Considering the source of my convictions

There’s a logical fallacy (a common and often-undetected mistake in thinking) called the Appeal to False Authority, of which we’re all guilty at times.

“Nine out of ten dentists recommend this broom.” O…kay, but why should I let nine tooth doctors dictate my sweepin’ habits?

It happens when there’s someone we trust for issues relating to one topic, then we allow that trust to slip over to issues relating to a whole different topic, regardless of our source’s credentials on the new topic. …


Revisiting a 2018 Series on Christmas

Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash

I officially joined Medium last December, and my first order of business was a three-part series on the meaning of Christmas — including a consideration of some traditionally held misconceptions about the holiday, as well as what I hoped were refreshing takes on one of the most widely celebrated days throughout the world.

We’re days away from ringing in Jesus’… 2023rd birthday? And so I thought I’d repackage those stories in one easy-to-find spot. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Peace On Earth: Part 1

Peace On Earth: Part 2

Peace On Earth: Part 3


And yet we hear this comparison often. Is it fair?

“I dunno,” says young Charlie to his dad Scott Calvin in Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause, when asked why he doesn’t believe in Santa anymore. “It seems kinda babyish to believe in all that stuff.” C’mon, Charlie. You’re only, like, six yourself kid.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The idea for the story you’re reading came from an early-November headline that caught my attention. (I tried to get this piece published by Christmas, but alas, time slipped away. I think we can still take a look though, eh?) The headline grabbed me because it oozed with the author’s incredulity, and the article itself, I think…


Everything delivered must have a sender; every acceptance starts with a give

Photo by Chor Tsang on Unsplash

I own a small-town general store. (I don’t actually. This is hypothetical. Now is not a good time to be a shop owner, sadly.) A kindly older man from town, Larry, always pays for his purchases on store credit; he knows I expect to collect payment in the spring. One day in late winter, he comes in to tell me he is broke; he can’t pay. In my good nature (again, hypothetical; I’m not this nice) I tell Larry his debt is canceled. He can go home. Larry says thank you, and he goes.

What just transpired? Did Larry’s debt…


Completing our analysis of God’s role in humanity’s collective sufferings

Photo by Joshua Wilking on Unsplash

Welcome to the conclusion of a three-part series examining whether belief in a good, benevolent God can be reasonably sustained in the face of the pain, suffering, and evil endured by God’s creation each day. We drew some philosophical conclusions in Part 1, and in Part 2 we began to directly address the particular sufferings that we’re experiencing throughout the world right now, allowing us to consider our own contributions to the world’s evils and our own suffering before we even wonder about God’s participation.

Here in Part 3, I’ll submit to you that God, rather than harming us, actually…


Starting to directly address humanity’s collective sufferings

A heart being broken. Or mended? Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

We’ve entered the second installment of a three-part series examining whether belief in a good, benevolent God can be reasonably sustained in the face of the pain, suffering, and evil endured by God’s creation each day. We drew some philosophical conclusions in Part 1, but have yet to directly address the particular sufferings that we’re experiencing throughout the world right now — suffering like that of 20 million East Africans, whose food supply is currently threatened by a plague of locusts; and this, just after Kenya experienced one of its highest spikes in Coronavirus cases. …


Already under siege of a pandemic, we were thrown into utter turmoil on May 25 when an evil act was perpetrated on camera. Is it time to put the idea of God to rest?

Photo by Benjamin Lambert on Unsplash

The entire nation — and a large portion of the globe — is groping its way through a tangled mess of Covid-meets-centuries of racism-meets-a murder heard ‘round the world-meets-social unrest, looting, and rioting-meets-protestors finding themselves unable to peaceably assemble without pepper bombs-meets-a seemingly tone-deaf President. Through it all, deep questions about things like truth and God have become commonplace.

I began writing this story in March when everything seemed to begin. Since then, I’ve edited and rewritten countless times. So many words, yet which are the right ones? You who are writers understand. And you who are (still) believers in…


the planet’s self-aware inhabitants, that is.

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

In 2015 I went to Facebook to share a dilemma I thought appropriate to the day:

On Earth Day, I challenge you to consider whether you value and protect human life more than that of flora & fauna. Sadly, many of the same well-intentioned people who support organizations like Green Peace and PETA are silent against (or vocally supportive of) the killing of tiny, invaluable human lives in the womb. I don’t often bring up this topic, but it has weighed too heavily on my mind. Do you see the double standard here, friends?

Really wonderful dialogue ensued, where people…


And hop to it!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Consider the following claims, which not only circulate the interwebs every spring, but are also strongly held and espoused year-round by some groups — such as Jehovah’s Witnesses; Seventh Day Adventists; and peoples associated with the loosely-held term Hebrew Roots, all of whom worship Jesus but forsake holidays celebrated throughout church history, like Easter and Christmas, if they were not explicitly set up by God in the bible. The claims go something like this:

Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still…


Celebrating the start of my mom’s 63rd year with a few stories.

My maternal grandfather Art Curley was a jazz and big-band radio DJ for decades all across the eastern seaboard, and he sure had the pipes for it. Any time he would call us from his seaside home in Delaware, his tonal voice — deep, velvety smooth — would resonate through the receiver. The most memorable calls, though, were the ones picked up by the answering machine. That’s because the message would always begin with that soothing voice saying, “Hi Claud. It’s your papa.” He was greeting my mom, Claudia, and he pronounced papa the French way, with the second “a”…

Dave VH

One-time copywriter, now hobbywriting on ethics, values, religion, philosophy & truth, with a dash of humor. Views are my own (and others’, but not my employer)

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