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Posts Tagged ‘Misconceptions’

Being Objective About Being Subjective by Jack Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2015/06/19 at 12:00 AM

One of the effects of living in a society that substitutes opinion for truth is that subjective judgment becomes the norm for truth. “I believe it; therefore, it is true,” rather than,“ It is true; therefore, I believe it.” Such a person sees truth as a product of his own mind rather than something we discover in the world of reality. One who habitually thinks like this can eventually lose an awareness of the difference between thinking objectively and thinking subjectively.

There is certainly a place for subjective judgments. There are elements of reality that simply do not demand objective evaluation or appraisal. If we are in a restaurant, there is no best meal, or morally good/bad meal, or  true/false meal. Barring other factors, the choice is ours. Many of our everyday choices are subjective and quite legitimate. For example, clothes choice, activity choice, exercise, TV programs, etc.

When we view persons, things or events objectively, we see them as they really are regardless of our personal attitude, feelings etc. about  them. For example, Mozart was a great musician. That is established truth whether we agree or not. On the other hand, it is quite legitimate to say, “Mozart is a great musician, but I don’t like his music” because objective truth is still recognized.

Natural laws are fixed even if we don’t like them. The law of gravity is not subject to our veto. Anyone who would dispute or deny what is objectively true can be said to be literally unrealistic, and his judgments and inferences are suspect.

Negative subjective thinking arises when we view persons, things or events through the eyes of our own biases, likes/dislikes etc. “I don’t like Mozart’s music; therefore, he can’t be a very good musician.” This attitude denies objective reality as the basis of truth.  Any further discussion of Mozart is probably useless with such a person. Moreover, people who thrive on personal opinion see themselves as their own standard and impervious to criticism because they can always say, “Well, that’s my opinion,” meaning that’s the end of the discussion.

Opinion is only as valid as the amount of factual basis that supports it.

One who issues opinions based on not much more than personal bias can never be engaged in productive thinking or discussion with those who view things more objectively. Ultra liberals and  ultra conservatives are examples of this thinking.

The problem with substituting subjective opinion for truth is that when we act on a wrong or false opinion, the results can be negative and usually are. “I believe God is so good that He will save everyone eventually.” “Christ was merely a great teacher like Socrates or Aristotle, nothing more.” “All religions lead to heaven.” “Christ did not mention homosexuality in the Gospels.” “I’m a good person. I don’t need religion.”  “God will take care of me when I die.” What is happening here is that the speaker is substituting his/her wishful thinking for truth. None of these statements conform to Biblical reality, but they are commonly voiced.

We forget that a man/woman must worship God as He sees fit, not as he/she sees fit. Those who “think” like this are, in effect, demanding, or at least assuming, that God should be receptive to his/her opinion even though He has decreed otherwise. After all, truth arises in MY mind, and God should agree with me.

However, truth/reality does not change to accommodate our false ideas and errors.

In matters of religion and faith, it can be eternally dangerous not to seek and hold to objective truth. That was Eve’s mistake; she ignored the objective truth that God had set down and relied on her personal evaluation of the serpent and his offer. Our personal opinions simply do not count if they are at variance with the truth, be it natural or divine. There is no substitute for truth, especially divine truth given to us in the Bible, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.

Error is error even if everyone is in error and truth is truth even if no one believes it.

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Catholic Christian?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/08 at 6:14 PM

A Baptist friend of ours in California asked the following question.

As my only resident expert on Catholicism, I have a question……do you regard Catholics Christian? If yes, why…and if no, why….I know virtually nothing about their beliefs and hear that they are not Christian…and just want to know what you think…thanks…

Reply: This accusation is an old one from years and years ago when there was much overt anti-Catholicism in the US. There is absolutely no foundation for such a charge. It is based on abysmal ignorance of the Catholic Church.

If you define a  Christian Church as one that believes in the God of the Bible, the Trinity, the Second Person of that Trinity taking on human form while still remaining divine, accepting death for human sin to make salvation (heaven) possible again, that He rose from the dead and is now very much alive in heaven, then the Catholic Church is totally Christian. It believes all that and much more found in the Bible.

In some denominations, the Sunday service includes the recitation of the Nicean Creed, a creed set up by the Catholic Church in 325 AD at the Council of Nicea.

If you say that the Catholic Church is not Christian, then you have to say that the Christian Church did not begin until the time of Luther. Prior to him, there was no other Church except the Catholic Church. It would ignore the facts of history and human psychology for a founder to say that he would set up a church 1500 years AFTER his death.  Never happens.  Luther never said the Catholic Church was not Christian; he did say it had too much corruption at the time (which was true).

If the Protestant Churches were the beginning of the Christian Church what were they protesting?

Perhaps a more relevant question today is whether some Protestant denominations are still Christian.  Too many have succumbed to the siren of the culture and accept practicing homosexuals as they are.   Regardless of the cultural PC involved, the Bible condemns homosexuality in several places. Last time I looked, there was nothing in  the Bible about  the divine moral code being subject to contemporary human vote.

One reason the Catholic Church is not liked is because in all it history (2000 years), it has never made the current cultural attitudes the norm of its doctrine. To be specific, the matter of abortion.  The US Supreme Court can declare a divine law void, but God does not agree. The Catholic Church condemns abortion because it is evil in itself. Abortion is not a “Catholic” sin; it is a sin against nature. You can successfully argue against abortion and not mention religion because it is a sin against nature itself. What kind of society kills off 50,000,000 unborn people (humans) mostly because someone finds them inconvenient? That has nothing  to do with religion; is  naturally irrational.

To say that Catholic Church is Christian is NOT to vouch for all its members, past and present. In fact, if you look at the history of the Catholic Church, it is a wonder it has survived at all when you look at some of its members (even popes). The Catholic Church, like all churches has more belongers than believers. The Protestant Churches have broken up into about thirty THOUSAND denominations. The Catholic Church has no denominations. The doctrine of the Catholic Church is that Christ founded the Catholic Church and protects from collapsing into chaos.

Both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Churches are Christian.  Both urge their members to seek a salvific relationship with Jesus Christ. I can’t imagine that a just God would exclude Rev. Charles Stanley from heaven because he happens to be a Baptist. If more Catholics and Protestants had his faith, we’d all be better off in the USA.

Hope this helps you understand the question better.

Being Objective About Being Subjective

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/08 at 6:07 PM

One of the effects of living in a society that substitutes opinion for truth is that subjective judgment becomes the norm for truth.“I believe it; therefore, it is true,” rather than,“ It is true; therefore, I believe it.” Such a person sees truth as a product of his own mind rather than something we discover in the world of reality. One who habitually thinks like this can eventually lose an awareness of the difference between thinking objectively and thinking subjectively.

There is certainly a place for subjective judgments. There are elements of reality that simply do not demand objective evaluation or appraisal. If we are in a restaurant, there is no best meal, or morally good/bad meal, or  true/false meal. Barring other factors, the choice is ours. Many of our everyday choices are subjective and quite legitimate. Ex. clothes choice, activity choice, exercise, TV programs, etc.

When we view persons, things or events objectively, we see them as they really are regardless of our personal attitude, feelings etc. about  them. Ex. Mozart was a great musician. That is established truth whether we agree or not. On the other hand, it is quite legitimate to say, “Mozart is a great musician, but I don’t like his music” because objective truth is still recognized.

Natural laws are fixed even if we don’t like them. The law of gravity is not subject to our veto. Anyone who would dispute or deny what is objectively true can be said to be literally unrealistic, and his judgments and inferences are suspect.

Negative subjective thinking arises when we view persons, things or events through the eyes of our own biases, likes/dislikes etc. “I don’t like Mozart’s music; therefore, he can’t be a very good musician.” This attitude denies objective reality the basis of truth.Any further discussion of Mozart is probably useless with such a person. Moreover, people who thrive on personal opinion see themselves as their own standard and impervious to criticism because they can always say, “Well, that’s my opinion,” meaning that’s the end of the discussion.

Opinion is only as valid as the amount of factual basis that supports it.

One who issues opinions based on not much more than personal bias can never be engaged in productive thinking or discussion with those who view things more objectively. Ultra liberals and  ultra conservatives are examples of this thinking.

The problem with substituting subjective opinion for truth is that when we act on a wrong or false opinion, the results can be negative and usually are. “I believe God is so good that He will save everyone eventually.” “Christ was merely a great teacher like Socrates or Aristotle, nothing more.” “All religions lead to heaven.” “Christ did not mention homosexuality in the Gospels.” “I’m a good person. I don’t need religion.”  “God will take care of me when I die.” What is happening here is that the speaker is substituting his/her wishful thinking for truth. None of these statements conform to Biblical reality, but they are commonly voiced.

We forget that a man/woman must worship God as He sees fit, not as he/she sees fit. Those who “think” like this are, in effect, demanding, or at least assuming, that God should be receptive to his/her opinion even though He has decreed otherwise. After all, truth arises in MY mind, and God should agree with me.

However, truth/reality does not change to accommodate our false ideas and errors.

In matters of religion and faith, it can be eternally dangerous not to seek and hold to objective truth. That was Eve’s mistake; she ignored the objective truth that God had set down and relied on her personal evaluation of the serpent and his offer. Our personal opinions simply do not count if they are at variance with the truth, be it natural or divine. There is no substitute for truth, especially divine truth given to us in the Bible, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.

Error is error even if everyone is in error and truth is truth even if no one believes it.