Jan 222014
 

In the aftermath of the slew of books by the so-called new atheists there has been a wealth of material in book-form in reply. Of the several books I have read they have all provided good material in answering atheism.

The main weakness of the majority of the books I have read regarding atheism in apologetics is that I also found that these books were not ones that I would really suggest an atheist to read. While reading them I reflected that if I was still an atheist that I would have found the tone to be too condescending or confrontational. My only previous exception to this I found was New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy by Fr. Robert J. Spitzer S.J. Although this book was not a general apologetics work and almost entirely confined itself to where the philosophical and the scientific arguments intersected.

When I first heard that Trent Horn from Catholic Answers was putting out a book on atheism I had high hopes that maybe here would be a book that I could recommend to atheists who were interested in hearing arguments against atheism. I have greatly enjoyed Trent Horn’s answers on Catholic Answers especially when they spend a whole show dialoging with atheists. I am very happy to report that Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity is exactly the book I have been waiting for.

I liked almost just about everything about this book and the serious effort it makes to take atheist objections seriously. You can certainly see the St. Thomas Aquinas approach here where objections are put forth accurately before the “on the contrary” reply to the objection. There are always going to be tensions between writing an apologetics book for a popular audience while addressing technical philosophical and scientific questions. Trent Horn has navigated these tensions rather well and solved part of this problem by moving some more technical discussions to appendixes without leaving out meat in the main chapters. I also really enjoyed some of the arguments employed and some of the nuances that he used that I had not encountered before.

So as the subtitle of this book focused on using logic and charity I think the really hit this out of the park. This is a great book for anybody that wants to brush up on or explore the arguments/ways of knowing that God exists.

This is also a book that can be easily recommended to atheists and not have them just dismiss it in frustration. At one time I was naive enough to believe that a solid book of this type would of its own be a great conversion tool. I have since learned that grace, disposition, and timing is even a more necessary requirement before logic. Yet this book at least will help towards fertilizing that rocky soil.

Jan 222014
 

One of the interesting things about President “selfie” is how all that self-absorption is devoid entirely of self-awareness. Not an unusual connection. He isn’t really a hypocrite when he released a proclamation regarding Religious Freedom Day on 15 Jan, 2014 while eighty plus groups are suing his administration for violating their religious freedom. He has so little self-awareness that he can’t detect such discrepancies and his bubble world does not allow for facts to the contrary.

More evidence of this:

Today, as we reflect on the 41st anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, we recommit ourselves to the decision’s guiding principle: that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom. And we resolve to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children. Because this is a country where everyone deserves the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams.

He can use the word “everyone” and the phrase “all our children” with no bothersome nudges of conscience since he has relegated persons in the womb to a status that even Dred Scott did not attempt.

What he is telling persons in the womb is that “If you like your life, you can keep it – period.” That being able to have “the same freedom and opportunities to fulfill their dreams” includes being sliced and diced in the womb.

Hat tip: Creative Minority Report

Jan 222014
 

In my grandmother’s final days battling brain cancer, she became unable to speak and she filled dozens of index cards with random letters of the alphabet. I’m beginning to think that they are the first letters in the words of song lyrics, and would love to know what song this was. This is a crazy long shot, but I’ve seen Mefites pull off some pretty impressive code-breaking before!

My grandmother passed away in 1996 of a fast-spreading cancer. She was non-communicative her last two weeks, but in that time, she left at least 20 index cards with scribbled letters on them. My cousins and I were between 8–10 years old at the time, and believed she was leaving us a code. We puzzled over them for a few months trying substitution ciphers, and didn’t get anywhere.

Fifteen minutes after this was posted this week the code was broken. The answer is rather awesome.

Since this was a question posed in a forum scroll down a couple of entries to see the answer and further decoding.

Jan 192014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 10 September 2013 to 18 January 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Letters

Messages

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Dec 252013
 

First off a Merry Christmas to my readers and their families!

SF author and convert John C. Wright has a wonderful and quite exceptional short story on his blog “written in honor of this day” titled “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus.” This fairly short story is well worth you time and goes way beyond what the title suggests into a story deep in the faith.

Dec 222013
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 28 November to 14 December 2013.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Messages

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Dec 152013
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 28 November to 14 December 2013.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Messages

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Other

Dec 112013
 

I must say I am really surprised that Time Magazine named Pope Francis person of the year. Really surprised they are still making Time Magazine.

Any positive mention of the Pope is a good thing. I can’t say I get to excited that a magazine that often has anti-Catholic screeds by Amy Sullivan and others and usually celebrates Christmas or Easter by yet another “real Jesus” article takes time out to get something right. Plus I suspect they got this right for the wrong reasons. Remember the retraction the other day from them?

Correction: An earlier version of this post suggested that Pope Francis rejected some church dogma. He does not.

Considering that the selection is towards noteworthy regarding impact on the news during the year it means even less than an Nobel Peace Prize. People often reference that Hitler was named Man of the year, but there was also Stalin and the Ayatollah Khomeni along with “the computer” and “the Earth” also being winners.

No doubt the Pope’s obvious love of the poor is something even the media is able to recognize and even generally the Church’s work for the poor. This reminds me of something the pope wrote in Evangelii Gaudium:

  1. Despite the tide of secularism which has swept our societies, in many countries – even those where Christians are a minority – the Catholic Church is considered a credible institution by public opinion, and trusted for her solidarity and concern for those in greatest need. Again and again, the Church has acted as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defence of life, human and civil rights, and so forth. And how much good has been done by Catholic schools and universities around the world! This is a good thing. Yet, we find it difficult to make people see that when we raise other questions less palatable to public opinion, we are doing so out of fidelity to precisely the same convictions about human dignity and the common good.

I really liked Thomas L. McDonald’s take that included “The Good” and “The Meh”. This point especially resonated with me:

I’m not going to start jumping with joy because a magazine I consider offensive and irrelevant noticed the bloody obvious: that one man commanded more media attention than any other person this year: stopped clocks, and all that.

He also goes on to post some of Time’s other recent covers.

The always funny Eye of the Tiber has Pope Emeritus Benedict Glances At Cover Of Time Magazine Again, Discreetly Wipes Tear From Eye

Dec 082013
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 24 November to 7 December 2013.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “Your sins are great? Just tell the Lord: Forgive me, help me to get up again, change my heart!” @pontifex, 2 December 2013
  • “We are all called to be friends with Jesus. Don’t be afraid to love the Lord.” @pontifex, 2 December 2013
  • “Fifty years ago, Vatican II spoke of communications. Let us listen to, dialogue with, and bring to Christ all those we encounter in life.” @pontifex, 2 December 2013
  • “Holiness doesn’t mean doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things with love and faith.” @pontifex, 2 December 2013
  • “The cross is the price of true love. Lord, give us the strength to accept and carry our crosses!” @pontifex, 2 December 2013
  • “Dear young people, put your talents at the service of the Gospel, with creativity and boundless charity.” @pontifex, 2 December 2013