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Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

Complete list of all articles by Jack Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2015/04/24 at 12:00 AM

The whole series:

01 Is It Just Semantics? – Love

02 Is God God or Are You God? – Purpose & change

03 Contemporary Mischief – Same-sex “marriage”

04 Correct Answer? – Divinity of Church

05 Abortion, A Realistic Viewpoint – Abortion

06 Moslems/Muslims – Islam

07 What is Truth? – Truth

08 Being Objective About Being Subjective – The difference between the two

09 Catholic Christians? – Are Catholics really Christians?

10 What is in a Name? – True Christians

11 Baal and the Tooth Fairy – False gods

12 Rest in Pieces? – Societal decline

13 Blessed Mary, Ever Virgin – Blessed Virgin Mary

14 “Now Let’s Not Be Judgmental” – What is true judgment

15 Art of Conscience – Correct conscience

16 Is That Fr. Phillis? – Women’s ordination

17 The 800 lb. Gorilla – Secularism

18 Some Truths About False Gods – False gods

19 Is Any Religion True? – Man is religious by nature

20 The Dropouts

21 The Great Deception – Sin

22 The Unpreached Sermon: “a layman thinking like a priest” – Christmas/Easter Catholics

23 Let’s Get Real – Reality examined

24 The Siblings of Christ?

25 What Could Have Been – Christmas

26 Coming Storm – Coming persecution

27 The Mythical God – False ideas about God

28 And The Blind Shall Lead – False ideas

29 Freedom, A Paradox – Free Will

30 A Helluva Place – Hell & Damnation

31 Consequences – World without God

32 Mind Over Matter – Truth

33 Life in a Mirage – Effects of immorality

33 A Trilogy of the Unreal – Separation of Church & State; Taking “offense”; Necessity of Morality

34 Signs For Our Times – Introduction & Part I: Unity of the Church – Marks of the Catholic Church

34 Signs For Our Times – Part II: Holiness of the Church – Marks of the Catholic Church

35 Signs For Our Times – Part III: Catholicity of the Church; Part IV: Apostolicity of the Church – Marks of the Catholic Church

37 Semantics of Easter – Easter & Christmas Catholics

38 Another Easter? – Easter Sunday

39 The Bible – A Perspective

40 Abstractions? – Liberal/Conservative

41 The Wanderers – God

42 With All Due Respect – Morality

43 Good Intentions – Moral illusions

44 Ideas and Consequences -Illusions

45 Searching For What Is Not Lost – Lapsed

46 Taking Chances – Mercy

47 Dabbling With Dogma

48 What Did You Expect?

45 Deceptive Labels

50 Forgotten, But Not Gone

 

 

 

Consequences, part I

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/12/07 at 7:14 AM

People like to speculate.  They like to imagine what life would be like under different circumstances.  ” What if I won an eight figure lottery?”  “What would it be like to vacation in Tahiti?” “What would it be like to ride in a space ship?” Some have even wondered what life would be like without God.  Ah! We do not have to speculate about this; we are living in reality.  The Western World (which used to be called Christendom) has, in effect, rejected and/or ignored God.  The movers and shakers have declared themselves to be God by their actions or omissions.  The problem is that humans, according to divine plan, cannot reject or ignore God without bringing on themselves calamitous consequences.

The first consequence is the loss of the idea of truth in intellectual and spiritual areas.  God is the source and standard of truth.  When we reject or ignore divine truth, we are left with human opinion which is only as reliable as the facts and the intellect of the opiner.  Thus we end up living in a chaos of non-truths, half-truths, distorted truths, bias truths and other errors.  The very concept of objective truth is not even considered.  This is American society today…awash in opinions based on nothing but subjective ideas which one may or may not follow according to one’s own likes and dislikes.  Divine truth is certain truth; human “truth” replacing it is always grossly deficient.  Divine truth is a permanent and stable guide.  Human truth has no foundation beyond the human mind and can and does change with the culture.  No human truth is sure or lasting.  What is called true today may be declared false tomorrow and vice versa.

The corresponding consequence is the loss of the ability to think logically and rationally.  Without objective truth as a guide, conclusions drawn may be invalid. We fail to see the logical, but inevitable results of poor thinking.  The pro-abortion philosophy is based supposedly on women’s health, but in reality it means freedom from an inconvenience.  In the future, what other “inconvenient” might some want to get rid off?  The elderly? (already in the works by Obamacare).  The chronically ill?  The retarded?  The homosexual community is pushing for same-sex “marriage” under the guise of equality and civil rights.  Once the law declares that marriage is not solely between a man and a woman, then logically you can “marry” anyone or anything.  Illogical thinking leads to bad judgments, errors, mistakes, failure, etc.  These negative effects will remain until corrected or forever if they cannot be corrected.

We also lose wisdom.  Wisdom is not knowledge, but it is related to it.  Wisdom is the understanding, evaluation,  appreciation and implenentation  of values based on knowledge.  In other words, wisdom is knowing what is important, and this is impossible without truth and right thinking.  The psalmist tells us that awe of God is the beginning of wisdom.  How can those who have no relationship to God ever find real wisdom?  The wise person knows and acts upon what is truly important in life.  We cannot solve our societal problems because defective thinking prevents it.  Problems can be solved only by dealing with the cause.  Yet, the bureaucrats of public education seem to think that the answer to all their problems is more money.  But money is not the cause of education problems; therefore, more and more money is spent with little or no effect.  (The real cause lies in the false philosophies which are used to “guide” the public schools.)  Politicians also think that more money will solve anything, yet, it rarely does.  There are rules of right thinking and they must be followed or the results will be defective.  Right thinking is not accidental.

Is God God Or Are You God?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/09/22 at 9:11 AM

One of the characteristics that distinguishes  humans from animals and all other creatures is that humans can and do wonder about things, about the purpose or the reason something is what it is or does what it does. Animals never wonder about the circumstances of their lives. They live by instinct which never changes; they would have no reason to wonder because they can’t change anything anyway.  Adam and Eve’s dog would be right at home with your dog, but they would be awestruck by human life today. That’s because we humans can ponder purpose and make changes if we so desire.

It is very important to know the purpose of whatever we are dealing with because, if we do not know the true purpose of something or someone, we may end up not using it, misusing it, damaging or even destroying the thing. Small children do this routinely. This also applies to people; think of the misuse and destruction of people by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the modern era alone. They saw other people only as means to an end.

Throughout life  we deal with many intermediate purposes and goals such as education, marriage, family career etc. These differ from person to person and culture to culture. Some are successful in reaching their goals while others, not understanding the nature of goals, flounder through life. Half the marriages in the U.S. fail because at least  one spouse does not understand the nature and purpose of marriage.  Schools today are failing in a tragic way because they changed their purpose from the acquisition of knowledge to politically correct socialization.

I don’t think many would dispute that the country has many seemingly insoluble problems; drugs, crime, abuse at all levels, illegal immigration etc. I suggest that the reason is that  in the U.S. (and most of the Western world)  the most important purpose of all has been forgotten or ignored, i.e. the purpose of man himself . The purpose of anything is usually determined by the maker. Man was made by God in the beginning, and it is  God who assigned man his purpose which will never change regardless of how man deals with it. God does not adjust Himself to contemporary cultural whims. Anyone who does not know or does not care that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God is doomed to the ultimate failure which is not to be a saint.

Man has a divine goal or purpose which is his final union with God for eternity. This is what God has set up, and He has also set up definite ways to reach that goal which are not subject to human interpretations. On the other hand, man can reject his purpose and set up his own idea of purpose, but if we set up any purpose that does not  conform to divine purpose,  he will live a substandard human life.

Many are going through life today with no ultimate goal in mind. They are like a person who drives without a destination. When the gas runs out, he is nowhere and there’s no gas. Going through life without an eye on eternity  may cause one to lose the very purpose of life itself. No matter  what circumstances we find ourselves in, for good or bad, we all will arrive  at that six-foot hole. That’s the end of striving. You made it or you didn’t.  Hell is realizing that you “blew it…. badly”.

The real purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God while on earth and spend eternity in His presence. Anything less is risky. One of the great saints of the Church used to have as his norm, “Quid ad aeternitatem?”.. How does this affect eternity? We live in a world which, at least in practice, does not believe in eternity at all. How many people have you seen die on TV with no thought whatsoever of an afterlife? Death is the end. Be that as it may,  it does not affect God’s purpose for people. We will knock on the door of eternity someday. If you have pursued your God-given goal, the door will not be opened by  a fellow in a red suit carrying a pitchfork.

The most important question is: “Is God God or are you  God?” If you decide that YOU are God by your lifestyle, then you are a fool, as the Psalm says. And there are no fools in heaven.

And the Blind Shall Lead

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/04/27 at 9:11 AM

The problem with false philosophies (false ideas) is that they are . . . false.  As a result they cannot be ultimately successful in their goals.  The reason they are false or erroneous is that they do not deal with reality.  Whatever philosophies or sets of ideas refuse to acknowledge objective reality are doomed from the outset.

One of the chief reasons the world is in such chaos, when no problems seem to be able to be solved, is that it is awash in false ideas and has been for a long time:  Nazism, fascism, secularism, communism, extreme environmentalism, hedonism, religious indifferentism (all religions are equal), atheism and more.  False philosophies originally have some appeal because the false element attracts certain followers, but eventually, and inevitably, their basic errors will be revealed.  For example, extreme environmentalism teaches that planet earth is totally under human control and is, thus, a denial of Divine Providence.  Humans who cannot even accurately predict weather assume that it is up to them to regulate the earth’s temperatures.  Again, a lack of reality.

How do we know or at least suspect that some ideas are false?

What does the philosophy say about God?  God is the ultimate reality in the universe and in human lives. When a philosophy derides, ignores, rejects, passes over or does not deem God very important in life, it is a false philosophy because it ignores reality.  (Remember, reality is what it is even if you have a different idea about it.) Secularism is a dominant philosophy is the U.S. And Europe. This set of beliefs teaches that religion is, at best, a purely personal activity such as a hobby and , therefore, is irrelevant to public life.  (God did not  design man to be a secularist.)  The government at all levels, education and the media are hotbeds of secular philosophy and aren’t they shining examples of dealing with reality?  The philosopher Voltaire said that man will be ruled by God or he will be ruled by tyrants. The government is tyrannical in its incompetence, the schools are tyrannical in their decades-long drive to de-educate for reality, and the media is tyrannical in its manipulation of facts  to produce ideological “news.”  Without a realistic attitude toward  God, false philosophies begin as bad judgments about what is truth and ultimately fail as did Communism.

What does the philosophy say about morality.  Man has a moral aspect that animals do not have.  The most vicious animal never sins because he has no moral sense.  Man is aware of the idea of moral right and wrong.  Real morality is based on the Natural Law (“Do good; avoid evil,” a law implanted in the human mind, that comes from God) and valid human thinking.  Moral rules can be distorted, ejected, ignored or distorted.  Judge Robert Bork was denied a seat of the Supreme Court because he said the Natural Law was part of reality, and anything based on God is not popular in the U.S. nowadays.

If a philosophy advocates or justifies what used to be called sin, it should be deemed a false philosophy.  The current agitation about same-sex “marriage” is a case in point.  Thousands of years of human experience are to be rejected in favor of unrealistic and unnatural alliances.  It’s not a matter of freedom and equality; it’s about reality. Have humans been wrong about marriage until the last few decades?  A set of ideas that allows abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research must be judged to be a false philosophy, and those who support them must adjudged to be in error.  More than 55,000,000 unborn babies have been killed in the U.S. because 7 members of the Supreme Court interpreted the Constitution unrealistically.

What does the philosophy say about man?  Sacred Scripture (which has been proven many times to be authentic) tells us that humans are the most important beings on earth because we have an eternal destiny.  No other creature does.  Moreover, man has the potential to be an adopted child of God and to live for all eternity with God . . . or without Him.

A philosophy that does not incorporate the dignity of man into its belief system will not be able to deal with man realistically or effectively.  If man is not a child of God, he becomes automatically a child of the state which cares nothing about the human soul.

This can ultimately lead to totalitarianism in varying degrees.  There are those who warn that Americans are losing their freedom because of coercive government rules and regulations.  I took care of my health insurance for years without Obamacare.  Why do he and his cronies assume they can do a better job?  (They can’t.)

Some secularists see man as no more significant than a fly (speciesism).  If we are no more significant than an amoeba, it becomes logical to “live it up” before you die.

The problem with that world view is that those who believe it are just wrong.  Man has been a religious being from the beginning even if he believed in false gods.

One could add other criteria for determining false philosophies, but any false set of ideas will include at least one (and probably all) of the above.  False philosophies have no hope of delivering what they offer because they start out in unreality.  But many people are swept up in these false ideas and a false idea is still false regardless of how many fans it has.  There will come a last moment for all of us.  If you have followed the blindness of false philosophies, your last moment will be unpleasant . . . if you are even aware of your status.

Let us remember the lament of the lost sinner: “The past has deceived me, the present torments me, and the future terrifies me.”

The 800-Pound Gorilla

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/08/06 at 7:49 PM

The Western World (North America and Europe) is awash with all types of philosophies competing for dominance and control.  Vying for attention are relativism, hedonism, environmentalism, skepticism, nihilism and least that many more.  One of these false philosophies seems to have taken the lead because it really includes many others under it’s umbrella.  Its name is Secularism, the philosophy that tries to exclude God and  religion from any meaningful  role in human life.  Historians offer different dates and causes for the rise of this false set of ideas, but I suggest that secularism began in the Garden of Eden with the conversation between Satan and Eve.  This was the first attempt to show that God was a minor figure in the human drama, that His commands were mere suggestions, that you could get away with ignoring them and that, in fact, by getting rid of God man could become like  God.  Satan was the first secularist, and this tells us the real origin of this set of beliefs.

Secularism has several features.  The first is a basic animosity toward religion in general and Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular.  It is atheistic and/or agnostic (meaning we can’t really know anything about God . . . if there is one).  Religion, therefore, has no place in public life, no place in government, no place in education or law.  If one must have religion, keep it to yourself.  Whenever religion attempts to raise a voice in the public arena, it is to be crushed if at all possible . . . call the ACLU and have some judge declare that the “offended” atheists should prevail over the majority who espouse religious sentiment.

Secondly, this false philosophy endorses total personal freedom in the matter of morals “as long as you don’t hurt anyone.”  Thus, under this umbrella we find liberal and radical feminists who support abortion, and the homosexual rights groups that are succeeding in making the deviant acceptable or at least tolerated.  Moral laws based on religion are to be rejected.  After all, if there is no God, how can there be divine moral laws? As one might expect, those who champion freedom from moral laws generally have sexual laws in mind.  There can be no agency that has any authority to regulate moral law.  (If a civil law happens to be the same as a religious law, the civil law will be accepted because it comes from “true” authority.)  The new standard for personal morality is: “If I like it, it’s moral; if I don’t like it, it’s immoral.”  Or, “You have your morals, I have mine.”  When asked what he thought of the “new morality”, the famed English convert to Catholicism, G.K. Chesterton, replied, “It is neither new nor moral; it’s just our old friend sin.”  How true!

The third feature is the absolute toleration of anyone’s immorality and unquestioned acceptance of any stupid or illogical idea that comes down the pike.  “Who are you to say I am wrong?”  The secularist world easily tolerates contradictions.  Abortion is good; abortion is bad.  No problem; the secularists accepts both.  (The fact that accepting contradictions violates a basic principle of correct thinking, does not seem to occur to such people).  Tolerance trumps logic anytime.  Needless to say, there is one group to which this sacrosanct rule of tolerance does not apply . . . Christians.  Their “crazy” ideas cannot be tolerated; only the “crazy” ideas espoused by the secularist are acceptable.

Secularism is thriving in the U.S. and Europe.  The Constitution of the European Union contains not a single reference to anything religious.  There seems to be no force capable of diminishing its ongoing thrust because the secularists control the organs of power.

The media of every type is grossly biased against religion, traditional morality and its ideas.  Christians are usually depicted as dumb, hypocritical and prejudiced.

The élite colleges, universities and law schools are  teaching secularism.  One professor, a Catholic, who was teaching a course of Catholicism, said at the appropriate point in the course that Catholicism believes that homosexual activity is immoral.  The homosexual crowd managed to get him fired (these are, by the way, same people who preach tolerance); however, the backlash was so great that the professor was reinstated.

Government at all levels has become increasingly non-religious.  The current administration endorses many activities that used to be called sins: Abortion, partial-birth abortion, embryonic stem cell research, gay rights and many more.

Our Lord said to measure results and effects to know the value and nature of a cause.  Philosophies come and go.  Yes, they do, but they also leave their mark.  Nazism was a  false philosophy that certainly left its mark and left behind millions of graves.  So also, Communism.  Secularism, when successful, leaves behind ultimately unworkable societies because it is a philosophy that runs counter to human nature. It does not fit human psychology and the aspirations built into man by the Creator.  Whether you believe in a Creator or not, remember this: Simply believing something to be a certain way does not make it so.  Objective reality does not change to fit an error in belief.

And how have we fared after several decades of the celebrated “sexual freedom”?  50,000,000 babies killed because they were inconvenient to someone, never before seen rates of sexual diseases, the psychological and philosophical contradiction of same-sex marriage, easy divorce, child abuse, a significant rise in crime rates, rejection of authority by too many people.  Have there been some positive effects of this “sexual freedom”?  Can’t think of any!

Secularism has also impacted Christians, a very broad term used in the US that includes the Christmas-Easter attendees and the truly devout.  Statistically, Christians have fallen for the secularist’s line in large numbers.  There is little difference between the beliefs of secularists and the behavior of many Christians.  “Just our old friend, sin” making a reappearance.

Eve didn’t realize that her friendly snake was actually an 800-pound gorilla in disguise.  Secularism is  Satan’s latest disguise.  Eve thought she could do business with Satan, and we know what happened.  We can enjoy all kinds of false and silly beliefs about God, but bear in mind that He does not change Himself to fit human beliefs or errors.  God is God, and it is man who must change to conform to Him.

Otherwise, that 800-pound gorilla . . .

What Is Truth?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/06 at 9:00 PM

St. Thomas Aquinas was one of the most brilliant philosopher-theologians in the history of the Catholic Church. His definition of truth, which is still valid today, is that truth is the conformity/agreement of the mind to reality. This means that objective truth lies outside of us, outside the human mind. The human mind discovers/learns/ finds truth; it does not invent it.

What arises in our own minds is opinion which may or may conform well to reality. It is the role of the human mind to seek objective truth. That is how God designed the mind. Some times it takes eons to discover a truth or set of truths. Ex. The laws of aerodynamics have existed probably since the beginning of time, but they were discovered only in the last century.

We live in a world in which too many believe that truth is manufactured by the human mind, that man does not discover truth, but determines it. This attitude is far more prevalent is matters of the spiritual and the intellectual spheres like religion, morality, ethics, education, government, etc. In these areas opinion, often the loudest, becomes “truth”.

But truth comes from God and when man dares to usurp that authority, the consequences can be disastrous. Frederick Hegel, a nineteenth century philosopher, when told that his theories did not fit the facts, said,  in effect, that was just too bad for the facts. He was one of the founders of Communism. As a result of this invented “truth,” millions of people were enslaved and worse for almost a century.

The theory of evolution is much in a news today. Honest scientists will admit that evolution is far from a proven theory. About 90-95% of contemporary scientists admit they are materialists and act as thought evolution were a fact.  If it’s not matter, it doesn’t matter.”

Materialism is a philosophy; it is not science, but scientists prefer pretending evolution is a fact because, as Thomas Huxley, an associate of Darwin, said that he liked the idea of evolution because if man were merely a high-grade monkey, he is not responsible for his actions, and, therefore,  he could continue to what do we call sin. In fact,  evolution has long since  passed from the realm of science and has become a quasi religion among many scientists. That’s why there is a kind of frenzy about protecting the theory of evolution against the inroads of logic or fact.

The ACLU is so vehemently anti-Christian that is quite willing to distort and manipulate facts to make the U.S. Constitution say whatever the organization wants it to say. The result has been constantly invented “truth” aimed at the Christian community.

If we do not live in the real world, must then live in a world of whim, fantasy, opinion, subjectivism, etc. Only by living in the real world can we even hope to live a fully human life.

In a world that denies objective truth in matters transcendental and spiritual, and tells us that opinion is a good substitute for truth, we have the words of Christ (Jn 14:5) that He and He alone is the embodiment of truth, that He is the only source of truth.  If we ignore that, we do so at great peril not only to out temporal life, but to our eternal life.

Remember this: an idea  is not true because we say it is or because we believe it is, or because the majority favors it is, an idea is true only if it conforms to objective reality.

Is God God or Are You God?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/05 at 3:17 PM

One of the characteristics that distinguishes  humans from animals and all other creatures is that humans can and do wonder about things, about the purpose or the reason something is what it is or does what it does. Animals never wonder about the circumstances of their lives. They live by instinct which never changes; they would have no reason to wonder because they can’t change anything anyway.  Adam and Eve’s dog would be right at home with your dog, but they would be awestruck by human life today. That’s because we humans can ponder purpose and make changes if we so desire.

It is very important to know the purpose of whatever we are dealing with because, if we do not know the true purpose of something or someone, we may end up not using it, misusing it, damaging or even destroying the thing. Small children do this routinely. This also applies to people; think of the misuse and destruction of people by Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in the modern era alone. They saw other people only as means to an end.

Throughout life  we deal with many intermediate purposes and goals such as education, marriage, family career etc. These differ from person to person and culture to culture. Some are successful in reaching their goals while others, not understanding the nature of goals, flounder through life. Half the marriages in the U.S. fail because at least  one spouse does not understand the nature and purpose of marriage.  Schools today are failing in a tragic way because they changed their purpose from the acquisition of knowledge to politically correct socialization.

I don’t think many would dispute that the country has many seemingly insoluble problems; drugs, crime, abuse at all levels, illegal immigration etc. I suggest that the reason is that  in the U.S. (and most of the Western world)  the most important purpose of all has been forgotten or ignored, i.e. the purpose of man himself . The purpose of anything is usually determined by the maker. Man was made by God in the beginning, and it is  God who assigned man his purpose which will never change regardless of how man deals with it. God does not adjust Himself to contemporary cultural whims. Anyone who does not know or does not care that he or she is made in the image and likeness of God is doomed to the ultimate failure which is not to be a saint.

Man has a divine goal or purpose which is his final union with God for eternity. This is what God has set up, and He has also set up definite ways to reach that goal which are not subject to human interpretations. On the other hand, man can reject his purpose and set up his own idea of purpose, but if we set up any purpose that does not  conform to divine purpose,  he will live a substandard human life.

Many are going through life today with no ultimate goal in mind. They are like a person who drives without a destination. When the gas runs out, he is nowhere and there’s no gas. Going through life without an eye on eternity  may cause one to lose the very purpose of life itself. No matter  what circumstances we find ourselves in, for good or bad, we all will arrive  at that six-foot hole. That’s the end of striving. You made it or you didn’t.  Hell is realizing that you “blew it…. badly”.

The real purpose of human life is to know, love, and serve God while on earth and spend eternity in His presence. Anything less is risky. One of the great saints of the Church used to have as his norm, “Quid ad aeternitatem?”.. How does this affect eternity? We live in a world which, at least in practice, does not believe in eternity at all. How many people have you seen die on TV with no thought whatsoever of an afterlife? Death is the end. Be that as it may,  it does not affect God’s purpose for people. We will knock on the door of eternity someday. If you have pursued your God-given goal, the door will not be opened by  a fellow in a red suit carrying a pitchfork.

The most important question is: “Is God God or are you  God?” If you decide that YOU are God by your lifestyle, then you are a fool, as the Psalm says. And there are no fools in heaven.

Is It Just Semantics?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/02 at 7:53 PM

In the field of language, Latin is classified as a dead language while English is classified as a living language. A dead language is one which is no longer spoken by any recognized group, and, therefore, its grammar and vocabulary will not change. (Latin has been dropped from most schools because “dead” was interpreted as “useless” which it is anything but.)

Since language is arbitrary to begin with, and is designed by those who use it, a living language changes all the time by adding new words, new meanings for old words, words dropped, etc. Words can pick up positive or negative meanings. Ex “pretty” used to mean “sneaky”.  Think of all the new words added to English in the past 30 years.

If you eliminate the English words with Latin or Greek roots, you are left with a very monosyllabic tribal language based on the uneducated Germanic tribes of Angles and Saxons who settled in England.  Thus, English may be widespread in the world because of American power and wealth (as Latin once was for the same reasons), but it is not a very sophisticated language. For example, the Greek language, much older than English, has about 7-8 words that mean “love” depending on the object of the love. If a Greek uses a form of “agape,” we know he is referring to religious love. If he uses “eros,” we know he means physical love.  If he uses “philos,” he is thinking of friendship.

In English, we use only one word, “love” to cover everything.  Thus we love God; God loves us; we love our spouse, our child, our parents and the country. But we also “love” our team, pizza, ice cream, that movie, a TV program, and we’d love to visit Europe. We even love the dog.

Thus the word love covers so much that it really doesn’t mean much or at least not what it’s supposed to mean.  We have extended the meaning of love to encompass the ideas of like, prefer, hope, desire  etc.

The ability to love is one of those gifts of God that comes with our rational nature.

No other creature can love….not even the dog.  It is like language, law, conversation, fine arts etc…a peculiarly human gift in that only humans can engage in them.

Love must be rational.  This is why we tend to look askance at infatuation whose root is “silly”.  Love can only apply to rational beings. You simply cannot love ice cream or any other food.  I suggest that these egregious uses of the “love” may be part of the reason that love doesn’t mean what it used to mean; we have made it a vague and amorphous word.

We need to find a synonym that conveys the idea of love accurately.  We are always hearing that God loves us. Is it a quasi romantic, cutesy, mushy love that cannot even be really imagined, let alone grasped by the mind?  It is because of this false idea of divine love that the error of universal salvation has arisen. “God loves us so much, He would never send anyone to hell.” “God is good that He could never sent anyone to hell.”

I suggest we think of love in  terms of “commitment”. Whenever we hear “love”, we think “commitment.” John 3:5 might be more meaningful if we said, “God was so committed to the world that he gave His only-begotten Son…”   “Commitment” suggests a much stronger reality.

All human love should involve commitment to another person. If there is no commitment, the “love” may be based merely on physical attraction (“He’s a hunk.”) or selfish utility  (marrying the boss’s daughter). The highest love involves a dedication/commitment to the spiritual and/or temporal well-being of another person.

There is another aspect of real love that contemporary society has rejected. The best love relationship has a divine component. If you do not have a commitment to God and the things of God, whatever love you offer will be diminished because God is the source of love. A true love song can be used as a prayer, too. Think of “Be My Love”. Try making a prayer out of modern “love” songs!

When we think of love, think of commitment to someone. That is a strong word….and a bit scary, too. It does give us sense of what is expected in a love relationship whether it is with God or another person. When we want to have a model of commitment, we need look no further than the Bible and Christ. God didn’t just say he was committed to man, he proved it on at least three major occasions.

The first was Christmas when a divine Being allowed himself to take on human form.

The second was at the Crucifixion when Christ committed Himself to rescue mankind potentially from hell.

The third is a commitment that we don’t usually think of in that way…the Resurrection. This was a commitment to the peace of mind of the faithful who, because of the Resurrection, need never doubt that the Gospels are true history and, therefore, reliable in all that they teach.

As Catholics, rejoice and be glad that our God has shown His commitment to us.

Have we reciprocated that commitment?