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Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

Signs For Our Times – Part III: Catholicity of the Church

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2013/04/17 at 1:00 AM

The third  mark or sign of the true Church is CATHOLICITY.  “Catholic” written with a small “c” is a legitimate word, but it is rarely used except in reference to the Catholic Church.  The word itself means universal.  In modern times, universality is a much-coveted trait.  Credit card companies boast that their cards can be used anywhere in the world.  Cell phone companies tell you, that with their phones, you can reach anyone in the world.  The same boast is made for travelers checks.  Universality is then seen as a very positive attribute.

The idea of universality applies to the Catholic Church in different ways.  The Catholic Church is universal or catholic because its founder, Jesus Christ, is universal in that, because He is God, He is everywhere.  There is nowhere in the world you can go where He is not.  Every other religious founder was subject to the limitations of space, place and time.  Christ is everywhere at once, and where Christ is, there is also the Catholic Church.

That the Church be a world-church was a direct command of its divine founder who told His apostles to preach the Gospel to all nations.  This she has done.  There is no place in the world where the term Catholic Church is not known.

The Catholic Church is catholic or universal in that it embraces all races and nationalities without favoring any of them.  All true Catholics the world over believe in the same doctrines and moral code because the Catholic Church does not have denominations or sects.  Practicing Catholics anywhere in the world would recognize the faith of a Catholic from another continent.  All Catholics consider themselves under the religious jurisdiction of the Pope and the local bishop.  Because of this, any particular parish is also a part of the universal church, rather than an independent entity.

Other churches cannot claim universality or catholicity because they do not have a missionary spirit from their beginning.  Buddhism makes no effort to win converts.  (Buddhism is not really a religion because it espouses no Deity.  It is really a philosophy that promotes a certain life-style or way of thinking about life.)  Protestantism is almost five hundred years old, but gave missionary activity no thought until the eighteen hundreds.  The vast majority of Protestant denominations are not large enough to support missionary activity.  Early Islam made converts by the sword.

Thus, only the Catholic Church has consistently, from its founding, set out to spread the good news of salvation to all people and places, thereby making it the only Church that has followed the mandate of the Founder.

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Correct Answer? By J. Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/11/02 at 9:11 AM

THE PROBLEM: Pollsters who deal only in religious matters tells us that between 75% and 80% of those who live in the U.S. Label themselves  as “Christian”.  This means that between 225 and 240 million people label themselves as followers of Jesus Christ.  Yet, by any theological, moral, philosophical, or cultural standard, the US is a pagan nation with a notable lack of Christian morality: 50 million abortions, rampant pornography, illegal drugs, greed (often called “inflation”).

Does anyone really think that  all this can be attributed to the 20% of non-Christians in the country? Pollsters further tell us that Catholics are no better than any others in espousing the cultural immoralities. Between 60-80% of Catholics approve abortion, divorce, pre-marital sex, cohabitation, Mass  as optional, same-sex relationships etc.

The same high percentages do not accept/ believe some of the basic doctrines of the faith.  63% do not believe that Christ is really present in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine.  Some do not think morality is any of the Church’s business, especially regarding sex and marriage. I wonder if this is why Our Lord spoke of hell far more than of heaven.

HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT? During the Middle Ages, the Church took the best of the ancient Greek and Roman  world and Christianized it.  The Renaissance  took some of the worst of the ancient world, ignored the Church’s contribution, secularized society and philosophy, and declared, “Now we have the answer”.  The Reformation  took the truths of Revelation and reason, and disputed, distorted, and destroyed many of them.  And they cried, “Now we have the answer”.

Rationalism/Enlightenment said religion is the cause of too many problems.  Man needs only his reason the build a perfect life for himself. Forget the supernatural nonsense. We will think our way to a Utopia on earth.  Science became the new religion.  And they smiled and said, “Now we have the answer.”

Romanticism- it took no time at all to discover that people do not really want to think very much. Rousseau said that everyone can’t think well, but everyone can feel.  Emotions and feeling became to the guidelines and norms.  And they danced for joy and said, “Now we have the answer.

On and on the crazy ideas went until nowadays we are told…there is no objective truth;  truth is subjective; contradictions are quite acceptable; opinion is what counts; moral and intellectual judgments are taboo; religion has the status of a hobby; God is made in man’s image….if He is thought of at all.

THE EFFECTS: The result of these centuries of false and anti-human philosophies is a crushing and  irrational secularism sweeping the part of the world that was once called “Christendom”. Religion, the most far-reaching and important activity of humans has been relegated to  the level of one’s personal likes, such as television programs, in the dominant cultural philosophy.  But religion is still given lip-service once in a while and Jesus Christ is usually listed as a “great philosopher”, a great moralist, a great teacher in the same breath as Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius or Lao-Tse.

In reality, that idea simply does not work. Christ is  either God or a fraud…often, as we say, a nutcase. Why? Because too many times He claimed to be God. The first sign hat He might be what he claimed lies in the hundreds of prediction about Him and His life, made by many prophets, who did not know one another because they lived at different times. All these prophecies were centered on one person and every one was fulfilled in that same person. No one predicted Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Martin Luther etc.

Imagine trying to predicts particular details of the life of descendant who will live five centuries from now.Impossible. Yet, this is just what happened in the case of Christ…and no one else.

Jesus Himself prophesied the betrayal by  Judas, the denial by Peter,  His own resurrection, and the destruction of Jerusalem.

We are familiar with the Gospel miracles so we need not labor over them. They are historical facts. And there were at least hundreds because the Gospels, in several places, tell is that “He healed all in that district”.  These miracles were done on His own authority and using his own power.  No other religious founder claimed to be God or  performed miracles. At most, they claimed a special relationship with God.

We must remember that the Resurrection is the one surpassing miracle never duplicated in the entire history of the world.  It is a  historical fact.  We have conquered space and the ocean, but not the six-foot hole.

CONCLUSION: But what about us? We don’t live in  the time of Christ. How do we connect?

Our Lord told us that He would be with us for all time. He is with us and we are with Him in the Catholic Church. The Church is the visible representative of Christ on earth. Like her founder, she is the only source of salvation, the only source of truth, infallible and miraculous in her spiritual activity: the Sacraments.  The Catholic Church is the one true Church.All other churches that call themselves Christian are deficient to some degree. But, this is not a good time to be a Catholic because of the scandals. The Church has never enjoyed a “Golden Age”.  Our Lord predicted multitude of trouble and so has it been .mostly because of the clergy.  However, He promised : “I am with you all days…the gates of hell will not prevail.” The scandals prove the divinity of the Church, the two natures in the Church. The Church will survive.

So, the Christ..God or Fraud. Does It Really Matter? Absolutely. It’s a matter of life and death;.eternal life or death. Unless we answer this question correctly and live accordingly, we may hear some the most frightening words in the Bible, “Because you have denied me before men, (and that’s what an incorrect answer is.) I will deny you before My Father.” Those who have the correct relationship with Christ and the Church will be able, not only to say, but to know:”Now we have the answer”.  And there is no other.

What is Truth? By J. Reagan

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2012/09/07 at 9:11 AM

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.

Fr. Robert Spitzer, SJ – Finding God Through Faith and Reason

In 15 Audio on 2011/09/21 at 6:00 AM

Finding God through Faith and Reason

Host – Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D.

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., lends insight into new evidence gathered from the fields of contemporary philosophy and physics which supports proof for the existence of God. The nature of the universe itself, including many constants which preserve the balance of daily operations, connotes the existence of a creator. The principle of intelligent design leads to logical conclusions about the nature of God

Please click on this link to access programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7132&T1=Spitzer

Finding God through Faith and Reason

1. How Can You Prove Godʼs Existence?

Fr. Spitzer surveys the types of evidence as A Priori, A Posteriori, as well as publicly and privately accessible, and distinguishes between evidence that has recourse to experience or sensation and that which does not. Using the argument that to “achieve the unachievable,” as in saying “past time is infinite,” is a contradiction and therefore impossible, Fr. Spitzer concludes that there must be a “creation event” because time must be finite, and hence a creator must exist.

2. St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proof of an Uncaused Cause

In the history of life in the universe, Fr. Spitzer distinguishes between two forms of being: the Caused Causes, which rely on something else in order to exist; and the Uncaused Cause, or that which needs nothing other than itself to exist. Going back into the past and positing an infinite number of caused causes gets us nowhere in determining ultimate causality.

St. Thomas sheds light with his Proof of the Uncaused Cause: There must be at least one uncaused cause. The Uncaused Cause cannot cause itself. There can only be one Uncaused Cause (God).

3. Metaphysical Proof Part One: Proof of an Unconditioned Reality

In the history of life in the universe, Fr. Spitzer distinguishes between two realities: Conditioned Reality, or that which must have conditions fulfilled in order to exist; and Unconditioned Reality, that which does not need to have any conditions fulfilled in order to exist. If going back in the line of successive causalities or agents, there are a finite number of conditions, the final condition must also be a conditioned reality, needing something else to fulfill its conditions for existence. If there are only conditioned realities, then nothing can exist. If the cat is dependent on an infinite number of conditions to exist, it is unachievable, and will never exist. Therefore at least one Unconditioned Reality must exist.

4. Metaphysical Proof Part Proof of an Absolutely Simple Reality

Fr. Spitzer examines the Proof of an Absolutely Simple Reality. As a presupposition, he states that, “If there is no Unconditioned Reality, then no conditioned reality (that which must have conditions fulfilled) can exist.” How does one describe the coexistence of the Unconditioned Reality with all conditioned realities? The Unconditioned Reality must be defined as absolutely simple. “Simplicity” denotes Something so transparent to itself that it literally has no intrinsic or extrinsic boundaries. “Absolute Simplicity” connotes no exclusivity, only total compatibility with everything. Hence we see how God can co-exist with the created universe, permeating it with his omnipresence.

5. Metaphysical Proof : Proof of a Unique, Unrestricted Reality

Fr. Spitzer looks into the Proof of a Unique, Unrestricted Reality. It is the nature of finites and boundaries to exclude. Therefore the simpler the reality, the more inclusive. Absolute Simplicity means lacking all intrinsic and extrinsic boundaries, or excluding properties. An Unconditioned Reality cannot exclude anything from itself (Absolutely Simple). An Absolutely Simple being must be infinite and unique (one and only one).

6. Metaphysical Proof : Proof of a Continuous Creator of All Else That Is

Fr. Spitzer surveys the proof of a continuous creator of all else that is. First, there must be a last condition that the conditioned reality depends on for existence. The one Unconditioned Reality is the ultimate ground of reality for all conditioned reality. The one Unconditioned Reality is the Creator of all else that is. The Unconditioned Reality is continually thinking all reality into reality. If God stops thinking us into existence, we would become nothing. God is an absolutely simple, unique, continuous Creator of all else that is.

7. A Priori Cosmological Proof: Proof that Past Time Is Finite and Requires a Creator

Fr. Spitzer surveys the proof that past time is finite and requires a creator. Past time has occurred; it has been achieved. The notion of infinite past time is impossible, for it would constitute an “achieved unachievable.” Since past time must be finite in any possible universe, then it must have a terminus (a beginning). If past time had a beginning, then it could not have created itself.

8. A Priori Cosmological Proof : Proof that the Creator of Past Time Is Not Conditioned by Time and Is Therefore Absolutely Simple

Fr. Spitzer surveys the proof that the creator of past time is not conditioned by time and is therefore absolutely simple. Past time must always be finite in all possible universes, in all possible conditions; it must have a beginning, prior to which it is nothing (does not exist). There must be one “creator” of past time and the universe, who is necessarily timeless and completely unchangeable. The Creator of past time is trans-temporal, not conditioned by past time.

9. A Posteriori Cosmological Evidence: The Universe Is Finite in Time and Space, Implying a Creator

Citing cosmological evidence, Fr. Spitzer states that the universe is finite in time and space, implying a creator. Einstein had suspected that the universe is finite. Hubble discovered that the universe is mostly “red-shifting,” meaning that the universe is expanding! The universe is not only expanding, it is slowing down in its expansion. The universe has a finite mass, 10 to the 55 Kg. The observable universe is likely only 13.7 billion years old. What was it prior? The universe literally did not exist prior to 13.7 billion years ago. If the universe began at a Big Bang, we know it is 13.7 billion years old, and it was hence created. The intelligent design of the universe implies that the Creator must be a super-intellect.

10.Teleological Evidence : The Extreme Improbability of the Universe Being Capable of Sustaining Life

Fr. Spitzer explains the extreme improbability of the universe on its own being capable of sustaining life. An anthropic universe is capable of giving rise to and sustaining life, whereas a non-anthropic universe is incapable of giving rise to life. The universal constants in relation to each other (the speed of light, minimum lengths and time, etc.) can only have a very narrow window of values in order to accommodate life. Any value above or below that narrow window of values will never give rise to any life form. Therefore God had to arrange the constants of the universe in such a way that life is continually sustained.

11. Teleological Evidence: The Extremely Improbable Universe Betokens a Super-Intellect Designer

Fr. Spitzer cites evidence that the delicate, precise balance of life in the universe of its own nature requires an intelligent designer. Carbon is the building-block of life. Very slight variances in the resonance of the Carbon atom or Oxygen atom would preclude any bonding, precluding any life from forming. The odds against our universe developing are so great, it would be like a monkey randomly tapping keys on a typewriter to produce “Hamlet.” Hence the extremely improbable universe betokens a super-intellect designer.

12. Manifestations of God’s Absolute Simplicity: Truth, Love, Goodness, Beauty and Being 

Fr. Spitzer surveys what can be said about God through the nature of universal truth. Absolute simplicity implies no intrinsic or extrinsic boundaries. This pure acting power, or being itself, could act as a unity for every existing finite being. We know that mind can unify things, for truth is a unity. The truth itself is an unrestricted act of understanding, understanding itself and all else that is. Five transcendentals manifest Godʼs absolute simplicity: Being, Truth, Love, Goodness (Justice), Beauty. If Truth Itself, Love Itself, Goodness Itself, and Beauty Itself are all manifestations of absolute simplicity, then there can only be one Being Itself.

13. Evidence of the Human Soul: Our Desire for Perfect and Unconditional Truth, Love, Goodness, Beauty and Being

Fr. Spitzer observes that human beings have five transcendental desires for perfect, unconditional and unrestricted being, truth, love, goodness and beauty. Human beings seek unconditional truth: the perfect set of correct answers to the complete set of possible questions. We seek the unity of all forms. The five transcendental desires of the human being point directly to the existence of the soul. The soul innately longs for its creator, as St. Augustine wrote: “For Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

14. The Proofs in Light of Christian Faith: One God, Three Persons and the Incarnation

Fr. Spitzer notes that there is not more than one absolutely Simple Reality–only one God, and only one nature in God. But there are three Persons in One God. How can this be? Three Self-Consciousnesses are making unconditional use of the one infinite Power source. The Son’s self-consciousness entered into the thought of creation, subjecting Itself to the conditions of a finite human nature, while still making use of the infinite Power Source. The only explanation for why the Son would do this is LOVE (a perfect act of empathy), making Himself perfectly accessible to every human being.

Please click on this link to access programshttp://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7132&T1=Spitzer

Is Any Religion True? Part 1

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/09/17 at 1:01 AM

One of my memories of childhood is the time a friend and I were taken to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass. In front of the building, there is a life-size statue of an American Indian astride a horse with his eyes cast upward and his arms outstretched in supplication. The inscription on the base reads: “Appeal to the Great Spirit”, a testimony to the innate tendency toward religion in human nature. In fact, archeologists have discovered only two small groups of people who did not seem to have religion as a part of their culture.  Throughout human history, religion has been a part of culture.  Religion seems to be as natural to man as thinking.

Not only do religions abound, but they come in many forms. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are monotheistic. Greek and Roman mythology were polytheistic (many gods) as were the Arabs prior to Islam. Hinduism is both pantheistic (all is divine) and polytheistic (300,000,000 gods). Buddhism, often called a religion is actually non-theistic; it has no real concept of a deity. It is more of a philosophy of behavior.

In the modern world we make up quasi religions and worship ideas rather than deities. Professional atheism has become a religion. Darwinian evolution has ceased to be a part of science and has become a religious cult totally intolerant of opposing views. (The science of molecular biology has devastated the theory of evolution, but you will never hear this from the media, the education establishment or science partisans.) There are also “religions” based on tolerance, relativism and determinism, among others.

While the Creator may have instilled a penchant toward religion in human nature, man has certainly distorted and denigrated the religious tendency. Human religion is full of contradictions, absurdities, irrational beliefs and, sometimes, downright evil activities.

The world is awash in relativistic and political-correctness claims that we should not pass judgments on any religious beliefs because that would show bias and prejudice, the great sins of the modern Western world. We are told that we can never use such terms as: “better” or “worse”, “good” or “bad” or “true” or” false.” The result has been that since we cannot deal with religion in any rational or responsible way, it should be relegated to the level of a personal hobby with no societal impact or importance at all.

Ideas have consequences, and the abandonment of age-old religious standards in the West has led to a precipitous decline in rational and moral behavior in general. Watch any newscast and you must conclude that the world is going insane. For example, the Federal Department of Education has decreed that one need not know grammar, spelling or be able to write coherently to be hired to teach English. Multiplying this over and over, the insane are running the asylum. Wars, crime, economic collapse, moral perversities, gross incompetence in government at all levels haunt our waking moments.

The questions now must become, “Can there be a true religion amid the mishmash of contemporary religions?” And, “Did the Creator intend something other than the religious cornucopia of today’s world?” If there is one thing that is evident in nature, it is that the Creator is rational and set up the universe in an orderly and systematic way without conflicts, distortions or contradictions. He surely envisioned the same with regard to the religious tendency He put into human nature.  If so, there must be a form of religion that is also orderly and rational, and, therefore, in accord with the divine plan.

To assert that the Creator intended that mankind live in a religious hodge-podge is to deny the goodness and wisdom of God. If He designed man to be religious, it means that humans were meant to have some relationship with God. If this is so, there can be only one way to attain that relationship, and anyone serious about it will want to find that one way.

The belief that God may have set up a particular way to reach Him gives man a goal or purpose in finding that way. Man, by nature, is an explorer and discoverer, but modern man says there is no true religion. Modern man picks whatever one appeals most . . . or, better still, he simply doesn’t pick any religion. Who cares!

If the Creator ordained that man should be able to learn something about Him, it becomes incumbent on God to make it possible to do this. If humans could not perceive and find a true way to God, it would mean that God is demanding what humans cannot do which would be a gross injustice. Fortunately, that is not the case because any normal person can observe nature, its workings and arrive at a logical conclusion that nothing so intricate and complex could ever have created itself, and from there, one proceeds to the idea of a true God.

Objectively speaking, man is a religious creature; however, humans can and often do suppress this tendency. Millions do it every day. It also does not guarantee that humans will find the true path to God. Millions are members of contradictory faiths. To those who do believe there is a God and are sincerely attempting to find Him, He did make available to them a sure way to Him. The Indian sitting on the horse did not have the benefits of later philosophy and theology, but he did know there was a Being to whom he owed allegiance. This understanding put him miles ahead of the arrogant moderns who dismiss the very idea of a Supreme Being, who reject the transcendent, who have all the important answers to unimportant questions, whose ignorant egos direct their superficial lives and whose ultimate fate may not lie with The Great Spirit.

(In part 2, we will try to find that unique religion.)

Real Truth

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2011/04/23 at 3:48 PM

St. Thomas Aquinas defined truth as the conformity of the mind to reality.  Today, the world’s plight can be directly connected to the failure to recognize truth.  We grow in knowledge of practical truth, but we become blind towards truth itself.  Thus, we lose sight of who we are and who we are meant to be.  Man becomes true to himself as he grows closer to Him who is the Truth, the Way and the Life.

Another Easter!

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/11 at 6:01 PM

It’s a rare Catholic church that does not talk about the significance of Christmas on Christmas day and the significance of the Resurrection on Easter.  The reason is that both these feasts have momentous implication in the Christian religion. Easter is the paramount celebration of the Christian Church. Good Friday would have been forever in dispute if there had been no Easter.

St. Paul tells us that without the Resurrection, our faith and belief is useless because it would amount to little more than opinion. What would we have faith in? A corpse? A memory? A shaky hope? But, the Resurrection of Christ is God’s seal of approval on Christ and His Church.

No other religious founder is still alive. Some have known burial places; some do not. Some, like Ellen Gould White, founder of the Seventh Day Adventists, promised her followers that she would rise from the dead. They are still waiting. No religion even claims a founder who came back from the dead. Even Islam, the source of much religious absurdity, does not claim that Mohammed is still alive.

The Resurrection is not some myth or fable or tall story. It is a historical fact like any other authenticated fact of history. Christians should not think of the Resurrection as some pious sectarian tale, but a fact of history attested to by 500 witnesses, some of whom actually conversed with the risen Christ. Courts accept the testimony of two reliable witnesses. What of five hundred? Many of these were still living when Gospels and Epistles were written.

If Christ had not risen from the dead as He prophesied, His mission on earth would have been suspect and subject to two millennia of bickering, arguing, doubt, etc.  By rising from the grave by His own divine power, He affirmed Himself as God and Savior, making His teaching of divine origin and, therefore, not subject to change by human or group of humans.

Thus the Resurrection, by itself, affirms the truth of Christianity. All other religions, ‘ipso facto’, can be labeled ‘false’. Ah, yes, you say; what about the ‘sincere’ members of other religions. They may be sincere, but they are sincerely wrong. Sincerity does not affect truth. Truth does not arise in our minds, but in the real world.

After Christ died on the Cross, He could have brought Himself back to life and simply vanished from the tomb. Salvation would still be possible for man.Prayer would be possible.Liturgies would be possible.What would not be possible would freedom from doubt and anxiety, and centuries of skepticism. Humans want to have certitude about vitally important matters, and the Resurrection is a divine gift of certitude  about Christ and His Church. It is another example of divine love (commitment) for the benefit of us humans.

Man has conquered the heights of the heavens and the depths of the seas, but, even though some try, he cannot seem to conquer that six-foot hole. Not a single human has ever come back to life by his own power, and even those whom Christ raised from the dead in the Gospels died later and are still dead.

In this Easter-time, the world is in a mess. All of it is man-made.Nothing seems to be working. There is fear and dread of resurgent Islam. World economies are falling. There are wars, protests, insurrections all over.

Politicians have no answers or the wrong ones. Some Church leaders have rejected their God for human applause. Some feel like a man in a boat without oars heading for a waterfall.

But, God is unchanging. Easter tells us that God still cares about people and is committed to their well-being if they so desire. In a world of chaos and unbelief, the resurrected Christ calls to us and says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy burdened and I will refresh you.”

Easter tells us that is a real possibility. Recall the words of St. Augustine, “Our hearts were made for Thee, O, God, and they will not rest until they rest in Thee.” The risen Christ is the ONLY answer to man’s problems. That is why he referred to Himself as “THE way, THE truth, and THE life.

Correct Answer?

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2011/04/11 at 5:50 PM

THE PROBLEM: Pollsters who deal only in religious matters tells us that between 75% and 80% of those who live in the U.S. Label themselves  as “Christian”.  This means that between 225 and 240 million people label themselves as followers of Jesus Christ.  Yet, by any theological, moral, philosophical, or cultural standard, the US is a pagan nation with a notable lack of Christian morality: 50 million abortions, rampant pornography, illegal drugs, greed (often called “inflation”).

Does anyone really think that  all this can be attributed to the 20% of non-Christians in the country? Pollsters further tell us that Catholics are no better than any others in espousing the cultural immoralities. Between 60-80% of Catholics approve abortion, divorce, pre-marital sex, cohabitation, Mass  as optional, same-sex relationships etc.

The same high percentages do not accept/ believe some of the basic doctrines of the faith.  63% do not believe that Christ is really present in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine.  Some do not think morality is any of the Church’s business, especially regarding sex and marriage. I wonder if this is why Our Lord spoke of hell far more than of heaven.

HOW DID WE GET TO THIS POINT? During the Middle Ages, the Church took the best of the ancient Greek and Roman  world and Christianized it.  The Renaissance  took some of the worst of the ancient world, ignored the Church’s contribution, secularized society and philosophy, and declared, “Now we have the answer”.  The Reformation  took the truths of Revelation and reason, and disputed, distorted, and destroyed many of them.  And they cried, “Now we have the answer”.

Rationalism/Enlightenment said religion is the cause of too many problems.  Man needs only his reason the build a perfect life for himself. Forget the supernatural nonsense. We will think our way to a Utopia on earth.  Science became the new religion.  And they smiled and said, “Now we have the answer.”

Romanticism- it took no time at all to discover that people do not really want to think very much. Rousseau said that everyone can’t think well, but everyone can feel.  Emotions and feeling became to the guidelines and norms.  And they danced for joy and said, “Now we have the answer.

On and on the crazy ideas went until nowadays we are told…there is no objective truth;  truth is subjective; contradictions are quite acceptable; opinion is what counts; moral and intellectual judgments are taboo; religion has the status of a hobby; God is made in man’s image….if He is thought of at all.

THE EFFECTS: The result of these centuries of false and anti-human philosophies is a crushing and  irrational secularism sweeping the part of the world that was once called “Christendom”. Religion, the most far-reaching and important activity of humans has been relegated to  the level of one’s personal likes, such as television programs, in the dominant cultural philosophy.  But religion is still given lip-service once in a while and Jesus Christ is usually listed as a “great philosopher”, a great moralist, a great teacher in the same breath as Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius or Lao-Tse.

In reality, that idea simply does not work. Christ is  either God or a fraud…often, as we say, a nutcase. Why? Because too many times He claimed to be God. The first sign hat He might be what he claimed lies in the hundreds of prediction about Him and His life, made by many prophets, who did not know one another because they lived at different times. All these prophecies were centered on one person and every one was fulfilled in that same person. No one predicted Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Martin Luther etc.

Imagine trying to predicts particular details of the life of descendant who will live five centuries from now.Impossible. Yet, this is just what happened in the case of Christ…and no one else.

Jesus Himself prophesied the betrayal by  Judas, the denial by Peter,  His own resurrection, and the destruction of Jerusalem.

We are familiar with the Gospel miracles so we need not labor over them. They are historical facts. And there were at least hundreds because the Gospels, in several places, tell is that “He healed all in that district”.  These miracles were done on His own authority and using his own power.  No other religious founder claimed to be God or  performed miracles. At most, they claimed a special relationship with God.

We must remember that the Resurrection is the one surpassing miracle never duplicated in the entire history of the world.  It is a  historical fact.  We have conquered space and the ocean, but not the six-foot hole.

CONCLUSION: But what about us? We don’t live in  the time of Christ. How do we connect?

Our Lord told us that He would be with us for all time. He is with us and we are with Him in the Catholic Church. The Church is the visible representative of Christ on earth. Like her founder, she is the only source of salvation, the only source of truth, infallible and miraculous in her spiritual activity: the Sacraments.  The Catholic Church is the one true Church.All other churches that call themselves Christian are deficient to some degree. But, this is not a good time to be a Catholic because of the scandals. The Church has never enjoyed a “Golden Age”.  Our Lord predicted multitude of trouble and so has it been .mostly because of the clergy.  However, He promised : “I am with you all days…the gates of hell will not prevail.” The scandals prove the divinity of the Church, the two natures in the Church. The Church will survive.

So, the Christ..God or Fraud. Does It Really Matter? Absolutely. It’s a matter of life and death;.eternal life or death. Unless we answer this question correctly and live accordingly, we may hear some the most frightening words in the Bible, “Because you have denied me before men, (and that’s what an incorrect answer is.) I will deny you before My Father.” Those who have the correct relationship with Christ and the Church will be able, not only to say, but to know:”Now we have the answer”.  And there is no other.

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.

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.