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Monthly Archives: March 2013

ShadowBard Misses Something BIG

A Twitter user named ShadowBard didn’t think this one through:

Actually, a Holy Book that would let you treat slaves any way you pleased and set no limits on such behavior would be unworthy of the term “holy book.”

That assessment, of course, is based on the truth that slavery in biblical times was an employer-employee relationship, not the forced slavery of the African Slave Trade.  Shadow’s assessment is based on the mistaken assumption that the two are the same.

When are atheists going to realize that slavery in the Bible is nonstarter?

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Reflections on the New Pope

This week, the College of Cardinals elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to the office of Pope, replacing the outgoing Benedict XVI.  This, of course, greatly disappointed the liberal Protestants as well as the atheist community.  It seems our liberal and atheist friends would like to see a progressive Pope; one who will do away with the restrictive Catholic doctrines that make the religion a dinosaur.

They would like a Pope that supports abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, will eliminate priestly celibacy, allow women in positions of power, and reverse Catholic doctrine on birth control.  Someone who will sell the Vatican and feed the world.

But that isn’t going to happen, and the liberals and atheists need to make peace with that quickly.

This is the second papal election that I have seen in my lifetime.  Unless Pope Francis becomes another John Paul II, it likely isn’t going to be the last one.  The previous election that saw Cardinal Ratzinger promoted to Pope had the exact same groans issuing from the liberals and the atheists.  I expect to hear the same groans next time as well.

Ed Stetzer had a lot of the same thoughts that I did, but as a research specialist for LifeWay he focused on demographics.  What I’d like to focus on here is the theological implications of a papal conclave, and why (if the Catholics are right about what it entails) it will never produce a Pope that aligns with the world on those hot button issues. Read the rest of this entry

Why Be Catholic?

Godless Girl tweeted:

I’ve noticed a trend: points that atheists make seem to make a lot of sense on the surface.  But, once you dive below the surface and actually think about what they say, you realize how stupid it actually is.

Atheists own Twitter because their arguments are best kept to 140 characters.  More importantly, their opponents should have the same limitation because it takes more letters to unpack and understand a concept fully.  In this way, they sound superior to us ignorant Christians.

But this time, Godless Girl seems to have a point.  I mean, why should anyone remain Catholic?  After all, there was worldwide abuse and this institution just covered it up, shoveled priests to different parishes or dioceses, and then paid out their butts in settlements to keep some of the more damning stories out of the media.

If a corporation had that kind of record, people would boycott its products and services and drive the company out of business.  Why would anyone want anything to do with such a corrupt organization?

Except that’s not really true, is it?  Think about Jack-in-the-Box.  They purposely designed their cooking procedures to emphasize speed and not food safety.  They didn’t cook their ground beef to a proper serving temperature and as a result made hundreds sick.  Children and elderly died of E. coli poisoning.

And they’re still in business.  Evil corporate money-grubbers slayed children with bad hygiene and food safety standards — why would anyone support that institution?

Because the products, services, and messages are separate from the messenger — and the public knows that.  It appears to have escaped Godless Girl.  Jack-in-the-Box revised their cooking procedures and now serve safe food.  It was really never about the food — it was the process, the lax enforcement, and lack of food safety standards that were to blame.  The product was still good, and people were willing to give it another go when Jack-in-the-Box had fixed the real problems.

The Catholic Church, like all Christian churches, has been entrusted by Jesus with a message of salvation to mankind.  None of us are perfect; only Jesus had the mantle of sinful flesh but remained unstained from sin.  We only point the way to him that saves you; we don’t save anyone.

The Catholic Church is the mechanism of this message, but it isn’t the message nor is it mankind’s salvation.  It merely points the way, without being the Way.  Christ himself said that only he is the Way (Jn 14:6).

Another example should suffice.  Let’s say you were sitting on a crate that you really didn’t know the pedigree of.  It’s ticking; could be a bunch of clocks, right?  Then a guy comes up to you, frantic, and screams, “Get off!  Get off!  That’s a bomb, and it’s set to go off!”

You recognize this guy from a database of registered sex offenders.  So you remain on your perch and resolutely declare, “You’re a registered sex offender!  So I know this isn’t a bomb.  I know you’re lying because rapists are liars!”

It’s usually the concussive force that kills people like you, not the shrapnel.  You won’t even feel the broken boards or nails, therefore.  Your insides will already be soup from the explosion.

Judge the message on its own merit, not the merit of those who bring it.  The Catholic Church isn’t perfect.  My church isn’t perfect.  We are, however, co-laborers for one who is perfect; and we point to him, not ourselves.

More Dumb Tweets: Belief and Morality

Juan A. Raposo put up a fascinating tweet:

The implication being that theists are only moral because our belief in God keeps us moral.

So if not for that belief, we’d be vicious killing machines.  That thought misses a grand contradiction: Ask yourself, “What restrains the atheist from raping and pillaging?”  Belief that those things are wrong.

Is that belief fundamentally different from belief in God?

The atheist would say yes, but if he were consistent he’d be forced to admit that it differs very little.  After all, the Atheist Mantra is that there is “no evidence” for God and  God can’t be scientifically proven, right?

And that means that belief in God is worthless.  The underlying principle is a form of logical positivism, variously called empiricism or scientism.  It accepts only that which can be proven scientifically (scientism) or that which can be experienced by the senses (empiricism) as valid evidence.  Most atheists use this to disqualify evidence or argument that God exists.

The flip side is that morality can’t be scientifically proven, either.  So the belief that it is immoral to rape and pillage local towns is on the same grounds as God.  If one accepts the implied tenet that only that which can be scientifically proven is worth believing, then one cannot be consistent and also believe that raping and pillaging are morally wrong.  One has to prove that case.

So we both believe, without empirical evidence, that something restrains us from committing grievous harms against our fellow humans.  And that, by Raposo’s estimation, means neither of us are moral — but that’s the whole point of needing a Savior, isn’t it?