Philosophy

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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Atheism Rationally Explained :-)

by Steve Ray on 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 the muck. Makes perfect sense to me.

And then you came along…

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Steve’s Short Story “The Last Nightmare” Might Scare the Hell Out of You!

October 4, 2019

The Last Nightmare A Short and Terrifying Story by Steve Ray Everything went blank for a moment, but that moment seemed like eternity. He felt a motion, not with wind and breeze, but a motion none the less. He was traveling, moving, floating, transcending-he wasn’t really sure. The sudden blackness gave him time to regain […]

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Billy Graham’s Early Influence on My Life & an Excellent Recent Talk by Rev. Billy Graham

February 21, 2018

I have a soft spot in my heart for this man because he has had a PROFOUND impact on our family. It was his message over the airwaves in 1953 that first brought my mom to Christ and my mom and dad then brought us boys to a living and vibrant knowledge of Jesus Christ.  […]

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Dr. Peter Kreeft is the Devil: Advising How to Win the World!

April 23, 2017

What a delightfully fun hour of wit and wisdom! If you have two brain cells that connect and wish to understand God and the world — and if you aren’t afraid of the truth and talk about sex — you will LOVE this. If you aren’t politically correct about atheism and Islam and other such […]

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Bishop Conley’s Comments on our Cruise: “In the Footprints of St. Paul”

November 12, 2014

The ancient Christian writer and theologian Tertullian once asked the Church, “What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?” He asked the question as Christianity spread from Israel into the Greek world; and as Greek intellectuals looked for deeper insight into the Christian mystery. Tertullian was asking whether pagan Greek culture—philosophy, poetry, the arts, history […]

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Pope Francis On Poverty Warrants Scrutiny: Samuel Gregg

November 30, 2013

Pope Francis has released his first apostolic exhortation,Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). An apostolic exhortation …is published to encourage the faithful to live in a particular manner or to do something, e.g., post synodal documents offered to the church in summary of a previous synod and hoping the faithful will do something helpful for the […]

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Why Young People Drop Out of Church (Protestant and Catholic) and Leave the Faith

November 26, 2011

A book and a review evaluate the sad but predictable situation. The Zenit article begins: 1. Churches do have an active engagement with teens, but many of the young people do not grow up to be faithful adult followers of Christ. 2. There are a variety of reasons people drop out, so it is important […]

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Four Last Things in a Terrifying Story

February 20, 2011

Watch my YouTube Video: Going to Hell *************** The Last Nightmare A Short and Terrifying Story by Steve Ray Everything went blank for a moment, but that moment seemed like eternity. He felt a motion, not with wind and breeze, but a motion none the less. He was traveling, moving, floating, transcending-he wasn’t really sure. […]

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Enormity of the Universe

November 11, 2010
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On Philippine Radio (on internet)

July 11, 2010

http://radiotime.com/WebTuner.aspx?StationId=14674 We are one the #1 Radio station in the Philippines from 8:30-10:00 AM Eastern time (8:30 PM Philippine time). Tell your Filipino friends in the US that they can listen at the address above

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Creation vs. Evolution: Debating the Really Big Questions in Life

October 6, 2009

“The combination of Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong as presenters of two contrary views on the existence of God (“Man vs. God,” Weekend Journal, Sept. 12) is in itself a “creative act.” For one, God is a fairy tale, and for the other “at least it’s a nice fairy tale.” One may as well have […]

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