Written By Victor Stanley Jr.In Book I of St. Augustine’s Confessions he addresses the idea of original sin, that is the doctrine that man is born in sin, and is thus inherently wicked, corrupt, sinful, depraved, or various other terms that describe a similar state. In Book I, 7, 11 Augustine makes the statement that, “The only innocent feature in babies is the weakness of their frames; the minds of infants are far from innocent.” This is a key doctrine in the Christian faith (more…)
Written by Victor Stanley Jr.Theology & Culture In story published by Fox News, writer Michael Kaminer and photographer Marisa Scheinfeld discuss the Borscht Belt. The Borscht Belt is an area in upstate New York that “once epitomized glamour for East Coast middle-class families,” and specifically Jewish families that would vacation at the various resorts throughout the area. The area was a destination of leisure, pleasure, and luxury from the 1920’s through the 1970’s, but is now just an eerie shadow of what it once was. (more…)
Written by Victor Stanley Jr.In Confessions VIII, 8, 20 through VIII, 10, 22 St. Augustine wrestles with the dichotomy of man’s seemingly divided will. While he advocates for freewill, his thought processes, as presented in the text, strongly suggest a lack of freewill. This is evident in lines such as, “The mind commands the body and is instantly obeyed; the mind commands itself, and meets with resistance,” or “When the mind issues its command that the mind itself should will something, it fails to do so.” (more…)
Written by Victor Stanley Jr.Theology & Culture In a story written by NBC News’ Maggie Fox the ongoing Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa is said to have been preventable. Officials from the CDC told Congress that money should been invested in building up a modern health care system in West Africa. Director of the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Dr. Beth Bell said that “If even modest investments had been made to build a public health infrastructure in West Africa previously, the current Ebola epidemic could have been detected earlier, and it could have been identified and contained.” The Obama administration is now working to get Congress to approve funds for a military led initiative to contain the disease, and to also help establish a health infrastructure in the region. (more…)
Written by Victor Stanley Jr.
Historical Criticism as an Apology for Christian TruthIn Confessions VI, 5, 7 St. Augustine briefly addresses an epistemological issue dealing with truth. Augustine points out that some of the teachings of the Catholic Church “were not demonstrated rationally,” but makes the point that the Church did not practice the deceit of the Manicheans when it came to requiring belief in things that lacked substantial empirical evidence; for the Manicheans “promised knowledge and derided credulity, but then went on to demand belief in… absurd myths which certainly could not be demonstrated.” What follows this understanding is a great apology for accepting the claims of scripture, and being able to, in a sense, know truth. (more…)
Written by Victor Stanley Jr.Theology & Culture In an article titled “Why I don’t want my daughters to see ‘Fifty Shades’”[i] CNN contributor Ronnie Berke talks about her concern for her daughters watching the movie adapted from the wildly popular erotic novel of the same name. The novel, and subsequently the movie, details a sexual relationship between Dorian Grey and a young woman that involves sadomasochism, which is sexual interactions fueled by the giving and receiving of pain in order to stimulate pleasure. (more…)
Written by Victor Stanley Jr.In book five of St. Augustine’s autobiographical work titled Confessions St. Augustine mentions a doctrine held by the Manicheans that puts forth the idea that man is not responsible, or rather not accountable for his own sins. He says that during his time as a Manichean* he believed “that it is not we who sin, but some other nature within us that is responsible.” On the surface this actually seems to line up with biblical teaching on man’s sin nature, but as Augustine elaborates on the idea by adding that this ‘nature’ he speaks of is actually some outside force imposing its will on man, it becomes clear that this teaching is possibly a distortion of Romans chapter 7 specifically verses 20 through 23. (more…)