Monday, July 31, 2006

Arguement Clinic

This reminds me of some of the apologetic arguments that I have taken part in.

Sunday, July 30, 2006


In the book entitled Freakconomics it theorizes that legalized abortion was the cause of crime reduction in New York in the 1990's. Abortion was legalized around 1970 which is 20 years before the crime rate fell. The claim is that unwanted babies are more likely to become criminals and because they were killed by abortion this reduced the crime rate by 50%. Now there are a lot of arguments for and against this idea but it is still interesting.

But I also have a theory. The pill was introduced in around 1960 in New York. The pill affected the New York population in that “responsible” families, those who could comply with the “wisdom” of fertility reduction, had fewer children. People who were not intelligent, inept, or responsible were not as successful with the cultural value of fertility reduction and had more children. This increase the ratio of children in the population who came from “dysfunctional”parents and this led to a higher crime rate, twenty years later, in the 1980's in New York.

This all reeks of eugenics but I would guess that the culture of contraception has had a more detrimental effect on society than the crime reduction ability of abortion can counterbalance. To bad that many Catholics in America have sold out to the wisdom of fertility reduction [i.e. culture of death] but that is a topic for another post.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mozart Made Me Do It

When people ask me about my conversion today, I often tell them I was converted by Mozart. That is an exaggeration, but not far from the truth. It was through music and art that I encountered a positive, inspiring vision of Catholicism. To be young is to be a sensualist, and it was through my ears and eyes that I first became attracted to the faith. Link

Our Pope before he became Pope said the following in regards to Mozart;

You might say that there Mozart thoroughly penetrated our souls, and his music still touches me very deeply, because it is so luminous and yet at the same time so deep. His music is by no means just entertainment; it contains the whole tragedy of human existence. Link
Listen to one of B16's favorite songs writen by Mozart; Quintet for Clarinet

Friday, July 28, 2006

Echoing the Argument

I recently had a little interaction with an atheist on You Tube. Here is the comment by an atheist;
All religions rely upon one thing. FAITH. And faith is the belief in something without evidence, proof, or logical rationale. That is the source of all problems. Irrational thought. Faith is the absence and defiance of reason. And that is the bane of our current existence.
And my response;

All religions rely upon one thing...transcendence. Reality is something more than what can fit into the human box of evidence, proof, or logical rationale. This is the source of all human hope, that there is something beyond us. Setting faith against reason is irrational. It denies the possibility of the fulfilment of the greatest desire of the human heart.
In my argument I tried to use the same structure but with a larger perspective. I think by doing this it makes it easier for the other side see the point. I hope it does not come off like I am mocking the other person. I also tried to use the most general religions position as possible because it makes it harder to go off on tangents. The less bait for tangents the more likely the person will face the core of an argument. But anyway it felt good do some apologetics.

Terminator Meets Jesus

I found this from Jimmy Akin’s blog who found it from The Curt Jester. Very funny

Monday, July 17, 2006

Superman: Type of Christ or Anti Christ?

I have not seen the movie Superman Returns but I have heard very different opinions on the movie. One side says that Superman is portrayed as a dead beat dad not willing to take responsibility for his son and Lois is a single parent shacking up with her boyfriend and the movie sets up a sequel for “Super Bastard”. Some on the other side like the movie because it shows Superman as a type of Christ in that Superman is portrayed as a Christ like savior. Here is a quote...

He [Superman] undergoes something of a via dolorosa in the film, complete with a Kryptonite lance in the side. And his final, heroic act to save the world is one which — apparently — costs him his life. He falls from space to earth in a cruciform shape; the man of the Cross for the salvation of the world.
The other view says this...

Some things point us to God in rather direct ways, others more indirectly, and still others show us divine truths by opposition and contrast rather than by similarity. Superman is a figure who is striking not so much for his similarity to Christ, but rather for his dissimilarity.

So is the movie pro-Christ or anti-Christ? I don’t know, I haven’t seen the movie but here are two different opinions...

Hollywood's Caped Messiah

Anti-Christ Superman: The Superhero and the Suffering Servant

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Universal Values

A couple posts back I talked about the opponent’s strategy of dismantling the universal hierarchy of values that our faith professes and I wanted to give a rational argument that defends against this dismantling.

Values do have an element that is subjective but values are also objective in that some values are written into us as humans. We cannot be happy without being connected to something beyond ourselves, something transcendent. It is in our nature to hunger for something beyond us. Our modern society has a metaphysics of materialism which tends to undervalue the intangible. This causes problems because people aim for things that are less than transcendent.

The major faith traditions throughout history testify to needing something transcendent. The Greeks i.e. Aristotle (and latter Christian’s) recognized four levels of happiness. I am quoting the following;

1. laetus: Happiness in a thing. Thus, “I see the linguini, I eat the linguini, it makes me feel good, I am happy.” This kind of happiness is based on something external to the self, is short-lived and, on reflection, we do not consider that it is all there is to human happiness.

2. felix: The happiness of comparative advantage. “I have more of this than X.” “I am better at this than X.” This kind of happiness results from competition with another person. The self is seen in terms of how we measure up to others. It has been called “the comparison game.” Such happiness is rather unstable and, if one fails, can lead to unhappiness and sense of worthlessness. Exclusive pursuit tends to oppress others. Most people would not imagine a world as satisfactory if it was composed of only happiness #2 type people.

3. Beatitudo: (Beatitudo = happiness or blessedness). The happiness that comes from seeing the good in others and doing the good for others. It is, in essence, other-regarding action. Happiness #3 is, in some sense, at war with happiness #2. One cannot be at the same time in competition with someone else and doing the good for and seeing the good in them. Most people would prefer a world (community, family, relationships) structured around the pursuit of happiness #3 than entirely based in happiness #2. Happiness #3 is higher than happiness #2. The problem with #3 is that it is necessarily limited. We cannot be someone else's everything. For example, we or they, will die and if our happiness is contingent upon them, it dies with them. “There must be more than this.”

4. Sublime Beatitudo: (sublime = “to lift up or elevate”). This category, the most difficult to describe, encompasses a reach for fullness and perfection of happiness. The fullness, therefore, of goodness, beauty, truth and love. So we recognize in this category, those things that are, in a sense, beyond what we are capable of doing purely on our own. LINK

Our materialistic consumer culture tends to overvalue level one and two at the expense of level three and four which puts the hierarchy of values on it's head.

I have used this argument in the most hostile anti-Catholic environment there is, a pro-abortion website, and no one really addressed it head on. Here is the link of this post LINK

Pray the Rosary

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Pop Culture Needs a Diaper Change

A lot of popular music comes down to the equivalent of pornography for the ears. But when everyone follows the set program of degradation which sells, there comes a point when the only thing left that is radical is following Jesus. We have reached that point. The following is a song by Kanye West called Jesus Walks. Here is a line from the song;

The way Kathie Lee needed Regis / That's the way y'all need Jesus

No truer words have been said in a rap song. lol

Here is a video of the song. Warning: the N-word is used a couple of times. The song has a church militant feel to it which I like.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Problem with Preemptive Apologetics

A quote fromMark Shea's blog.

Part of what fed (and feeds) the interest in apologetics is simply the thrill of learning and articulating the faith. That's certainly what motivates me. People call me an apologist. I generally don't call myself one, because I primarily think of myself as an amateur teacher. I think the Faith is fascinating and just like telling other people about it, because I love to watch the lights come on and I love to watch the Faith liberate other people as it's liberated me. Sometimes that involves "defending the Faith". A lot of times it simply involves proclaiming the Faith.

The two, by the way, are different and those who love apologetics would do well to remember it. The first and primary task of the believer is *not* to defend the Faith, but to proclaim it. In other words, evangelization comes first, and apologetics is, at best, its handmaid. You don't *need* to "defend the Faith* unless the Faith is being attacked. And if you enter into a conversation with a defensive mentality, don't be surprised if you ignite a hostile mentality in the person you are talking to. Not a few times have I seen hot-headed, testosterone-driven young single guys (in short, the sort of person who is typically drawn to apologetics) forget this and come on strong with a pugilistic attitude that radiates "You probably think there's something wrong with my Faith, don't you? Don't you? Come on, try me buddy. Just try me!" Such folk mean well usually. They are young bucks full of piss and vinegar. A thousand years ago, all that masculine energy would have been spent on something like a healthy crusade. But today, there are very few channels through which the Valiant Knight hormones can go, so they go into apologetics, often without anybody to instruct these guys that the medieval ideal also include the model of the verray, parfit gentil knyght who comes in peace before he comes in war. (Link)

This leads to the obvious question, Am I “full of piss and vinegar?” Before I can answer I need to take a trip to the John.

The Strategy of Our Opponents

A quote from a book called Without Roots that I picked up from the library written in part by Pope Benedict (then known as Ratzinger).

a) The first reason was articulated by Nietzsche when he wrote, “Christianity has thus far always been attacked in the wrong way. As long as one does not perceive Christian morality as a capital crime against life, its defenders will always have an easy game. The question of the truth of something entirely secondary as long as the question of the value of Christian morality is not addressed.”

Here what we are actually addressing, in my opinion, is the decisive reason for the abandonment of Christianity: its model of life is apparently unconvincing. It seems to place too many restraints on humankind that stifle its, joie de vivre, that limit its precious freedom, and that do not lead it to open pastures- in the language of the Psalms- but rather into want, into deprivation. Something similar happened in antiquity, when the representatives of the powerful Roman state appealed to Christians by saying: Return to our religion, our religion is joyous, we have feasts, drunken revels, and entertainments, while you believe in One who was crucified.

The Christians were able to demonstrate persuasively how empty and base were the entertainments of paganism, and how sublime the gifts of faith in the God who suffers with us and leads us to the road of true greatness. Today it is a matter of the greatest urgency to show a Christian model of life that offers a livable alternative to the increasingly vacuous entertainments of leisure-time society, a society forced to make increasing recourse to drugs because it is sated by the usual shabby pleasures. Living on the great values of the Christian tradition is naturally much harder than a life rendered dull by the increasingly costly habits of time. The Christian model of life must be manifested as a life in all its fullness and freedom, a life that does not experience the bonds of love as dependence and limitation but rather as an opening to the greatness of life.

In battle it is always a good idea to understand the strategy that an opponent is going to use. Our opponent’s main strategy is not to attack our doctrines through reason. Instead, they aim at dismantling the universal hierarchy of values that our faith professes. Secular values are exalted above religious values and the sacred is demeaned. We need to be vigilant in recognizing these maneuvers because they can be so subtle at times that we don’t even see it and at times we even participate in it.