Income and wealth inequality is a hot topic in political and economic conversations today. Just recently Thomas Piketty, an economist at the Paris School of Economics, came out with a book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which has as its main thesis that capitalism as an economic system naturally tends toward extreme income inequality, that, if not checked, will result is catastrophic social consequences. He proposes a world-wide global progressive tax that would levy higher taxes on the rich in order to subsidize the poor. The belief that income inequality is a major problem in society is ubiquitous and ever-increasing. Continue reading
Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (ESV)
A Basic Confusion
The above verses are from 1 Tim. 6:6-10. Many people who have read this passage have come away convinced that money is evil and that being rich is wrong. Who would want to fall into such temptation and risk so much? Who wants to face ruin and destruction? Yikes! It’s probably best to just stay away from money altogether, right? Well, no of course not. If we read Paul carefully, we note that he says that the love of money is the root all kinds of evil, not money qua money (and the desire to be rich is wrong, not simply being rich). Hmm, this makes things more complicated doesn’t it? Perhaps money isn’t intrinsically wrong, but we definitely shouldn’t love it. But just what is money anyway and why do we need it? If the love of money is so risky, wouldn’t it be better just to do away with money altogether? Is this possible?
Yesterday while I was making lunch I listened to the latest Reasonable Faith podcast, called “The Real Consequences of Atheism.” One thing that was said got me thinking and it was about how atheists explain the tension between the fact that, on the one hand, naturalism excludes any kind of objective and universal basis for morality, but on the other hand, all humans live as if there are objective moral values and duties that are binding on all people. As of right now, the reason I’ve read and heard given to explain this tension is that humans have developed the (false) belief in objective morality in order to function, even though it’s not really true. So, going off this, I jotted down this argument that attempts to reduce such reasoning to absurdity. Continue reading
Sometimes I have random thoughts that I want to write down and develop a little bit, but they aren’t substantial enough to expand them into their own respective posts. So instead I’ve decided to put them together into one post. These do not necessarily relate to each other (unless somehow you, the reader, see some fantastical connection that I don’t). It’s possible that cognitively processing these little issues will help me sort them out so that I can develop them into more substantial articles in the future. Your thoughts or comments are welcome. Enjoy! Continue reading
What is truth? Truth is a property that adheres to a proposition (the content of a sentence) if and only if the proposition corresponds to reality as it actually is. Propositions, as truth bearers, can be either true or false but they are not facts. Facts are neither true nor false; they just are. Facts are the standards by which the veracity of propositions are adjudicated. Nor are propositions sentences, which one philosopher defines as “a linguistic object consisting in a sense perceptible string of markings formed according to a culturally arbitrary set of syntactical rules, a grammatically well-formed string of spoken or written scratchings/sounds.”  Sentences would not be possible without propositions, but the two should not be conflated. Continue reading
Anyone who follows politics knows that President Obama will be giving his annual State of the Union Address tonight (Tuesday, January 28th). After hearing through the social media grapevine what the President might talk about, and after doing a little research myself, I thought I would jot down a few preliminary thoughts about what President Obama is most likely going to emphasize in tonight’s speech. Continue reading
On November 5, 2013, Coloradans will be asked to vote on Amendment 66, a law that proposes to increase revenue for K-12 education by almost $1 billion by increasing the income tax rate. Amendment 66 is a part of a larger effort to overhaul public education in Colorado. It is related to SB 213, an amendment to the Colorado Public School Finance Act, which will go into effect if Amendment 66 is passed. SB 213 and CPSFA deal with funding individual schools while Amendment 66 determines funding for the state educational system as a whole. Both SB 213 and Amendment 66 ride on voters approving the amendment on November 5. Continue reading
I’ll try to make this short and sweet. Back in 2008-2009 when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA or ACA, aka “Obamacare”) was being debated across the country and in Congress, we were told of all the wonderful things that the law would do. This included:
- Making health care available for all. The law would bring millions of currently uninsured people onto a health care plan. These were people who could not afford the current plans on the open market (for various reasons).
- Making health care affordable for all. Proponents of the ACA promised that the law would bring down costs. This included wiping out restrictions on people with medical preconditions.
- Making health care quality better for all. The ACA required that health care providers offer basic plans with more provisions than plans currently on the market. This requirement applied whether you needed or wanted to pay for these health care provisions or not.
Christian, do you have doubts about your faith? Agnostic, are you not skeptical of Christian truth claims? Atheist, you disbelieve in God, don’t you? Doubt, skepticism, and unbelief are a part of life no matter what you believe or where you fall on the atheist-believer continuum. What are we to do when we face such questions that disturb us from our habitual and daily life patterns? Should we brush them to the side dismissively, bury them deep within in the hopes that they’ll never arise again, or seek to engage them? My goal in this article is to encourage the last of these options: to actively face and engage any doubt, skepticism, or unbelief you might have regarding issues of religious truth and knowledge. Continue reading
Disclaimer: I originally wrote this article the second week of September, right when the Syrian crisis was dominating news headlines and generating considerable debate and tension through the nation. I’ve put off publishing it until now for three reasons: (1) I hadn’t finished the last section and due to the start-up of the semester, I had other work to do; (2) I wanted to see how the conflict and possible U.S. involvement would unfold; and (3) I wanted to allow myself time to reflect on my words so that I didn’t say anything that was too hurried or brash.
The Syrian civil war began in March 2011 and has been raging for over two years. Most Americans have been aware that the conflict was going on, but until recently little attention or public debate was focused upon it. However, a little over three weeks ago [read: 7 weeks now], on August 21, there was reportedly a chemical attack upon the Syrian people and rebel groups by the Assad regime. Continue reading