Atheism

A fellow Catholic wrote with a good question.

I would like to ask you a question. When I was in grade school, everyone just accepted the Bible as the Word of God. If you said, “It’s in the Bible” then it was assumed to be true, even if it was a very questionable interpretation. Now, I think that the number of people who believe that the Bible is true is dwindling rapidly.

If someone were to ask, “Why should I accept the Bible as the Word of God?”, I think Protestants would quote 2 Tim 3:16 (“All scripture is inspired by God”) or say that it is self-evident. Catholics would say that Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, who cannot lie, therefore, it is true. I think that is a valid argument, but it seems like not enough for many people today. 

So the question is, why don’t Catholics defend the Bible using other arguments as well? For example, archaeology? You have been very good at that, and John Bergsma talks about the Dead Sea Scrolls and has a talk called ‘But Did it Really Happen’ but I don’t hear much about it in general. 

How about textual criticism (and countering Bart Erhman)? Brant Pitre has the Case for Jesus, but otherwise, I only know of Protestants e.g. Craig Evans making a case. Any comments are welcome. It just seems like I am missing something. FYI, I personally believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. 

Patrick from Wisconsin

My response:

Patrick

I agree with you completely. We have done a very poor job in our age of making our case. Catholic tend to retreat into a life of devotion and prayer and detach themselves from the bump and grind of the real world and its issues. In some ways, we have fallen prey to the secular way of looking at Scripture. We think of ourselves as “faith people” with a “faith walk” which are phrases that are new on the scene and I have a big aversion to them.

The world, and all to often our own camp as well, think that faith = fairy tale, or faith = believing in something completely non-verifiable in a scientific way. This is not me and many of the new scholars like Hahn, Pitre, and others of course, but unhappily it is true of too many Catholics and Protestants.

I understand the word “faith” as a belief in something with good and sufficient reasons, verifiable facts, and rational arguments. As an example, why do I sit on my dining chair? Because I have good and sufficient reasons to believe it will hold me up. I have faith in the chair.

But the modern use of the word to often means to be a silly adherence to irrational and unscientific things— like healings, miracles, the resurrection, need for prayer, Real Presence, the inspiration of Scripture, etc. Very sad and we tend to play right into the hands of the secular world.

By the way, 2 Timothy 3:16 does not necessarily prove our 73 books of the Bible are all inspired. It only informs us that St. Paul claims the Old Testament writings were breathed by God but has nothing to say concerning the New Testament books except by extrapolation.

When I was younger there was an atheist named Madeline Murray O’Hare who has since disappeared. She would get on TV shows and the Christians in the audience would stand up and quote at her from the Bible. She would say, “I don’t believe that silly old book full of old tales and spiritual experiences. It has no authority.” The next person would stand up and quote from the Bible again. It was useless and embarrassing. No one knew how to confront her in a meaningful way.

We have to confront the atheist, secularist, materialist, Marxist, skeptics on their OWN ground. They have no ultimate meaning to life and we need to push them into a corner and force them to see their meaningless existence without God and the Christian gospel. It is satisfying to do, but very few do it. They retreat into the “faith walk” and join the “faith groups” and have no idea how to explain and defend the truth of Catholicism philosophically, historically, archaeologically, rationally and biblically. Sad.

No wonder the world is not flocking into the Church the way it did when we had intellectual giants and a whole different world view we wore on our sleeves. Do I see a change on the horizon— unhappily no. I pray for a combination of spiritual and intellectual reformation and revival.

Steve Ray

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1_43-1024x723“Life is all about the Journey, not the Destination!” (paraphrase of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson.) As we get ready to travel again, I recall seeing this sign at the airport a while back. Imagine! In an airport of all places!

What stupidity! Grab a passenger arriving at the airport to catch a flight and shout, “Hey, take any flight you want sir, it doesn’t matter; it’s not about your destination, it’s only about the journey – experience of the flight, any flight.”

He would tell you you’re nuts.

heaven-or-hell-jesus-29767667-320-240I don’t know about you, but if life is only about the journey and there is no destination (other than becoming worm food) then this life is ultimately a sadistic, cruel, cosmic joke and I want out!

St. Paul says if Christ is not raised from the dead then neither is there resurrection for us and we, of all men are the most to be pitied (1 Cor 15:19) and if there is no resurrection and life after death – the destination – then we should eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die (1 Cor 15:32).

But I know better. Life is a journey in preparation to arrive at the destination which is all-important. The journey is a means to the chosen destination. My destination and goal is heaven and union with God for eternity. There is another destination as well, but I’m preparing for the better of the two.

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If God Is Dead, Who Will Replace Him?

by Steve Ray on March 23, 2020

Malcolm Muggeridge said (@malmuggeridge)

“If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Hefner.”

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Atheism Rationally Explained :-)

February 21, 2020

ATHEISM: The belief that there was absolutely nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits of random stuff thrown together by chance which then turned into dinosaurs who crawled out of […]

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Solzhenhitsyn on “Group-think Control”

August 17, 2019

This episode is in Alexandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, Vol. 1.  It shows the stupidity and mind control that totalitarian, socialist and intolerant governments and groups can impose upon people. It shows what can happen if we move toward socialism and Communism in our country with the liberals and the Far Left pushing their agenda and […]

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Is Paganism Making a Comeback? Steve on The Catholic Current with Fr. McTeigue SJ

April 5, 2019

Based on my talk “Swimming Upstream: Living a Catholic Life in a Pagan World,” Steve and Fr. Robert McTeigue, SJ discussed how paganism is coming back in a big way in the Western World. Christianity is being abandoned and alternative “spiritualities” are filling the void. It was a lively discussion about what paganism is, why the West […]

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What Great Faith You Must Have to be an ATHEIST!

November 9, 2018

From my friend Bill: 1) Billions of years ago, there just happened to exist these abstract “somethings” 2) Which just happened to be atoms 3) Which just happened to get together 4) In ways which just happened to look like natural laws 5) That some of these configurations of atoms just happened to develop into […]

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Atheism or God? You are the Detective! My Chart to Use with Family and Friends

October 15, 2018

Atheism is growing in America and around the world. But is there a good reason for its popularity? Do they know something we don’t know — or do they just not want some supreme being or a “God” to tell them what to do and not to do? Is it reasonable to be an atheist? […]

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So You’re an Atheist? A Few Fun Things to Lighten Dark Times

September 13, 2018
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Farewell, “Catholic” Spain and Secular Europe… While in the United States…

June 4, 2018

Scary statistics from Europe – percentages of people who claim no religion. The big surprise is… Spain, where atheists, agnostics, and those without religion are now at 30 percent of the population and have reached that level in a very short time. To measure how overwhelming secularization has been in Spain, it should be enough […]

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Planets, Dr. Seuss and Snowflakes—Combined Proof That There is a CREATOR

May 11, 2016

This reflection is by Larry Peterson of the Catholic Writers Guild. It is reprinted from the guild’s blog April 5, 1016. Ten  years ago, NASA’s new, Horizon Spacecraft left our humble, little planet and began its voyage to to the edges of our solar system and beyond. After traveling 3 billion-plus miles, New Horizon finally passed Pluto, […]

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Is There a God? Does Heaven Exist? The Best Allegory Ever! The Stupidity of Atheists

October 6, 2014

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replies, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense,” says the other. “There is no life after delivery. What would […]

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For those who thought religion was dead or the Catholic Church irrelevant: Feast your eyes on this!

July 30, 2013

For over a hundred years we’ve heard the foolish obituary, “God is dead!” The Enlightenment enlightened us to this truth and told us we were alone in the Universe. No God! We men are in charge and the center of all things. We shape our destiny, we create meaning for our existence, we can rid […]

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Questions Answered on Catholic Answers Live

September 4, 2012

Last week I answered Questions from Non-Catholics. A number dealt with atheism. Very interesting show – and lively. Listen instantly on line HERE. For podcast download, click HERE. Here are the questions I answered: There are resurrection myths in many ancient cultures. Why isn’t the resurrection of Jesus just another one of the myths? What […]

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Atheist Blogger Converts to Catholicism

June 25, 2012

To read the whole story, click HERE. ****************+* Apparently, conversations matter. Former atheist blogger Leah Libresco can tell you. She recently converted to Catholicism, and her story is making waves. One of the main reasons for Libresco’s conversion? The deep connection between the existence of God and the possibility for moral action. As Libresco points […]

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Excellent, Easy-to-Read Article on Atheism

December 9, 2011

Click here for the article

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