The Bears Team That Could Loses Steam

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“We think we can. We think we can.”

Remember the timeless childhood classic, The Little Engine that Could? I think the Chicago Bears need to adopt that philosophy and push it to the next level, just like the Little Engine did.

“We know we can. We know we can.”

Unlike our beloved childhood friend, the Bears seem to lose steam instead of making a successful transition from thinking to knowing, and executing to completion. How on earth they managed to lose to the Carolina Panthers is beyond me. I still cannot wrap my head around this loss, and I watched every second of the game. Even took notes on the praises I wanted to sing, and then… the second half of the game happened. Again!

It was bad enough for Chicago to come out swinging last week against their archrivals, the Green Bay Packers, and wind up losing to them in a disappointing second half performance while Aaron Rodgers could seemingly do no wrong, but there is no excuse for doing it against the Panthers. Seriously. The second half Bears were badly produced Doppelgangers of the first half team who had the big kitties by the tail. I can’t think of any other plausible reason for such a dismal display.

That’s another thing.

Excuses.

Like every other Bears fan I know, I am tired of hearing them. We’ve all been making them long enough. Far too long, in my not always so humble opinion. You know what they say about excuses, right? They are like… nah. I won’t repeat it. If you don’t know the saying by now, keep your innocence intact.

I will spare you the play-by-play pick apart of the game like most other journalists will do, but there are a few things that need to be mentioned. It’s the good, the bad, and the ugly – not necessarily in that order.

The Ugly

What is up with the live balls going virtually unnoticed by everyone except the opposing team? That is Football 101 right there. Go back to basics, my friends.

The ball is not dead until the whistle blows and ends the play, so why on earth are the Bears not attacking that football when it’s sitting on the ground? Hang out a sign next time, “Free touchdown, courtesy of Chicago.”

I get the fact that multi-tasking is a necessity in football, but if you can’t keep eyes on the ball while covering your man, I know a few Pony League players who can come in and demonstrate how it’s done. Whistle or not, the little ones watch that ball like a bunch of ravenous vultures. They swoop down like the ball is fresh meat and they are starving for it. I would think NFL players would have the same mentality – and ability.

Special Teams. Need I really say more?

The Good

Jay Cutler is an athletic beast. The man’s got legs and he knows how to use them. You’re welcome for the earworm, by the way. His touchdown run was a testament to his focus, despite the Jayters who jump all over him for every other thing. Cutler knows when to run. Truthfully, I’d like to see more of it, particularly when his blockers fail.

Willie Young had a nice ball strip, and we need more forced turnovers like that. The Bears used to be known for their ability to rip the ball out and turn it over, so it’s nice to see it hasn’t completely gone the way of the dodo, but it happens far too infrequently these days. Again I say, go back to basics, my friends. Stick with what works, and ball stripping always worked for Chicago in the past. It will work again, but they must be focused on it as part of their game plan.

Alshon Jeffery heads to end zone 10-5-2014

Alshon Jeffery scores a second quarter touchdown in Bears 31-24 loss to Panthers. Source: Unknown

 

Alshon Jeffery’s touchdown and Lance Briggs’ interceptions in the second quarter were things of beauty. We expect to see All Show running into the end zone frequently, but I’m not sure who was more pleased and surprised by Briggs – him or the viewing public? Keep it up! We are greedy fans and want more!

The Bad

I will praise Cutler up and down when he’s on it, but at the same time, I will call him out when he’s not. Interceptions are bad, mmkay? The receivers are tall men, but not giants. Reign in that cannon arm a bit and try not to thread the needle too much. It will work.

Jay takes risks, which are both good and bad, because he is confident in his ability to make the difficult passes to connect, but it doesn’t always work out the way he would like. When it does though, the payoff is usually huge. However, Bears fans can’t have it both ways. When the reward is great, the risk is worth it, but I think perhaps a little more calculation might be in order. Just saying.

The blockers need to do their jobs, too. It’s pretty difficult for Cutler to find a clear shot to an open man when he’s got double coverage on him. Protect your quarterback, guys. Football 101 rule of thumb.

Defensively, the Bears were better than they have been, but is there a curse on the second half? They seem to fall apart when they are needed most and it should not happen. It cannot happen if Chicago wants to win games.

Speaking of curses, I am beginning to think Chris Conte is the victim of some bad juju. Has he finished an entire game yet this season? Conte appears to be an injury magnet, and it is worrisome. I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t have a problem with him playing because he plays hard when he’s in the game. He tries to do his job and pick up the slack for his teammates who aren’t, but he can’t have a big impact from the sidelines.

The coaching and play calling in this game left a great deal to be desired, and that’s all I’m going to say on the subject… for now.

I haven’t given up hope on this year’s Bears team. There’s still 11 games left to play. I won’t lie though, the difficulty of the remaining games before the bye week has me, and most other people, all kinds of nervous. The Bears must bring their game, and I do mean their good mojo, to every game from here on out. They can do it. They have the talent and the ability. I have faith.

I believe in Monsters. Always have. Always will.

©2014 Robin Carneke-Green

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The Dalai Lama: Religious Pluralist or Exclusivist?

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Tenzin Gyatso was designated the fourteenth Dalai Lama, the spiritual and temporal head of Tibet, in 1937 at the age of two. He assumed the rule in 1950, but in 1959 the Chinese occupation forced him to leave his home in Tibet. The Dalai Lama has worked ceaselessly to promote the nonviolent emancipation of Tibet ever since. While emancipation has not yet come to pass, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as he is called, has taken the opportunity of his exile to travel the world and open up the mysteries and practices of Buddhism to the rest of the world. On the rare occasions he grants interviews, His Holiness not only discusses Buddhism, but he also carefully addresses the benefits of religious diversity in the world today. On the surface, the Dalai Lama appears as something of a religious pluralist, which falls in line with the theory presented by John Hick. However, underneath his acceptance and tolerance of other world religions, His Holiness seems more of a religious exclusivist. In this paper, using John Hick’s hypothesis of religious pluralism as a base, and an interview with His Holiness by Jose Ignacio Cabezon, I will show how the Dalai Lama is a proponent of religious diversity, even agreeable with some of Hick’s theory, but still maintains an exclusivist viewpoint regarding Buddhism.

One of the items Hick posits is a possible convergence of the world religions so one day belonging to rival ideological communities of faith may be rendered obsolete (Saint Leo University 639). He doesn’t feel as though everyone will think or worship in the same way, or experience the divine in similar fashion across the board, but rather forms of the same dominant tradition spread across the globe. These different forms come from what I can only call the same religion, because it involves a potential osmosis of membership in the institution and a possible interchange of ministry (SLU 640). Hick’s theory suggests an eschatological unity, going beyond the ultimate unity of faiths, wherein everyone would be fulfilled and transcended by the truth, but still less than the whole truth.

The Dalai Lama, in his interview with Cabezon, agreed with the idea of convergence, or integration, but to a lesser degree than Hick suggests. To His Holiness, integration is possible when it is different religions co-existing side by side; but he disagrees with the possibility of a convergence such as Hick discussed. He finds such a scenario implausible. Although the Dalai Lama takes a positive stance and approach to various world religions, choosing to focus on the similarities between them, he never loses sight of the fact that there are major differences as well. In an example of Buddhism and Christianity taken together, His Holiness believes the purpose of the different philosophies in each religion are similar in that each religion is directed to the achievement of permanent human happiness as its ultimate goal. He also believes all religions emphasize honesty and humility, and a call for all religious persons to strive for becoming better human beings. In other words, all persons of faith are called to give and love more fully if they are truly living out their religious beliefs.

Doctrinally however, there is an insurmountable difference in the ultimate divinity. Christians believe in God as a permanent, almighty creator, whereas Buddhists believe the universe has no first cause or creator and there is not a permanent pure being such as the God of Christian understanding (SLU 662). Once again, apparently on the side of religious pluralism, the Dalai Lama points out how the idea of God as the creator of all and dependence upon his will is doctrinally perfect for some people, while for others, dependence upon oneself and believing in the self as the creator is more beneficial for spiritual growth. He sees no conflict or problem between the two. He then goes on to point out philosophical doctrinal differences existing within Buddhism itself, particularly covering the theories of emptiness and selflessness. Those he considers conflicts within the philosophical field (SLU 663).

Logically speaking, while His Holiness does not, at this point, outwardly show a tendency toward Buddhist exclusivism by claiming one religious ideology as true and another false, it is difficult for me to comprehend how there can be no problem when conflicts obviously exist within the Buddhist religion as well as between Buddhism and Christianity. The different schools of thought within Buddhism are akin to the differences in Christian beliefs; obvious conflicts keeping all Christian faith practices from becoming one large dominant religion. In pointing out these differences in doctrine, the Dalai Lama is, in essence, stating an inability for the religions to converge on the grounds of key ideological distinctions. Focusing on the similarities, or common ground, which exists between the major world religions appear fine for integration in the sense of co-existence on a side by side level, but the significant dissimilarities in philosophy and belief are fundamental in precluding a merger of all religious views into one theology for all, such as what Hick suggests.

In answer to Cabezon’s question regarding whether or not great teachers of other religions can achieve the liberation suggested by the Buddhist belief, the Dalai Lama explains that different human beings have different mental predispositions. He does not come outright and say one cannot achieve liberation outside of the Buddhist path, but instead he states, without explanation, there were many non-Buddhist teachers during Buddha’s own time who he could not help. Further, the Dalai Lama gives an example of how the Buddha was not recognized as an enlightened being when he appeared and so was not accepted by his people. His Holiness goes on to say because of the different mental predispositions of human beings, Buddha could not overcome them. The Dalia Lama, here again, shows a tolerance of religious diversity in discussing how one Buddhist school of thought reaps benefit from following their own religious worship and practices. He believes their lives will gradually change by remaining faithful to their particular form of the religion and feels Christians should also genuinely and sincerely follow what they believe and it will be enough for them (SLU 663-664).

When pressed for an answer regarding liberation, His Holiness states even Buddhists will not achieve Nirvana, the state of complete enlightenment, all at once within their own lifetimes. Referencing the Buddhist belief in reincarnation, another quintessential doctrinal difference between the non-theistic Buddhist belief and theistic religions, the Dalai Lama suggests it may take many lifetimes for even Buddhists to achieve liberation, so it should not be any different for non-Buddhists.

In regards to trying to convert people of other religions, specifically toward Buddhism, His Holiness feels arguing one position over the other, the inferiority of one side versus another, is pointless because it can only serve to weaken the trust a person places in their own religion and cause them to doubt their faith, particularly if they choose not to convert. Rather, he suggests not arguing a position or attempting to convert someone, but instead praising and encouraging them to follow their own beliefs with as much sincerity and truthfulness as they can because they will still benefit from the practice and achieve a happier and more satisfied life (SLU 664).

Further in the interview, the Dalai Lama eventually does state liberation, or achieving Nirvana, can only happen by following the Buddhist path. He believes, wholeheartedly, achieving this liberated state is explained in the Buddhist scriptures, accomplished only through Buddhist practices. He differentiates between liberation and the more Christian belief of salvation, the latter being a place of supreme peace and a beautiful paradise, but here he makes no comment accepting this view as beneficial. Instead, he explains how Buddhists achieve rebirth in such a paradise.

Despite his carefully chosen words, and what I feel is real tolerance of religious diversity stemming from Buddhist philosophy, the Dalai Lama’s answers indicate a worldview of strict Buddhist belief and dare I even say, religious exclusivism. He is, in essence, practicing what he preaches; love and compassion toward others, following Buddhist doctrines. What appears at first glance is a spiritual man with a pluralist view that all religions have some truth and are worthy of belief, is in reality, a spiritual man who believes Buddhism to be the only path of truth. His ecumenical approach and acceptance of religious diversity are indicative of the Buddhist practice of not being tied down by doctrines in which he believes; thus encouraging and praising those who genuinely follow their own faith and focusing on what he perceives as the common goal of all religions (Compson, Web). While Hick’s theory of pluralism suggests no religion is the one and only truth and the possible integration of all world religions, it is clear. The Dalai Lama believes in the truth of Buddhism as the only true path to the sanctity to which all religions aspire.

Works Cited

Compson, Jane. The Dalai Lama and World Religions: False Friend? Web. 1996.

Higgins, Kathleen, Soren Kierkegaard, Louis Pojman, Michael Rea, Robert Solomon.      Encountering the Real: Faith and Philosophical Enquiry. Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2013.      Print.

Penner, Melinda. The Dalai Lama’s Twists and Topples. Web. 2005.

Evidentialism vs Non-Evidentialism

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Evidentialism can be defined in a broad sense as only believing that for which one has evidence. Non evidentialism, then, is not the opposite of evidentialism, but rather allows for more personal evidence to justify one’s belief. Since our class is about faith and philosophy, these two arguments will be centered particularly in regards to religious faith and belief in the existence of God. Carefully considering both arguments presented via class reading assignments and further research on my own, the non evidentialist argument falls most within my system of belief in God and matters of faith. In this paper, I will defend my position using points made by non evidentialist philosophers, contrasting arguments set forth by evidentialist philosopher W. K. Clifford in his essay, The Ethics of Belief.

CLIFFORD’S EVIDENTIALIST ARGUMENT

Clifford starts his essay relating a story about a ship-owner who sent to sea, a ship that was old and in desperate need of repair. The ship-owner had doubts about how sea-worthy the ship was, but rather than examining and repairing his vessel, he sent her to sea on an ill-fated voyage. The ship sank in the middle of the ocean, and the fate of all those workers onboard was sealed. The ship-owner was responsible for the deaths of the men in the crew because he had no right to believe in the soundness of his ship, based solely on his conviction and past experience with the vessel, in that she had always safely made previous journeys and returned to port without incident.

According to Clifford, there was not enough evidence in this particular case to allow him to proceed with sailing the ship (Saint Leo University 498). Additionally, Clifford suggests, had the ship-owner examined himself in foro conscientiae, he would have realized he did something wrong by sending the ship out to sea without first inspecting and repairing her. Clifford goes on to further distinguish that it was not the ship owner’s mistaken belief in the soundness of the ship that was wrong, but rather it was the action of sending her out to sea without sufficient evidence to support his belief of her worthiness (Saint Leo University 499).

In Clifford’s argument for evidence in order to support a belief, he suggests that unless a belief influences the holder to take action, in this case to examine and repair the ship, one does not truly have a belief at all (Saint Leo University 499). I found this interesting because that particular statement mirrors a portion of Kierkegaard’s existentialism argument, which suggests that one’s passion, or heartfelt belief, is lived out by action. Kierkegaard, of course, goes further and suggests that it is in the action where one lives his existence based on his inward passion. Clifford, too, goes further with his statement, proposing that if one does not act immediately upon his beliefs, it is stored for future guidance, added in with other beliefs, and eventually will cause an explosion of action (Saint Leo University 500). Similar, yet subtly different statements, because Clifford does not subscribe to beliefs being private, inward or internal, as does Kierkegaard, but he does posit that beliefs can be internalized for later use. In any case, Clifford supposes that in the scenario of the ship-owner, believing in insufficient evidence is wrong and one cannot feed their belief by quelling their doubts and avoiding further research.

Clifford’s argument seems to be that all beliefs are influential over our actions in one way or another; actions based on beliefs without evidence cause harm to either ourselves or others because beliefs are not private, concerning oneself alone; and it is always wrong for anyone to believe anything without evidence (Saint Leo University 500-501).

THE NON EVIDENTIALIST ARGUMENT

Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal was a Christian philosopher who tasked himself to bring unbelievers to God. While the wager is considered to be one of the weakest philosophical arguments against evidentialism, there is more strength behind it if you have a better understanding of Pascal and the times in which he lived. Medieval philosophy was dead and theology was being ignored or laughed at by seventeenth century intellectuals. The classic arguments to prove God’s existence no longer held any water during this time of intense skepticism. Pascal’s wager, was written, not so much to convince people that God exists, but rather to make them consider against the prevalent belief of the age, agnosticism, and force a choice either for or against God and Christianity. Pascal knew that a wager such as what he proposed is nowhere near leading people into a mature or deep faith, but it was a starting point for many, which would put a cork in the flow of atheism to a certain degree (Kreeft Web).

            The premise of the wager is this: we have a choice in front of us, and the choice is either God is or God is not. If one accepts the wager and chooses the former, in the end finding out that God does indeed exist, he will have gained infinitely; everything. If one chooses to believe in God and he does not exist, one has only a finite loss, which is merely the loss of one’s finite human life because nothing else is there. If one chooses not to believe in God and he does exist, one wins nothing or stands to lose infinitely. If one chooses not to believe in God and he does not exist, there is only the finite win of human life and nothing more (Saint Leo University 497).

An evidentialist would argue that reason accordingly will not allow one to defend either proposition from Pascal and would find anyone who chooses to be at fault because again, there is no justification. Agnostics of the time would say the only recourse is not to choose; not to wager. Pascal was prepared for this and restated that one must choose; it was a forced option and avoiding a choice was not part of the option (Saint Leo University 497). Since death is an eventual reality for us all, the wager did cause a forced option choice, and it is for this reason that the wager works and is stronger than it appears at first glance. Another practical objection to the wager would be that one simply cannot bring himself to believe in God. Pascal responds with equally practical psychology and suggest that one “act into” the choice as if one believed, even if the person could not yet “act out” of that belief. Pascal believed that belief would come (Kreeft Web). It was Pascal’s belief that evidence was not necessary to form a faith belief in the existence of God, because of knowledge we already have in the finite and the infinite existing, but he posits that it is not necessary to know the nature of the infinite because it has extension, as we do. While God has neither extension nor limits, unlike us, by faith we come to know his existence and his nature (Saint Leo University 496).

The Will to Believe. In this article, William James objects to Clifford’s belief of never forming an opinion or holding a belief without evidence. James contends that our reasoning allows us to believe in things even when there is little to no evidence to back it up. Further, he posits that if we are to have a true belief in something, not merely avoiding error and being duped as Clifford stated, it is sometimes necessary to take the risks involved in believing without evidence (Saint Leo University 503).

In terms of religious beliefs, James only had two broad element definitions: 1) The best things, like perfection, are eternal; and 2) We are better off believing in the first element than not at all (Saint Leo University 508). In James’ opinion, religious belief is what he called a momentous option. This means to state that believing it or not could make a huge difference if it turns out to be true. It is also a live option, because the hypotheses are both live: either be Christian or be agnostic. Each of the hypotheses will appeal to the thinker, even if the draw toward one of them is very weak. It is also a forced option. Like Pascal’s forced option with his wager, James suggests that we cannot remain on the fence in agnosticism because if religion and the belief in God are true, we would not receive the good we would get if we were true believers. Remaining in agnosticism and not making a choice is cutting off one’s nose to spite their face; it cuts us off from living a religious life. The agnostic view also puts one in the position of possibly never acknowledging some types of truth; the very ones they are most concerned about knowing. Finally, James shows Clifford’s adoption of the rule of evidence is irrational if it forces someone to remain in agnosticism (Saint Leo University 503).

SUMMARY

The non evidentialist position appeals to my system of beliefs far more than evidentialism does because I do not believe it necessary to have hard evidence in order to form an opinion or have faith. Furthermore, I disagree that one’s privately held belief could cause harm to myself or other people. My belief in God and religion comes from an inward passion, and that has driven me to seek out new opportunities for growth in my faith and spiritual life. I act out of my passion, as suggested by both Pascal and Kierkegaard, in ways such as getting involved in my parish as a lay minister, as a catechist, and sharing my faith with others, not to sway them, but rather to plant seeds, which will hopefully take root and grow within them. This is much like Pascal’s reasons for developing the wager. I also feel that beliefs, such as in religion, are highly personal and relationship-oriented and cannot always be justified by empirical evidence. They are also a calling from God, possibly considered a mystical experience because it happens interiorly, for my benefit, and no one else is required to feel or believe as I do, or even in my individual experiences. As much as I agree with sensory experience leading to find one’s passion, I also agree that faith and belief in God is a live, momentous option. A person can find their passion, but they still must choose to follow it and act from it, to be in truth. To me, anything less would be a lie and I would not be in truth.

Works Cited

Higgins, Kathleen, Soren Kierkegaard, Louis Pojman, Michael Rea, Robert Solomon.      Encountering the Real: Faith and Philosophical Enquiry. Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2013.      Print.

Kreeft, Peter. The Argument from Pascal’s Wager. Web. 2014.

 

It’s Not Really About Birth Control

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Since the SCOTUS decision regarding Hobby Lobby, I’ve watched and read almost every single post put up by everyone in my feed, taking it all in and pondering the entire subject. I have really given this a great deal of thought on both sides – liberal and conservative.

While I have liberal views on some things, I am mostly conservative on many others. I believe in the rights of all people to make their own decisions because I believe in the concept of free will. I make no secret of my Christianity and because I try to live what I believe, being a Christian does have an impact on every decision I make, be it good or bad.

I am on Hobby Lobby’s side in this argument and here’s why.

I believe in the sanctity of human life. When life begins, it is not ours to take or decide who lives and who dies. I believe life begins at conception. I believe that in the moment when sperm fertilizes egg and new life begins, that new life has a soul. That life deserves a chance to live.

People have stated Hobby Lobby is refusing birth control. The reality is, no, they are not. They are still offering birth control to members of BOTH genders. They are NOT offering the kind of birth control that prevents a fertilized egg… a new life… from being implanted and given a chance to live.

I’ve always found it odd anyway that it’s a baby when one wants to be pregnant, and just a mass of cells passing harmlessly through a woman’s body when one doesn’t. But that’s neither here nor there.

I read some interesting things from Daryl Tabor, a wonderful friend, who offered other knowledge about this case that I did not have. He is allowing me to share his posts here.

“since I have worked in annual company insurance negotiations I can tell you that it has ALWAYS been the decision of the employer as to what the plans will and won’t cover. Since insurance (even plans where the employee pays 100% of the premium) is a benefit provided by the company, it’s not the “right” of an employee to be guaranteed access to all facets of healthcare. Employers do not have to even offer insurance to employees. The employer dictates the terms of employment (hours of work, what you may & may not wear, what you may or may not engage in while on company property, even if on break, rate of pay, etc.) The prospective employee has no requirement to accept a position with that employer, a current employee has no requirement to continue employment with that employer and the employer has no obligation to continue an employee’s employment provided they don’t violate discrimination laws in terminating that employee. The big difference here is the employer has the choice to offer or not offer certain things and an employee has the choice whether or not to work for that employer. When the Government decrees that an employer must provide and pay for certain benefits even if they have a moral aversion to provide them and the Government mandates that employees must accept paying for and providing these items, even if they have a moral aversion to them, then we no longer live in a Republic. We live in a dictatorship, racist, theocratic or tyrannical government where we have lost our freedom of choice.”

“Hobby Lobby’s insurance plans pay for 16 out of 20 birth control solutions. Just not ones that abort conception. When investing 401K funds, the 401K investments are controlled by the employee, not the company. The employee selects which funds to invest in. Also, the article makes no mention of how much, if any, Hobby Lobby contributes to each employee’s fund. The main thing is the government is demanding that Hobby Lobby makes a 401K contribute to any particular company nor does the government dictate that employees must invest in the 401K plan at all, much less make the employees invest in those specific companies. The employers have always been free to offer benefits or not offer benefits and the employee has always been free to accept those benefits or not. The government has no right to make us accept something we consider against our beliefs.”

Thanks, Daryl.

So, this is how I feel, my opinions. I’m entitled to them as you are entitled to yours. You are welcome to reply and offer your opinions and thoughts here, but I am asking you do so with RESPECT and KINDNESS. Anyone who cannot do so, please do not say anything. Keep on scrolling. I will not argue or entertain assholes on my timeline.

Okay? Okay!

Thank you for your considerate behavior.

Analysis of Samuel Clarke’s Cosmological Argument

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The Cosmological Argument is one of the oldest and most popular arguments for proof in the existence of God. While Samuel Clarke’s argument has roots that go back to Plato and Aristotle, his is often called the second variation of the argument, following in the footsteps of the first three ways listed in Thomas Aquinas’ Five Ways. The argument Clarke puts forth is also sometimes called the Argument of Contingency, which seems to be entwined with the third way from Aquinas. Simply stated, Clarke’s argument is based on the premises that every being in existence, or ever has been in existence, is a dependent or contingent being; not every being at any time in existence can be a dependent or contingent being; and that a self-existent, or necessary being must exist (Pojman/Rea, Solomon, Kierkegaard, p 152). Clarke differs from Aquinas in that rather than focusing on contingent and necessary beings, he chooses to focus on dependent, or independent, self-existing beings. While the argument posited by Clarke is deductively valid (Pojman, et.al., p 152), and although I am a believer in the existence of God, I find the argument to be unsound. In this paper I will defend my opinion through the use of argument, objection, response, and ultimately a conclusion.

The first premise in Clarke’s argument is based on a basic principle set forth by St. Anselm, which has been fleshed out more completely and is called the Principle of Sufficient Reason, hereafter known as PSR. Basically this principle is a restatement of Anselm’s belief that anything that exists must have an explanation for why it exists. To truly use the PSR as a basis for the first premise in Clarke’s argument would require acceptance of the validity of the principle itself. If one does accept its validity, then the first premise could be considered true. If the second premise is also shown to be true, then the conclusion must also be true.

While it is widely accepted to be valid by many people, the PSR seems to beg the question about why we should accept its validity at all. If everything that exists requires an explanation, would that not hold true for the PSR itself? There have been modern day philosophers who have attempted to prove the validity of the PSR, but as yet, none have been able to do so. This is the first problem with accepting the PSR. The second problem with the PSR is that it does not explain the difference between self-explanatory facts and self-caused entities with brute facts and uncaused entities (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Web). The fact that there is even a question about whether or not the PSR should be accepted as valid and true, gives me pause and makes me question whether or not the first premise is true, despite my faith beliefs. So then if the first premise is false, even if the second premise could be shown to be true, the argument must be unsound. For argument sake, I will accept the majority opinion and valid use of the PSR and the truth of the first premise, to move on to the second premise.

The second premise, that not every being in existence or that has ever existed, cannot be a dependent being, has trouble right from the start. Even those who advocate for the Cosmological Argument see something wrong in this second premise. It is entirely possible that in the line of causality, dependent beings can be traced back to other dependent beings, ad infinitum, or all the way to infinity. If this is so, then every being that exists or has ever existed is, indeed, a dependent being. Proponents of the argument, however, consider this series of dependent beings as a collection, therefore suggesting that the collection itself must also have an explanation for its existence. Additionally, those who advocate for the argument infer that because each dependent being in the collection has a cause, the collection itself must also have a cause. Proponents also reject the idea that because each member of the collection already has a cause or explanation, the explanation or cause for the collection already exists (Pojman, et.al., pp 154-155).

In order to refute any of the previously listed criticisms of the Cosmological Argument, advocates fall back to the PSR, which again states that everything and every positive fact must have an explanation. Proponents of the Cosmological Argument reject the criticism that requires any type of inference from the premise that each member of the collection already has an explanation, and therefore the collection also has an explanation. The first two criticisms made logical sense to me and proponents refuting them using the PSR seems very weak, even if the PSR is considered valid. Based on that validity, I can logically accept the responses to the criticisms. The third criticism seems to pack the most punch and is the most logical. The response to the criticism seems to be simply a rewording and return to the PSR, but it seems to require some presumption of a collection being its own entity. Simple logic tells me that a series or collection is not an entity of its own. Without the items in the series, the series would never have existed at all. It appears to be a stretch to mean that a collection of things which already have a cause, needs to have a cause for the collection.

In terms of the third criticism, logically speaking, we could look at a line of cars all stuck on the freeway at 5:00pm. Each one of those cars has a reason for being on that freeway. The explanation is already given, already has a cause: rush hour. No further explanation or reason for the collection of vehicles on the freeway is necessary. Proponents of the argument would say an additional reason is needed to explain the collection of cars, perhaps by making an inference of a car accident or something else blocking the road. What makes the most sense here is already explained by why the cars are there, or by using the logic of our own experience. That time of day, people are heading home from work. Rush hour is at 5:00pm. I find the second premise of the Cosmological Argument to be false based on the lack of good, logical response to the third criticism. To restate my earlier position, if the first premise is true and the second premise is false, the argument is unsound.

In giving further consideration to this argument, other questions come to mind. Is it possible that the universe has always existed in some form or another, and what we have come to know as our universe is a product of several contractions and big bang expansions throughout time? If a first cause or self-existent thing does exist, can the universe itself fulfill that role? In my research, I did not find sufficient cause for valid, sound arguments to either of these questions, but I cannot discount the possibilities either. It would seem that while there are proponents and opponents for the Cosmological Argument and even for the questions I’ve just posed, more criticisms and justifications continue to appear from both philosophers and theologians alike.

The validation for my opinion rests on the fact that while the PSR cannot be proven, it is widely accepted as true, so the first premise of the Cosmological Argument is then true. The second premise is false, based on valid criticism and a response from proponents that I find lacking due to its rejection of the criticism’s logic. If the first premise is true, and the second premise is false, the Cosmological Argument is unsound.

Having, hopefully, made my argument, I feel I must add how difficult it was for me to accept the Cosmological Argument as being unsound. At first, I wanted to argue for the soundness of the argument based solely on my beliefs, but once I started doing the research, I couldn’t say it was sound with complete certainty. It would seem, based on all I’ve now read, that even philosophers and theologians are not in agreement with the soundness of the argument either, and it possibly could go either way.

Works Cited

“A Critique of the Cosmological Argument.” University of California, San Diego. Web. 2014.

“Cosmological Argument.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2013 Edition. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.

Higgins, Kathleen, Soren Kierkegaard, Louis Pojman, Michael Rea, Robert Solomon. Encountering the Real: Faith and Philosophical Enquiry. Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2013. Print.

“Principle of Sufficient Reason.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Spring 2014 Edition. Web. 21 March 2014.

©25 May 2014. The Outspoken Blogger; Robin Carneke-Green.

When Is a Mom Not a Mom?

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This past Mother’s Day really had me thinking, and sometimes that’s not a good thing. I’m a Mom, in every way that counts, and yet other than my husband and my mother, no one else bothered to acknowledge me as such. I’m not sure whether or not my feelings should be hurt, but they were. Mother’s Day is a difficult enough day for me every year as it is.

You see, I was pregnant when I was 24 years old and I lost my son in utero. I actually gave birth, even though I was drugged to the hilt so I wouldn’t feel or remember any of it, but I did it. In the end, unlike most people, there was no beautiful bundle of joy to take home with me and shower with love until the end of time. Yet, I have a prescription pad paper from my doctor that proves I was pregnant. I carry my son’s stem cells with me, inside my body, until I die.

I am a Mom.

I have a sister who is 16 years my junior, and when she was born, my maternal instincts kicked up in a big way. Except for the times I was in school, I took on a mothering role with her throughout her entire life and did all the things that any Mom would do for their child. Granted, biologically, she is not my child. In my heart, she is. We have a closer relationship than she does with our mother, a fact our Mom has pointed out to me many times. She said she wishes she had the mother-daughter bond with her youngest that I have with her. Yet never once in 32 years has my sister ever wished me a Happy Mother’s Day. I wrote an article about our unique relationship for an online mom’s magazine not long ago, and instead of being touched by it, my sister went off on me about how I did not raise her and I am not her Mom. Well, you know, I’m not her mom, but I did raise her. Our mother will tell anyone that. What hurts me the most is that I’ve had to come out and ASK my sister, in her less antagonistic moments, whether or not I was a good mom. She says, “yes,” and that’s the end of the conversation.

My sister is now a new mom herself, and everyone praises her up and down about what a great mom she is to her daughter. Good for her. I’m happy for her. I’m proud of her. Will I never hear those same praises? Probably not. I have no baby of my own.

But I am a Mom.

My husband has two children from his first marriage. Neither of us ever refer to them as “his children,” or my “stepchildren.” They are our children, and our grandchild. Steps only belong in a house.

I know they have a mother of their own who gave birth to them, but I chose to love them and treat them like my own. They didn’t grow in my belly, but in my heart. Our son, God bless him, has called me Mom right from the beginning. It’s too much to ask for our daughter to call me that and I would never ask or expect it, but is it too much to ask for an acknowledgement on Mother’s Day? Our daughter doesn’t even like to refer to me as Grandma to her son. That is also too much to ask, apparently. On the rare occasions when I’m able to speak to our grandson, he does call me Grandma, but it takes some prompting from my husband and I for him to do it.

Our kids’ birth mom and I get along really well. There’s no animosity between us at all. We’ve never directly spoken about it, but when our daughter was pregnant, she and I spoke a lot, coordinating what we’d get her to help out with the baby. We both, along with my husband, pitched in to buy her a crib that would convert to a toddler bed and then into a full-sized bed, so that baby would always have a place to sleep. The birth mom and I are of the same mind that having more people love the kids and guide the kids, can only benefit them in the long run. She knows our son calls me Mom and has no issue with it whatsoever because she knows I’m not trying to take her place, but rather partner with her and my husband to raise wonderful children.

No phone call from the kids or the grandson on Mother’s Day, and yet, I am a Mom. I am a Grandma.

I have come to terms with the fact that I will never give birth to a child of my own. No longer having a uterus and my age have pretty much taken care of that effectively. Still, I’ve raised kids. I’ve had a child.

I’m a Mom, but not a Mom. I’m not sure I will ever truly come to terms with that.

I Have Diabetes. Diabetes Does NOT Have Me.

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“Happy birthday, young lady. You have diabetes.”

I loved my doctor, but I did not like hearing those words come out of his mouth. They weren’t entirely surprising words, as I’d been expecting to get this diagnosis at some point in my life, based on my family history and genetics. I knew it would catch me sooner or later. I was hoping for “later” or even better – “never.”

I am overweight. I will admit that. It’s a battle I’ve fought my entire life. Since I knew my family history of diabetes, I made sure to stay active and watch what I was eating. I am not a sugar junkie, even though I do enjoy chocolate a little too much on the occasions I have it. Despite my up and down weight, I was physically healthy, until this diagnosis. It seems like it’s all been downhill ever since.

I was immediately sent to my doctor’s nurse, who gave me a meter, lancets, and test strips, and was told I had to test my blood sugar throughout the day, especially two hours after meals. That would tell me what things I could or couldn’t eat based on how they spiked my blood sugar or not. Then I was given an appointment with a “diabetes educator.”

The DE didn’t teach me much. She preached portion control (duh) and told me a few foods I should avoid like corn, oranges, and most juices. That was really all I got from her and it wasn’t much. Everything I’ve learned about the Big D, I have learned on my own through a ton of research.

I am a firm believer in knowing my disease and knowing more about my disease than anyone else, including most doctors.

Let’s clear up a few things.

Type II diabetes, which is what I have, is insulin resistance. My pancreas is still making insulin, but it is not using it effectively. Not all people who receive a Type II diagnosis are overweight. It can strike anyone at any time.

Diabetes Glucose Testing

When blood sugar drops, we don’t need insulin. We need sugar, carbohydrates. Give me a glass of orange juice before giving me candy, but candy will work in a pinch. I usually carry a can of regular Coke with me everywhere I go. For some reason, that works better than any other soda. It usually takes about 15 minutes for blood sugar to rise after ingesting a sugar substance.

When blood sugar is high, drinking a great deal of water will help flush ketones from the system. Exercise will help bring the glucose level down, or a shot of insulin. Not all Type II diabetics take insulin.

Type II diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise. There is a possibility of putting the disease into remission, but once you have diabetes, you will always have diabetes. There is no cure.

Despite having diabetes, I do not let it control my life. I can do anything anyone else can do.

Diabetes doesn’t have to be a death sentence if it is controlled.