Sochi, Russia.  Burke was a shoe-in for Canadian representation in the new super-pipe freeskiing events and was likely already starting to prepare for the coming Winter Games.  Not only was she an automatic qualifier, Sarah Burke was favored to win the entire competition and expected to receive gold-medal Olympic standing.  
The following is an essay that I wrote for my 4000 level Topics in Philosophy class: "Happiness and Suffering." I have split it up into several pieces and will be publishing it here on Cranial Collision over the next week or two.

The Pursuit of Imperfect Happiness

Throughout the course of his book titled The Pursuit of Unhappiness, Daniel M. Haybron makes numerous distinctions and delineations between different aspects of happiness, and he attempts to define the relationships between these aspects in clear, distinct ways. On the whole, Haybron does an excellent job of explaining and supporting the arguments in his book, especially in relation to his emotional state theory of happiness and psychic affirmation.