Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Divine Spark

There is just something about this performance that I really like. The music is beautiful but the playfulness back and forth and the creative interchange just adds another dimension to it. I don’t know how you can watch this video and not see the Divine spark in man.

The person who is really in revolt is the optimist, who generally lives and dies in a desperate and suicidal effort to persuade all the other people how good they are. It has been proved a hundred times over that if you really wish to enrage people and make them angry, even unto death, the right way to do it is to tell them that they are all the sons of God. G.K. Chesterton

Defending John Paul II: Time Magazine's Irresponsible Article

This is something that we need to be ready to give a response too. I have a feeling that it is going to turn into an urban legend. Here is a response by Father Jonathan Morris and another by Jimmy Akin. Here is the misleading Time article that is being addressed.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Faith and Objective Scholarly Deliberation

I'm not in a writing mood. Just not feeling it. But here is a quote that is very interesting.

faith does not result from straightforward scholarly deliberation, nor does it come directly; on the contrary, in this objectivity one loses that infinite, personal, impassioned interestedness, which is the condition of faith, the ubigue et nusquam [everywhere and nowhere] in which faith can come into existence (29). Søren Kierkegaard, Postscript

Baby Got Book

I got this from my sister and it’s funny.

We both like the part where it says, "and if you're Catholic there's even more"

If you're looking to read more about why Catholic’s have a bigger Bible go here

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hypothesized Thor the thunder-agent.

An enormous bolt of electricity comes out of the sky and hits something, and the Norse tribesfolk say, "Maybe a really powerful agent was angry and threw a lightning bolt." The human brain is the most complex artifact in the known universe. If anger seems simple, it's because we don't see all the neural circuitry that's implementing the emotion. (Imagine trying to explain why Saturday Night Live is funny, to an alien species with no sense of humor. But don't feel superior; you yourself have no sense of fnord.) The complexity of anger, and indeed the complexity of intelligence, was glossed over by the humans who hypothesized Thor the thunder-agent. Link

Your analogy with Norse tribesfolk reminds me of the NRA slogan, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. There are many different levels of causation. The gun can be said to be the secondary cause of why someone died. The person pulling the trigger would be the primary cause. The secondary cause of thunder is nature but the first cause that brought things into existence and created the system is God. Nature cannot be its own cause.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mr. Incredible, Edna, and Christ

Yesterday in my confirmation class as part of our starting prayer I had them make a prayer intention. One of the students could not think of one. I told him that there was so much to pray for and what other opportunity would he have in asking his fellow students to pray for something he hoped for. He finally prayed that he would get a “million dollars”. All the students had a little giggle at this. I told him that he should be careful in what he asks for. I explained that like in Spider Man, “with great power comes great responsibility”. I asked him if he was planning on squandering this money on himself or was he wanting to do the hard work of putting this money towards something good. I told him that one day he would have to make an accounting of what he did with the gifts that he had been given and that a million dollars would be a great temptation. (I am really blessed to have this person in my class. He is a pain at times, but his questions and challenges really livens up the class)

We all do this. We really don’t know what to ask of Christ. We are not that creative to ask for something really great and beautiful. This situation reminds me of Edna and Mr. Incredible over his super hero outfit. Mr. Incredible just wants the same old. Edna wants him to ask the impossible. But with no Capes!

May we ask for the cloths of Christ. But no million dollars! You might get sucked up in a vortex or something.

Hope is Rational

Once upon a time, I went to EFNet's #philosophy to ask "Do you believe a nuclear war will occur in the next 20 years? If no, why not?" One person who answered the question said he didn't expect a nuclear war for 100 years, because "All of the players involved in decisions regarding nuclear war are not interested right now." "But why extend that out for 100 years?", I asked. "Pure hope," was his reply.

Reflecting on this whole thought process, we can see why the thought of nuclear war makes the person unhappy, and we can see how his brain therefore rejects the belief. But, if you imagine a billion worlds - Everett branches, or Tegmark duplicates - this thought process will not systematically correlate optimists to branches in which no nuclear war occurs. Link

For hope to be useless, it requires the premise that God does not exist. If God exists, then the rational thing is to hope and not in just the improbable but the impossible.

As a Catholic, I am willing to abstain from food and sex at times. I even like to think that I would give my life for my faith. But you atheists are fanatical. Sacrificing hope is too hardcore. First you sacrifice faith, then hope, what’s next love?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Journal Question (2)

Today in our Confirmation class we talked about Divine Revelation. The question for my Confirmation class’s journal was the following:

What is the greatest truth that you know of that has been revealed in Scripture?

I think a lot of times we put the cart before the horse. We give answers to questions that students haven’t even asked. I think this takes some of the impact away from the answer. I believe that the right question is sometimes more important than the right answer.

What is my answer to the journal question? Christ, I also asked them to explain why this truth was the greatest truth. I’m excited to read what they wrote.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nightcrawler the Catholic (X-Men)

-Kurt Wagner, Nightcrawler of the X-Men

-The Nightcrawler as a Roman Catholic Superhero FAQ

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

If you look at the Q&A section there are explanations for many parts of the Catholic faith. It is not a debate, but just a way to understand Nightcrawler from within his own faith. This is at least indirect communication if not apologetics.

Consciousness without a cerebral cortex

It’s bizarre how it’s ok to withhold food and water to a person who has a working brain stem but not much else. But to starve and dehydrate an animal without much more than a brain stem and this is considered cruel.

Self-awareness and other "higher" forms of thought may require cortical contributions. But Merker posits that "primary consciousness," which he regards as an ability to integrate sensations from the environment with one's immediate goals and feelings in order to guide behavior, springs from the brain stem.

If he's right, virtually all vertebrates—which share a similar brain stem design—belong to the "primary consciousness" club. Moreover, medical definitions of brain death as a lack of cortical activity would face a serious challenge. At the very least, physicians could no longer assume that individuals with hydranencephaly don't need pain medication or anesthesia during invasive medical procedures. (Consciousness without a cerebral cortex: A challenge for neuroscience
and medicine

The Probability of Religion

I read somewhere that 65.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot. I don’t remember where I read this because I only remember 37.3% of where quotes come from. I spent some time and researched this and the truth is that the number 65.4% applies to all statistics. But when referring to statistics that are present on the internet the number shoots up to 95.6% of all statistic which is significant. Now 7 out of 10 people who were willing to call themselves apologists agree that this statistic is important. And although I am not a huge fan of Donald Rumsfeld he said something very insightful in regards to this topic. He said:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.

Now I am no scientist or statistician, although I was involved in a science fair once and the judges did say that my volcano explosion was the largest, but this is nether here nor there. The process of science is very messy. Here is an explanation of Why Most Published Research Findings are False which is very interesting.

There are an infinite number of false hypothesis and because of this the odds are that any given hypothesis is going to be untrue. My two loyal readers stand at two deviations from the mean which means that they get this or they don’t get this. The real questions is that if the null hypothesis is more likely to be the bull hypothesis then what does this have to do in regards to Papal bulls.

This truly is the bottom line. If the easy questions are so hard to answer then what chance do we have in any religion being true? My answer is a lot like St. Peter’s, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The probability is not good but where shall we go. I have a relationship with Christ and I trust him. He is my starting point and with this data it makes all things new. If science were able to totally understand my Catholic faith and it was able to fit within the scientific box then I would reject it as untrue. Christ is my alpha and my omega. My morning star. He is the way the truth and the life. He is the logos and my firm foundation. What statistic do I have to prove this? I have none.

Steve Ray and Indirect Apologetics

I got an email from the religious education director of my parish. She sent me this interview with Steve Ray in regards to his video on St. Paul. She told me that she thought of me when she read the interview. It’s a good interview so go check it out.

I have seen most of the, In the Footprints of God, videos and they are very good. The videos are perfect examples of indirect apologetics. Steve Ray, dressed as Indiana Jones, travels around the globe to find different historical places in the Bible. The videos give a solid feeling of how the events in the Bible are connected to real history. Along the way, Steve happens to do a lot of apologetics but this is not something that you really notice. I think this is the genius of the serious. Steve falling face first in a hole of mud to demonstrate why Mary needed a savior, even though she was immaculately conceived, is a example of doing apologetics without it really feeling like apologetics. I wish I had this argument and demonstration on youtube, it’s classic. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go buy his video on Mary)

Steve Ray is a first rate apologist and teacher. He explains in the videos many of the distinctly Catholic doctrines with clarity and common sense. I highly recommend the series.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Calling of Saint Matthew

The Calling of Saint Matthew by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio 1600

The following is written by Michael Morris

The scene is one of suspended activity caught in a moment of time. Christ’s sudden appearance was not anticipated by these men. The invitation to another life and another world manifests itself in one shocking instant. The frozen gestures of these individuals betray the gamut of human emotions that follow a challenge or command.

The bearded Matthew is set apart from the others. Wide-eyed, he is dazzled by the light. Even though his right hand remains firmly on the coin he has been counting, with his left hand he points to his breast as if to ask the beckoning Savior, “Who, me?” Soon he will rise from the table and follow the captivating stranger. Already Christ’s feet are turned as if to leave. The light behind him and Saint Peter, which they have introduced into the scene by their arrival, would seem to be miraculous, for it casts no shadow upon the defensive youth facing them.

It is Characteristic of Christianity that the weak are often chosen and made strong to fulfill some measure of God’s divine plan. The fact that Matthew, the most reviled of men, should be chosen to enter into the company of the apostles and be one of the four recorders of Christ’s life on earth is a testimony to the wonder of God’s love and the transforming power of grace. (Magnificat Vol 3, No. 7 / September 2001)

Click on the picture a couple of times to get a nice close up of the picture.

Objectification of Man: Muscle Dysmorphia

I’m am hesitant in posting this youtube video for a lot of reasons. The main reason is that I don't want to participate in freak show entertainment. I am really not wanting to go in that direction with this blog. I also don’t want to pull a Michael Medved, where I get the most extreme viewpoint of the opposing side and kick it around like a strawman. But with this in mind, I do want to post this video as an example of something wrong with our culture. Something that is ugly. The objectification of women has become common place but this phenomena has happened to men too. “These guys are machines.”

Warning: This video has graphic self mutilation and drops the F-bomb a couple of times.

NPR, Nazis, and Abortion

I listened to NPR on the radio today while traveling for work. The program talked about a photo album of Nazi officers who worked at Auschwitz. The photos showed these officers participating in normal activities. The photos are now part of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The discussion was on how everyday people have the capacity for evil just like these Nazi officers. We have to be vigilant to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

So wake up NPR. The truth is that it is happening again and in our very own country. Abortion kills humans. The only difference between a Jew and a fetus is the stage of development. One day there will be the United States Abortion Memorial Museum and we will have pictures of people involved with abortions participating in normal activities. Pictures of NPR staff will be a part of the exhibit since they serve as the propaganda machine for abortion.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The argument from objective morality

This is an argument for God that I have not heard before. It has as its first premise objective morality and moves on from here. In a relativistic society this can be a rare starting point but it is still an interesting argument.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Problem with Polygamy

A symptom of polygamy is that you end up with too many males. Males without the domesticating influence of women leads to problems. Here is an article that gives some of the details of this problem. Boys Cast Out by Polygamists Find Help

Mr. Gilbert estimates that 100 boys from his school class, or 70 percent of them, have been expelled or left on their own accord; there is no way to verify the numbers. “There are a lot of broken-hearted parents, but you question this decision at the risk of your own salvation,” Mr. Gilbert said.

The problem of surplus males worsened in the 1990s when the late prophet Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs’s father, took on dozens of young wives — picking the prettiest, most talented girls, said DeLoy Bateman, a high school teacher who watched it happen.

One male and one female marriage is the building block of society.

Journal Question

The junior high Confirmation class that I teach has started. After the opening prayer there is a journal entry that I have them write. So every week I need to come up with a journal topic. I figured that it would be interesting to put these questions on my blog. Feel free to answer the question in the comment section if you would like to share.

What is your earliest memory of a religious experience?

Here are a few of my earlier memories but I can’t remember which one is older.

My parents had a statue in their bedroom. It was a statue of the risen Jesus but the statue was supported by a wooden empty cross. I remember looking at it at night under the flicker of candle light. I was a little scared but at the same time I was at peace.

A religious sister stayed at our house for a few days. She gave me a rosary. I remember having a feeling of love for this lady who gave her whole life to Jesus. I remember going to the basement and praying with that rosary in my hand.

I remember going to a next door neighbor’s house who was babysitting me. I remeber hiding in the closet and flipping threw the pages of a children’s picture book Bible. I was fascinate with it. Something about those pictures of ancient events, which God was involved, intrigued me. (funny thing is, it was probably a book of Mormon picture book)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Harry Potter is the Devil....NOT

Growing up with my baby sister I learned one thing. You don’t argue with her unless you are clearly right because she will out last you. She will wear you down until you submit. She has the will and righteous anger of an OT prophet. Woe to those who cross her path. I love it. Here is a post by her where she rips apart the arguments behind an anti-Harry Potter opinion piece in a Catholic newspaper. I agree with her whole heartedly and so I decided to link her post here.

The Devil and Harry Potter

I love you my baby sister

Tabloid Apologetics

Debates can have the function of teaching but this is not the norm. The goal of winning usually starts to override the search for truth. The worst thing about debates is when it become about personal attacks and defending one’s own good name. This is what I call tabloid apologetics. To ridicule and sneer the opponent becomes a form of entertainment. The other side takes the higher ground and tries to show the injustice of the comments. Jumping from taunts to the moral high ground gains a lot of attention. If attention is what you’re after, then it’s a good strategy. The problem is that the person participating in these tactics begins to lose credibility. It starts to give a tabloid color to everything that is said, even good arguments. So if someone starts to do tabloid apologetics towards you, don’t defend yourself. Don’t document to the world the blow by blow details of how you’ve been wronged. Just take it like a man. Anything less is unlike Christ.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Making of Saint Michael the Archangel

I like to watch people make art. Correction, I like watching short sections of the process of making art. Watching someone spend hours cutting out a stencil would be like watching paint dry. This video shows an artist making a picture of St. Michael crushing the head of Satan. It’s fun to watch and the video cuts out the monotonous parts. The monotonous parts are probably what makes it art....I’ll move on....

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

Christian’s who have been secularized tend to have a hard time with the idea of Satan. This belief comes straight from Christ.
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
To be ashamed of the belief of the reality of Satan is to be ashamed of Christ’s teachings.

Lost in a haunted wood

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.
(W.H. Auden, SEPTEMBER 1, 1939)

only Supernaturalists really see Nature

The Englishness of English is audible only to those who know some other language as well. In the same way for the same reason, only Supernaturalists really see Nature. You must go a little away from her, and then turn around, and look back. Then at last the true landscape will become visible. You must have tasted, however briefly, the pure water from beyond the world before you can be distinctly conscious of the hot, salty tang of Nature's current. C.S. Lewis, Miracles
Another quote that is related to this idea of perspective which helps see the true reality of things is when G.K. Chesterton said:
The Catholic Church is the only thing which saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age. Link

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

We have been given data that changes the perspective of everything. That data is Christ who makes all things new.

A Larger Evolutionary Based Morality

I am a little hesitant to post secular articles that are half-truths. It can act as an anchor to pull someone closer to the truth but it works both ways. It can frame reality as less than it really is but in that frame it still holds truth. I believe that it is important to understand where the other viewpoint is coming from. The following article actually puts morality into a bigger context for some atheist, and this is a good thing, although it is still an incomplete context.

Here is one quote from the article:

OK, so there are two psychological systems, one about fairness/justice, and one about care and protection of the vulnerable. And if you look at the many books on the evolution of morality, most of them focus exclusively on those two systems, with long discussions of Robert Trivers' reciprocal altruism (to explain fairness) and of kin altruism and/or attachment theory to explain why we don't like to see suffering and often care for people who are not our children.

But if you try to apply this two-foundation morality to the rest of the world, you either fail or you become Procrustes. Most traditional societies care about a lot more than harm/care and fairness/justice. Why do so many societies care deeply and morally about menstruation, food taboos, sexuality, and respect for elders and the Gods? You can't just dismiss this stuff as social convention. If you want to describe human morality, rather than the morality of educated Western academics, you've got to include the Durkheimian view that morality is in large part about binding people together. (Jonathan Haidt, MORAL PSYCHOLOGY AND THE MISUNDERSTANDING OF RELIGION)

The article also has some criticism of Dawkins that is interesting and the author himself is an atheist.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Serving is a Supreme Art

My wife and I love the movie, Life is Beautiful. I think it contains a host of truths. Here is just one example.

At the end the uncle says “God is the first servant. God serves men, but he’s not a servant to men!”

This reminds me of the passage...

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

The world values power and not the servant. The truth is, you find the servant and you find the power.

Theater of the Word, Inc

This theater group looks interesting Theater of the Word, Inc. I have no personal experience but it looks like something that would fit into indirect apologetics. Hat tip to my mom who gave me a pamphlet with the info.

By the way, if you come across anything that applies to indirect apologetics, send it to me. If it's good I will put it on my blog. You can e-mail me at following with no spaces: cure of ars

Apologetics: damned if you do...damned if you don’t

The studies in this article entitled Persistence of Myths has a lot of implications in regards to apologetics. It explains that by stating a faulty view, to correct it, you end up reinforcing it. This is because the more someone hears an idea the more it sounds true. The article then gives the following of how to counter this.

Mayo found that rather than deny a false claim, it is better to make a completely new assertion that makes no reference to the original myth. Rather than say, as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) recently did during a marathon congressional debate, that "Saddam Hussein did not attack the United States; Osama bin Laden did," Mayo said it would be better to say something like, "Osama bin Laden was the only person responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks" -- and not mention Hussein at all.

But sometimes it is not the best policy to ignore a faulty view.

Another recent study found that when accusations or assertions are met with silence, they are more likely to feel true, said Peter Kim, an organizational psychologist at the University of Southern California. He published his study in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

So basically we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. I would give examples based on anti-Catholic falsities but I don't want to reinforce them. I recommend reading the whole article to get the details.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Bias of Certain Doubters

I want to start with a question: why are atheistic philosophers so much more certain of their beliefs than theistic philosophers are? (N. B.: I’m talking here just of atheistic and theistic philosophers – not the man in the street.)
Mr. Gressis then goes on to give some good answers to this question. See the above link to read his answers. Below are some of my answers that I gave in the comments section. I like to get in over my head with people who are smarter than myself. Gives me an opportunity to learn and gain some humility.

I think one explanation is that philosophers, both theist and atheist, are a part of post modern academic culture and its biases.

1 People who are good at something tend to view it as the end all and be all. Post modern culture is good at science and technology, everything else is secondary. (Science can’t know God, therefor God is secondary and more likely not to exist.)

2. Our culture does not like uncertainty. We see ourselves as too smart for uncertainty. Science will sooner or later find all the answers and it is just a matter of time. Things of faith are uncertain and it requires the leap of faith. (Faith, viewed in this context is not a strength but a weakness.)

3. Progress (more like change) is viewed as the ultimate end. New things are good and old things are bad.. (Religion is old and therefore bad.)

4. Our culture looks for a truth to serve us and not a truth to serve (Jacques Maritain said something like this in a different context). (If there was a God it would demand that I serve him and not the other way around and this is not what we are wanting)

5. Left brain is valued more then right brain things. (God is not just rational but relational. Our culture is not comfortable with this and try to restrict it to our personal lives. It like we are autistic in some ways.)

All these cultural tendencies bias philosophers away from theism.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Matrix Maxim

I was watching The Matrix and that cool Latin maxim Temet Nosce (or Nosce te ipsu) came up. It means, “know thyself”. I figured that this sounded wise so I decide to get scientific about it. I went down, forked out a few bucks and got a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan of my brain. So here I all my glory. I am a little embarrassed to be so exposed. The ladies out there must admit that my brain configuration is breathtaking. I think this will be the wave of the future in online dating. Why go through all the hassles of dating when you can just know someone with a PET scan. This is going to revolutionize online dating.

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

There are times when focusing on one part of the data means that you know less about other parts of the data. For example the more object knowledge we have the less subject knowledge we have, the more analysis the less syntheses, the more quality the less quantity. To know me, is not to know an object, I am a subject. There is a part of me that transcends the physical world.

Strength To Doubt Or Believe

A new book of her letters, "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light," published by Doubleday, show her struggling for decades against disbelief. "If I ever become a saint," she wrote in one letter, "I will surely be one of `darkness.' " ... "I think there is no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe," wrote Flannery O'Connor, the Roman Catholic author whose stories traverse the landscape of 20th-century unbelief. "What people don't realize is how much religion costs. They think faith is a big electric blanket, when of course it is the cross. It is much harder to believe than not to believe."

(Robin Hanson)Being proud of having the strength to resist religion in the face of social pressure is just as biased as being proud of having the strength to resist doubt in order to retain religion. Not everything is about your strength! Your beliefs should reflect the world out there, and not just inner qualities you want to show off. I will be proud of you if you can find the strength or weakeness, as the occasion demands, to just believe whatever the evidence supports. Link

(Cure of Ars)This assumes that we have enough evidence to make a conclusion. If you don’t know if you have enough evidence then other considerations should also weigh in. There can be virtue in perseverance, even in the face of doubt, if the possible pay off is high enough. No Guts No Glory

(Robin Hanson)Cure, we always have enough evidence to choose an intermediate state of uncertainty; you should choose the state of uncertainty that best corresponds to your evidence. I see no glory in adopting stronger beliefs than your evidence can justify.

(Cure of Ars)Sometimes we don’t have the luxury to choose uncertainty. To live a fully human life demands adopting stronger beliefs than the “evidence can justify”. You can try to fit your life into the tiny box of science but to me that is no way to live. It leaves no room for glory.

Making uncertainty home base is, in my view, escapism. It is to focus on the small questions at the exclusion of the big questions. With the only motive being that we can be certain in regards to the small questions. The big questions are really the question about meaning. What I am looking for is not a truth to serve me, but a truth that I can serve. Without finding a truth to serve there is no opportunity for heroism and glory. Mother Teresa found this truth to serve and persevered with heroism and glory. She gives witness to something that a lot of people don’t have and this bothers some people.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

We’re no slaves to our senses

The fundamental mistake that Frith makes – and this is a common error – is to believe that agency or free will are products only of the human brain. The brain is necessary but it is not sufficient, and chasing agency into the brain will only yield disappointment or, in this case, a sense that agency is illusory. If agency is not merely a product of ordinary brains, then it follows that abnormal brains might not be the whole or only answer when there are psychiatric problems and delusions of agency such as in schizophrenia.

To his tremendous credit, Frith is ready to push neuroscience past the hype that can be generated by a pretty picture and into a deeper understanding of what makes mental function. For that alone, Making up the Mind should be read by anyone interested in understanding contemporary neuroscience. The idea, however, that the brain constructs the mind is incomplete, and the quicker we realise that, the quicker we will make progress in understanding both normal and abnormal minds. (Stuart Derbyshire, We’re no slaves to our senses)

Arrested Development - Tennessee

Lord I've really been real stressed
Down and out, losin ground
Although I am black and proud
Problems got me pessimistic
Brothers and sisters keep messin up
Why does it have to be so damn tuff?
I don't know where I can go
To let these ghosts out of my skull
My grandmas past, my brothers gone
I never at once felt so alone
I know you're supposed to be my steering wheel
Not just my spare tire (home)
But lord I ask you (home)
To be my guiding force and the truth (home)

The Natural Origins of the All Male Priesthood

The tradeoff approach yields a radical theory of gender equality. Men and women may be different, but each advantage may be linked to a disadvantage.

Hence whenever you hear a report that one gender is better at something, stop and consider why this is likely true — and what the opposite trait might be good for. LINK

This article written by Roy F. Baumeister is from a secular evolutionary perspective but I think it has a lot of truth to it. It lays the foundation for the natural basis of why the Catholic Church has institutionalized an all male priesthood. There is too much good stuff to quote so I will just let you read it and draw the connections yourself. I highly remcommend reading the article.

This is the authors conclusion of a male lead society...

Again, I’m not saying it’s right, or fair, or proper. But it has worked. The cultures that have succeeded have used this formula, and that is one reason that they have succeeded instead of their rivals.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

W.H. Auden - Funeral Blues

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

This poem does not really come to Christian conclusions. It does show some truth though. Death does not come naturally to us. It is something that we are all going to have to face. It is an edge that can inspire a leap of faith or despair.

Lessons from World of Warcraft

I have spent a lot of time playing the game World of Warcraft. One of the lessons this game has taught me is that human created meaning doesn’t amount to much if it is not grounded in a higher reality. I was all into the game, emotionally attached to the characters, struggles, and accomplishments. But the truth is that even though I assigned meaning to the game ultimately the game was meaningless. It was not grounded into a higher reality. Without God to ground the meaning of our human experience, life is just a large game of World of Warcraft but on a different scale.

Without God there is no hope for humanity and this is one reason why I choose to believe. This may not be the best, most altruistic reason to believe. But it is certainly a reason.


Here is a poem read by Argent over at the Here There Are Lions

It is a poem by William Shakespeare

I'm excited to see what she reads next.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

These Truths are Self Evident

I remember as a kid my father getting into a discussion about something religious with my uncle. I don’t even remember what the topic was. I do remember that they ended up agreeing to disagree. A couple of weeks letter my dad got a letter from my uncle. The letter was almost completely composed of Bible quotes. My uncle did not give any explanation for the quotes. Just that they had to do with their discussion. Reading over the quotes my dad had no clue what they had to do with the discussion. To my uncle, the quotes were self evident.

I think recently my blog has been a lot like this. I have posted cool things, but I have neglected to explain how they are related to apologetics. I am going to try to go back and remedy this. I am going to also continue to add new stuff at the same time.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Monday, September 03, 2007

The blob

Some personal truths can change or evolve but they do not have to apply to everyone.

I would agree that there is an element to morality that depends on the individual and her/his situation. There are three parts to morality. There is the intent of an action, the subjective situation, and the universal natural law. An action has to be good in all three areas for an action to be good. For example, I can do an action that is good according to the subjective situation and the natural law but with a bad intention, the act would be immoral. It seems to me that you are making all of morality fit into the subjective situation and the intention but your leaving out the universal natural law.

Natural universal Law is the one that trips everyone up. Though it is easy for one to recognize what a creator has created something for, many people tend to place an opinion on what is Natural as “good” or “right” and what is Unnatural as “wrong” or “bad”. The first thing I would suggest to someone, is to get out from under these judgments. Nature, by design, does not judge, it just has a responsibility to perform. Humans can hack some Natural Laws (we’re getting quite good at it). But instead of realizing that some Natural Laws inherently give room for such tampering and experimenting, some people feel that this is wrong and feelings are indeed subjective.

I agree that nature does not judge but there sure are consequence if you break natural law. You really can’t break natural law, you just end up breaking yourself on it. But there is room for our behavior because life is not all black and white.

Let me give an example using the three areas of morality that I gave in my past post. Lets say that someone breaks into my home and tries to hurt my children and wife. The natural law says that it is wrong to murder someone. It is also wrong to have the intent to do someone harm. But there is the subjective situation. In this situation it would be good to defend my wife and children. My intent is really not to hurt the person but my intention is to protect my family. If I end up killing the man who is trying to hurt my family, due to the principle of double effect, I would not be breaking the natural law. I did not murder the man; he died as a result of my defense of my family. I agree that this gets complicate but it is necessary when trying to be moral. Sometimes we are really unable to see the ultimate right path and we just have to choose the best we can.

Now if we say, “to hell with the natural law” you end up with a blob of a moral system. It would be like a human body without bones. There is nothing solid to support justice and goodness. The options are not an all rigid system, which your suggesting natural law is, verses a all subjective blob of a system with nothing solid to support anything. The human body has bones to support but there are also joints that allow the system flexibility. The same is true with morality. Because of this there is room for experimentation at times.

An important question that show the problem with the relative moral system was in my last post. Without an objective natural law, what high ground do you have to tell someone that they are being immoral? What Martin Luther King Jr. did for the U.S. would not have been possible without him pointing to the natural law. Or does might make right. Meaning the powerful get to determine what is right and wrong.

Notre Dame Football: Knute Rockne

... And that inner strength is what Notre Dame and the legend of Rockne are all about. You know, so much is said about Rockne's influence on his ballplayers, but actually he liked to talk about their influence on him. In his autobiography, he described his inability to sleep one night before a big game. So, he was up early in the lobby and saw 2 of his boys come down the stairs and go out, and then others came and followed them. And though he had a pretty good idea of what was going on, he decided to follow along. ``They didn't realize it,'' he said in his diary, ``but these youngsters were making a powerful impression on me.'' And he said, ``When I saw them walking up to the Communion rail to receive and realized the hours of sleep they had sacrificed, I understood what a powerful ally their religion was to them in their work on the football field.''

And after Rockne found -- here at Notre Dame -- his own religious faith, a friend of his at the University of Maryland asked him if he minded telling him about it. ``Why should I mind telling you?'' he said. ``You know all this hurry and battling we're going through is just an expression of our inner selves striving for something else. The way I look at it is that we're all here to try and find, each in his own way, the best road to our ultimate goal. I believe I've found my way, and I shall travel it to the end.'' And travel it to the end he did. And when they found him in the Kansas cornfield where the plane had gone down, they also found next to him a prayer book and at his fingertips the rosary of Notre Dame, the rosary of Our Lady. Someone put it so well at the time: Knute Rockne did more spiritual good than a thousand preachers. His career was a sermon in right living. Link

I got this information from the Blog Pro Familia

Here is his famous Locker Room Speech

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

This post gives a personal answer to how God comes to us and opens greater meaning in our lives. See Avery Cardinal Dulles quote on testimony.

Jane Austen

Austen was not an unthinking defender of traditional social order. Not uncommonly, her heroines are upwardly mobile, particularly through the agency of matrimony. Yet she sensed the corrosive effects of individualism, and her uncanny intelligence and attention to the details of social surface enabled her to give us one of literature's sharpest portraits of this emerging reality. That she also recognized the absence and failure of the Church in combating this decay makes her a public theologian to reckon with. Link

My mom and sisters are big Jane Austen fans and I think they would be interested in this article.

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

Secular society and some denomination put extreme focus on the individual at the exclusion of all else. As a Catholic it is not just me and Jesus but we and Jesus. The Catholic Faith is a family with the saints as our elder brothers and sisters. In many ways Jane Austen was exposing some of the problems with individualism. Or at least this is what the author is arguing.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Waking Life: The Holy Moment

Talking religion can sound cheesy, especially in our culture. It seems that most people need a few drinks before they can get past that. It’s strange how the cartoon element of this video makes it less cheesy and bypasses our cultural resistance.

I also like the element of someone watching a movie that talks about layers in a movie with a layer of cartoon paint over real video.

This video defiantly communicates the idea of being in awe with existence.

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

This clip shows that if you believe that there is a transcendent meaning to reality then life has a mystical quality. The ordinary is no longer simply ordinary.

Greatest Catholic Quotes of All Time (Almost)

Greatest Catholic Quotes of All Time (Almost)

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

These quotes show that the Catholic faith has a long tradition that spans from the time of Christ tell now. It also shows some of the wisdom that the Catholic faith has.

Poem lyrics of Hymn by Edgar Allan Poe

At morn - at noon - at twilight dim -
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe - in good and ill -
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee;
Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my Future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine! Link
How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

It’s a beautiful poem that portrays how special Mary is. It shows that all generations shall call her blessed. It also doesn’t hurt that it was written by Edgar Allan Poe.

From ‘Christian Evidences’ - Robert Hugh Benson

NOW God forbid that Faith be blind assent,
Grasping what others know; else Faith were nought
But learning, as of some far continent
Which others sought,
And carried thence, better the tale to teach,
Pebbles and sheels, poor fragments of the beach.

Now God forbid that Faith be built on dates,
Cursive or uncial letters, scribe or gloss,
What one conjectures, proves, or demonstrates:
This were the loss
Of all to which God bids that man aspire,
This were the death of life, quenching of fire.

Nay, but with Faith I see. Not even Hope,
Her glorious sister, stands so high as she.
For this but stands expectant on the slope
That leads where He
Her source and consummation sets His seat,
Where Faith dwells always to caress His Feet.

Nay, but with Faith I saw my Lord and God
Walk in the fragrant garden yesterday.
Ah! how the thrushes sang; and, where He trod
Like spikenard lay
Jewels of dew, fresh-fallen from the sky,
While all the lawn rang round with melody.

Nay, but with Faith I marked my Saviour go,
One August noonday, down the stifling street
That reeked with filth and man; marked from Him flow
Radiance so sweet,
The man ceased cursing, laughter lit the child,
The woman hoped again, as Jesus smiled.

Nay, but with Faith I sought my Lord last night,
And found Him shining where the lamp was dim;
The shadowy altar glimmered, height on height,
A throne for Him:
Seen as through lattice work His gracious Face
Looked forth on me and filled the dark with grace.

Nay then, if proof and tortured argument
Content thee—teach thee that the Lord is there,
Or risen again; I pray thee be content,
But leave me here
With eye unsealed by any proof of thine,
With eye unsealed to know the Lord is mine. Link

Kiss the Flame - Jewel

Please love let's make no impartial vow
Let all fall away
That's not crucial now
I want to brave love, one that makes me weak in the knees
I want a crazy, crazy love
One that makes me come undone at the seams
How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

If you do not mind me asking Cure Of Ars but what exactly is it that you hope GOD will do for humanity. What does a hope in GOD mean for humanity?
This is the greatest question that I have ever been asked. I hope that God will fulfill the greatest human desire. To quote Jewel, “I want a brave love, one that makes me weak in the knees, I want a crazy, crazy love, one that makes me come undone at the seams”

I want to be able to Love like Christ loved. I want to be a part of God’s love. This is what God made us for.


After Reading a Child's Guide to Modern Physics

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

Auden in the poem seems to be pointing to truth that we are more than the sum of our parts. He is pointing to the supernatural.

The Catholic Sun

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

Hilaire Belloc

How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

The Catholic world view is an incarnate faith. God came down, humbled himself, and became man. This has the consequence that this material world is good.

I like a good glass of red wine. It points to God. But if I try to take wine and make it my meaning it turns from something that is sweet to something that is like a mouth of ashes. It’s like God has made things to lead us to him but as soon as we try to make something our fulfillment instead letting it point to him it goes wrong.

The Hound of Heaven

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter. Link
How is this related to Catholic Apologetics?

It is truer to say that God is chasing after me than I him. In my weakness I have fallen short. I have been selfish and turned away from God. But when I find that the selfish desires that I am chasing do not lead to my happiness I always find that God is there. Ready to take me back.

The Bark of Peter

The Bark of Peter

Omelettes anyone?

Jack Chick Spoof

A Jack Chick Spoof

Blog Improvements

I have been trying to improve some things on this blog. With the help of Phatcatholic, I was able to figure out how to make the definition of words come up by double clicking the word. So if you don’t understand a word just double click it and a definition will come up. It’s actually a rather cool feature.

The side bar will have some changes. I am going to consolidate some things and expand others. I will have a lot of posts this weekend. I will be taking some of the links off the side and making them into posts so they will be part of the tags.

I went back and categorized all the post on this blog. So if you are interested in one aspect of this blog you will be able to search those type of posts. The category are on the bottom of each post and the list of categories will be on the side bar.

I am also going to try to do some things to try to increase the traffic here. I’m learning all of this through trial and error so bear with me.

If you have any ideas or suggestions please feel free to post them here in the comments. I am open to ideas on how to improve this blog.