Dying Nuns, Liberalism, and Time Magazine

Tuesday, September 2, AD 2014

Soon to be Extinct Nun

Time magazine, yes it is still being published, serves one useful function.  It normally gives insight into how doctrinaire liberals view the world.  It is often unintentionally hilarious as the writers demonstrate a cluelessness about the subject that they are writing about, which would rise to the level of Swiftian if it were intentional, instead of being the product of a mentality that cannot rise above the purely parochial mindset of the left that dominates most of those whose scribblings are published by Time.  Case in point:  Jo Piazza and her take on the coming extinction of liberal nuns:

Why would a generation of young women raised to believe that they can be anything join an institution that tells them there is something they absolutely cannot be, that there is a certain level they will never reach? Many of the women who are nuns today joined the vocation because it was a way to become highly educated, travel the world and dedicate themselves to a higher good without being beholden to a husband or children.

Young women today can do that with a passport and a Kickstarter account.

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12 Responses to Dying Nuns, Liberalism, and Time Magazine

  • No woman, female human, has ever claimed that Jesus Christ has called her to Holy Orders. Even the New York Times cannot testify to a woman being called to Holy Orders unless they own that person, which is unconstitutional.
    It is patently nonsense for a female to hold up the bread and say: “THIS IS MY BODY”, the words of Consecration, because it is not. The bread is confected into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, true God and true man by the will of God, the Father, God, the Son, Jesus Christ, and the actions of the Holy Spirit, through the Catholic Church by a man ordained through the Catholic Church to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. ORDERS, ORDERS are indeed orders, even when holy, are not being observed by these heretical persons. Unless the woman claims to be a man, a finite man, the woman bears false testimony in a court of law and commits blasphemy. Blasphemy against the Son of God, Jesus Christ is perjury in a court of law and heresy in the Catholic Church.
    Too many individuals refuse to accept the fact that a new human being comes into existence as science has proved through DNA, time and time again, (perhaps not the New York Time(s), pun intended), that the frozen embryos are persons who are cheated of a warm and nourishing womb in a woman body through “in vitro fertilization” test tubes, imprisoned in liquid nitrogen, and at the mercy of cold, merciless individuals. The three choices the parents of an in vitro fertilized human child are given are: 1. Freeze the living child for future implantation. 2. Destroy the child. (kill the child) 3. Put the frozen child up for adoption.
    When these frozen children are adopted and allowed to grow in a warm and nurturing woman’s womb these living, human children are called Snowflake Babies, several of whom have testified and bear testimony to being human beings from the very first moment of existence. The Snowflake Babies are scientific proof that a sovereign person exists from the very first cell of a fertilized human egg.
    This comment must end here. But unfortunately, the women running around like chickens with their heads cut off, with nothing but political correctness, are an embarrassment to themselves, other women and the Catholic Church.
    Has anyone any suggestion that would enable these misguided, pitiable creatures to ascertain for themselves the truth? The whole world is watching this circus act of idiocy and using these laughable creatures as items for their stories. Or maybe this is the beginning of hell?

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  • Disobedience is not a virtue.
    Eve’s disobedience opened the beginnings of hell on earth.

    The woman of obedience brought forth the dawn of salvation. If wayward nuns could adopt Mary the Blessed Virgin as model, then the lives of nuns would be forever fruitful and fulfilling.

    If Jesus wanted women to hold “more power and leadership roles,” then Jesus would of elevated His Mother in those terms. Instead He gives us His mother as a model of humility and obedience.
    Nuns who find this out of date need to review their vocation…possibly give it up and join the ranks of the disoriented liberal (c)atholic church.

  • No one has more power or more leadership than a mother, whether she be a mother physically or a mother spiritually. These liberal nit wits are incapable of comprehending that by her fiat, the Blessed Virgin Mary through submission contained within her womb more Power than any mortal man could ever possess. The three worst words in the English language are liberal progressive Democrat followed closely by feminist and environmentalist.

  • The author’s “Swiftian cluelessness” was indeed hilariously highlighted in another phrase from the original Time article:
    “Nuns are dying out because their population is aging and young women are not joining their ranks in the numbers they once did.”
    Umm, yah, righhhht…d’ya think?
    In an age of heightened nihilism and lack of purposefulness in life, a young woman should join THESE unconsciously self-parodying nit-wits? Havent you answered your own inquiry, Ms Piazza?

  • Nuns For Choice – how utterly pathetic these women are. It’s a good thing that these liberal leftist orders are dying out. They don’t belong in the classroom poisoning young minds. “Save the Baby Whales”. No, “Save the Baby Humans”, Sister. Ms Piazza should have done more research; she would have found that orders that are traditional have vocations.

  • CAM: “Nuns For Choice”
    In vitro fertilization and implantation (test tube babies) and DNA are scientific proof that a new human being comes into existence and life with the first individual cell. The newly begotten human being worships God by being a human being. Peter Singer of Princeton likes to define the new person by citing self awareness and conciousness.
    One cannot drive a car without a car. One can imagine or think about driving a car without actually owning a car to drive. The soul of the person imagines having a brain to think about thinking and the brain comes into being. In the stillness of the womb the baby grows a brain. The thinking person comes into being.
    These people are cheerleaders for Satan, the devil’s spawn. Halloween is coming.

  • Actually the statististics show that the fall in the numbers of nuns/religious sisters, which had continued at a steady pace from 1970 to 2005, has slowed remarkably in the past 10 years and it appears it will soon turn around and the numbers will start growing again. Tracing the same path as the numbers of priests, and, more recently, religious brothers/monks.

  • Ronk, Thanks. Yes… the Nashville Dominicans is one order that has had a large increase in vocations. I doubt Ms. Piazza would have used the statistics because it doesn’t fit her agneda.

  • Ronk, you are certainly right about (as CAM observes) reasonably traditional Novus Ordo Sisters’ orders recovering in terms of numbers, but here on the VL (Very Left, as in Vladimir Lenin) Coast, I work closely with two women’s religious orders, one of which has participated in the infamous “Nuns on the Bus” protest tour group, for example, as well as prominent openly documented activism in the most explicitly and publicly pro-choice aspects of the LCWR: and they couldnt buy a novice if you paid them (Maybe I should suggest that to them…Naw!). One of the orders hasnt had a novice in about 4 years, and their median age must be 65…or more.. So, by their fruits ye shall know them.

  • Alas. No light on the Piazza.

  • Jo Piazza’s garbage is typical of Time Magazine, a liberal victim’s rag. I can’t believe it didn’t go financially bankrupt decades ago. Miss Piazza doesn’t address the legitimate reasons for Vatican concerns. These include fidelity to Catholic teaching, arrogance and contempt towards authority to which they professed vows, obsession with “women’s ordination,” the compulsion of many nuns to revel in their delusional “victim” status ad nauseum. Miss Piazza reminds me of those radicals who came of age in the 1960s (Hillary Clinton, and her ilk) who never grew up and can’t stop their adolescent rebellion again the relentless oppressors who are everywhere. Like Time Magazine, they never wanted to grow up and become adults, and will die as miserable ranting and raving rebels because that’s all they know and are capable of doing.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

Sunday, March 3, AD 2013

It was a stunning video, one full of historical and modern analogies all pointing to back to the man (Pope Benedict XVI) and the institution he ran (the Catholic Church.) The helicopter ride Pope Benedict XVI took from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo flying over modern Rome and the ancient landmarks known the world over, such as the Coliseum and the Apian Way made for a breath taking array of images. For faithful Catholics one of the illuminating high points of watching papal transitions is the fact that the mainstream media is not always in control.

The historic images speak for themselves which must be somewhat maddening to those who have to throw their digs into the Church that Christ Himself started via Peter. NBC News anchor Brian Williams made the mainstream media’s point Friday on the lead off segment of the NBC Nightly News when he stated the Catholic Church does images well, but there is scandal behind the images we see. One could say the exact same thing about the mainstream media’s coverage of the White House and yet nary a word of that sort is heard.

Perhaps the helicopter ride of the Holy Father made many of the media’s gatekeepers cringe because those historical landmarks (the Coliseum, the Apian Way) were like many modern secular government’s landmarks, supposedly everlasting. If someone would have told the Roman power structure in Diocletian’s time that within 100 years Rome would be Christian and the empire would be gone, howls of laughter would have echoed through the Pantheon. Modern secular leaders and the often militant secular scholars whom they follow, view traditional Christianity much in the same way those in the seats of power in Rome once did, something that should have no influence or bearing on the affairs of its citizens.

Though a towering intellectual giant, Pope Benedict XVI is a simple man who never wanted to be Pope and pleaded that Pope John Paul II let him go back to Bavaria and write when then Cardinal Ratzinger reached the age of 75. His gentleness was seen in the Conclave when it was said he won many of the Third World Cardinal’s votes. It is said that he did so because he showed a kind father or grandfatherly hand when other princes of the Church were perhaps not so welcoming upon the Third World’s prelates arrival in Rome. This sort of gentleness coupled with a refusal to water down the truth made the man from Bavaria a towering figure in the history of the Church. Often the stature of towering figures grow with time, unlike our pop culture heroes whose legacy becomes all too often faded and forgotten.

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9 Responses to Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

  • Dave Hartline-
    Poetic words for a “towering man.”
    You captured the man and the pulse of this moment in time.
    Thank you.

  • I am just now getting around to reading this, like it so much going to share the link with some groups to read. When I read good articles like this I think of Saint Augustine’s “City of God”. As you wrote the media will look for anything ‘black’ in the Church but not look at the ‘black’ in front of them.

  • How awesome is the Pope Emer.?

    My Mormon neighbors are sad that he resigned. (also very curious)

  • He wasn’t as prolific or as profound a thinker as John Paul, though he seems to have shared much in common with him.

  • Jon

    I would say Benedict XVI is every bit as profound a thinker as JPII was, albeit in different ways. BXVI is much better at making complex theological truths accessible to the average person than his predecessor.

  • Foxfier:
    With Pope Benedict’s resignation, surrender of his Title and Chair of Peter, and title of Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI has promised to remain the Servant of the Servants of God, the most beautiful title he holds. Realize that when Pope Benedict XVI removed himself from the Vatican, the head of the Lavender Mafia was crushed. All heads of departments in the Vatican are vacated as well, a new era of holiness and trust may be established, akin to St.Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. I love Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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  • This is a beautiful tribute to Benedict XVI and Mary De Voe’s comment puts the icing on the cake.

  • It has been amusing to listen to the secular media trying to make what they think are relevant comments on the renouncing of the papal throne by Benedict and the upcoming conclave. It reminds me of an old lesson on the art of writing. Write about things you know. They certainly sound foolish and it becomes obvious that their concerns are not ours. Pray for us, Benedict XVI as we will pray for you.

Dr. Stenger and the Folly of Free-Thinking

Tuesday, July 10, AD 2012

Are we to believe the New Atheist free-thinkers see themselves as reasonable as rocks?

I was hesitant to write this because I don’t like picking battles with atheists. At first I didn’t see how anyone would take this idea about free will and our judicial system seriously, but it seems some people are. So I offer the following with the hope that if more people know about this discussion, more people can see it for the nonsense that it is. 

Victor Stenger, Ph.D. particle physicist and best-selling author of God and the Folly of Faith has written an essay at Huffington Post “Free Will is an Illusion” and it took an unexpected turn. Certainly, the atheistic consideration of free will is nothing new, but Dr. Stenger also makes a connection between free will, or the lack thereof, and our judicial system in the United States. This position has disturbing societal implications.

Keep in mind, this is the man who popularized the phrase: “Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.” He has also published such titles as God: The Failed Hypothesis and The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason. Victor Stenger has made it known that he thinks science can prove there is no god, and that he considers religion dangerous to society.

In this Huffington Post essay he references a book by another physicist, Leonard Mlodinow, who says that the unconscious plays a dominant role in human behavior. As Dr. Stenger puts it, “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.” He goes on to say (read carefully), “This recognition challenges fundamental assumptions about free will and the associated religious teachings about sin and redemption, as well as our judicial concepts of responsibility and punishment. If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”

He also references the book Free Will by neuroscientist Sam Harris and title-quotes him in stating that “free will is an illusion.” Dr. Stenger writes, “We don’t exist as immaterial conscious controllers, but are instead entirely physical beings whose decisions and behaviors are the fully caused products of the brain and body.”

So, essentially having established that humans are determinant blobs of matter with no free will, he then makes the case to the Huffington Post readers that “our largely retributive moral and justice systems need to be re-evaluated, and maybe even drastically revamped” if the people in society are going to be able to protect themselves from “people who are dangerous to others because of whatever it is inside their brains and nervous systems that makes them dangerous.”

That is, he is calling for a new system of morality and justice based on the the presumption that no one is ultimately responsible for his actions, and remember, he’s made it clear who he thinks the “dangerous” people are. This is eerily like the argument used to justify abortion, only we’re all blobs of tissue now.

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28 Responses to Dr. Stenger and the Folly of Free-Thinking

  • What they are saying is “science proves there is no God and so your free will is an illusion; so do what I tell you to do”.

  • When a person believes that he is evolved from an ape and is therefore just an ape – an animal subject to the instinct of the wild – then that person debases himself to become an animal and nothing more, hence what Stacy has written above.

    Good post, Stacy!

  • Fascinating.
    Our lunch time conversation with our own family apostate was not too appetizing, and a bit similar to the thrust of this post, in that it denies real choice in behavior, albeit in rats.
    A virus that lives in a cat’s gut, when it gets into a rat, affects the rat’s brain, making the rat not only lose it’s fear of cats, thus more likely to be caught by a cat; but also makes rats more likely to have sex/propagate, providing more meals for cats.
    None of this is quite the same as your atheist’s idea, but it does lay the same groundwork for not being in control of what goes on in our brains or behavior. A virus can influence brain activity that makes the rats ( or the person?) hapless. Extended to humans it can make us not responsible; not really having an intellect to call our own, much less a free will.
    Dr. Stenger’s ideas are such a denial of Truth and Beauty and Freedom. I’m hoping it is heartbreaking enough to bring the atheists and heretics back to the table of Fides et Ratio.

  • If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”

    I am curious as to how a legal system (i.e., the individuals operating therein) punishing criminals is any more in control of the action of punishing and thus responsible for it.

    Of course, one shouldn’t be too hard on this sort of thinking, since it is subconsciously compelled. But then again, being too hard on this sort of thinking is likewise subconsciously compelled, and so on and so forth.

  • way to go jason

  • If atheists believe that they are just animals operating on hardwired instinct in their brains and all this stuff about free will and intellect is self-delusion, then why not treat them like wild animals and lock them up behind cages where they can’t do any harm? After all, that’s what is done with other dangerous animals and none is more dangerous than the human one.

    But who would be the zoo keepers?

  • Freethinking – you get what you pay for.

  • Good post, Stacy.

    No free will went into typing that compliment. It just happened.

  • “In this Huffington Post essay he references a book by another physicist, Leonard Mlodinow, who says that the unconscious plays a dominant role in human behavior. As Dr. Stenger puts it, “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.” He goes on to say (read carefully), “This recognition challenges fundamental assumptions about free will and the associated religious teachings about sin and redemption, as well as our judicial concepts of responsibility and punishment. If our brains are making our decisions for us subconsciously, how can we be responsible for our actions? How can our legal system punish criminals or God punish sinners who aren’t in full control of their decision-making processes?”
    This is the heresy of predestination.
    God gives man sovereign personhood, the sovereignty with which to override our inclinations, also called concupiscence. God gives and creates man, the species Homo sapiens, man of wisdom, a rational, immortal soul, the virtues and grace and Wisdom. To repudiate God, the way the atheist repudiates God, leaves the atheist piecemeal, a consciousness here, a free will there, a subconscious anywhere. Religion is a relationship with almighty God, our Creator and Endower of unalienable rights, Who constantly, in Divine Providence, steers us clear of buildings and brings us success and safety. The atheist, servant to the devil, is jealous of God and the people of God, who enjoy the blessings of Liberty . Remember, the atheist is only one opinion, a badly formed and thoughtless opinion. Jesus Christ said: I testify to myself and my Father in heaven testifies to me.” (Two witnesses establish a judicial fact) The TRUTH of God stands up in a court of law. The atheist does not have any legal standing in a court of law as he has repudiated his unalienable rights.

  • Everybody here, I enjoyed your thinking. Does your subconscious brain know that you are thinking? Great shades of Dr. Strangelove, the real title for: The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason.

  • here’s an excerpt from a nifty article at National Affairs:

    “This concept of choice is articulated near the beginning of ‘The Long Winter’, when Pa gets his first sense that a difficult season is coming as he and Laura observe the thickness of the muskrats’ lodges. Laura wants to know how the muskrats anticipate a hard winter; Pa replies, “God tells them, somehow, I suppose.”

    “Then why doesn’t God tell us?” Laura wanted to know.

    “Because,” said Pa, “we’re not animals. We’re humans, and, like it says in the Declaration of Independence, God created us free. That means we got to take care of ourselves.”

    Laura said faintly, “I thought God takes care of us.”

    “He does,” Pa said, “so far as we do what’s right. And He gives us a conscience and brains to know what’s right. But He leaves us to do as we please. That’s the difference between us and everything else in creation.”

    “Can’t muskrats do what they please?” Laura asked, amazed.

    “No,” said Pa. “I don’t know why they can’t but you can see they can’t. Look at that muskrat house. Muskrats have to build that kind of house. They always have and they always will. It’s plain they can’t build any other kind. But folks build all kinds of houses. A man can build any kind of house he can think of. So if his house don’t keep out the weather, that’s his look-out; he’s free and independent.”


  • This guy would have failed a first year philosophy course. The theory self destructs. If there is no free will because our subconscious mind makes us do things, then there can be no real knowledge because it’s our subconscious mind framing the input of our senses and how we think about it. Because there’s no real knowledge, Stenger can’t know that there is no free will. So we have no need to listen to him. The theory is only an artifact of the complex interaction of particles, and so it itself is uninformative and we can disregard it in favor of the workings of our own subconscious minds.

    But in reality, the advocate for this sort of theory is unconcerned about its actual truth, falsehood, or incoherency. It’s only a rationalization for the use of power against Christians. Nothing more, nothing less. The true believer will be unconcerned about whether it is true or false, but how it can be used to bludgeon those he doesn’t like.

  • It never ceases to astonish me how atheists will trot out some remark that they expect to confound believers, blissfully unaware that it is a commonplace of theology.

    “before we become aware of making a decision, our brains have already laid the groundwork for it.”

    The eminently orthodox Dominican theologian, Michael Bañez (1528-1604) argued “Inasmuch as the Divine influence precedes all acts of the creature, not in the order of time, but in that of causality, the motion emanating from God and seconded by free intelligent agents takes on the character of a physical premotion (proemotio physica) of the free acts, which may also be called a physical predetermination (proedeterminatio physica), because the free determination of the will is accomplished only by virtue of the divine predetermination.”

    In Bañez’s view, since God is the primal cause (causa prima) and the prime mover (motor primus), it is concluded that every act and every movement of the thoroughly contingent secondary causes (causae secundae) or creatures must emanate from the first cause, and that by the application of their potentiality to the act.

    Neither Bañez nor anyone else thought that this undermined the doctrine of free will, or, more properly,“free choice,” [liberum arbitrium) as and his opinion (for it is a theological opinion, not dogma) was staunchly defended by the Dominicans against the Jesuits. It was thrashed out threadbare during the Jansenist controversies of the 17th century and was still being ably defended by Père Reginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange OP until the middle of the last century.

    If Dr Stenger is going to write about free will, is it too much to expect him to have a nodding acquaintance with the literature?

  • Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris all illustrate that the concepts “will”, “unconscious”, and “making a decision” are imperfectly understood. Like Zeno whose understanding of the concept “infinite” came up short, their misunderstandings lead them into constructing apparent paradoxes that they cannot solve except through a resort to the bizzare and obviously impossible. In Zeno’s case, he denied the possibility of motion despite all common sense and experience. Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris are also headed down the path of denying common sense and experience.

  • It’s only a rationalization for the use of power against Christians.

    Against anyone not part of the intellectual class, I think.

  • All of which reminds me of Mike Flynn’s line about the new atheists being essentially Calvinists. They end up by refuting themselves, but I guess a part of free-thinking means overlooking contradictions if they are your own.

  • I wonder if the article made anyone else think about Les Miserables. It’s ironic that atheists, who consider themselves to be “humanists,” would seriously revert to a deterministic model in which a person is a perceived threat because they are “defective,” rather than because of their actions. This also brings to mind CS Lewis’ That Hideous Strength – a police state that replaces retributive justice with “rehabilitation,” which, conveniently, is a standard determined not in proportion to the crime, but according to the whim of the State. Only those in power can determine “normal,” “healthy,” and “rehabilitated.” When we deny free will, we create a society based on the Will to Power.

  • Michael,

    Amazing quote – I’m always astounded at how thoroughly all this has, indeed, been thrashed out by great Christian thinkers many centuries ago. Aside from allowing one the fun of tweaking liberals by saying we intellectually peaked with Aquinas and its all been downhill since then, it shows that the pursuit of truth has been relentless among Christians and the half-baked philosophies of the critics are nothing more than a sophomoric attempt to confound the Teacher.

  • Mark

    I sometimes wonder if intense specialisation in one field unfits people for another. Descartes was one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived, but a disaster as a philosopher. Then again, we have the pantheism of physicists like Einstein, Sir James Jeans and Schrödinger, who managed to combine Hindu mysticism with a form of Neo-Kantianism. A rather different example would be Freud’s venture into linguistics. Great composers have had a tin ear, when it comes to their librettos and, dare I say, theologians have not always distinguished themselves in their ventures into politics or economics.

  • “Sir, we know our will is free, and there’s an end on it.”
    Boswell: Life
    With greater elaboration:

    Boswell: “The argument for the moral necessity of human actions is always, I observe, fortified by supposing universal prescience to be one of the attributes of the Deity.” Johnson: “You are surer that you are free, than you are of prescience; you are surer that you can lift up your finger or not as you please, than you are of any conclusion from a deduction of reasoning. But let us consider a little the objection from prescience. It is certain I am either to go home tonight or not; that does not prevent my freedom.” Boswell: “That it is certain you are either to go home or not, does not prevent your freedom; because the liberty of choice between the two is compatible with that certainty. But if one of these events be certain now, you have no future power of volition. If it be certain you are to go home to-night, you must go home.” Johnson: “If I am well acquainted with a man, I can judge with great probability how he will act in any case, without his being restrained by my judging. God may have this probability increased to certainty.” Boswell: When it is increased to certainty, freedom ceases, because that cannot be certainly foreknown, which is not certain at the time; but if it be certain at the time, it is a contradiction in terms to maintain that there can be afterwards any contingency dependent on the exercise of will or anything else.” Johnson: “All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it.”
    Boswell: Life

  • Boswell falls into a fallacy long ago exposes by Aristotle. He is confusing a logical relationship with a causal one

    What is going to happen tomorrow will certainly happen and nothing I do today can possibly change that. But what I do today can certainly change what would have happened on Monday.

    “For although it be true that a man who is freely sitting cannot at the same time be standing (sensus compositus), nevertheless his freedom in sitting is maintained by the fact that he might be standing instead of sitting (sensus divisus)” as Laurentius Berti, (1696–1766) one of the “later Augustinians” points out. Of course, such arguments were central to the great question of grace and free will, which is why so much ink has been spilt over it. Pascal gives a satirical account of such debates in the first of his Provincial Letters; do not read it for the first time in a library, as I did and was turned out for laughing uncontrollably. Works of theology rarely have that effect, more’s the pity. But do read it in French, if you can.

  • Cmatt,

    “Freethinking – you get what you pay for.”


    “No free will went into typing that compliment. It just happened.”

    Funny! 😀

  • In case anyone is interested, there’s a discussion on my blog about this article too and it’s quite different because there are several atheists and agnostics who comment there. One atheist already admitted that there “is no freedom.” 🙁

    It’s fascinating to see their reasoning, but a lot of it is just sniping too. Some are asking questions though.

    The discussion here has gotten deeper.

    Michael, There is definitely something to that thought that people should know the limits of their knowledge of a field. Descartes was a disaster as a philosopher. I’ve read before that Newton dedicated more ink to theology than physics, but his theology was so messed up.

    It seems there is a general misunderstanding today for many people about what philosophy and theology even are, or science for that matter. And I think that’s where Dr. Stenger really goes awry. He’s jumping around from science to religion to philosophy to politics kind of like a kid with a new box of crayons who hasn’t learned to stay in the lines yet, scribbling all over the page and calling it a work of art.

    I would love for him to answer the question, “If there’s no free will, then how can there be free-thinking?” That kind of talk so reminds me of my toddler who wouldn’t confess to coloring on the wall. “My crayon did it, not me.” Um, no. Won’t work.

    Anyway…thanks all for the discussion. I am loving reading all the input and really benefit from it. THANK YOU!!!

  • Michael,

    Indeed – each must keep to his own. I don’t go to theologians to build a better power plant and I don’t go to scientists to explain the nature of God. The problem with a lot of our intellectuals over the past few centuries has been attempts to willy-nilly transfer a skill in one area to a totally different area. This is compounded by the fact that over the ages scientists have ceased to be educated sufficiently in non-scientific areas.

  • “Stenger, Mlodinow, and Harris all illustrate that the concepts “will”, “unconscious”, and “making a decision” are imperfectly understood.”

    I feel I am going the way of Zeno and the others on this point. What is the proper understanding of these terms?

    Also, what is so bad about Descartes?

    Finally, if everything is determined, then nothing changes. People still believe in free will (and have to), and the same discussions go on. I do not see how, even if somehow there is no free will, anything will change, in terms of ethics or politics.


    Finally, a strange Pascal’s wager for determinism:

    If determinism is the case and I believe that determinism is the case, then what I believe is true, and I have a more realistic view of the world than I would otherwise have, if I denied determinism. My acceptance of determinism at this time could not have been otherwise.

    If determinism is the case, and I deny determinism, then what I believe is false, and my view of the world is less accurate than it would otherwise be. My refusing determinism at this time could not have been otherwise.

    If determinism is not the case, and I deny determinism, then what I believe is false, but I could chose to change my mind, and come to a deeper understanding of reality.

    It seems then that the default position most likely to align with reality is to accept determinism, because if you are right, it could not be otherwise, but if you are wrong, there is the hope of changing your mind.

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  • The truth is that the only real free-thinkers are Christians. When atheists claim to be free-thinkers, they’re speaking out of pride, not truth. In reality, they aren’t free-thinkers at all, but slaves to their passions and egos.

  • From a purely scientific point of view, atoms which make up molecules which make up our physical world, including our physical bodies, are not living things. So no matter how you arrange the molecules, they in and of themselves do not give life. This means God has to exist and we have to have souls given to us by God in order to have life.

Obama’s Latest Fig Leaf is Not Acceptable

Friday, February 10, AD 2012

Update III:  The USCCB Pro-Life Director Richard Doerflinger and Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey agree with me that this “accommodation” or “compromise” is unacceptable.  Sadly Sr. Keehan of the the Catholic Health Associate found this “satisfactory”.  It looks like Obama will be happy that Sr. Keehan is on board.  Of course, Planned Parenthood and Sr. Keehan agree.

Update II:  Rumor confirmed.  Insurance, that Religious Institutions pay into, will provide contraception, ie, it is still a violation of the First Amendment.

Update I: Rumor is that “Hawaii” compromise will be offered, but the bishops have already rejected this.  So basically it’s a poor attempt at stalling and not really offering a solution.

The buzz this morning is that Obama is “caving in” to the pressure and will announce a “compromise” today at 12:15pm Eastern.

The news reports are saying that Religious Organizations won’t have to offer birth control, only the insurance companies that these Religious Organizations provide will offer birth control.

Yeah, that’s the compromise.

If these reports are true, this is dead on arrival.  Changing the meaning of the words won’t do it.

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34 Responses to Obama’s Latest Fig Leaf is Not Acceptable

  • It’s George Orwell’s 1984, except the date should be 2012.

  • …only the insurance companies that these Religious Organizations provide will offer birth control…

    And who pays premiums into the insurance pool? The Religious Organizations and in most cases, their employees. This is no compromise; it’s word-smithing.

  • Exactly Big Tex.

    I wish I were more eloquent and prescient as you were, but I wanted to get this out and digested before Obama did another Pravda Announcement.

  • Next, he’ll offer 30 pieces of silver, the price of a man.

    I’m insulted.

    He must think we are as stupid as he.

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  • Politics at its worst. This administration is not caving in on anything. They are mandating and telling the insurance companies what product to sell and at what price to sell. Unconstitutional.

  • He’s on the run.

    Don’t accept the first.

    Counter with: “Resign tyrant.”

  • Let’s pretend that birth control is a health issue (hahahah, sorry — I’ll stop laughing now). Since when is the President qualified to ORDER medical treatments? Did he go to medical school or something?

  • Lord have mercy. Has Sr. Keehan have no shame? No conscience? Her bishop should have a friendly chat with her, remind her that part of the reason the Church and the entire country is in this mess is in part her doing, and then politely ask her to keep her mouth shut.

  • Unfortunately it may be that Sr. Keehan has no problem with contraception, sterilization etc.

  • She also has no problem in wearing anything but a habit.

  • HHS was The Institute of Medical Services idea. BO and KS said so.
    The change in payment was recommended by some Insurance Business Institute.
    One, quick little mention of ‘religious liberty’ being intact, so there you guys who are complaining so much.

    Contraception was the whole focus of what HHS means to USA, no mention of the laundry list of other ‘care’.

    Contraception is good for preventing women’s health problems. What about all the studies of causes for women’s cancer? Women, not girls, what happened to the 11 year olds that were going to be ‘cared’ for? Not PC for a noonday speech for Catholic listeners. Ugh. More questions than answers from he who was paid by a Catholic org. to do work.

    Contraception is the lowest common denominator of appeal for those who would trash Church teaching before letting go of complacency.

    No apology for using the word Mandate in olden times like yesterday. Now, it’s all about being the bearer of ‘good’ compromise for all concerned, especially those who want contraception. Politics, pandering to voters, and shutting up the Church.

  • I think Sr. Keehan has no idea how insurance works.

  • from he who was paid by a Catholic org. to do work.
    He said so.

  • Too busy today to do anything right now except to note that this is no compromise and anyone who thinks it is is either a fool or a knave. Obama truly does have nothing but contempt for those outside of his ideological bubble.

  • Who is this Senior Keehan?

  • Obama went out of his way to say that he supports freedom of religion, pointing out that one of his stints as a community organizer in Chicago was funded by a Catholic group.

    Gag me with a spoon. I wonder which Catholic group funded his community organizing. I wonder further if those funds made their way through the CSA.


  • There can be no compromise with evil.

    I would hold out for his resignation. That’s me.

  • Another great takedown of this duplicitous “compromise” over at Vox Nova.

  • Haha Paul. I’ll comment on that later. I’ll let others read the takedown first.

  • “Sister” Keehan is a traitor. If she approves of this, then it is not to be trusted. The road of compromise is never ending! Don’t take it. Time for Catholics willing to suffer persecution to stand up and be counted. If Obama wins this, it’s all over for Faith and freedom. Wake up America!
    Immaculate Conception pray for us.

  • I’ll update my post with that link, Paul. Good catch.

  • If the bishops will not or cannot make (Sr.) Keehan behave then hopefully the vatican will discipline her and her order. She is a disgrace to American nuns who are pro-life. In effect, she is giving comfort to the enemy and she needs to be stopped!!!

  • I clicked on the link thinking someone at Vox Nova had actually written something critical of Pharaoh Obama’s “compromise.” It seems most there are content to retreat into philosophical condemnations of American Democracy and other acts of mental onanism.

    I suspect MM is waiting for the Dem talking points.

  • Phillip:

    Kudos. I am afflicted with violent nausea by ravings of lunatics that believe in a vast array of dumb and illogical rubbish.

    Apparently, that pack of catholic Commies (adherents of the gospel of Mao) believe the destruction of the evil, unjust private sector justifies both the damnation of souls and the denial of basic human rights, i.e., religious liberty.

    Seems, they have bought into the tyrant’s alibi: the “welfare of humanity justifies enslaving humanity.”

    You are too kind and genteel. I would have waxed sort of alliterative: “acts of mental masturbation.”

  • The vn are not compromising with evil. They are evil.

  • There aren’t enough exorcists — are there?

  • I was going to rebuke T Shaw for going a bit too far, but he’s really not far afield. To rationalize this decision in such a way is just astounding. There really is no road low enough for these folks at VN. That said, I have to agree with Tony on one thing.

    Think of Romney attacking Obama when he did the same thing in Massachusetts!

    Well, at least that one was non-demented sentence in the rant.

  • How did Sr. Keenan get quoted? I understood this article was about what Catholics thought?
    Dan Malone

  • May God Change Sr. Keehan’s heart. We all should pray she converts and repents. She is truly a lost soul directing others to HELL.

  • The Catholic Church will never obey this mandate, not if all the powers of Hell were to shove it down our throats. I know that moral doctrine may seem a strange and ancient thing to your administration Mr President, but understand that as Catholics, we are required to disobey unjust law. Commanded. It is our duty. Do you understand the gravity of the ultimatum you’ve made? You have placed the faithful Catholic in a position in which he must choose between obeying your mandate and obeying God. To comply with the HHS mandate will be considered a sin. Regardless of how you view your actions, do not so easily ignore how the Church views your actions — as attacking her flock. Force the mandate on faithful institutions, and faithful institutions will shut down their services. Force it on our hospitals, our universities, our schools, and our convents and we will bear the consequences of looking you, Sibelius and all the rest in the eyes and saying “No.” As it turns out, the Church doesn’t give a damn what you think — She never has cared for the powers of the world — and will resist you with all Her might. To be briefer still, and to say what those bound by politics cannot: Bring it.

  • Me and my wife have been trying to have a child for over a year and we are seeing a fertility doctor who is putting my wife on birth control for one month to regulate her cycle (i.e., as part of a plan aimed at treatments during the following month). I don’t think this is a sin and I don’t see any problem with the Catholic Church providing those contraceptives if I worked for them. I don’t see the catch-22 Nancy describes because it seems the sin only occurs when contraceptives are used to prevent a pregnancy. Although contraceptives can be used in a sinful way, so can other health-related drugs, medical devices, or equipment. The most obvious examples are the use of many prescription drugs to commit suicide or to be abused. In the case of these other drugs, the Church doesn’t eliminate the drugs from their health plan but instead provides them and expects Catholics to follow its teachings and not use the drugs in the commission of a sin. Why are contraceptives different? They have a number of non-sinful uses, including use by non-Catholic employees or to regulate menstruation (i.e., in someone who is not having sex). I don’t see why providing these drugs would be any more a sin than providing Oxycontin or morphine. Would it be a sin for the Church to provide baseball bats because they could be used to commit a murder?

Pope Benedict: Religious Freedom Under Threat in America

Friday, January 20, AD 2012


Pope Benedict, judging from this address on January 19 to American bishops in Rome, apparently understands the high stakes in the outcome of this year’s election, even if many American Catholics do not:

Dear Brother Bishops,

I greet all of you with fraternal affection and I pray that this pilgrimage of spiritual renewal and deepened communion will confirm you in faith and commitment to your task as Pastors of the Church in the United States of America. As you know, it is my intention in the course of this year to reflect with you on some of the spiritual and cultural challenges of the new evangelization.

One of the most memorable aspects of my Pastoral Visit to the United States was the opportunity it afforded me to reflect on America’s historical experience of religious freedom, and specifically the relationship between religion and culture. At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such.

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9 Responses to Pope Benedict: Religious Freedom Under Threat in America

  • Quite timely, given the Administration’s offering of the tall finger of fellowship on conscience protections today.

  • “For though absent in body I am present in spirit, and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man [or woman] to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his [or her] spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1st Corinthians 5:3-5

    It is now time for the Bishops to act consistent and in synchronicity with St. Paul’s instructions with respect to Kathleen Sebelius, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden and all the rest of the liberal Catholycs who have exchanged the truth and mercy of God’s only begotten Son for the convenience of childlessness by murder and the fleeting pleasure of homosexual filth.

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  • The American atheist, in denying other citizens’ Creator endowed unalienable rights, forfeits his own unalienable rights and has no legal standing in a court of law and must be prevented from removing other civil liberties and freedoms set forth in our founding principles: The Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. The atheist may choose to be an atheist for himself, but the atheist may not choose atheism for me or any other human being endowed with unalienable rights to LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, our destiny as a person, as a citizen, as a people, and as a nation. Government of the people, for the people and by the people will have none of the chicanery going on in Washington: abortion is human sacrifice offered to the devil and the establishment of a religion. sue HHS. In cases of rape, the innocent victim is put to death for the crimes of his parents, JUSTICE? Fornication is the second form of religion to the devil. Lies, perjury, perversion. God created man in FREEDOM. NINCOMPOOPS, IMBECILES, IDIOTS, MORONS, MISCREANTS, THE HIERARCHY OF POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON, EXCEPT CHRISTOPHER HENRY SMITH R. NJ. I feel bad Chris Smith has not be drafted for president. He’d be real good at it. And thank you for letting me sound off.

  • I love Pope Benedict’s way with words in how he both teaches and cares about us :

    – the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation –
    – countering cultural currents which seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth –
    – a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience –

    Our marching orders and perfect prayer intention for USA in:

    – a more consistent witness on the part of America’s Catholics –

    ” … or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God.”

    “With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth.”

    “Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.”

    “There can be no doubt that a more consistent witness on the part of America’s Catholics to their deepest convictions would make a major contribution to the renewal of society as a whole.”

  • @PM: Pope Benedict XVI’s words bear repeating. Thank you.

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Why The Secular Left Dislikes Tim Tebow

Sunday, December 11, AD 2011

“Seriously!” I can still hear that word echo through my brain even though the event took place this past summer. At a social gathering a young gentleman and his lady friend (and I use that term loosely) were gesticulating wildly when someone in the crowd told them about Tim Tebow beliefs.  Evidently they weren’t football fans, so someone brought them up to speed about Tebow. At this point in his career many now say, “he’s a nice kid but…,” However, at that point they didn’t even say that; they simply used words like a “Bible thumper” or someone “lost in the 50s.” Now they have to throw him a bone by at least saying, “He’s a nice kid, but…” However, wait until next year when someone connects the dots and assumes he probably won’t vote for the Obama-Biden ticket. The secular left is going to throw everything at him including the kitchen sink.

I was recently asked by someone to give a Catholic perspective about Tebow. I had to explain to this individual that Pope Benedict XVI probably doesn’t even know who Tebow is, but that I am sure the Holy Father would appreciate his earnest approach. Now I also quite convinced that our friends on the Secular Catholic Left probably wish Tebow would shut up or at least voice his concern about their favorite make believe topics such as man made Climate Change.

I heard as much recently while channel surfing. A glutton for punishment I stopped briefly on MSNBC to hear one of their emasculated males go on some sort of tirade about Governor Rick Perry because the Texas Governor (in a Iowa TV commercial) said he believed in marriage between a man and a woman. This particular MSNBC host seemed to really enjoy his own commentary because he concluded by saying he was surprised that the particular Perry Commercial wasn’t in black and white because it seemed right out of the 1950s.

The left has so many things going for it with their social engineering, the daily liberal propaganda they try to shove down the throats of those in the western world via the mainstream media, along with the silver screen and television; one would think they would be ecstatic. However,  when they hear about Evangelicals like Tim Tebow or the increase in Catholic seminarians and young women in religious life who happen to actually believe in what the Catholic Church teaches and even goes so far as to wear cassocks and habits, well this to them is outrageous. Anyone who adheres to what Tebow or these young seminarians and women religious believe, well they must be either dolts or dangerous right wing throwbacks.

These nefarious conspirators want to throw American back into the 1950s when people actually went to church, believed in right and wrong and almost universally applauded any leader (like our current Pope Benedict XVI) who railed against the Dictatorship of Relativism. These counter revolutionaries might even want to cling to their guns and religion.  

In all my days as a player and coach, I don’t think I ever really prayed for a victory. To me God has His purposes and I as a humble adherent to his message just chose to follow Him. However, that doesn’t mean that just once in a while God may actually engineer a game or two for His purposes. Maybe, just maybe Tim Tebow’s miraculous last six victories are meant to send us all a message. Believe, even when the world says there is no God. Believe, when some say God is just some sort of absent minded Mr. Magoo as Bill Maher and some of his Apatheists think. Believe, when a disbelieving world says for God “it’s all good,” and there are not right or wrongs just different shades of gray. Believe, even when leaders think abortion is a fine alternative after all they would hate to see their teenage daughters punished with a child.

Reggie Johnson and or myself might just ask Tim Tebow (if he agrees to appear) how his faith came to grow and flourish on the Christian Peschken produced television program Non Negotiable, which God willing should be on the air in 2012. By now you may have probably heard that doctors tried to talk Tebow’s parents into having him aborted since it was believed he would be deformed and probably too small to live if he was born. (You might recall Tebow and his mother appeared in a Super Bowl Pro Life ad while he was still in college.) God only knows how many others parents were probably told the same scenario. All of these factors cause those with or without beliefs to evaluate their own beliefs when someone is so adamant and happy go lucky as is Tebow with his beliefs.

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61 Responses to Why The Secular Left Dislikes Tim Tebow

  • Tebow’s become a political football. The secular left hates him because the religious right loves him.

  • Tim didn’t get the diktat. Only godless rats are allowed to publicly express their beliefs.

  • The secular left hates him because the religious right loves him.

    Try a more plausible hypothesis: the secular left hates him because that’s how they roll.

  • Leftists tend to be a very intolerant bunch, which makes their usual shouting about tolerance hilarious. When it comes to public displays of Christian faith they react like vampires to a cross in an old horror flick.

  • RR-
    the reverse is true, for some of us; I wouldn’t even know who Tebow was if it wasn’t for so many lefties hating him. Sadly, it’s not just the secular folks, either.

  • I shy away from public displays of religiosity. Much of my experience of public prayer has been negative. Only God knows whether a public display is for Him or is mere self-aggrandizement.

    I hope that Mr. Tebow’s is a deep-rooted impulse to praise the creator who animates him with the prowess as he displays on the field.

    As a Philadelphian, I’m a bit jealous of Denver and their Broncos.

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  • Persacution Complex. A staple of the religious right. Has it occurred to any of you that maybe you are imagining all the hate? I myself am an Atheist (bring on the hate, you know you want to) and I’m indifferent to Tebow, my issue is with all this hype surrounding him solely because he is a christian. Face facts, Tim Tebow is an average quarterback. He’s not the worst in the NFL, but hes no Drew Brees or Tom Brady (check the stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/quarterbackRating) The reason Tebow wins these games is because of the team itself. The last game was won because the broncos kicker managed to pull out two 50+ yard field goals. The kicker did that, not Tebow. I’m not trying to offened anyone, but calm down. People are allowed to not like someone for a number of reasons, not just because of their religon.

    BTW, I always get a good laugh at christians who cry about “intolerance” when I read stories like this: http://elev8.com/news/orethawinston/all-american-muslim-controversy/

  • “Has it occurred to any of you that maybe you are imagining all the hate?”

    Too funny. SeanB. (You’re not serious, are you?)

  • Sean B, first of all, I think it would be fair to those non believers to seperate non belief in two categories. I have met earnest non believers who say they try to believe but it is hard for them. They have no ill will toward believers and even feel a sense of loss for not believing. However, they keep an open mind. Your post seems to be of that group who doesn’t keep in open mind and has some sort of Father Figure baggage as Jung and even Freud stated (though an athiest Freud was rather amused by those athiests who mocked and or proselytized their beliefs as if their atheist beliefs were a religion.)

    You went on about “perseuction complex” and “bring on the hate, you know you want to.” What is that all about? I could have linked to sites that mocked Tebow with four letter tirades, but I didn’t because this is a family site. I could have linked to various pro abortion stories that essentially admit their killing the unborn and seem to take some sort of demonic joy in their act and the heartache that these monstrosities cause for believers. Once again I did not. I could have linked to the rapidly growing , I bet I can find 1,000,000 Facebook fans who hate Tim Tebow but I did not.

    Tim Tebow is someone I have rooted against in just about every college game he played because he was a Florida Gator and being a Buckeye fan, well we certainly have bad memories of playing the Gators. I simply cheered on Tebow the last few weeks because; yes he is a great guy who I think the world needs more of and he also played for a horrible team who you couldn’t help but root for once they started getting their act together.

    Sean B, if there are some believers who you feel hate from prehaps it is because by the mockery you throw our way and by your casual dismissal of God, yes you might bring on some righteous anger in a believer. Have you ever really pondered how ridiculous your belief system is? I mean it really only reared its head in the Enligtenment following the Protestant Reformation. There exists no primitive culture in the world who were atheists. God did implant knowledge of Him in everyone. Perhaps you might want to read “God Is” by the late Oxford Physicist Alan Hayward who pretty much concluded that it would have been more than a 1,000,000,000,000 to 1 shot that Earth could have the right amount of water, oxygen, temperature etc to exist by simple random chance. As someone once said, “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.”

    I will conclude with this point from my upcoming book, a famous atheist once said that random chance not only made the planet earth but also could make a monkey with the right amount of time bang out a sonnet worthy of Shakespeare on a typewriter. A few years ago a zoo took a computer keyboard and put in a zoo’ monkey cage. After several keyboard were beat upon, jumped on, urianted on etc the monkeys had indeed written many thousands of characters on the monitor. Yet not even one word, let alone a sonnet worthy of Shakespeare. Take care my friend and keep an open mind. You may have given up on God, but He will never give up on you.

  • The Infinite Monkey Theorem that our friend Darwin Catholic uses as his avatar! A possibility, but not within any relevant time period.

    I”n this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is not an actual monkey, but a metaphor for an abstract device that produces a random sequence of letters and symbols ad infinitum. The probability of a monkey exactly typing a complete work such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of time even a hundred thousand orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low, but not actually zero.”


  • @Dave
    “You went on about “perseuction complex” and “bring on the hate, you know you want to.” What is that all about?” Simple. You may not realize this, but christians aren’t all that friendly to those of us in the non-belief system. Your post more then highlights this fact.

    “Your post seems to be of that group who doesn’t keep in open mind” I am an Atheist BECAUSE of an open mind. The first half of my life I was raised catholic. I’ve been baptised, I’ve had my first communion, and I sat in church and sunday school every week untill I realized it made no sense.

    “Have you ever really pondered how ridiculous your belief system is?” Silly me, clearly the religon of virgin births, the dead rising over the weekend and a universe created in 6 days far less ridiculous. Also, you ever eat at a red lobster?

    “There exists no primitive culture in the world who were atheists. God did implant knowledge of Him in everyone” Soooooooo how does that explain the greeks who worshiped Zues, or the Scandanavians who worshiped Odin? Do they exsist? Did they imprint their exsistance in them?

    BTW, You bring up the facebook page, so I pose the question. Could this be your fault? You took an average quarterback who belives in god and made him out to be the greatest Football player in the history of football?

    Also, can’t help but notice he works on sunday. Just saying…

  • “There exists no primitive culture in the world who were atheists.”

    Well yeah…. The enlightened theists of the time killed all the atheists as heretics or witches.

  • Contrary to Sean B’s assertions, there is vast amount of evidence from science for what the Bible claims. Dr. Hugh Ross at the Reasons to Beleive Institute discusses these at length at his web site. Perhaps Sean B should start at the sub-links here:


    Like almost every atheist I have met to date, Sean B believes in his religion of scientism (to be differentiated from science) and atheism (my god is me) with every bit as much fervor as a Southern Baptist Fundamentalist believes in short Earth history creationism.

    So may Sean B’s closed mind be open enough to consider what Hugh Ross – a bona fide scientist – writes. There is a wealth of information at his web site and it will take days to sift through it.

  • Dear Atheists: Thank you for contributing to solidify that God exist and is among us.

  • Bob how could an atheist be a heretic or witch, since athiests don’t believe in anything but themselves. As I stated in my article, atheism first came about during the Enlightenment following the Protestant Reformation. Atheism is a very new and very self absorbed belief system. By the way Bob, how many millions of believers did the atheist Joseph Stalin, the atheist Mao and the atheist Pol Pot murder?

  • It appears that a comment sarcastically stating that enlightened theists murdered atheists in primitive societies has been deleted. No matter. The accusation should be addressed, at least by drawing a comparison with the almost 100 million people whom atheists of the 20th century murdered (i.e., Josef Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, etc.). Maximillien Robespierre in the France of the late 1790s was a trial run.

    PS, here are a few more articles for the atheist to consider:

    Temporality beyond Time: What the Creation Reveals

    Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe (AUG 2006)

    I have Dr. Hugh Ross’s book at home that gives the figures for the 93 physical constants of the universe listed in the last web link that have to be fined tuned for life to appear, sometimes to as much as one part in 10^100 (that’s a 1 followed by 100 zeroes) or more. That means that a chimp has to pound out 93 different books having 10^100 characters with no mistakes. It’ll take a while for a chimp to do that – more time than the universe itself has.

    “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” Romans 1:19-20a

  • Opps, that comment wasn’t deleted! My bad! sorry!

  • Dinesh D’Souza, a Protestant evangelical apologist, wrote an interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled, “Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history.”


    There is a certain logic to this. Atheists reject God, the giver of life Who is life Himself. So the only thing they have left to offer is death.

  • Dave – http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/heretic ; “anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle.” The catholic church burned heretics, witches, and pretty much anyone who would dare spread dissent from their viewpoints.

    Additionally, atheism is not a new concept, it existed during ancient days – see Samkhya Philosophy from around 200AD. Also see “Diagoras of Melos”.

    Finally – I find it fascinating that you bring up Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot – leaders of communist regimes, well known for their brutality and inequality. Are you saying that the only thing stopping you from going on a mass murdering spree is your belief in God?

  • “Are you saying that the only thing stopping you from going on a mass murdering spree is your belief in God?”

    While not directed towards me, the short answer is YES!

    But for the grace of God, there go I. Without God man behaves like a mindless, irresponsible baboon.

  • @Paul – please don’t reproduce.

  • @Paul
    That does not say much about you. I don’t believe in god, do you know why I havn’t gone on a killing spree yet?

  • @Bob:

    Too late. I have already reproduced. It’s that old “be frutiful and multiply” commandment back in Genesis.

    @Sean B:

    Obviously the grace of God has penetrated somewhere into your psyche – thankfully!

  • Romans 7:14 though 8:9 bears on this discussion, but I am unsure that an atheist would understand.

    14* We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15* I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22* For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23* but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24* Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    1* There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2* For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. 3* For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, * he condemned sin in the flesh, 4* in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5* For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6* To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; 8* and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9* But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

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  • What’s with the sudden oh-I’m-a-victim-and-you’ve-got-mental-issues thing from atheists? Just the usual projection, someone suggested it, or just happenstance that I’ve seen it pop up recently?

    Bob- please note the primary definition; the third definition down is a (metaphorical, in this case) less common use, same as in a normal, printed dictionary. BTW, the logical fallacy you’re committing is called equivocation. (Incidentally, protestants are the ones that went for burning in a big way, and even then it wasn’t as big as Hollywood and various anti-Christian groups like to pretend.)

  • Sean B & Bob, you guys are making this very easy. You atheists are the smart ones really? Samkhya is a Hindu school of thought, hardly an atheist thinker. The Catholic author Mark Shea often says, scratch an atheist and find a fundamentalist, never more true than with your posts. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/zac-alstin-notes-a-basic-principle/

    I don’t know how Paul and I could have been nicer in our earlier posts and yet you basically tell us how smart you are even though you couldn’t debunk any of our historical posts. In Paul’s case you went the old Eugenics-Margaret Sanger route and just told him not to reproduce. I can’t wait to see what your Psychological retort to Foxfier’s Projection analysis might be.

    Perhaps I should take some advice from a student of mine who I taught in my first year of teaching. I was teaching World History and blessed to have a very intelligent eclectic class. They all excelled except one student who always had excuses or complaints about everyone and everything. I tried to connect with the kid to see if there was something I could do. Finally one female student must have noticed my anguish and she gave me some great advice which I think applies to most militant atheists like yourselves, “With all due respect you are overthinking this siutation. He doesn’t want to achieve so blames everyone and everything but himself. He’s just lazy,” she said. An apt description of militant atheists; you would rather make excuses than see the trees for the forest.

    To quote the old commercial, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” You have all the evidence for God that you need, but because it isn’t the way you would do it, you just pretend He doesn’t exist. When a believer screws up, you rejoice, you think it lets you off the hook. My guess is you would never read the links provided by others or read the works of great minds like St Thomas Aquinas or St Albert the Great, who is father of modern science, for you fear the truth you will read. How sad you that you live such self absorbed and narcissistic lives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertus_Magnus

  • @foxfier “What’s with the sudden oh-I’m-a-victim-and-you’ve-got-mental-issues thing from atheists?” Did you miss the whole “WAH WAH, leftists are mean to tebow” article? Like I said, Christians love the persicution complex.

    @Dave “An apt description of militant atheists; you would rather make excuses than see the trees for the forest.” Or maybe, just maybe, the proof against christianity is stronger then the proof for? Anyone can say “Goddidit” to answer all the questions of the universe and be done with it, it actually takes effort to prove things WITHOUT god to fall back on. Try opening your mind my friend.

  • @foxfier “What’s with the sudden oh-I’m-a-victim-and-you’ve-got-mental-issues thing from atheists?” Did you miss the whole “WAH WAH, leftists are mean to tebow” article? Like I said, Christians love the persicution complex.

    @Dave “An apt description of militant atheists; you would rather make excuses than see the trees for the forest.” Or maybe, just maybe, the proof against christianity is stronger then the proof for? Anyone can say “Goddidit” to answer all the questions of the universe and be done with it, it actually takes effort to prove things WITHOUT god to fall back on. Try opening your mind my friend.

  • Sean B,

    You did exactly what every atheist I have ever met did. You refused to read and study information that disagrees with your preconceived notions. You want to be God even though you declare you evolved from nothing but a mindless ape. Go to the Reasons to Believe Institute and study what a bona fide scientist has to say. Start here:



    By the way, God DID do it (i.e., creation) and you will find that out one day. You and I owe Him our allegiance, our obedience and our love. But in spite of the fact that you denigrate and revile and criticize and condemn with unceasing loathing any belief in and love for God, God still loves you – so much so that His only begotten Son died for you – and that is what must burn you up with unceasing agony.

  • I’m glad Tebow is winning. He’s thanking Jesus every time. Now when they lose I guess he has got to thank Satan. After all, it is only consistent with his “reasoning”.

  • Oh I read things I don’t agree with. The bible for instance. According to the bible, the Earth was created by god. Also, the bible says the sun revovles around the earth (Psalms 93:1) and that the earth is flat (Job 11:9). And how did those two work out?

    Why would I be burned up about the death of the son of a guy I don’t believe ever exsisted?

  • There is a web site called “Evidence for God” at http://www.godandscience.org. It’s a little too fundamentalist for my tastes, but it aptly summarizes what Dr. Hugh Ross and other Christians who are scientists have explained about the degree of fine tuning of the physical constants that make up the universe. When confronted with this evidence, the atheist invariably invokes without a shred of physical evidence an infinite multiverse where an infinite number of universes exist. The atheist explanation goes like this: if the number of universes is infinite, then surely one will have life. This shows that atheists have simply made the multiverse their god – a god of esoteric unproven mathematical equations and all without a shred of physical evidence, nor can there be because the laws of physics are different in these different universes, so we could never observe them with our senses anyways. How is that different than an infinite invisible God? Nevertheless, before I get carried away with myself, let’s have at least some salient points in the article at http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/designun.html:


    According to Carl Sagan, the universe (cosmos) “is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” However, the idea that the universe is all is not a scientific fact, but an assumption based upon materialistic naturalism. Since Carl Sagan’s death in 1996, new discoveries in physics and cosmology bring into questions Sagan’s assumption about the universe. Evidence shows that the constants of physics have been finely tuned to a degree not possible through human engineering. Five of the more finely tuned numbers are included in the table below. For comments about what scientists think about these numbers, see the page Quotes from Scientists Regarding Design of the Universe.

    Fine Tuning of the Physical Constants of the Universe

    Ratio of Electrons:Protons
    Max Deviation:

    Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity
    Max Deviation:

    Expansion Rate of Universe
    Max Deviation:

    Mass of Universe

    Cosmological Constant

    These numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.

    Recent Studies have confirmed the fine tuning of the cosmological constant (also known as “dark energy”). This cosmological constant is a force that increases with the increasing size of the universe. First hypothesized by Albert Einstein, the cosmological constant was rejected by him, because of lack of real world data. However, recent supernova 1A data demonstrated the existence of a cosmological constant that probably made up for the lack of light and dark matter in the universe. However, the data was tentative, since there was some variability among observations. Recent cosmic microwave background (CMB) measurement not only demonstrate the existence of the cosmological constant, but the value of the constant. It turns out that the value of the cosmological constant exactly makes up for the lack of matter in the universe.

    The degree of fine-tuning is difficult to imagine. Dr. Hugh Ross gives an example of the least fine-tuned of the above four examples in his book, The Creator and the Cosmos, which is reproduced here:

    One part in 10^37 is such an incredibly sensitive balance that it is hard to visualize. The following analogy might help: Cover the entire North American continent in dimes all the way up to the moon, a height of about 239,000 miles (In comparison, the money to pay for the U.S. federal government debt would cover one square mile less than two feet deep with dimes.). Next, pile dimes from here to the moon on a billion other continents the same size as North America. Paint one dime red and mix it into the billions of piles of dimes. Blindfold a friend and ask him to pick out one dime. The odds that he will pick the red dime are one in 10^37.

    The ripples in the universe from the original Big Bang event are detectable at one part in 100,000. If this factor were slightly smaller, the universe would exist only as a collection of gas – no planets, no life. If this factor were slightly larger, the universe would consist only of large black holes. Obviously, no life would be possible in such a universe.

    Another finely tuned constant is the strong nuclear force (the force that holds atoms together). The Sun “burns” by fusing hydrogen (and higher elements) together. When the two hydrogen atoms fuse, 0.7% of the mass of the hydrogen is converted into energy. If the amount of matter converted were slightly smaller—0.6% instead of 0.7%— a proton could not bond to a neutron, and the universe would consist only of hydrogen. With no heavy elements, there would be no rocky planets and no life. If the amount of matter converted were slightly larger—0.8%, fusion would happen so readily and rapidly that no hydrogen would have survived from the Big Bang. Again, there would be no solar systems and no life. The number must lie exactly between 0.6% and 0.8% (Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers).


    There is a lot more information in Dr. Hugh Ross’s book, “The Creator and the Cosmos.” Please buy it (you can’t have mine – it’s all marked up and worn out). I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that nature shouts out “GOD” and only a fool denies this.

  • Did you miss the whole “WAH WAH, leftists are mean to tebow” article? Like I said, Christians love the persicution complex.

    False equivalence, and you did not respond to the question.

    Goodness, for a supposedly “rational” person, you don’t bother with logic and reason much.

  • “After all, it is only consistent with his “reasoning”.”

    Only for those who are completely clueless about God, which is a pretty good definition of an atheist.

  • “Why would I be burned up about the death of the son of a guy I don’t believe ever exsisted?”

    Sean, you won’t be burned up by the death of the son of a guy you don’t believe in.

    Rather, if you continue in your unrepentent state, then you will wilfully send your own self to hell to burn for all eternity. You will never be burned up. Rather, you would burn unendingly and in ceaseless torment, and if you continue on your current course, then you will choose this fate voluntarily rather than believe. No one here at The American Catholic (I am sure) would ever want that for you.

    As for Earth having been created by God, it was: accretion of stony rocks around a central mass of hydrogen some 4.5 biullion years ago. And the universe was created by God in the Big Bang some 13.73 billion years ago. Atheists hate the big bang because it means that there IS a creation point – the singularity at the beginning – and hence a Creator. Thus they posit that unproven multiverse junk science. They make the mulitverse their god.

    BTW, Psalm 93:1 says: “The LORD is king,* robed with majesty; the LORD is robed, girded with might. The world will surely stand in place, never to be moved.” It doesn’t say the Earth is flat, and furthermore, it’s part of a poem. Poets use poetic license. They don’t write a science text book.

    Also, Job 11:9 says: “It (the depth of God) is longer than the earth in measure, and broader than the sea.” It doesn’t say the sun revolves around the Earth, but even if it did, all of Job is a poem and poems aren’t science text books.

    Read real scientists like Dr. Hugh Ross and Stephen M. Barr.

  • “accretion of stony rocks around a central mass of hydrogen some 4.5 biullion years ago.”

    Please change to:

    “accretion of stony rocks into a solid mass in orbit around a central mass of hydrogen fusion some 4.5 biullion years ago.”

    Details – details – details

  • Did the church teach you reading skills? Here is what I typed: “Also, the bible says the sun revovles around the earth (Psalms 93:1) and that the earth is flat (Job 11:9).” You writing out what I said only proves the point. Thanks pal.

    BUT WAIT, are you saying there are parts of the bible that should NOT be taken seriously? Does that include the “DO NOT EAT SHELFISH” thing?

    “Rather, if you continue in your unrepentent state, then you will wilfully send your own self to hell to burn for all eternity.” But god will do it with love right? Because god is love. FURIOUS LOVE. LOVE YOU TO DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!

  • One thing is for sure… and that, dear Atheists, is how God always works … He got a lot attention. Hate is the result of fear. All that screaming and yelling.. fear … and fear is the opposite of Love… but true Love come only from God through his son Jesus! He loved us first!

  • Sean, I quoted the verse of Sacred Scripture that you cited. They do not state what you claimed they stated.

    As for eating shell fish, please read Acts 10:9-16. Also, please read Mark 7:18-19 where Jesus declared all food clean.

    Also, remember that Jesus does love you to death – His death. See John 3:16-17.

    I have provided you with detailed evidence from science. I have rationally and dispassionately answered your “questions” and rebuted you position with logic and what I know from physics. All you have offered in return is irrational yelling and screaming. There is only one recourse – to invoke our Blessed Mother’s Intercession for you:

    Hail Mary, full of grace.
    Blessed art Thou among women
    And blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus.
    Holy Mary, Mother of God,
    Pray for us sinners
    Now and at the hour of our death.

    You don’t have to go to hell, but that means you have to surrender your free will to Him.

  • “Did the church teach you reading skills? Here is what I typed: “Also, the bible says the sun revovles around the earth (Psalms 93:1) and that the earth is flat (Job 11:9).” You writing out what I said only proves the point. Thanks pal.”

    Dimestore atheists are always such a howl when they attempt to troll a Catholic website. Here is a clue: we are not fundamentalists. Catholics from the time of Christ have been interpreting passages in the Bible in a figurative and not a literal sense. Most atheist trolls are as literalist when it comes to the Bible as any Holy Roller.

    Here is what Saint Augustine wrote on the subject:

    “It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

    With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures.”

  • Donald, the atheist wants a science text book out of the Bible and when he doesn’t get one, he cites that as proof that the Bible is false. But in reality what the atheist is given is God’s love, and that I think is really what he can’t stand: being rescued from the self-imposed hell of an overweening ego and the inferiority complex of a man who the harder he relies on his pride hates himself all the more. For the atheist there is nothing worthwhile with his life because when he dies, that’s it – no eternity. So when an atheist sees a Christian, he can’t stand that sense of hope that he himself refuses to accept for to do so would mean sacrificing his own ego and admitting that without Jesus all his feelings of inferiority are ever so real.

    This isn’t based on science. All the web links and scientific explanations that I provided proves that. The atheist can’t dispute a single point. All he can do is foam at the mouth at something that inwardly he knows is true but outwardly can’t acquiesce to lest he admit he is (Heaven forbid!) wrong. It’s that old ego out of control with an unstoppable inferiority complex. I recognize it well because I can be its victim all too easily, and was for 10 years of alcoholic insanity. The reason why I rejected a 12 step program when the XO on my submarine sent me to one? The steps had God in them and I was going to be damned before I believed in any God. Thus, God allowed me the damnation of my addictions. That’s what it took for me, and I suspect Sean may unhappily require a similar experience.


  • @Paul “Sean, I quoted the verse of Sacred Scripture that you cited. They do not state what you claimed they stated.” Because you quoted them backwards.

    Psalm 93:1 says: “The LORD is king, robed with majesty; the LORD is robed, girded with might. The world will surely stand in place, never to be moved.” The reason it has nothing to do with a flat earth is because it says “The world will surely stay in place” as in not move, as in Earth does not move around the sun. Also, Job 11:9 says: “It (the depth of God) is longer than the earth in measure, and broader than the sea.” The reason this dosn’t have to do with the sun revolving around the earth is because this is the flat earth quote. Longer then the earth is impossible because The earth is a sphere, and as such has no starting or ending point that isn’t arbitrarily chosen (my front door for instance.) A flat earth does not have this problem.

    “All you have offered in return is irrational yelling and screaming.” Not yelling or screaming, I’m typing. But while doing so I shake my head at statements like “I have provided you with detailed evidence from science. I have rationally and dispassionately answered your “questions” and rebuted you position with logic” when (as my paragraph above pointed out) you don’t even seem to be reading my posts. But if you read my posts like I’m yelling a screaming, that goes back to the persecution complex.

    But if you must go, answer me one more question. Why would god give me free will, if I must give it up to avoid an eternity of torment? Kinda seems like god is the ultimate troll…

  • Sean,

    God gave you free will so that you can chose love on your own. When you Him, you chose love. He doesn’t want automatons.

    As for the Bible verses, the Bible isn’t a science book. It’s the book of God’s love for humanity. Read what Donald explained.

    I say again: God won’t “send” you to hell. You do that all by yourself when you reject Him.

  • Very good points Don, Christian, Paul & Foxfier. As I indicated above, Mark Shea’s line about Scratch an Atheist & FInd a Fundamentalist is so true. Instead of telling us why there is no God, they instead make fun of Him and tell us how superior they are. This is Freud 101, earlier Foxfier talked about Projection. It has been widely reported that the atheist stars, Hitchens, Dawkins etc all had father and authority issues. The posts of these militant atheist (no matter the thread or website) cry out hate and fear of authority.

    It is kind of like hearing someone talking about an old car their family had; one family member talks about how much they loved the old green family station wagon while the other member says they never had a station wagon. He goes on to say that he hates green and never liked riding in green station wagons because he didn’t like being stuck in back with the family dog and therefore they never had a green family station wagon. Though they will probably not like to hear this; I am sure I am not alone in saying that we all pray for all atheists and hope they see the light and not stay in the very darkness that is eating their soul and taking away their joy.

  • “For the atheist there is nothing worthwhile with his life because when he dies, that’s it – no eternity”. Shows what you know. I have purpose and his name is Caleb B. He is my two year old nephew. His dad is the ginger hair definition of a deadbeet. Everything I do in my life for now is to make his life as great as I can, and to be the father figure he will always need, and to fo the same thing when I have my own kids. Kind of seems like I do have somthing worthwhile in my life. As for the christians, you die, you make it to heaven, then what? You live for eternity with no more purpose.

    Have fun with that

  • I wasn’t going to weigh in on this thread because, honestly, I think Tebow is a mediocre quarterback getting by on a combination of things. That said, when I see things like this along with the wisdom of trolls like SeanB I can’t help but partially root for the Broncos and Tebow to keep on rolling.

  • SeanB, I refer you to my previous post.

  • Sean,

    Heaven be praised for Caleb B. Caleb is one of my favorite Old Testament characters – the one man who believed the children of Israel could take the Promised Land when everyone else said no. And at 80 years of age when finally they made it into the land of Canaan, he wanted the tallest mountain with the largest giants. No wimp of a man was he!

    But what will you do, Sean, if God forbid something happens to Caleb? What is Caleb is no more? Then what is your reason for living? Or better yet, what if when Caleb grows up he becomes a Christian? What will you do then?

    I love my two little children with all my heart. I even love my ex-wife (but I really don’t like her all that much, though I do like her boyfriend – kind of weird). But Jesus is the reason. Jesus – nothing else can compare. And without Him I have nothing. I learned that a long time ago in a 12 step program when I was told that I can’t get sober for my spouse, my kids, my Mom, my priest, my job, my boss, or whatever. I had to come to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. And fortunately that penetrated the lead and concrete surrounding my skull. Of course I had to be beaten into submission – that old powerlessness and unmanageability – first. In my case, God used my addictions to beat me not senseless, but into sense.

  • “As for the christians, you die, you make it to heaven, then what? You live for eternity with no more purpose.”

    Look up Beatific Vision Sean B. Divine love and human love as a reflection of divine love is never ending in Heaven. Our brief spurts of joy here on Earth are but pallid reflections of the true joy in the next life with God who we will see face to face.

  • Maybe this will help Sean B. Chapter 4 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_tableofcnt.cfm) has a most excellent discussion on the topic of God, Atheism and Agnosticism. It is entitled, “To the Agnostic”. Below I have excerpted pertinent paragraphs for the stubbornly agnostic and atheist. As Bill Wilson writes at the end of this chapter, “Who are you to say there is no God.”

    …we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God. Here difficulty arises with agnostics. Many times we talk to a new man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God, for we have re-opened a subject which our man thought he had neatly evaded or entirely ignored.

    We know how he feels. We have shared his honest doubt and prejudice. Some of us have been violently anti-religious. To others, the word “God” brought up a particular idea of Him with which someone had tried to impress them during childhood. Perhaps we rejected this particular conception because it seemed inadequate. With that rejection we imagined we had abandoned the God idea entirely. We were bothered with the thought that faith and dependence upon a Power beyond ourselves was somewhat weak, even cowardly. We looked upon this world of warring individuals, warring theological systems, and inexplicable calamity, with deep skepticism. We looked askance at many individuals who claimed to be godly. How could a Supreme Being have anything to do with it all? And who could comprehend a Supreme Being anyhow? Yet, in other moments, we found ourselves thinking, when enchanted by a starlit night, “Who, then, made all this?” There was a feeling of awe and wonder, but it was fleeting and soon lost.

    Yes, we of agnostic temperament have had these thoughts and experiences. Let us make haste to reassure you. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God.

    Besides a seeming inability to accept much on faith, we often found ourselves handicapped by obstinacy, sensitiveness, and unreasoning prejudice. Many of us have been so touchy that even casual reference to spiritual things make us bristle with antagonism. This sort of thinking had to be abandoned. Though some of us resisted, we found no great difficulty in casting aside such feelings. Faced with alcoholic destruction, we soon became as open minded on spiritual matters as we had tried to be on other questions. In this respect alcohol was a great persuader. It finally beat us into a state of reasonableness. Sometimes this was a tedious process; we hope no one else will prejudiced for as long as some of us were.

    The reader may still ask why he should believe in a Power greater than himself. We think there are good reasons. Let us have a look at some of them.

    The practical individual of today is a stickler for facts and results. Nevertheless, the twentieth century readily accepts theories of all kinds, provided they are firmly grounded in fact. We have numerous theories, for example, about electricity. Everybody believes them without a murmur of doubt. Why this ready acceptance? Simply because it is impossible to explain what we see, feel, direct, and use, without a reasonable assumption as a starting point.

    Everybody nowadays, believes in scores of assumptions for which there is good evidence, but no perfect visual proof. And does not science demonstrate that visual proof is the weakest proof? It is being constantly revealed, as mankind studies the material world, that outward appearances are not inward reality at all. To illustrate:

    The prosaic steel girder is a mass of electrons whirling around each other at incredible speed. These tiny bodies are governed by precise laws, and these laws hold true throughout the material world, Science tells us so. We have no reason to doubt it. When, however, the perfectly logical assumption is suggested that underneath the material world and life as we see it, there is an All Powerful, Guiding, Creative Intelligence, right there our perverse streak comes to the surface and we laboriously set out to convince ourselves it isn’t so. We read wordy books and indulge in windy arguments, thinking we believe this universe needs no God to explain it. Were our contentions true, it would follow that life originated out of nothing, means nothing, and proceeds nowhere.

    Instead of regarding ourselves as intelligent agents, spearheads of God’s ever advancing Creation, we agnostics and atheists chose to believe that our human intelligence was the last word, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and end of all. Rather vain of us, wasn’t it?

    We, who have traveled this dubious path, beg you to lay aside prejudice, even against organized religion. We have learned that whatever the human frailties of various faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and direction to millions. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. Actually, we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices when we might have observed that many spiritually-minded persons of all races, colors, and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness and usefulness which we should have sought ourselves. Instead, we looked at the human defects of these people, and sometimes used their shortcomings as a basis of wholesale condemnation. We talked of intolerance, while we were intolerant ourselves. We missed the reality and the beauty of the forest because we were diverted by the ugliness of some its trees. We never gave the spiritual side of life a fair hearing.

    We asked ourselves this: Are not some of us just as biased and unreasonable about the realm of the spirit as were the ancients about the realm of the material? Even in the present century, American newspapers were afraid to print an account of the Wright brothers’ first successful flight at Kittyhawk. Had not all efforts at flight failed before? Did not Professor Langley’s flying machine go to the bottom of the Potomac River? Was it not true that the best mathematical minds had proved man could never fly? Had not people said God had reserved this privilege to the birds? Only thirty years later the conquest of the air was almost an old story and airplane travel was in full swing.

    But in most fields our generation has witnessed complete liberation in thinking. Show any longshoreman a Sunday supplement describing a proposal to explore the moon by means of a rocket and he will say, “I bet they do it maybe not so long either.” Is not our age characterized by the ease with which we discard old ideas for new, by the complete readiness with which we throw away the theory or gadget which does not work for something new which does?

    We had to ask ourselves why we shouldn’t apply to our human problems this same readiness to change our point of view.

    When we saw others solve their problems by a simple reliance upon the Spirit of the Universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did.

    The Wright brothers’ almost childish faith that they could build a machine which would fly was the mainspring of their accomplishment. Without that, nothing could have happened. We agnostics and atheists were sticking to the idea that self- sufficiency would solve our problems. When others showed us that “God-sufficiency worked with them, we began to feel like those who had insisted the Wrights would never fly.

    Logic is great stuff. We like it. We still like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our sense, and to draw conclusions. That is one of man’s magnificent attributes. We agnostically inclined would not feel satisfied with a proposal which does not lend itself to reasonable approach and interpretation. Hence we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe than not to believe, why we say our former thinking was soft and mushy when we threw up our hands in doubt and said, “We don’t know.”

    Imagine life without faith! Were nothing left but pure reason, it wouldn’t be life. But we believed in life of course we did. We could not prove life in the sense that you can prove a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, yet, there it was. Could we still say the whole thing was nothing but a mass of electrons, created out of nothing, meaning nothing, whirling on to a destiny of nothingness? Or course we couldn’t. The electrons themselves seemed more intelligent than that. At least, so the chemist said.

    Hence, we saw that reason isn’t everything. Neither is reason, as most of us use it, entirely dependable, thought it emanate from our best minds. What about people who proved that man could never fly? Yet we had been seeing another kind of flight, a spiritual liberation from this world, people who rose above their problems. They said God made these things possible, and we only smiled. We had seen spiritual release, but liked to tell ourselves it wasn’t true.

    Actually we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater than ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself.

    We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our make-up, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us.

  • The link to the Ace of Spades blog that Paul Zummo provided provides a great take on the stupid anti-Tebow hysteria. And Ace is an atheist. I’m a die-hard Packer fan who has never paid any attention to the Broncos, but the hatred Tebow inspires is making me root for him. (I have to say, though, it’s one thing to pull off a last quarter miracle against the Vikings or the Bears sans Cutler; quite another to do it when you’re up against Brady and the Pats. If the Broncos win this weekend, I really will be tempted to believe God is a Denver fan 🙂

    I was never an atheist, but was indifferent to religion for a long time, so I can understand that, although I give thanks I have returned to the Church. What I don’t get are people who are not content to sleep in on Sunday mornings – they have to troll Catholic blogs, file lawsuits against religious displays and public prayers and do whatever they can to destroy the beliefs of others. In other words, they want everyone to be as negative, miserable, and hopeless as they are – and then they wonder why militant atheists are among the most disliked and mistrusted groups in America.

  • “In other words, they want everyone to be as negative,  miserable, and hopeless as they are – and then they wonder why militant atheists are among the most disliked and mistrusted groups in America.”

    Well said, Donna V.

  • Sean B: Good for you and Caleb. I also have nephews and nieces I love dearly.

    However, in your world view, why does your love matter in the slightest? You and Caleb will both end up as nothing but worm food in the end. The Nazis and those they murdered are all equal now – just dust – so basically it does not matter who was victim and who was victimizer. You find the idea of heaven dull. I find the idea that there is ultimately no justice in the universe much, much worse. (That is not to say that I “know” who is going to heaven or hell, or what heaven or hell will be like. If I knew I would be God. )


  • Oh, and one last thing: Here’s a link to a story about a distinguished physicist who is also a firm Christian (despite the fact that he now suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease):


    “‘I thank the Lord for what I can still do,’ he said. ‘I look at God as the greatest physicist.’

    A lifetime of scientific discovery has reinforced Koch’s faith in God. He treasures his Lutheran faith, and he taught Bible classes until this year.

    Borucki compared their Kepler project to building a cathedral. They laid in the floor, and it will be up to future generations to erect the walls and roof.”

    Dawkins does not speak for all scientists.

  • SEANB stated, “The reason Tebow wins these games is because of the team itself. The last game was won because the broncos kicker managed to pull out two 50+ yard field goals. The kicker did that, not Tebow. I’m not trying to offened anyone, but calm down. People are allowed to not like someone for a number of reasons, not just because of their religon.”

    Interesting SeanB, because Kyle Orton had the same team and was unable to do anything. I don’t know if you ever watched him play for Florida, but he had his teammates believe they could win. He is the epitome of what being positive can do for a team. The guy is a winner, and I will be the first to admit he is not your protypical QB in the NFL.

    He’s been the QB of a team who has won seven of eight games since taking over as their starting quarterback, turning a team that was foundering at 1-4 under Kyle Orton into an improbable playoff contender at 8-5, atop the AFC West.

    Also did you know that he is the 1st QB in NFL history to engineer 6 4th-quarter comebacks in his first 11 starts?

    Whether you like it or not Tebow is the SWAG factor for why they are winning right now, and some people are sick of hearing a non-prototypical QB winning in this fashion… Again Orton had the same team, and was unable to do what Tebow is doing.

    Will he have a long NFL career… I don’t think so, but he is a great example of what it means to be positive and a leader when all odds are against you.

  • This has been quite a discussion to behold. Regarding Sean’s statement, “As for the christians, you die, you make it to heaven, then what? You live for eternity with no more purpose,” all I can say is there is sure a heckuva lot of purpose to last an eternity in this life, so I wouldn’t downplay what’s in store for us in the next life. One thing’s for sure, I’d much rather not spend an eternity wailing and gnashing my teeth.

    As for Tebow, considering what he’s been able to accomplish so far on mediocre skills, it’ll be interesting to see what he can do should he get better with time. Terry Bradshaw, too, didn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he did lead the Steelers to four Super Bowl wins.

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  • I am amazed that a football player brought so much atheist traffic to The American Catholic. There is a diversity of religious opinion on the site but I’ve never seen so many non-believers comment.

    I have my doubts that the comments reflect an honest desire for intellectual intercourse though. That is a shame, for it is that the writers here speak in good faith that keeps me coming back.

    I sincerely hope that those of you who have found us are interested in more than being unpleasant. It just might be that you can describe what it is like to live without faith and we can describe what it is like to live with purpose.

On Not Having Sex At Harvard

Sunday, July 25, AD 2010

From the New York Times:

There was a time when not having sex consumed a very small part of Janie Fredell’s life, but that, of course, was back in Colorado Springs. It seemed to Fredell that almost no one had sex in Colorado Springs. Her hometown was extremely conservative, and as a good Catholic girl, she was annoyed by all the fundamentalist Christians who would get in her face and demand, as she put it to me recently, “You have to think all of these things that we think.” They seemed not to know that she thought many of those things already. At her public high school, everyone, “literally everyone,” wore chastity rings, Fredell recalled, but she thought the practice ridiculous. Why was it necessary, she wondered, to signify you’re not doing something that nobody is doing?

And then Fredell arrived at Harvard.

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0 Responses to On Not Having Sex At Harvard

  • We need more Janie Fredells and Mary Anne Marks

  • We need to pray for them and the many others that have to live in a sex-saturated society such as ours.

  • Unforetunately one night about a year ago, I stopped at a serious tv documentary which was about a Catholic author who found extensive non marital sexual activity at Catholic colleges which went on to note then the gradual regrets of the females but with this caveat…that the females doing this outnumbered the males doing so but not by much.

  • Something which seems to be downplayed in the article is the belated realization that the annoying evangelicals of the first paragraph had a point.

    I think that both young evangelicals and young Catholics are young; they have things to learn about life. The evangelicals in this case seem to have not learned how to read Janie Fredell so as to speak with a potential ally in a winsome way.

    But Janie herself seems to have misunderstood her circumstances; it took immersion in Harvard to wake her up. Little or no sex amongst unmarried teens in Colorado Springs? I doubt that. The evangelical chastity ring culture may have seemed odd to her, but it grew up as a response to something. It was a rallying cry for Jesus, but also against a threat.

    The whole secular world is engaged in undermining the sexual virtue of the young so as to preemptively undermine their relationship with God before it can grow into something world-changing. From the WWJD shirts to the multicolored bead-bracelets to the chastity rings, evangelical expressions of counter-cultural fervor are like the redness and puffiness of a histamine reaction. They may border on kitch, but they are the signs of an immune system rising up to fight an invader.

    Miss Fredell is a Catholic; I hope however that now that she’s seen the infection up close, she’ll give her evangelical brothers and sisters their due props.

  • Catholics who insist that evangelicals have had a baneful effect on us (as evidenced in the recent sparring with Vox Nova) tend to deny the importance of chastity as a criterion of Christian fidelity. In so doing, they deny the importance of what the Church teaches is the very groundwork of a just society: strong family life. It may take people like Miss Fredell, educated in an elitist environment but respectful of the position of the evangelicals, to help our co-religionists to see the light here.

  • I’m not sure delaying sex until one is 30 is “pro-family.” I take that back, 30 is when they want folks to get married. Abstinance programs tend to delay sex only until 18-21. Certainly that is better than 14 or 16, but that is more a public health issue. If stop gazing at evangelicals long enough, we’ll see that they aren’t retaining their youth either.

    The time between when one is capable of producing a child and when one gets married has traditionally been called adolescence. Our model has now stretched that well past the early twenties. Having a large adolescent culture is not pro-family.

  • MZ, I do have to agree with you – adolescence has been unnaturally extended well beyond its due course. Largely due to materialism I would wager.

  • I take that back, 30 is when they want folks to get married.


  • I’m unclear what relation, if any, MZ’s comment is meant to have with the article quoted.

Elena Kagan and the state of Democracy

Tuesday, May 11, AD 2010

I’m not sure I ever expected to wake up to read the New York Times coverage of a new nominee to the Supreme Court and find myself in agreement.

Of course, they think she’ll be a fine justice and I think she’s a pro-abort and could do without her. I also think she looks like Ursula from “A Little Mermaid,” which is less a comment on her than it is a comment on how many Disney movies I watch with my wife (curse you, Disney movie club!). That’s not what we agree on.

What we agree on is that she is a stealth candidate and that just by itself makes us uncomfortable. The official editorial reads:

President Obama may know that his new nominee to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan, shares his thinking on the multitude of issues that face the court and the nation, but the public knows nothing of the kind. Whether by ambitious design or by habit of mind, Ms. Kagan has spent decades carefully husbanding her thoughts and shielding her philosophy from view. Her lack of a clear record on certain issues makes it hard to know whether Mr. Obama has nominated a full-throated counterweight to the court’s increasingly aggressive conservative wing.

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5 Responses to Elena Kagan and the state of Democracy

  • “(You can tell I went to law school with a sentence that long).”

    It’s not the length of the sentence but the fact that it is unintelligible upon a first reading that betrays your law school bona fides.


  • Posing in judicial robes for a high school picture truly creeps me out. I am always leery of people who have an overriding career ambition and who shape their entire life to reach it. Such individuals are the last people I would trust to wield power wisely.

  • Has anyone read anything she (or Obama for that matter) has had published?

    Hey! Her fellow traveler colleague defended her today in the WSJ. Seems she broke federal policy/law and refused access to military recruiters; but quickly complied (courage of her convictions) when they moved to take away my (taxpayer) money.

    Sounds like Supremo Corto material to mio!

    Only way I can explain this (and Sotomayor) is Obama doesn’t want anyone to show him up, or his wife would be jealous if he nominated a babe.

    Not that it matters. We are getting screwed “six ways from Sunday.” There will be nothing left by 2012.

  • I notice that Ms. Kagan put her opinions under wraps about the time her fellow political partisans calumnated Robert Bork.

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Lent 2010; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

Monday, February 22, AD 2010

As we work our way through Lent 2009, we need to rejoice in the turning tide. Though there has been much negative news about the Catholic Church this past decade, much of the negative news had its roots in actions taken during the 1960s and 1970s. Yet, the seeds of the good news planted during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI is just now seeing its shoots and blossoms become visible to the naked eye.

What are the shoots and blossoms?  They can be seen in increasing vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the strong orthodox nature of these new, young priests. A new crop of Catholic bishops is also boldly showing their orthodoxy, which often befuddles and mystifies the mainstream media and the secular culture in which we live. In addition to this, many in the laity have for years now been writing and blogging about the desperate need for Catholic orthodoxy in a world full of hurt and self absorption. Many ask how can the Church possibly grow when the Church’s active laity, especially the young along with those who serve her in ordained and professed ministries, are so different from the culture in which they live? It is that culture in which they live that causes them to see the wisdom in Christ’s words and the Church He started through the first pope, the Apostle Saint Peter.

There were fewer shoots and blossoms in the 1970s when the seriousness of the Catholicism was questioned after the Church seemed to be trying to be relative, whether it was related or not, thousands of priests and nuns left their vocations. However, starting in 1978 with the election of Pope John Paul II, the tide began to turn. All of the Polish pontiff’s hard work began to be seen in the shoots and blossoms of events like World Youth Day 1993, which was held in Denver. Later in his pontificate thanks to events like World Youth Day, vocations to the priesthood and religious life began to increase.

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5 Responses to Lent 2010; The Tide Continues To Turn Toward Catholic Orthodoxy

  • Amen Dave. The Tide is indeed turning as witnessed by the young men and women who attended the Right to Life in DC The way they handled thenmselves was remarable and edifying. The young orthodox priests are proclaiming the true tenets of the Church in their homiles and many so called “cafeteria catholic” are figgeting in the pews. RCIA teacher are getting back to what Catholism is and not just trying to bring anyone into the Church. More and more orthodox Bishops are taking a stance against those that try to justify their approach to public service aand their faith, as well as those in the academia who are trying to justify their relativism in their teaching and examples.

  • I think you rightly point out that the future of the American Church is being moved by the fact that only conservative young men are becoming priests.

    But I think a clarification needs to be made between orthodox and conservative, between heterodox and liberal, and between traditional and progressive. The meanings of these words seem to change from person to person.

  • Mr. Hartman,
    I see you are blind to the actual facts and are writing about a Catholic Church that is crumbling away. The lack of acknowledgment of wrongdoing at the very head of the Church has caused many to leave. Parishes are closing and there are fewer priests to run them. Catholic schools are closing due to declining enrollment. The vision begun by Pope John XXIII sadly were buried by Paul VI and Pope Benedict’s continued push to the right is continuing to push people further away.
    I think the Church I was raised in and have always been proud to be a member of, has turned it’s back on me and the many children who have been abused and shunned by the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Barbara, at first I thought your post was a tasteless April Fool’s joke. However, I see now that you are serious and I am very sorry that you are either this misinformed or this week. If you want the Church to become the same as the liberal Protestant churches who are in a statistical free fall then, shame on you. If you are week and run at the first sign of trouble, than I will continue to pray for you.

    My childhood parish had the distinction of having one of the highest number of molestors in my entir state, let alone diocese. I remember these molestors well, they were all liberals who wanted to change the Church and not defend it, some of the victims were people I knew.

    Even in the midst of this scandal, more and more young people, who are very orthodox in the Catholic faith, are becoming priests and nuns. In addition, the Church continues to see an increase in the number of converts (as evidenced by the last few years and this year in particular.)

    When Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, he prayed that God would give him the courage not to run when the wolves come. I pray Barbara that you find a backbone and stand up for the Faith when it is under attack by people who solely want to destory the Church by making outrageous accusations against Pope Benedict, without a single shred of evidence to back it up. There are even writers from the liberal America magazine who have said the conduct displayed by the NY Times and others is outrageous. I prayerfully ask you to consider these points.

Saint Valentines Day

Sunday, February 14, AD 2010

Here is a good explanation on the origins of Saint Valentine’s Day, which today has been truncated to Valentine’s Day.  It is written by Ronald J. Rychlak of InsideCatholic titled simply St. Valentine’s Day.

The Catholic Church actually recognizes several different saints named Valentine or Valentinus (including St. Valentin Faustino Berri Ochoa, St. Valentine of Genoa, and St. Valentine of Strasbourg). Most people, however, trace the story of St. Valentine back to a Roman priest in the year 270. He was arrested and imprisoned for performing marriage ceremonies for Christian couples at a time when such ceremonies were prohibited (as married men were exempt from the Roman army). Valentine also may have aided other Christians who were being persecuted during the reign of Emperor Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II).

Valentine was brought before the emperor and told to renounce his faith, but even under extreme torture he refused to do so. According to legend, couples whom he had married brought him flowers and gifts while he was in prison, which gave rise to the tradition of giving flowers and gifts in his honor.

Valentine tried to convert Emperor Claudius to Christianity, but his efforts were not well received: Claudius had Valentine executed outside Rome’s Flaminian Gate on February 14, 270. According to another legend, while still in captivity, Valentine restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. On the day before his execution, he sent her a farewell message and signed it, “from your Valentine.” That, of course, is said to have established another tradition.

More than two centuries later, in 496, Pope Gelasius marked February 14 as a celebration in honor of Valentine’s martyrdom. According to some accounts, this date was chosen to preempt a pagan fertility festival known as Lupercalia, which took place at about that same time. Lupercalia involved a lottery by which young people would draw the name of a mate for a year. With the new holiday, Gelasius instead had participants draw the name of a saint to emulate for a year.

Unfortunately, the heroic story of Valentine’s piety has been almost completely eclipsed by the “flowers, candy, and cards” holiday that we know today. Gelasius’s efforts to Christianize mid-February seem to have come to naught, and we are left in the ironic position of celebrating romance on a day named after a celibate priest.

To read the complete article click here.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!

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Marriage Improvement

Wednesday, December 23, AD 2009

It seems to me that marriage and family are probably the area in which different sub-cultures of our country have diverged most radically. Reading this New York Times feature about the author’s attempts to improve her marriage is in some ways a more alien experience than reading an anthropological study of some distant tribe. The instinct behind the exercise is laudable:

The idea of trying to improve our union came to me one night in bed. I’ve never really believed that you just marry one day at the altar or before a justice of the peace. I believe that you become married — truly married — slowly, over time, through all the road-rage incidents and precolonoscopy enemas, all the small and large moments that you never expected to happen and certainly didn’t plan to endure. But then you do: you endure. And as I lay there, I started wondering why I wasn’t applying myself to the project of being a spouse. My marriage was good, utterly central to my existence, yet in no other important aspect of my life was I so laissez-faire. Like most of my peers, I applied myself to school, friendship, work, health and, ad nauseam, raising my children. But in this critical area, marriage, we had all turned away. I wanted to understand why. I wanted not to accept this. Dan, too, had worked tirelessly — some might say obsessively — at skill acquisition. Over the nine years of our marriage, he taught himself to be a master carpenter and a master chef. He was now reading Soviet-era weight-training manuals in order to transform his 41-year-old body into that of a Marine. Yet he shared the seemingly widespread aversion to the very idea of marriage improvement. Why such passivity? What did we all fear?

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3 Responses to Marriage Improvement

  • Interesting thoughts. As Catholics, we believe that we were created to know, love and serve God. In serving each other, we serve God. So, in serving our spouse, we serve God. About five years ago, while intensely exploring my faith and trying to understand some things, I decided to stop thinking so much about my needs and try really serving my spouse so as to better serve Christ. Some of the things that were really bothering me, I decided to offer up to Christ for those who were suffering in bad marriages, which mine wasn’t. Somewhere along the way the dynamic of our marriage began to change. As my husband saw me cheerfully serving him, almost no matter what, his attitude changed about a lot of things, and he began serving me more too. Now, about five years later, we have a great marriage, in that we both seem to be able to let the little things go and are better able to communicate about the larger things. When you take the focus off of yourself and just try to serve Christ, amazing things happen. Also – in today’s society, we are so focused on the children that we are spoiling them and often neglecting our spouses. Our order of priorities for our commitments should be: God, spouse, children…when your priorities are straight, a lot of other things fall into place too…

  • Hear, hear. I had the adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” playing on my mind as I read. I hope our intrepid authoress doesn’t end up “improving” her union into oblivion.

  • From JP Spear:

    “…if there is a marriage then there is NO maximum required level of commitment to saving the marriage. ALL effort is required because that is the only thing to be done when a real marriage is in trouble.”

Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism

Thursday, October 8, AD 2009

All too often I hear the familiar refrain; “how can the tide be turning if the world seems to be increasingly at odds with the Church?”  The skeptics of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism refer to many newsworthy stories in their query of my thesis. They point to elected officials and government czars seemingly supportive of ideas that not only challenge the core of Catholic beliefs, but conventional societal beliefs about the family as well. The skeptics of my thesis point to the latest Hollywood Cause Célèbre which involves rallying around a man (famed Film Director Roman Polanski) who has admitted to raping a child of 13 when he was 45 years old. They also point to the outright mockery of the Catholic Church at the hands of the entertainment industry by those who believe the tide is turning in their direction. In addition, the skeptics of my thesis also point to stories that barely get any media attention such as an abortion clinic who prominently displayed a crucifix in their window with Jesus replaced on the cross by a chicken. Another sign in the window of the same abortion clinic read “no job too big or too small.” How could the tide be turning if this is what we see and don’t see on television news, the morning paper or on the internet they asked? Thankfully, there are many reasons that tide is turning, and we need to look no further than the young to understand why.

Keep in mind that while the tide is turning for the Church, it is turning in the wrong direction for for the world. The Church is the only one who can save the world and it is something which has already been done many times in history, which is why the enemies of the Church are so upset. If the enemies of religion would be as kind to us as they are toward the liberal mainline Protestant churches, one would have cause to be worried. However unlike the mainline Protestant churches, the Catholic Church’s numbers are not in a free fall and vocation numbers are on the increase.

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12 Responses to Thanks to the Young, the Tide is Still Turning Toward Catholicism

  • What a splendid hope-filled article. Thank you.

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  • Kudos on a masterpiece that Polanski can only wish to achieve. As Christ didn’t find the going to be anything but tough even though one would think his power would have made it otherwise, neither can we expect anything different. But we should look at how far Christianity has gone despite the setbacks along the way. And we know the tide will keep turning in our favor It has to if the promised victory at the end of the Bible is to be realized.

  • Amen Dave. As Bishop Chaput told those in Rome, in an editorial in an Italian magazine article, to those churchman who seemed to favor our President’s early rhetoric and his speech at ND, Free will today is valued more highly than life. Good to read your comments again and yes, the tide is truly turning. Take care and God Bless.

  • Regarding the Diocese of Rochester, last Monday the Catholic Courier (DOR’s diocesan newspaper) published a story publicly admitting what had been common knowledge locally: In a mere 8 years (i.e., from 2000 to 2008) the diocese had lost over 25% of its weekend Mass attendees.

    While diocesan leadership has blamed our decline in Mass attendance on what it terms a demographic shift (i.e., northern Catholics moving to the sun belt states), the bottom line is that DOR is losing Mass attendees 9 times faster than Catholics are leaving New York State.

    See http://www.catholiccourier.com/tmp1.cfm?nid=78&articleid=109508&cfid=4092824&cftoken=68817627

  • “and often residing in the rural parts of their dioceses”

    This is also true for our few seminarians in the Diocese of Rochester. Not one of the six was raised within the city of Rochester or its surrounding suburbs in Monroe County. Two are from Livonia, two from Elmira, one from Ontario county, and another has been residing here only a brief time since entering college. Perhaps this is a good thing, as our more liberal priests and lay Pastoral Administrators (laypeople or nuns who have full control over one or more parishes) are located within Monroe County.

    ~Dr. K

  • Dr. K. It was good to see that Elmira was listed in my old parish I left years ago ( and I do mean years ago ) Our current Bishop came from that city and there are still many othodox young people there. I remember Bishop Sheen when he did his best to create the right environment for all of us in the Diocese.

  • I believe it is a mistake to write of “Catholicism”, as though it is but another ISM. The Church and the sacraments are but the means to get us into heaven. As the Church teaches, you may go to Mass every day of your life and still fail.

    As the council fathers of Vatican II attempted to indicate, every person in the world is a potential Catholic. Being human is being almost a Catholic.

    Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation? That it did not pay attention to Satan who roams the world seeking whom he many devour?

    The sudden rise of divorce, of contraception, of abortion demonstrated how weak were the defenses of Catholics against these temptations. And how too sure of themselves were our bishops, who even today do not “like” to bring up these subjects.

    These failed shepherds will have much to explain when called to give their accounts.

  • I hope my children or perhaps my grandchildren live to see that you are correct.

  • Dave,

    A fine start to your contribution on the American Catholic website.

    I do see these changes, but as Father Zuhlsdorf says, brick by brick.

    Lets be the change agents at each of our own parishes as we assist our churches to return reverence and orthodoxy with charity back!

  • Gabriel Austin asked, “Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation?”

    As one who was raised in the pre-Vatican II days, including 16 years of Catholic education ending with a college diploma in 1965, I would have to answer in the negative.

    In my little corner of the world (upstate New York) we were all well aware of what mortal sin was, as well as its consequences.

    Our catechesis may have been overly legalistic at times, but it was not short on authentic Church teaching.

    That is just the opposite from what I see today in that same little corner of the world.

  • Mike writes Sunday, October 11, 2009 A.D. at 9:30 am
    “Gabriel Austin asked, “Was it not one of the weaknesses of the Church in pre Vatican II days that it had – that its members had – too certain a sense of salvation?”

    “As one who was raised in the pre-Vatican II days, including 16 years of Catholic education ending with a college diploma in 1965, I would have to answer in the negative.
    “In my little corner of the world (upstate New York) we were all well aware of what mortal sin was, as well as its consequences.
    “Our catechesis may have been overly legalistic at times, but it was not short on authentic Church teaching”.

    We were intellectually – superficially – aware of the catechism. But how deep did it sink?
    Perhaps you do not recall the [non] reception of Humanae Vitae. Encouraged by “theologians” bishops simply ignored it. It was too unpopular.

    The ferocity of Judy Brown’s work is due to her having been told by her parish priest that it was OK to use the pill. When she discovered that he lied, she became and remains furious.

    Bishop Shannon had the honesty to resign, without publicity, when he decided he could not accept Humanae Vitae.

    “That is just the opposite from what I see today in that same little corner of the world”.

    My point precisely. From overly “legalistic” to every man his own bishop, which is to say seeking excuses to do what we want to do, rather than what we ought to do.

    I harp on this because I see a misunderstanding of the work of the Church. It is not to create an institution; that institution exists and is protected. It is rather the tiresome business of getting each of us into heaven which is our future and not being overly concerned with the future on earth.

Don't Flatter Your Honor Roll Student

Friday, September 4, AD 2009

I came across this book review last week in the Wall Street Journal, and thought it was interesting:

Now, in “NurtureShock,” Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman survey the newest new findings about child development. Little in the book is all that shocking, but given our enthusiasm for turning tentative child ­research into settled policy, the studies that the ­authors discuss are of more than passing interest.

A striking example is the latest research on ­self-esteem. As Mr. Bronson and Ms. Merryman remind us, the psychologist Nathaniel Brandon published a path-breaking paper in 1969 called “The Psychology of Self-Esteem” in which he argued that feelings of self-worth were a key to success in life. The theory became a big hit in the nation’s schools; in the mid-1980s, the California Legislature even ­established a self-esteem task force. By now, there are 15,000 scholarly articles on the subject.

And what do they show? That high self-esteem doesn’t improve grades, reduce ­anti-social behavior, deter alcohol drinking or do much of anything good for kids. In fact, telling kids how smart they are can be ­counterproductive. Many children who are convinced that they are little geniuses tend not to put much effort into their work. Others are troubled by the latent anxiety of adults who feel it necessary to praise them constantly.

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8 Responses to Don't Flatter Your Honor Roll Student

  • “too much discussion of past discrimination can make minority children over-reactive to perceived future slights.”

    Over-reaction? Compared to what? Indifference to injustice? 40 years ago, many dismissed the civil rights movement as an over-reaction. Charges of “over-reaction” is often how legitimate discrimination is dismissed.

  • legitimate claims of unjust discrimination, rather.

  • restrainedradical –
    For example, assuming that the phrase “like little monkeys” is meant to be an insult, rather than a generic description of little kids climbing all over a jungle gym, when one of the kids appears to have any hint of African blood.
    See also, women assuming that a guy holding a door for them is somehow an insult.

    I know that having grownups tell me how smart I was when I knew I was failing badly at a learning project just made me distrust any other complements they offered.

    I am a bit surprised they didn’t mention the classic “if you ignore bullies, they’ll go away” lie. (If you ignore bullies, they’ll just keep doing more and more to try to get a response until you’re bleeding on the floor. Can’t really stop that response, y’know.)

  • Well, I’ve encountered some of those overreactions to perceived future slights more often than I’ve cared to. Race aside, some people tend to interpret everything in the light of past insults. It’s an unhealthy behavior; why encourage it?

    The textbook example for me was a highly-publicized carjacking case in Maryland in the early ’90s. The driver of the car was killed under horrible circumstances, and the two suspects, young black men, were picked up in possession of the car shortly thereafter–red-handed, really. Within a few days, the mother of one of the two was making the rounds of the news programs asserting that her son was being accused of the crime “because he’s black.”

  • This is an example of how theory and practice evolve over time. As a teacher I see that students have a great ability at assessing reality from b.s. as foxfier described, and it is no great news flash that actions speak louder than words. Saying “good job” is relatively unimportant compared to giving students real responsibilities and situations to achieve – not just in a classroom situation or a football field but also in real life.

    It is natural for theorists to claim some model of behavior and then over-enthusiastically try to implement policies base on that model. That is called science and it happens all of the time and it is how we learn more. It is how science changes over time, though it is disconcerting for a general public who always wants a simple answer. Unfortunately social sciences and especially psychology is far more complex and based upon behavior that is a mix of nature and nurture and can not be simplified in a way that a chemical experiment can be constrained.

    I believe California over-reacted in creating a self-esteem task force, because it was overly simplistic and didn’t involve actual students.

  • Charges of “over-reaction” is often how legitimate claims of unjust discrimination are dismissed.

    I think that’s correct, restrained. But there are mistakes in both directions; sometimes people see racism when it isn’t there or accuse people of racism to advance a particular agenda. Other times, racism is present, and people try to dismiss the victim by saying they are ‘over-reacting’. I haven’t read the book that is the subject of the book review, and so I am not sure what studies that conclusion is based on. I’m inclined to take the claim at face value because, in my (limited) experience, academic research is generally sympathetic to claims of racism, and is unlikely to conclude an ‘over-reaction’ is taking place without a good reason. At the same time, you may be right; the studies in question may be dismissing legitimate racial discrimination.

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  • Great Blog. Really good information. You obviously know what you’re talking about!

    Success Grandma

Religion in the U.S.

Wednesday, March 11, AD 2009

According to a recent study, the percentage of Americans who profess no religion has been increasing over the last 20 years:

The Catholic population of the United States has shifted away from the Northeast and towards the Southwest, while secularity continues to grow in strength in all regions of the country, according to a new study by the Program on Public Values at Trinity College. “The decline of Catholicism in the Northeast is nothing short of stunning,” said Barry Kosmin, a principal investigator for the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS). “Thanks to immigration and natural increase among Latinos, California now has a higher proportion of Catholics than New England.”

In broad terms, ARIS 2008 found a consolidation and strengthening of shifts signaled in the 2001 survey. The percentage of Americans claiming no religion, which jumped from 8.2 in 1990 to 14.2 in 2001, has now increased to 15 percent. Given the estimated growth of the American adult population since the last census from 207 million to 228 million, that reflects an additional 4.7 million “Nones.” Northern New England has now taken over from the Pacific Northwest as the least religious section of the country, with Vermont, at 34 percent “Nones,” leading all other states by a full 9 points.

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5 Responses to Religion in the U.S.

  • In regards to question 2), I think the immigration does in indeed mask a similar hemorrhaging of members from the Catholic Church. While I think there’s a solid core of faithful Catholics, I think it is much smaller than the numbers suggest. I think in the near future, we’ll see an even greater loss of membership as the realities of the Church teaching and governmental policy butt heads.

  • Ryan, I agree with you that we are very likely to see the Catholic faith tested in America by the exact mechanism you suggest. I pray that God will change people’s hearts and that all Catholics will open themselves to the truth. I fear that large percentages of Catholics will formally depart the Church in the next 20 years. It is hard to say how big the faithful core is or will be in the end. I think the core is stronger in Faith than given credit for, but in numbers? I find reasons for hope, but certainly seems likely that we could lose up to 90% of the self- identified Catholics.

  • Point #4 deserves further scrutiny. In period when political/economic elites avoids all things religious, will be not only greater estrangement from the faithful but legislation like that swatted down in Connecticut. Could extend to our nation’s largest fudge factory. Note all the DC insiders who frequent Sunday morning chat shows. Not likely they will slip away to their house of worship. Thus the estrangement showing up in broad scale following the Porkapalooza Bill. Might be presenting the ultimate dilemma- God or Gummint as Ultimate Source of All That Is True And Good.

  • That unbelief is plateauing while membership in most churches is fallen suggests to me that part of what we’re seeing is a failure of established churches to reach people with anything compelling. There can be a laziness and self absorbtion to people who are “religious but don’t belong to a church right now” but I think a fair amount of it is also that far too often one can go to a church for years (sadly this would seem to be as true of many Catholic parishes as of protestant churches) without getting much to hold you in the way of real teaching, and explanation of what life means other than “community” or compelling liturgy. And so people often drift away into their own home-grown, wishy washy religious belief combined with non-practice.

    I suspect it would take a significant cultural shift to break this paradigm, because while at the same time people drift away from churches because they’re not compelling, there’s also a strong cultural prejudice against evangelizing and judging — which precludes most of the compelling things that could be said.

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Road To Tyranny

Monday, February 16, AD 2009

It’s a commonplace of sorts in Catholic and conservative circles that democracy without virtue will quickly become tyranny. At the same time, this is one of those phrases which seems to drive secular commentators to distraction. How could liberal democracy lead to tyranny when it’s clearly those authoritarian religious people who want to be tyrants?

Damon Linker (the “the theocons are coming” chicken little whom First Things once made the mistake of briefly employing in his younger days, thus giving him the claim to know the “theocon conspiracy” from the inside) has a post on The New Republic blog which seems to me to throw this point into sharp relief. Linker, it seems, tired of attacking “neocons” and decided to go after the more quixotic paleocons as his newest batch of crypto-authoritarians. The following section is fascinating in its thought process:

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8 Responses to Road To Tyranny

  • To be fair, Damon more or less retracted that post wholesale, saying he hadn’t thought the matter through well enough:

    On Tuesday of this week, I posted an item in which I drew connections between an essay by Andrew Bacevich and political authoritarianism. Two days later, I posted a follow-up in which I expanded on the argument. In retrospect — and in light of some online reaction to the posts — I’ve concluded that the connections I made in the original item were overdrawn, and that I made things even worse in the second post. Ideas and arguments can take on a logic of their own, and I foolishly followed the logic of mine into a position several steps more radical than one I really want to defend. I trust that future online disputation and debate will provide many opportunities for me to address these and related issues again — and so also to stake out and develop a more moderate, nuanced, and genuinely liberal position.


  • That said, the post was pretty embarrassing. Not as embarrassing as trying to make a career out of attacking people you used to work for by smearing them, but embarrassing nonetheless.

  • Darwin, excellent post. This has always been a bugaboo of mine as well. It’s a trap that conservatives fall into also at times. I’ve made offhand comments about not particularly liking SUVs, and had a friend respond as though I wanted to completely obliterate them from the planet. My personal dislike for them does not indicate that I necessarily want to impose legal sanctions upon ownership. But as a country, we have exalted the concept of choice as almost the ultimate good.

    Another thing Linker talked about hit upon something I was thinking about just yesterday. Many of the things we don’t do as Catholics strike me as good choices even absent religion. No sex outside of marriage: well there are a lot of rational reasons not to. No birth control: ever watch a commercial for the pill and hear them rattle off all the side effects? There are none of those for NFP.

    I don’t mean to say there are simply utilitarian benefits to being a practicing Catholic. But, when you think about it, there happily are such benefits to practicing the faith.

    One last thing – the final paragraph of your post points put the liberaltarian folly, such as it exists. If there is a threat to true liberty, it ain’t coming from the right.

  • “Not as embarrassing as trying to make a career out of attacking people you used to work for by smearing them, but embarrassing nonetheless.”

    Ouch John Henry! I am sure that left a mark on Mr. Linker. Perhaps he will return every dollar he ever received from the evil “theo-cons” ? Nah, that would be an act of high and inconvenient principle, and we all know there is no money in that.

  • To be fair, Damon more or less retracted that post wholesale, saying he hadn’t thought the matter through well enough:

    Ah, I hadn’t seen that one. I’ll drop these things into my “blog fodder” folder and sometimes not notice the follow through.

  • Donald,

    Perhaps I was too unkind. I am sure Mr. Linker is sincere, and his arguments should be evaluated on their merits (such as they are). I think his writing on these topics suffers from a lack of nuance and subtlety, which suggests an inability (or unwillingness) to appreciate his opponent’s arguments. And, well, I think his decision to publish an attack book on his former employer (and so soon after leaving) is ethically dubious.

  • Rather wobbly, but Linker gave it a whirl, didn’t he. The tyranny to come is apt to be a very selective tyranny, rife with the strangest socio-cultural bedfellows, if the past twenty years are any indication. And I think they are.

  • Mr. Linker writes:
    “Except for one thing: It now appears that Bacevich and Deneen aren’t really opposed to a “culture of choice” at all. Rather, they’re opposed to a culture in which people make the wrong choices — in this case, the choice to fornicate instead of the choice to resist their sexual appetites. But here’s what I don’t understand: Why would a free man or woman choose to resist rather than act on his or her sexual appetites? I mean, we’ve invented birth control. Sex is very pleasurable. It’s a way to enjoy emotional and physical intimacy with another human being. Why not choose for fornication? Why, in other words, is it wrong, in itself, to fornicate? Can we even imagine a response to this question that does not make reference to the authoritative teachings of an orthodox religious tradition?”

    He illustrates Medawar’s comment about people being educated beyond their ability to follow an abstract argument. His arguments read the scribblings of a high school student.

America's First Secular President?

Thursday, November 6, AD 2008



Damian Thompson from the Holy Smoke blog in London’s Daily Telegraph newspaper has declared Barack Obama as America’s first secular president.  Not far from being the truth some would say that Bill Clinton was pretty secular as well.  But I believe the point that Mr. Thompson was attempting to get across was the simple fact that the majority of church-going Christians voted for Senator McCain than did Senator Obama.  What is more revealing is that ‘Christians in name only’ voted overwhelmingly for Senator Obama.

The breakdown of voting figures in the US election indicates an extraordinary gulf between churchgoing and non-churchgoing voters. Barack Obama hoovered up the votes of non-churchgoers to an unprecedented extent: 65 per cent of them voted for him. I’ve thought for a long time that American agnostics and atheists are a growing force, under-represented in opinion polls. Obama will be their president.


He’ll also be the president of non-practising Catholics who, according to Beliefnet figures, voted 61 to 37 per cent for Obama. That’s no surprise: the Democrats were always the party of Catholics.


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27 Responses to America's First Secular President?

  • America’s first secular president was Thomas Jefferson.

  • His mother was a stone-cold atheist and I have always suspected that he is too. Certainly it is a more reasonable suspicion than to swallow his story that Jeremiah Wright led him to Christ. Obama is intelligent and I doubt if he would have confused what Wright was peddling with Christianity.

  • Black Adder IV,

    I was thinking the same thing. Though I believe Thomas Jefferson had a much firmer grasp of Christianity than President-elect Obama does.

  • Donald R. McClarey,

    My suspicions are the same as yours. I also think that Mr. Obama’s mother was an atheist as well as his grandmother.

  • There have been plenty of secular presidents — what is perhaps more apropo is that Obama could be argued to be our first truly post-Christian president, both in terms of his philosophy and the base that brought him into office.

  • Blackadder’s right, but if I understand the author’s thesis, he’s talking about the voters and the not the candidate himself.

    I was thinking the same thing. Though I believe Thomas Jefferson had a much firmer grasp of Christianity than President-elect Obama does.

    It’s never a good thing to get me started on TJ, but he was fairly hostile to organized Christianity.

  • Obama ends the pretention about presidents and religion. Surveying the gents who held the office throughout our previous century, hard to pick out those who one would expect to occupy a church pew out of devotion rather than lookit me see how religious I am during campaigns. Jimmeh Carter is an obvious exception. I sense the lack of enthusiasm from most of you who just read that name. JFK was a hipper cooler kind of Catholic- more like James Bond than Devout Catholic Layman. Bush the Older, Ford, even the Gipper- liked talking to the Big Guy but maybe not formally. Nixon- way too weird. Slick Willie- snicker snicker. Say what you want about the late Jesse Helms, but he saw no need to frequent the Sunday morning chat shows that feature the same old secular humanists or say Nancy Pelosi mangling Catholic theology. Jesse really was in church. Would be fun to see if Rev. Wright becomes the Billy Graham for the new millenium. Stranger things are known to happen.

  • Utterly ridiculous….

    BTW, Is this going to turn into an IMPEACH OBAMA website next?

  • “Utterly ridiculous….”

    Speculation on a President’s religious convictions is utterly ridiculous in what way? Or do you hold that the religious convictions of a leader plays no role in assessing how they will perform their duties and what policies they will adopt? Get used to this Mr. DeFrancisis. The election is over now and Obama is President Elect. Not only his adversaries will be asking probing questions about him now.

  • Mark,

    Where did you get that from the column and/or the postings?

    We at American Catholic wish President-elect Obama well. We will look forward to engaging him since he is willing to listen. We will in good faith work with him in order to achieve the common good.

    This isn’t the Huffington Post or Daily Kos.

  • Didn’t know being secular was impeachable. But if so, let’s do it.

  • Phillip,

    THAT made me laugh!


  • People too often confuse liberal Protestantism with secularism. Both are rather indifferent to theology and tradition, both advocate abortion and feminism, both preach the “social gospel,” both complain a lot about low-church Evangelical Protestants, both talk like they think Jesus is a Democrat, if not a socialist.

    There are distinctions here. Arguably, secularism is liberal Christianity without God. Understand liberal Protestantism, and you understand a lot about secularism, but even then you must consider how differently they act with or without God.

  • In the case of President-elect Obama, he has been enlightened by radical anarchists.


    eople too often confuse liberal Protestantism with secularism. Both are rather indifferent to theology and tradition, both advocate abortion and feminism, both preach the “social gospel,” both complain a lot about low-church Evangelical Protestants, both talk like they think Jesus is a Democrat, if not a socialist.

    If you’re suggesting that black Christianity is a type of “liberal Protestantism,” you’re waaaay off. WAY off.

  • “In the case of President-elect Obama, he has been enlightened by radical anarchists.”

    Instead of learning the classics, he learns from Jeremiah Wrigth and Bill Ayers that helped form who he is today. (as examples, that and declining state of the US public education system).

  • If you’re suggesting that black Christianity is a type of “liberal Protestantism,” you’re waaaay off. WAY off.

    Ah, but Trinity United is not a member of any of the historic Black Protestant denominations, and the UCC is pretty much a classic, White, liberal Protestant group.

  • “Though I believe Thomas Jefferson had a much firmer grasp of Christianity than President-elect Obama does.”
    No doubt true, Tito, as a well-educated man of his day would have been–but based on my readings of some of his letters I’d say he also succumbed to some pretty flaky theology and questionable theories about Christianity. And his grasp of Christianity didn’t seem to dissuade him from an unseemly enthusiasm for the idea of violent revolt as political purgative.

    “Obama ends the pretention about presidents and religion.”
    Not sure how that works, Gerald–as far as I can tell the guy is a thorough secularist, yet he makes claim to being a Christian and seems to be able to quote chapter and verse when it suits him. Don’t know what to call that if not pretense.

    “If you’re suggesting that black Christianity is a type of “liberal Protestantism,” you’re waaaay off. WAY off.”
    Michael, while I make no claim to clairvoyance I think Kevin was suggesting Rev. Wright’s church is a type of liberal Protestantism–not really an arguable point if you ask me. I’ve lived most of my life in the South, myself, and it never occurred to me to view black Christianity as monolithic in anything except perhaps certain points of worship style. I’m not sure why you assume this view.

  • Maybe what they were trying to say is that Obama will be the first President to be actively hostile to religious activity in the United States?

  • CMinor,

    I agree on Jefferson’s ‘exploration’ of Christianity. He certainly had other influences that shaped his unique view on our faith.


    I believe there may have been other presidents that have been hostile, but I may be confusing anti-Catholicism with that.

  • Michael, while I make no claim to clairvoyance I think Kevin was suggesting Rev. Wright’s church is a type of liberal Protestantism–not really an arguable point if you ask me.

    It certainly is arguable if you know what the precise meaning of “liberal Protestantism” means from the perspective of theological studies and church history. Liberal Protestantism is precisely what black theologians like James Cone critique.

    I’ve lived most of my life in the South, myself, and it never occurred to me to view black Christianity as monolithic in anything except perhaps certain points of worship style. I’m not sure why you assume this view.

    I didn’t say anything about them being monolithic. Certainly they’re not monolithic.

    Maybe what they were trying to say is that Obama will be the first President to be actively hostile to religious activity in the United States?

    What evidence of this would there be?

  • Almost by definition, a UCC church would be the quintessential example of “liberal Protestantism.” Indeed, I was stunned when I first found out that there was a black UCC church — the UCC probably has fewer black people than any other denomination in existence. If not the fewest, they’re certainly in the running.

    Anyway, if Michael is interested in “black Christianity,” he needs to widen his experiences. People like TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, etc., are much more representative of black churches in America.

  • Anyway, if Michael is interested in “black Christianity,” he needs to widen his experiences. People like TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, etc., are much more representative of black churches in America.

    I’m responding, of course, to the charge that JEREMIAH WRIGHT’s particular church is a “liberal protestant church.” He is obviously influenced by theologians like James Cone and Dwight Hopkins and they are not part of the theological tradition of liberal Protestantism. They explicitly reject it.

    I know it’s hard for you, S.B. but try to respond to what I actually said.

  • But you labeled it as “black Christianity,” which is way too broad a brush.

  • Besides, after you concededly lied about my discussion of the Third World, you have no standing ever again to complain that someone is misreading you.

  • “try to respond to what I actually said.”

    Well, I did, and you dodged, Iafrate.

    Your response to Kevin Jones
    “If you’re suggesting that black Christianity is a type of “liberal Protestantism,” you’re waaaay off. WAY off.”
    was a pretty obvious. attempt to change the argument. I don’t think you had any reason to assume that he was speaking about anything other than Obama’s specific church background (i.e. Trinity UCC) but you conflated the comment to encompass all of black Christianity. You then backpedaled from your own implication about black Christianity (i.e., that it was not liberal) although black Christianity encompasses many denominations and independent churches (to include some predominantly black urban Catholic churches) and certainly includes everything from the very conservative to the very liberal. I have to conclude that my comment about having never seen black Christianity as monolithic must have hit close to what you wanted to insinuate about Kevin, as your response was to deny having called them monolithic. Granted that you didn’t use that word youself: what you did, however, was to paint all of black Christianity as a single entity when it is not. I can only conclude that you did this because you could not adequately answer the point as it was presented.

    I believe a couple of the gentlemen responding above have already dispensed with the issue of whether Obama’s home church qualifies as a “liberal” denomination, so I won’t belabor that point.

    You might find your arguments are better received by readers here if you will subscribe to some basic principles of integrity in argumentation. Personally, I’m raising my third and fourth teenagers and am neither fooled by nor have much patience for standard adolescent dirty debate techniques, especially coming from adults.

  • To clear things up, I did indeed have Obama’s UCC affiliation in mind when suggesting he’s a liberal Protestant, though it’s clear his former church is almost sui generis.

    It is possible that American religious disputes echo the Broad Church/Low Church or Modernist/Fundamentalist distinctions of Anglo-American history. Both groups formed in reaction to each other.

    Fundamentalist/low churchers cast aspersions on the piety of their fellow Protestants, while Modernists/Broad Churchers don’t share their disputants’ style of vocal religiosity and look upon them as zealots.

    I’m not a scholar of this, so if my betters can correct me I welcome it. If my descriptions are generally accurate, their influence on American Catholicism would be quite a topic for study.

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