Thursday, November 7, 2013

When Truth doesn't cut it



For almost twenty years, I have operated under the assumption that souls generally come to God through a hearing of the Truth. After all, that's how my own faith was awakened -- by an exercise of the intellect. I read and I studied and I compared and I examined, and everything Catholicism claimed made beautiful sense to me. It was reasonable, logical, cohesive, coherent, and consistent. On the basis of that coherence, I changed my actions, my beliefs, my heart, and my soul, and I have never looked back. The Truth of the Church was, to me, the essence of her appeal. One of my favorite sayings when it comes to evangelization is "Truth comes with graces attached" -- and yes, it does.

However, I have recently come to understand that I and those like me are not the norm. I have learned that most people do not come to Christ and the Church through an exacting and exhilarating exercise of the intellect. For most people, Truth is not what initially propels them toward Christ.

Well, knock me over with a feather.

But don't get me wrong: Somewhere in my brain, I knew that already. Every human being is unique by design, and I'd read that different folks are drawn to God in different ways: Some are drawn by the fact that God is Truth, for sure, but others by His Oneness (unity), or by His Goodness, or by His Beauty, etc. I've referred to these different "voices of God" when discussing the call to conversion, but I don't think it truly sank in until recently.

First came the election of Pope Francis. For those of us who live mostly in our heads, adoring Truth, embracing intellectual order, craving clarity, and swooning at doctrinal precision, Pope Benedict XVI was our dream pontiff, following on the heels of another beloved papa, the philosopher Blessed John Paul the Great. We Truth-groupies had two popes in a row who nourished our souls by feeding our minds as well. Then suddenly, Pope Francis burst into our comfortable neatness and encouraged us to "make a mess" -- by leaving our books and debates and pristine doctrines for a time and going out into the streets and byways to meet our fellow human beings exactly where they are. Francis had impromptu, non-authoritative exchanges with journalists, secularists, and atheists, chats that were off-the-cuff, even sloppy -- not at all the polished and carefully weighed words of his predecessors.

And the world went nuts. And folks like me readjusted, mentally.

The world "likes" this pope, not for the doctrine and morality he teaches and preaches (which is no different from what came before), not because of ordered thought and careful words, but because he seems to care and listen and love. He seems relatable and real, and more like a loving grandpa in the neighborhood than a Supreme Pontiff on a throne.

But let me stop right here, lest anyone misunderstand: It's not that his predecessors did not love and care for and ache for every soul on the planet! Oh, how it boils my blood when people misunderstand the mystical, saintly JPII who embraced all mankind, or when they malign the shy and kindly Benedict, a quiet and gentle introvert. It's simply that Francis moves the world in a different way, and I think it's that he makes people feel something first, before he makes them think something.

For so many reasons, the soul of modern man is desperate to feel, and feel profoundly.

Francis instinctively operates on an understanding that I needed to learn: Most people do not come to Christ through Truth first. Most people come to Christ prompted by an encounter with Beauty or an experience of Goodness. Love and Truth cannot be separated, of course, but in this era of disconnection, isolation, and despair, Love must precede Truth or Truth won't get a hearing, much less an understanding. They will not hear our Truth if they do not first feel (and believe) our Love.

The next step in my broadened understanding came when I started pondering what I do on this blog. My whole shtick is debating and dissecting and raking over ideas for Truth and clarity. I know from the combox and from my email inbox that this approach is helpful to many, especially those Catholics who, due to poor catechetical formation, need to understand the tenets of the Faith better. I have something to offer in that area, it's been the main goal of the Bubble all along, and I've absolutely no intention of changing what I do on this blog (so don't worry, truthoholics!).

But I have noticed something other than the intellectual debates (and the insistence on Truth) quietly at work here.

You cannot imagine (heck, I would never have imagined!) what goes on behind the scenes of a blog like this. I don't want to reveal anything personal or betray confidences, but trust me when I say that many of the most challenging and even exasperating commenters are the nicest folks off-screen. I love them, truly, and I think they know it. I've been quiet friends with some of them for years, and a few have asked my advice or poured out their hearts, sensing that for all my doctrinal rigidity, I really do care. I've even had one hit-and-run Church-hater email me later to apologize and tell me the heartbreaking story behind the rage in her comment. I was able to pray for her and her family, and both our hearts were changed.

It's in the relationships forged, not so much the technical debates, that real human connections are made, and the fruit I've seen is that an opponent finds some respect for the Church and gives consideration to Christ where before there had been no such thing. I've even witnessed small miracles that have come through the heart-to-hearts and not through the doctrinal debates.

At some point, l will be able to tell you specific stories. Today, I will just remind you that behind every comment, query, challenge, and curse is a person who has a story -- and wounds that we cannot see. Be gentle and kind with everyone you meet and everyone you debate, because for most people, if they can't sense your authentic love for them, they will not want anything to do with your Truth.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. -- 1 Corinthians 13

Thank you, Pope Francis, for reminding us that Truth is not
always the first way to introduce Christ to the human heart. 

210 comments:

  1. What God knows about us (and engaged in the incarnation) is that no one will be converted by a doctrine. Conversion happens in relationship. Great post, Leila. Thanks.

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  2. Oh Leila, you lay out beautifully my own tangled thoughts that I rarely take the time to orderly spread out.

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  3. My favorite post of yours, Leila! And your caring shines in your blog. That's why I keep coming back. :-)

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    1. Johanne, you know how much it means to hear this coming from you! Thank you!

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  4. Thank you. so well you describe what our Pope is doing leading souls to Christ through love. As a fellow introvert , badly educated in the faith growing up thus the years of nominal Catholic living, and now zealous truthoholic.. I love your blog.

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  5. Oh, this is so good. Thank you. I've said a few times in the time since Pope Francis's election that, while Benedict was my pope--the one I hoped with all my might would be elected, the one who fed my intellect-driven faith so fully--Francis is the pope the Church needs right now to win hearts. The Holy Spirit is good to us. This post hits on some important lessons that I'd do well to remember and live out.

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  6. Your sincerity and grace are so evident in your writing --- you stand head and shoulders above other bloggers for this.

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  7. I love love love this so much.

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  8. I love love love this so much.

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  9. My reversion happened because the Truth hit me upside the head over a period of 2 years, through this and other blogs, prayer and circumstances. As have you, Leila, I've come to learn that you attract non-believers and haters with gentleness. However, in my passion as a revert (AND being a New Yorker!), and in my frustration with seeing the depravity in this world, and worse, in this country, going into freefall, I have no patience with the blind, especially those who seem willfully ignorant. Pair that with my having the sublety of a sledgehammer, and I go over poorly. God bless you for your ability to be patient and your reaching out.

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  10. I love this post! A good reminder for all relationships, only when the heart feels safe can the head do any thinking about truth, morality, and a loving Father.

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  11. This was very well said. I liked this, "I think it's that he makes people feel something first, before he makes them think something.". And this, "Most people do not come to Christ through Truth first. Most people come to Christ prompted by an encounter with Beauty or an experience of Goodness." YES! I think esp (?) for our generation- they want to SEE it lived. Thanks for articulating this so well for me, Leila!

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  12. Love it! Preach it sister! Love is never ever wasted and it is the one thing that most mirrors our creator. Well done Leila.

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  13. I like this post. I've believed in God in a distant sort of way for quite a while, mostly because of philosophical arguments. But more recently I feel like I've gotten closer through prayer and the Bible, which isn't the sort of thing I ever did much of.

    Truth is surely important, but it doesn't always inspire people in the way that less cerebral stuff can. I love Pope Francis, and I think he represents the Catholic Church (all of it, even the teachings I don't like) very well. I'm sure that many people will become Catholic because of him.

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  14. Spot on.

    If it hadn't been for Medjugorje (even though I'm very skeptical) two of the most faithful Catholics I know in my Parish, would just be the usual unconverted, ignorant, pew fodder. They're no intellectuals, but that is now no barrier. What they lack in that sphere is made up for by zeal and a burning desire to learn what the Church teaches to reject or correct all the error and superstition they were taught as kids. It's lovely to see people in their 60s so switched on to God like little kids, yet keen to grow in their Faith!

    They're planning to start a Rosary Group on a Sunday afternoon, followed by Benediction now we have a new priest who's keen on the laity doing anything that will bring about conversion as long as it's completely orthodox.

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  15. I second all who have thanked Leila for this wonderful post, and especially OneTimothyThreeFifteen. Indeed praise the Lord for Medjugorje. I have been there twice in the last couple of years, and it is a very blessed place. If you spend a few days there, you realize this, even non-Catholics and non-believers whom I know.

    The Faith is naturally accessible to all, since our Lord is the loving father of all, not just brainy people. This has been a wonderful aspect of our faith for me for a very long time. He draws all and He satisfies all, each in his or her own way.

    Finally, thank you Leila for quoting this passage from St. Paul. and have not love is engraved on the inside of my parents' wedding rings, and until about 10 years ago I didn't fully understand it. It encapsulates everything God, and our Faith, are about.

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  16. Your best-ever post. Congratulations and thank you.

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  17. Leila,

    You are very patient and kind with all the commenters, even those who can be really difficult and annoying. My favorite blog by far.

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  18. Sebastian,

    I am sure that Medjugorje is a wonderful experience. My wife wants us to go there (yeah, right). Does it concern you at all that the Church has not accepted the visions as being real and a directive has been sent to the US bishops that the clergy should not participate in devotions and visits by visionaries like Ivan? I know I'm the cynical one all the time but I would really like to know since my wife wants us to go there. I don't think it would be a positive experience for me.

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    1. Bill, I don't know if it would help to convince your wife it wouldn't be wise, but the Church has instructed parishes not to organise or participate in pilgrimages to Medjugorje at all, so really to go would be acting contrary to the guidance of the Church. Like you, I am highly skeptical and I will be staying well away from anything related to Medjugorje until it is definitively approved by the Church. What I've read about the seers and their behaviour makes me highly dubious.

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  19. Bill,

    Of course I am well aware that the Church has not yet recognized the visions, nor has She denied them. The local bishop even is not exactly a friend. Others, including Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna (under whose guidance YouCat was developed, and one of the contenders of recent papal elections) have been there and celebrated Mass. It is my understanding that Pope Benedict also has a favourable view. Full recognition will likely only come once the apparitions have stopped (and there are indications that they will soon), and all investigations have been completed.

    I cannot comment on individual seers such as Ivan as I am not familiar with the details. I can only tell you about the peace you encounter there, and love of Christ and His Most Holy Mother. One does not go to see a miracle. When we were there, news were making the rounds globally that a forgotten statue of the Virgin, left in a cellar for 25 years of one of the seers, had started glowing miraculously. Many people went to the house to see the statue for themselves. From our group, no one felt a need to go with one exception, and even he only at the insistent request of a relative back home. For many pilgrims like me it is not about expecting to witness a supernatural event, though it'd be cool to meet the Blessed Virgin. It's about meeting Christ, which you can do anywhere, at anytime, but a place like Medjugorje invites prayer, and that is the best, nay the only way, to meet Him.

    I think you will enjoy Medjugorje, I really do, and certainly your wife will. I've met non-believing, highly sceptical Protestants being touched by what they experienced. There are quite a few American visitors, and Mass is also celebrated daily in the English language (10 am). But the best is the hour of Adoration from 7-8 pm. I cannot find words to describe it.

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  20. Yes, to Love. Yes, to Truth. Yes, to listening to the other side. Yes, to challenging thoughts. Yes, to seeking intellectual clarity in argument. Yes, to letting it go to prayer.

    Yes, to keeping a light heart in heavy debates. Yes, to a genuine love that is there behind the screen. Yes, to a genuine love that is there face to face. Yes, to kindness and patience and illuminating words, no matter how eloquent or unpolished. Yes, to mercy when we fail at love. Yes, to it all. Nice post, Leila.

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    1. you really knocked this slap shot right over the centerfield wall:)

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    2. LOL - Credit those aluminum bats that allow for excellent puck control. ;)

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  21. I hate to be contrary, but I think to to an extent you are wrong.
    [elevator pitch on myself]: yes, I came to the Church as an intellectual - I converted while studying Logic and changed my major to Theology! As a convert and Theologian I love the books, and I love Benedict XVI as someone akin to me. Yes, people like you and I came to the Church because of Truth.
    Here's my quibble - Caritas and Truth *are not separate things*. The intellectual beauty of the Church is, yes, True - I find great joy and comfort in systematics, in the Summa Theologica, in reading the rubrics, in studying the canon law.
    But the emotional beauty of the Church is no less True - the Dies Irae, the Pieta, the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini; they also give great comfort and joy because the beauty of these things is True.
    St. Thomas Aquinas taught Truth in his writings, yes. But so did St. Damien of Molokai with his ministries.
    My great.... One of my great failings is to over-intellectualize my faith. I struggle every day to remind myself that words, books, debate, and all such things are really a *description of* the Truth - like great art, it inspires. When a doctor treats a sick child for nothing, when we feed the hungry and clothe the naked, when the priest elevates the Eucharist - that *is* Truth.
    Sorry for my little rant; hope I did not offend!

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  22. Aquinas dad- thats what I was thinking too. Its like music. It can be both intellectually dissected and aesthetically pleasing. But I'm guessing Leila is addressing the order of which we know things. One can notice the music is beautiful to the ear and later the mind. Or one can study the music and then play it. You are technically receiving both but its the order of your intial perceptions.

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  23. Thank you all so much. And yes, Deltaflute, you are right. That is really it. It's how we perceive and notice things, in which order. It's funny that after about two years of studying and reveling in doctrine (after discovering the Truth), I needed more. It was at that point that I started craving holiness and needed to know about prayer and the saints. Life changing!! But my first passion, what drew me to the Faith with such fervor, was intellectual stuff, doctrine, that type of Truth.

    Aquinas Dad, you did not offend, you said it well! I tried to imply what you said, but you said it better. You might like this:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/08/it-changed-my-life-and-blew-my-mind.html

    It's funny to see that I already touched on the "voices of God" so long ago, ha ha. And you can read both parts and see what happened to me!

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    1. Gosh, re-reading that, I guess it was about five years into my Faith that I needed "more" than the intellectual stuff. God needed to give me that time to lay the foundation for me, obviously!

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  24. First time commenter - but I have to say this is the best blog post I've read on this blog! You put into words what a lot of us are thinking. I was one that got moved by graces first and then intellect. Your blog was instrumental to my reversion.
    God Bless and thank you for this blog!

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  25. It is another of the beautiful both/ands in our Catholic Faith - Love and Truth - always together, never separate. It was the love of a fellow Christian that drew back to Him and the Truth of the Catholic faith that brought me back to her. Now I see how they connect, and why that love made me start thinking about all that I thought to be true.

    And, I know I said this in an email, but I felt like it needed to be said here too :).
    You live love well, my friend, you live love well.

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  26. Sebastian,

    This is the letter to the US Bishops.

    http://www.medjugorjetoday.tv/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/medjco21.jpg

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  27. Thank you Bill, but I'm inclined to ask: And...? Reference is made to a statement from 23 years ago, about a phenomenon that started 9 years earlier and continues to this day. The letter states that apparitions are not taken to be granted. People believe, but they do not take for granted. Like I wrote, Cardinal Schönborn went there in recent years and celebrated Mass. The Church is investigating. That is as it should be. I have full faith in whatever they eventually determine. Whatever it is, we have prayed and celebrated Mass in Medjugorje and found incredible peace, in Adoration and outside. What could possibly be wrong with that? I don't see anything wrong with the letter.

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  28. What could possibly be wrong with that?

    If it turns out that the visions are a hoax and the visionaries are frauds, then many well meaning people have been duped. If the Catholic Church is all about the "Truth" and the apparitions are a lie, then the Church has a credibility problem.

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    1. Given the amount of money the visionaries have made off these visions (unlike, for instances, Sister Lucia of the Fatima visions), it seems like there's a big incentive to make up these apparitions.

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    2. Bear in mind that even if the Church rules that the apparitions are worthy of belief, they are still classified as private revelation and no Catholic is bound to believe in them, or to believe in their authenticity. When it comes to private revelations, the Church does not make a ruling on whether or not they are true - she only rules on whether or not their content is in harmony with what we know from public revelation.

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  29. I have tended for a long time to see Truth and Love as very connected, intertwined subjects. God is Truth. God is Love. God is all things Good. (I think this should be obvious, since this is why we call him, "God," the Old English word for good, which is also the origin of "gospel," originally "godspel," which could thereby be translated both as the good message (evangelium) and the word of God. I digress!) Since God is all things Good, all Good things must be different ways to see God. Through Love, we see God's Kindness and Merciful Fatherhood. Through Truth, we see God's Patience and Wisdom, which are also ways of seeing His Kindness and Merciful Fatherhood. Through Beauty, we are able to see God's Creative nature and the special attention He pays to each of His creatures. Again, this is really just another way of seeing the same things. God is truly great, is He not?

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  30. Bill, the Church is investigating. The purpose of investigation is to determine whether something is the case or not. If the Church determines that the apparitions are/were not authentic, I don't see how She would have a credibility problem. She herself has made the investigations, as with all claims of miracles. Some are determined authentic, some not. Investigations are carried out by experts in their field, not all Catholic or believing.

    The apparitions in Medjugorje have been going on now for over 30 years, on a daily basis, originally to six children and teenagers. I would think if they were a hoax, that would be pretty apparent by now. But the Church is careful in its investigations, as She should be. In any case, even in the unlikely case that the apparitions were determined to be not authentic, that would not shake my faith one bit. I don't hang my hat on that, but something more solid.

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  31. Maria Louisa, can you please point me to the original Church source which instructs parishes not to organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje? Most groups traveling to Medjugorje are led by their parish priest, they are from all over the world, and they seem very orthodox/Church obedient to me. Which seers have made a lot of money off their visions? I have met Vicka, she lives a simple life in the village, not unlike most others. The village, extremely poor originally, has benefited from the large amounts of pilgrims, but by American or Western European standards they still have a very modest lifestyle. Looking forward to that source!

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  32. The problem with Medjugorje is that the apparitions will never stop until the last visionary dies so that the Church cannot announce its findings while they are still alive and expose them as the frauds that they are. They can have visions anywhere and anytime they choose? Yeah, right.

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  33. Did the Church have to wait for the last children who saw the Blessed Virgin at Fatima die before she recognized the apparitions? No. Why do you say Medjugorje is a fraud? On what evidence? Do you have proof? Have you been there and formed your own opinion? Why the prejudice? I have seen tons of good being done there, people being healed (spiritually and to some extent physically - look up the Cenacolo, which did not even originate in Medjugorje). It's all pretty awesome. I did not have the impression that anyone is being conned there, although I would expect such a place to attract scam artists and other evil. Apart from a brawl in a cafe, I haven't witnessed anything evil, everyone is peaceful and gentle, prices are moderate, and the whole atmosphere seems extraordinarily healthy. I really wonder where the accusations of fraud come from and what they are based on.

    The Virgin is no longer appearing to the original six, and as I wrote, there are indications that the apparitions will stop altogether. It's been over 30 years now.

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  34. Sebastian,

    I think that the people who go to Medjugorje mean well and are probably good people. But I think the Church should not wait for the apparitions to end before telling people not to go. I also see trips being led by parish priests and I think they are just boosting the economy of the region. That is not a bad thing, but it certainly raises suspicion.

    http://www.sanctepater.com/2009/10/medjugorje-seer-vicka-flinches-while-in.html?m=1

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  35. Bill, I will not comment on the quality and authenticity, or otherwise, of the link you provided. The Church has access to all the relevant witness and has not seen fit to declare the apparitions a fraud. She has little to gain if these were obvious frauds and the Church knew it. I have full trust in the Church's ability to determine in due time whether the apparitions were genuine or not. Meanwile, I and many others have had real encounters with the Risen Lord, and have witnessed something beautiful and real. That cannot be taken away.

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  36. I (personally) don't want to get into a discussion about Medjugorje, but I will direct readers to an informative article about obedience and private revelation in general:

    http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2009/11/obedience-to-catholic-church-judging.html

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  37. Sebastian,

    If you really want to know the truth about something, you should research it. Research on Medjugorje would include checking sources that call it out as a hoax. If you are afraid of the truth, you can just ignore those who disagree with you or attribute what they have to say to satanic sources.

    I prefer to find out the truth about something even if I would feel better believing in a falsehood.

    The link I sent you is legitimate. I checked out the story about the bishop and the video speaks for itself. The truth will set you free, right?

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  38. JP2: "This is what we believe."
    B16: "This is why we believe it."
    Francis: "Now go do it."
    :-)
    http://www.gadel.info/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/John-Paull-II-Benedict-XVI-Francis-I-Pope-meme.jpg

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  39. For me it was an experience. I already knew (or thought I knew) what the Church taught, but I wasn't spending really any time in prayer with God. My interests were elsewhere. Then I saw a one-man 'Passion of Our Lord' performance by Doug Barry of Radix on Palm Sunday in 2006. It really affected me; it changed my life. I felt like I was hearing the Gospel story for the first time.

    More than that, I felt like I was actually there. I kept thinking, "He is innocent! You can't crucify Him! He did nothing wrong!" I felt completely changed inside. I started studying the Faith. I realized I was not in a state of grace, so four days later, on Holy Thursday, I went to confession and had a powerful experience of God's Mercy. I felt like a boulder was lifted from my chest. I felt more alive than ever.

    I have kept on studying the Faith and have went from 'sort of knowing it', to knowing it better and loving it - although I still have much to learn. For me the experience of Christ in His Passion and in the Confessional preceded me falling in love with the God of all Truth!

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  40. This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I have a dear friend who brings so many people back to the Church through her loving friendship. And here I sit with all my Truth and knowledge and debate skills with nothing to show for it. Not that the thinker can't convert many as well. The one responsible for my thinking husband and my conversions is a loving theologian. Great post!

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  41. Thank you for the link, Leila. It does stress obedience to the local bishop. I haven't researched the local controversies too much and can't comment in detail. In the comments to the article, it is mentioned that Cardinal Schönborn affirmed the Church's position that "while nothing to date can be declared supernatural or not supernatural, the faithful can go to Medjugorje and are encouraged to go" and Pope JP II said "Medjugorje is a place of prayer and great fruits." I'll say that's enough for me for now. I haven't made any claims that the apparitions are in fact true, nor denied them, but completely deferred to the Church's eventual determination.

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  42. Pope JP II said "Medjugorje is a place of prayer and great fruits."

    It seems to me that he was implying that, even if it is nothing more than a pious fraud, people should still go to Medjugorje because of the good that has come from it. That doesn't reflect very well on the Church's love of the truth. You would think that it would have been more important for the apparitions to be true than any good that might have come from them. Who's to say that the Church doesn't have the same attitude to the Reserrection and all the supposed miracles by the saints?

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  43. Bill, I defer to the bishops of Medjugorje, and I don't give the apparitions any weight. But when you JPII said what he said, he was just stating a fact, completely detached from any apparitions claims. When the Church declares that Jesus rose from the dead, she is also stating a fact. There is nothing untrue in either statement.

    I love the other comments from everyone! Thank you all! I am being edified!

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  44. I love the comments on this Blog. You guys are awesome.
    Leila said
    "For so many reasons, the soul of modern man is desperate to feel and feel profoundly."

    Only sacrificial love penetrates that dulled human soul. Our culture has in some way gone through a spiritual lobotomy in which the supernatural and the sacrificial can't even be approached because people are closed minded. Many of the ideals our nation was founded on have been changed, distorted or completely removed. We are also bearing the fruits of 40 years of destructive BS ideas. Lots of second generation brokenness that can't even see why they are hurting , but know they are hurting none the less. They're slugging away with all these hard wired bad assumptions about the way life works. And they are demonstrably wrong based the clear results of their actions.
    Francis speaks of the church as a field hospital.
    I think he is specifically naming our world’s poor condition; wounded , beat up, many with sucking chest and many people frankly victims of a steamroller of bad ideas that are very hard to reverse. It's our job to love first, and then explain why. Two side of the same coin, Love and Truth.
    What’s funny. Benedict has, by far, the most beautiful teachings on Love that I’ve ever read.

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    1. That is " sucking chest woulda"
      Consider the rest self serve ...go ahead and correct yourself

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    2. Sucking chest wounds. Has anybody had to correct their own correction? I hate my phone and my English teacher

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    3. True dat - "hurting people hurt people".

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    4. "I hate my phone and my English teacher" - wine through the nose lol!

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  45. Also, I love the idea of meeting people right where they are at. Here is a common frustration as parent that makes evangelization tough some times.
    I've had people ask for advice on kids or some marriage issue and my answer is met with "well that's just not an option for us because we don't believe in supernatural things like that"(never mind the solid x's and o's advice that doesn't even get heard because we are religious). You know, things like not letting your 13 year old embrace every sexual message the culture offers including internet porn. I got the " well I don't mind him seeing the Normal stuff, the problem is he likes the weird stuff" Ok, Lobotomy! Can't restrict anything to do with the sacrament of SEX. After a wholesale rejection of the idea, that parents need to protect young minds from these things, I hear " hey, so I really think it would be great for my son to hang out with your son, it would be good for my boy" . I'm like "yeah, sure thing baby, just let me know when he has some fresh new super hard porn on his I-pod and send him over", " better yet, tell him to pick up dime bag on the way". Sorry , the love stops with me. That's my job. My kids innocence will not be compromised by having me accept some "untruth" that other parents hold, just to get along.

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  46. Reason alone is not enough, but just like John the Baptist prepared the way for Christ, reason cries out in the wilderness to prepare the way for Truth, along with the often long & difficult journey from the head to the heart.

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  47. That is perfect Ben. In my case, like Mike above, it was heart then head. I received a fire hosing of Grace and spent two years saying "what was that?" Study, study , study only to find I forgot about the grace part. we should all pray for balance.

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    1. Awesome Chris! It is amazing how Grace can find us, and catch us off-guard, so to speak.

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  48. reason cries out in the wilderness to prepare the way for Truth

    To me, reason questions Jesus' claim to be the "Truth" and the reported miracles that are accepted as proof that he is who he claimed to be are very hard to believe.

    Reason questions the Resurrection and Ascension. It is called a "reasonable doubt".

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    1. Bill,
      What is reasonable or unreasonable depends on the underlining premises. It can be reasoned that there actually is a God (a simultaneously whole, unconditioned first cause) and it also can be reasoned that Jesus is God (and man). Given this, Jesus as a miracle worker would be reasonable; in fact, it would be strange if it were otherwise.

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  49. I love Pope Francis and I also love this post, Leila! Thank you for this.

    I must admit that, as a more progressive Catholic, I had fallen into the "trap" that had been set by much of the media when they portrayed Pope (Emeritus) Benedict as an unforgiving, stern man. You have changed my mind about him, Leila. When I took the time to learn more about him (spurred by your love for him), I found out much to love about him as well! I may not be completely at ease with all of his decisions, but I do love and admire him deeply now.

    I also want to particularly thank you for your last paragraph. I have been following your blog for over a year now, and I only recently decided to be a more active "participant". I was reluctant to post because I had seen some very hurtful comments said to others who expressed ideas similar to mine. That said, I truly believe that I have also evolved and changed a bit in my views and that you have been a big part of that. I used to be in a lot of turmoil about the Church, but I have truly come to a place of peace about it all now. I feel like if my starting point is that I love this Church and that I know I can never be anything other than a Catholic, all my other issues are secondary. They will work themselves out, partly with your help!

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  50. M. Albinoni, yours is perhaps my favorite comment on the entire blog of over 500 posts and 3.5 years of blogging. It's all been worth it. Thank you.

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  51. Awwwww! Leila! You just made me tear up. Our love for our Church unites us. :-)

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    1. Nope, I can't imagine it could! But then again, God's gifts are usually better than anything I could imagine! :-)

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  52. and it also can be reasoned that Jesus is God (and man)

    If that could be reasoned, my struggle to believe would be over. People try to say that faith and reason go hand in hand, but they don't. Reason does not lead one to conclude that Jesus is God. It is a matter of faith.

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  53. A man fell into a dark pit, those who passed by tried to reason with him, told him to relax, told themselves it wasn't their problem, concluded that it was the mans own fault for being clumsy. Religious men came by and told him to have faith, told him that helping him would make them late for mass or late for adoration, gave extra a the mass collection for men in pits. Jesus saw the man in the pit, He stopped and helped him out.

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  54. Religion can become an excuse NOT to be close to people and NOT to understand and NOT to love. Christ told us to beware when we ask him who is our neighbor. To those who more has been given more is expected.

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  55. Hi Leila, I really love this post. Some pictures speak more than thousand words and I can't look at the Pope embrace to this man without thinking "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Pope Francis love and care is showing to people that God is a loving father waiting for his children to come home; it is very sad that some devout Catholics are now talking like the older son in the parable of the prodigal son.

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  56. those who passed by tried to reason with him, told him to relax, told themselves it wasn't their problem, concluded that it was the mans own fault for being clumsy

    That is not giving much credit to people who use reason. Wouldn't they reason that the man needed help and help him? Actually, the religious people would probably help him as well. The only one who can't help him is Jesus, as great as he is.

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  57. Bill, I have yet to see a more reasonable explanation for what happened after Christ's death (knowing what we know of human nature) than that he did actually rise from the dead. I have led you to my "Did Jesus Rise" post, and you, as everyone else, have not given me that sequence that could have reasonably occurred. Lots of vague ideas, sweeping new scenarios, but none that are concrete, connected, from that point on. If only someone would try. Tell me why we should not take history as written, and give me the more logical, reasonable alternative. I have yet to hear it. Remember, it has to be step-by-step. And reasonable.

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  58. Tell me why we should not take history as written, and give me the more logical, reasonable alternative.

    I think the tomb was empty and the story grew to the point that it became a supernatural event.

    I find it difficult to accept the existence of the supernatural even despite the healings I have read about lately. The healings did not violate the laws of nature. The accounts of the Resurrection and Ascension require such a violation. It is much more probable that a group of men put the body in the tomb for temporary holding and then moved it to its final location when the Sabbath ended on Saturday evening. The women found the tomb empty and that started all the Resurrection stories.

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  59. Bill, you did exactly the opposite of what I asked. I asked for a reasonable, step by step description of what happened. Starting with the fact that everyone knew he was dead without doubt, the tomb was sealed and the Christians were incredibly afraid that they would be killed next. Okay, go.

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  60. I can't give a step-by-step account. What we all can agree on is that Jesus was executed by the Romans just before the Sabbath which was also the Passover. What might have happened is that because the Sabbath was approaching, they needed to place his body in someone else's tomb temporarily until they could find a final burial place when the Sabbath ended on Saturday at sunset. If they then moved him on Saturday evening, the tomb would have been found to be empty on Sunday morning. The rest was up to the storytellers who could make up any stories they wanted and pass them on until they were finally recorded by Paul and the evangelist. As unlikely as you may find this, it does not require anything supernatural to occur making it infinitely more plausible.

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  61. "The rest was up to the storytellers who could make up any stories they wanted and pass them on until they were finally recorded by Paul and the evangelist."

    This makes reasonable sense to you? Why would "the storytellers" be on the scene? What would they gain from telling ludicrous stories to functioning adults? Why wouldn't the folks who moved the body just tell the truth and clear that up? Many of the friends of those folks would have known about them moving the body. How would they get past a Roman seal? What on earth would be the point of any of it? Why would anyone believe it, since they were all eyewitnesses to the death?

    If there is a God, it is entirely reasonable that God could not be conquered by death. The beauty of the resurrection (and the effectiveness of the message) is that people saw with their own eyes. Anything else is unreasonable.

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  62. Why would "the storytellers" be on the scene?

    I just mean people that pass on what they hear and take liberties with the accuracy of what they add to the story.

    What would they gain from telling ludicrous stories to functioning adults?

    They gain status among their peers. It's easy to make up stories. People do it all the time. It adds spice to our otherwise dreary lives.


    Why wouldn't the folks who moved the body just tell the truth and clear that up?

    They weren't necessarily followers of Jesus. They might have been doing it to comply with Jewish laws.

    Many of the friends of those folks would have known about them moving the body. How would they get past a Roman seal?

    The Romans had nothing to do with burial of an executed prisoner. The story about the seal, guards, etc. was made up.

    What on earth would be the point of any of it?

    The empty tomb was big news that would have spread all over. That's what people do.

    Why would anyone believe it, since they were all eyewitnesses to the death?

    Of course they would have believed it. Why wouldn't they. You believe it.

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  63. "They gain status among their peers. It's easy to make up stories. People do it all the time. It adds spice to our otherwise dreary lives."

    Uh, if by "status and spice" you mean ridicule, loss of livelihood, torture and death. Sure, Bill, people do that all the time when they are bored and want "status"! Lol!

    "They weren't necessarily followers of Jesus. They might have been doing it to comply with Jewish laws."

    Uh, same question. This would not have been secret. Hey, dudes, we moved the dead man's body.

    "The Romans had nothing to do with burial of an executed prisoner. The story about the seal, guards, etc. was made up."

    Made up by whom? For what purpose? Oh, I forgot… for the "status" and "spice" of being beheaded and stoned. Cool!

    "The empty tomb was big news that would have spread all over. That's what people do."

    Why would it be big news at all? If someone told me that my grandpa's grave was empty, my reasonable reaction would be "Who stole his body??!" It would only be "big news" in that we would want to find the thief because no one likes graverobbers. But it in no way would make anyone believe (much less thousands), "Man, grandpa must have risen from the dead!!!" (And of course, if the authorities moved gramps' body, that could have been cleared up just by asking, correct?)

    "Of course they would have believed it. Why wouldn't they. You believe it."

    It is believe on the basis of historical truth. Eyewitnesses who were trustworthy and saw the Risen Christ. Not for any other reason. If you are claiming that the history of the New Testament is fantasy, then why do you keep insisting that you love what Jesus said and did? How do you know it's not all lies? And if the NT is not history (written when the eyewitnesses were still alive and could have easily refuted and discredited the fantasy), then what historical document do you believe, and why?

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  64. If you are claiming that the history of the New Testament is fantasy, then why do you keep insisting that you love what Jesus said and did?

    I'm saying that the New Testament is likely a mixture of truth and embellishment. I have no reason to not believe stories that do not involve the supernatural. And it is understood that the parables are not true stories. Even if stories of supernatural events are fictional, the Gospels and Epistles and the Acts of the Apostles are useful for teaching valuable lessons about life. Disregarding them in their entirety is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

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  65. Bill. The gospels are historical documents. The history recounted included Jesus Christ literally telling parables. The parables themselves were understood, in history, in that day, as… parables. But the historical events and statements and movements of Jesus (and the Apostles and other people in that history) were recorded as... history. It was the intent of the writers (who lived when eyewitnesses were plentiful) to recount history.

    Just because you say "it's likely" means nothing. It simply means you discount supernatural things and that's your standard. But it has no weight at all, since it's your very subjective opinion, backed up by… nothing but your opinion.

    So, the book on the supernatural cures has faded from your mind so soon?

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  66. To me, stories of the supernatural serve the purpose of having those stories passed on the same as certain genetic traits have the effect (I almost said purpose, phew!) of having those genes passed on. Richard Dawkins coined the word "meme" to describe this phenomenon.

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  67. You pretty much just ignore human nature, then, and the historical record. The Jewish people (and Romans) were not idiots in First Century Palestine. They understood that death was death and that people who are dead decompose, not rise up and come back to life.

    But okay then.

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  68. So, we basically disagree about there being a natural explanation for the tomb being empty and for the ensuing story that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. For me, even the most unlikely natural explanation is still more plausible than the most accepted supernatural explanation. I think Occam's razor might apply where the natural explanation would be more simple than the supernatural one would be.

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  69. I am also a "truth" person (although I was not fond of Pope Benedict--too stiff). Truth has also kept me in the Catholic Church, despite the dryness of the Liturgy in many Catholic churches and the lack of enthusiasm of the congregations (the frozen chosen). The different ways people come to grow in faith is one reason why so many have left our Catholic Church to join non-denominational churches. Truth is not important to them; personal experience and community is. Even though Jesus is central to the Catholic Church, they did not find Him there. It's a challenge for us to bring more love, joy and enthusiasm into our churches. I think Pope Francis will help to do just that.
    What you wrote about, the Holy Spirit revealed to me many years ago. Since that time one of my daily prayers has been for God to help me see others as He sees them and to grow in love, mercy and compassion.

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  70. Pathway to Peace, you might be confusing stiffness with shyness and introversion (which are not the same at all, but sometimes go together). Many people who do not show outward displays of emotion are indeed very caring and loving, they just feel things more interiorly. There is such a misunderstanding about that (especially by expressive, emotional types) that leads to judgements, unfortunately. Remember that God made us all different and it's all good. None of the temperaments are "bad", and hopefully we don't base our "fondness" of a pope based on his temperament or shy nature.

    Sorry, as an introvert (and Benedict lover/protector) I had to say that! :)

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    1. I've written on my own (non-shy) introversion here:

      http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/06/on-being-introvert-quest-to-be.html

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  71. Bill, so you know people in real life that would believe a contemporary dead man came back to life (in this era, today) if they saw him dead and then his grave was mysteriously found empty? I would like to know that answer. Who do you know that would believe such a thing? Because I don't know a soul like that.

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  72. Am I being condescending if I say that people in the Middle East in the first century were far more likely to accept a supernatural explanation for a tomb being empty than I am?

    My explanation is natural. Yours is supernatural. Who has the better chance of brim right?

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  73. Yes, you are being very condescending. Really… they didn't know that death was a permanent condition? The Jews were not mentally deranged. They were quite learned. In fact, you absolutely admire their wisdom, enough that you consider it incredibly profound and base a worldview off of it, and embrace it yourself.

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  74. Bill you are saying that it's more reasonable to believe that thousands of Jews were deranged (literally, lunatics) than to believe the eyewitness accounts recorded in history. Because it's not just that you are saying they are stupid (which is condescending, btw), since believing that dead men rise without witnessing it is to label them all insane. And you follow these people and their wisdom? I can't consider any of that reasonable.

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  75. Aww Bill, what happened to "So any time I said that something could not have happened because it would have required supernatural intervention which I did not believe was possible, I was wrong. I apologize for my obstinacy"?

    Why are you back to doubting the supernatural? What happened?

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  76. Bill-

    If I may pipe in here and offer another way to look at this. We cannot change the documentation or the hard evidence we have about the events surrounding Christ's life and death. We can only rely on the records which have survived. I think most of us agree that hard evidence alone leaves something to be desired if you are looking at this from a purely secular point of view.

    I find it helpful at times, to look at the Church as a whole. The Catholic Church has survived over a thousand years with relatively minor changes. That's not to say the Church hasn't changed but compared to other institutions and areas of human knowledge the changes have been pretty minor. There are a number of writings from the Doctors of the Church, the Saints and even the Bible itself which remains very relevant today. That isn't a small feat.

    To me- it is a question of Credibility. The amount of knowledge/areas of study/resources of the Catholic Church is more than any one person could master in a lifetime. The Church is a collection of the Truth as revealed by God and the knowledge of all of her members and their attempt to understand that Truth. To dismiss all of that, to dismiss all the minds that came before yours with nothing more than "Pbbfft. It isn't likely" just smacks of pride.

    For thousands of years people have (and some very very smart people) have accepted the divinity of Christ based on Faith and on the credibility of the Catholic Church.

    Aren't you in awe of what exists in our Church? In the great thinkers who have discussed the issues that plague every generation? Aren't you amazed at how often the Church's moral teachings turn out to be exactly right in your experience? (For example, how we hide and deal with the affection for sin.) The Church's understanding of human nature, I think, puts any psychology book to shame. Doesn't the fact that Church gets so much right lend it credibility?

    Does the age of the Church, the credibility of the Church and the collective experience of human kind factor into your decision of whether or not to accept the account of Christ's life? If not, why not?

    That's not even getting into your own personal experience and personal faith- which I think is very important.


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  77. Why are you back to doubting the supernatural? What happened?

    I believe in the physical, mental and spiritual healings that seem to have supernatural causes. The probabilities of these healings being just coincidental are very low.

    But the miracles attributed to Jesus in the gospels go way beyond the healings (which can still be attributed to natural causes despite their improbability). They are not only improbable, they are impossible.

    If something is impossible AND nonverifiable, the chances are just about 100% that it never happened.

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  78. Bill- I think you are trying hard to pick and choose what you want to believe.

    Earlier you stated that the most unlikely natural explanation is still more likely than a supernatural one. But you don't seem to be applying that to supernatural healings.

    You can't treat the New Testament as Aesop's Fables and expect us to agree you are being logical. If you don't accept the divinity of Christ if you don't accept the faith of the early Christians....the whole thing is a little nuts. Leila's absolutely right- the Jews and the early Christians weren't uneducated or dumb.

    If you do accept the divinity of Christ......what is so "improbable" about God preforming miracles?

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  79. Where is this ever-evasive "natural explanation" documented?
    Where and when is it posited as a rebuttal to the over 24,000 records, narratives, and documents of the time of Christ and the Resurrection event?
    It would move the argument along. Otherwise it's just throwing opinions against the wall to see if they stick. So far, nothing's sticking. We can't put lipstick on a pig and call it pretty. The argument needs to be logical to be valid.

    How do you table your beliefs to logically line up with the an acceptance of a Super Intelligence and certain miracles performed by it, yet a denial of the Resurrection which would be performed by that same Super Intelligence you previously accepted.

    It's not a logical argument to say that because "x" exists, "y" is impossible. Ie, Because physical laws exist, Resurrection is impossible.
    "X" existing has no bearing on "Y" existing or not existing, or occurring. The boundaries of "x" don't bind "y". The finite does not bind the infinite.

    How come you accept supernatural intelligence or supernatural power to override (negate) physical laws in some instances, and not in others (see 24,000 documents to the contrary)?
    Why does your method of validation shift from miracle to miracle?
    What is your standard of measurement?
    What is the one immovable value that never varies so that you carry one logical train of thought to its logical end?

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  80. I know it seems that I am all over the place in regard to the supernatural. Miraculous healings such as those described in Nothing Short of a Miracle seem to prove the existence of the supernatural. But I prefer to see them as unexplainable and continue to disbelieve in the supernatural. Sorry if that frustrates people. It's the only way to have predictability in this world.

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  81. Bill do you believe...

    A) God exists?
    B) God is all powerful?

    Because if A and B are both true, than the supernatural has to be a possibility. If God is God at all, he would have to be "above nature". (Or else He'd be a part of nature, and therefore not God.)

    If God is all powerful, then He can not only suspend the laws of nature, but also sustains them at every moment. If He could not, then He wouldn't be all-powerful, and therefore wouldn't be God.

    If you do believe God exists, how do you define "God"? If you don't then who created nature? (Whoever created nature must be "above" nature, no?)

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  82. Just wanted to chime in and say, put this on the list of my favorites from you! I think some people are drawn to intellectual arguments, but ultimately Jesus didn't use those to convince everyone either, he used his actions. I have had SO MANY non Catholic friends start up conversations by what they see this guy DOING, not just talking about. Again, not saying Catholics don't DO but we can sometimes not market it all that well. (which isn't the point of doing it, hence why its not marketed well...I digress). I would agree with a previous commenter that the title shouldn't be "truth" but "intellect" or "reason".

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  83. Jesus called himself the Truth. A terribly upsetting word from Pilate to modern man.

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  84. Bill do you believe...

    A) God exists?
    B) God is all powerful?

    Because if A and B are both true, than the supernatural has to be a possibility.


    Yes. Of course, even if just A is true, then the supernatural is real.

    The mere existence of God does not mean that any of our religions accurately describe this Supreme Being.

    I wonder how the people who wrote the Torah knew anything about this Supreme Being. I wonder how Jesus knew anything about him.

    If the Bible is true, as written, then I am a fool. If it isn't than those who believe everything it says are fools. I don't think I am the fool.

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  85. What I have found is that relatively few people think much about theology or doctrine. Many more are converted for more emotional reasons—the feelings of love, acceptance, sense of community, etc. While we should not become unreasonable to satisfy our emotional impulses, this does not mean that emotions are unimportant.

    One of Pope Francis's criticisms of the how the Church has been run is that for years the intellectual was pushed at the expense of the emotional. That the reasonableness of Church teaching was pushed at the expense of the importance of supernatural grace. This is even more true in the United States as many Catholics have imitated the dry intellectual style of the Protestant culture, who dropped much of the sacramental at the Reformation.

    So Pope Francis is teaching by doing. He is starting at the beginning. He is showing love first. He is taking the "logs" out of the Church's eyes (I'm looking at you, Bishop of Bling) before talking about the specks in the eyes of the masses. He is challenging, not lecturing. People have responded to him in a big way, which is incredible.

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  86. Where is this ever-evasive "natural explanation" documented?
    Where and when is it posited as a rebuttal to the over 24,000 records, narratives, and documents of the time of Christ and the Resurrection event?


    A plausible explanation has been posited by Richard Carrier looking at the original Gospel of Mark and considering what would have been done in accordance with Jewish Law. Since it makes sense to me and does not rely on the supernatural, I accept it as a more plausible explanation for the tomb being empty and reports of the Resurrection and Ascension.

    I don't know where you get the 24,000 records but I know of little more than a handful that everyone else has relied upon as documentation. Beyond the gospels, Acts and the epistles, what other documentation is there?

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  87. Bill, yes. St. Paul makes clear that we Christians are the fools, for sure, if Jesus didn't rise. So, you are right: We would be damn fools if the Resurrection weren't true. But that is the position you are in: Wanting to be a Christian without a belief in the Resurrection. That is foolishness, folly, and a vain faith.

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  88. You're going with this imposition theory and ignoring the fact that there is a mountain of documentation supporting the Resurrection. 24,000 full or partial manuscripts that are historically valid. Numerous extra biblical evidence from non-christian sources of the day. The list goes on. There's nothing more to be posited.

    Richard Carrier is among the mythicists. They cannot hold a candle to the evidence of the Resurrection.

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  89. Wanting to be a Christian without a belief in the Resurrection. That is foolishness, folly, and a vain faith.

    I just want to enjoy the fruits of Catholicism even though I don't believe in the supernatural. With or without the divine, the accomplishments of Christianity are the same. It is faith that has made it so. The people are just as good whether the metaphysics is real or imagined. I think I am right about this.

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  90. Really, Bill? You think you're right? So you want the benefits without any of the sacrifice? Sorry bud, doesn't work that way. As I've said multiple times, Catholicism is an all or nothing faith. You may not pick and choose the parts you like and reject the ones that seem too hard.

    And as for how did Jesus know about the supernatural? Maybe because Jesus IS the supernatural, He IS God!

    Why are we still discussing this? Why will you not allow for the possibility of the supernatural and the Resurrection?

    There are zero fruits of Catholicism without the supernatural. Everything depends on God and His Grace.

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  91. With or without the divine, the accomplishments of Christianity are the same.

    Where is the logical coherence of this statement?
    If the Divine isn't the difference maker, let's all take the easier route, because it supposedly bears the exact same fruit. Scrap the difficulty of Catholicism, let's instead strum around a campfire and sing, "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands".

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  92. Catholicism is an all or nothing faith. You may not pick and choose the parts you like and reject the ones that seem too hard.


    "Seem to hard"? How about "Aren't true"?

    Are you trying to tell me that I can't participate in my parish unless I believe and accept all things Catholic?

    What about my marriage? Would it no longer be valid if I don't believe?

    My parish means a lot to me. I'm not going to cut ties with it if I don't believe in the Resurrection. It doesn't have to be true for me to continue to be Catholic.

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  93. Bill, explain to me how it is possible for the Catholic faith to function without any supernatural entity. What's the point of Catholicism without God? How about that Creed that everyone says on Sundays? You think we just say stuff like this for fun?:

    "I believe in God the Father Almighty...For our sake, He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day, in accordance with the Scriptures."

    Why does your parish mean a lot to you? The main mission of any parish is to lead others to Christ and assist them in striving for holiness through various means and ministries.

    The Catholic Church is NOT a social club. I want to make that very clear! It's not somewhere you go for amusement, recreation, etc.

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  94. Margo,

    I agree with what you are saying. I've got a predicament. I should just give up my social network for the sake of what I see as the real truth.

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  95. Your predicament has a simple solution -- opening yourself to all that Jesus Christ has for you through His Church. Every aspect of faith, all of the teachings are rooted in His love for you and all people. So, why not open yourself to the possibility of the Divine? What do you have to lose?

    You are choosing to be in a predicament by stubbornly remaining closed to the supernatural. I'm not saying you can't remain friends with those you know in your parish, but to be actively involved in the parish while rejecting the central beliefs is scandalous.

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  96. Margo, you've made some excellent points! I would differ with one, though. I don't believe it's scandalous for Bill to remain in his parish as long as he is not openly denying the faith and trying actively to undermine the faith of others. Hopefully, the grace in the Sacraments around him will eventually work on his soul and he will finally belief what he professes.

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  97. I don't believe it's scandalous for Bill to remain in his parish as long as he is not openly denying the faith and trying actively to undermine the faith of others.

    Darn. You don't want me to have any fun :-)

    Seriously, I am pleasantly surprised that you are OK with me practing Catholicism and participating in parish events despite not believing. It would leave a tremendous void in my life if I did not.

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  98. So, why not open yourself to the possibility of the Divine? What do you have to lose?

    Margo,

    I am open to all possibilities, including possibilities that you are not open to. To search for the truth, we have to check out all the possibilities, which is what I am doing. I don't just accept that one person is the "Truth".

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  99. It is good to be open-minded in general. However, as G.K. Chesterton says, we should be careful not to be so open-minded that our brains fall out.

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  100. Mike , what does Nancy Pelosi have to do with this?
    My uncle used to say " so you're smarter than 2000 years of philosophers and theologians?......you punk, get outta here!!!
    Such a gentle man. "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands". Not!

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  101. Chris - Your uncle makes a great point. It is the arrogance of today which says, "I know better than 2000 years of Church teaching, (better than Christ Himself in fact)." Pride, Disobedience, Death. But with Christ: Humility, Obedience, Life.

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  102. Bill S, as an English Quaker I belong to a denomination that has taken Christianity out of a large part of its corporate worship. My experience of this is that it now feels like attending a well meaning social activism group....I wonder if you could visit a denomination in your area that has gone that way it might help you, it's hard to explain in words but the feeling is very, very different. For me, it means that right now I am looking for another denomination, and Pope Francis is for me a really attractive religious leader, I see him acting in love and instantly know I am seeing the real deal!

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  103. Thank you Susan,

    I will never find a substitute for the love and respect I experience in my parish. I've had very serious discussions with my wife about my predicament and she just tells me to "fake it till I make it". That is, keep participating and maybe my beliefs will change.

    If I were you, I would read accounts of miraculous healings attributed to the intercession of saints both while they were living and after they died. It is really hard to dispute that evidence.

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    1. Bill I wonder if you actually have more faith than you realise :) ? Your advice to me regarding reading about the saints sounded like the kind of encouragement I might get from someone like Leila who runs this blog!!!


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  104. My uncle used to say " so you're smarter than 2000 years of philosophers and theologians?......you punk, get outta here!!!

    Your uncle doesn't understand Richard Dawkins' concept of "memes". Just like genes have traits that ensure their being passed on from one generation to the next, memes (as coined in The Selfish Gene), contain information that causes them to be passed on. The "Good News" is a meme. The information in it includes instructions to pass it on to the ends of the earth. It is the ultimate meme.

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  105. Susan,

    My entire worldview is based on there being no supernatural anything. I call myself a natural materialist or a materialistic naturalist. Everything from the Big Bang to now has been the result of natural material (non-spiritual) processes. Somehow, life and consciousness has come about in a way that natural sciences cannot explain. That, in itself, does not make me consider Catholicism as the answer (but neither does it rule it out). Another thing that science can't explain are all these seemingly miraculous healings that I am reading about in Nothing Short of a Miracle and on the internet. If I can't figure out a natural explanation for all this, then all bets are off in regard to my worldview. I would have to change it accordingly.

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  106. Susan, welcome! It's great to have you here! :)

    Bill, wait a minute…. The counter to 2,000 years of philosophers, theologians, martyrs and saints is one man named Dawkins' "concept" of "memes"?

    I have no words.

    Remember my post on Dawkins? He thinks nothing is something. Um, not the guy I'd go to for concepts on which to upend my worldview. ;)

    For a laugh:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/08/dawkins-is-no-einstein.html

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  107. Leila,

    That post about Dawkins is one of my favorites. As a biologist and renowned atheist, he is a genius. You do understand memes, don't you. They are self replicating like genes.

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  108. Dawkins has also said that "mild pedophilia" is just fine and dandy: http://m.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/09/richard-dawkins-defends-mild-pedophilia-again-and-again/69269/

    Sorry, can't say I take him too seriously.

    Memes can't be self-replicating. They aren't biological entities.

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  109. "As a biologist and an atheist, he is a genius."

    Wait, Bill, are you saying that biologists and atheists are automatically geniuses? You can't be saying that. I know that you read Dr. Kevin Vost's book, and of course as you know, he is a Mensa member, and the Mensa organization (not a religious organization, obviously!) actually trusts him to do research as an expert in his field of psychology and thought processes, how the mind works, etc.

    So, we've got a certified genius (Dr. Vost) who finds Dawkins' "meme" theory as "one of the weirdest" things, and "absurd" (even back in Vost's own "halcyon days of mature atheism".

    In fact, if you turn back to page 97 of Vost's book, he deals with the "meme" issue. He calls it a "textbook example of reification -- treating an abstarct idea as if it were a material thing."

    Why do you choose to believe one "genius" over another genius? Just personal preference?

    Methinks that Dawkins needs to stick to biology, as he has embarrassed himself quite enough in areas way outside his field.

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  110. Mr. Dawkins is still (and always) left without a beginning point, isn't he?
    He can never explain the origin of his building blocks, can he?

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  111. Thank you! I love this post. I'm an adult convert. I feel so lost with the "traditionalists" who dislike our new Pope and yearn for the old Pope. My only "Holy Father's" have been a rapid change of St. John Paul II, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, all within 11 years. Every new pope is my Father. Every new pope is so awesome. I love each and every single one of them!

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  112. Methinks that Dawkins needs to stick to biology, as he has embarrassed himself quite enough in areas way outside his field.

    Dawkins might have "embarrassed himself" in your estimation, but not everyone's. I find that everything I have read by him makes perfect sense, including his concept of memes.

    The Bible is a meme. Its contents cause it to be copied and distributed just like a virus. That's all a meme is. There is no need to question whether or not memes exist. They are all around us. Songs, ideas, languages, etc.

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  113. Okay---- I'll be the dumb one. Bill, I think you are misunderstanding Chris' Uncle's point.

    My comments are based on conclusions I came to about memes from what I can gather from the content of what is being said here, I apologize for not being able to do extensive research. If I am misunderstanding something please feel free to correct me.

    Okay- so Dawkin's meme is a way to explain how information is passed down and changes. Ideas can cause other ideas and evolve into different systems. To me it seems like Dawkin's is talking about how information moves and changes.

    It doesn't seem like he takes into account the fact that humans aren't cells. We don't have to strictly follow instructions. If we did.....Bill wouldn't be having this conversation but would be a good, obedient Catholic.

    Furthermore, of course ideas are passed down. For which we should all be grateful, otherwise we would have all had to figure out the wheel and fire by ourselves The fact that the system to store ideas (storytelling, songs, music, religion) has instructions for it to be continued to be share doesn't make a value-judgment on whether or not the information is good or bad.

    So to dismiss 2000 years of human thinkers because "Well the system is designed to be passed down." Ignores the fact all those humans were thinkers with the ability to accept or reject ideas. Again, exhibit A, BILL.

    I guess I don't understand what Dawkin's meme theory adds to the discussion because humans don't have to blindly accept instructions.

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  114. I guess I don't understand what Dawkin's meme theory adds to the discussion because humans don't have to blindly accept instructions.

    It's so much that a meme contains instructions for passing it on. The information itself is of a nature that people do pass it on.

    For example, a joke can be a meme if it makes you laugh and want to tell it to someone else. So it is with religious beliefs that make you want to pass them on. They can keep going for thousands of years. The promise of eternal life for those who believe motivates people to tell others and this can go on forever.

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  115. Omg, is that dumb. I'm sorry, but please. If we can't get off the ground from a basic understanding that ideas in the human consciousness are not biologically driven, then we get nowhere.

    To boot, assume this nonsense is true. Dawkins still (still!) offers ZERO explanation of where the originating inorganic substance to drive "all memes" came from, correct? He's clamoring on about the unfolding of this process, or the development of x, but his ideas are completely inept in explaining away the originating substance. That's all one needs to see to ignore this meme bit. Correct or incorrect?

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  116. "For example, a joke can be a meme if it makes you laugh and want to tell it to someone else. So it is with religious beliefs that make you want to pass them on. "

    Exactly how does a joke, which is immaterial, have physical capacity, attributes, or traits, or any kind of physical factor to impact human biology, to ensure that jokes will be genetically driven (or not)?

    And, then you say, "if we choose not to pass on the joke"? That's biological? Not mental free choice, not preference of the immaterial mind? He actually believes that something immaterial, which has exactly ZERO physical properties is going to drive human biology within the human physical body?

    I want my two IQ pts back that I lost, wading through this rubbish.

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  117. "They [memes] are all around us. Songs, ideas, languages, etc."

    This is the stuff of genius minds? Omgosh, my three-year-old is a genius then, because *everybody* knows this. Boy, that Dawkins, he is uh-may-zing!

    Of course, the fact that songs are sung and language passed down does not answer the question (does not even TOUCH the question), "Is Catholicism True, and did Jesus Resurrect?"

    We are sinking to new intellectual lows, now, Bill. And calling those lows "genius". Sigh….

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  118. Kat, Nubby, thank you.

    Nubby, I thought I was the only one who felt like she was losing IQ points in this latest exchange. Sorry Bill, you know I love you but… really? I need to go read some Dostevesky and get my brain energized again...

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  119. I've heard thousands of funny jokes over my lifetime and I have not felt compelled to pass them on. And for years, I never once passed the Faith on to others, either. And, back to jokes: If I tell a joke about a mouse who talks, does that mean that there are mice who talk? Or, if I tell a story about flat earth, does it mean that the earth is flat? My brain is twisting.

    This is absurd.

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  120. Srsly. It's insulting to the intellect. Baffling as to why Dawkin's ideas are so widely accepted. I'm off, too. I'm going to find my "happy place"...

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  121. The promise of eternal life for those who believe motivates people to tell others and this can go on forever.

    It's not just the promise of eternal life that motivates us to share our faith. It's also just how wonderful and glorious God is, He's too good to keep to ourselves. Believe me, it's not instinctual to share the faith and it does not always come naturally. I went many years thinking that faith was supposed to be private, just between myself and God. Then, I finally came to understand how selfish that mindset was - keeping God and His love to myself? I don't want any person to miss out on the graces God has for them.

    God doesn't only love those who believe in Him - He loves ALL people so much so that He gave us free will to either accept or reject His love. He will not force anyone into Heaven, if people want to choose eternal separation from Him, then that's their choice. At some point Bill, you are going to have to choose to either put your faith in God and His Divinity or reject His Divinity. You cannot remain in-between forever. I promise that God will help you adjust your worldview to accommodate Him. I'm praying for you, Bill :)

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  122. "It doesn't seem like he takes into account the fact that humans aren't cells. We don't have to strictly follow instructions. If we did.....Bill wouldn't be having this conversation but would be a good, obedient Catholic. "
    Kat, you're brilliant!
    Total arrogance to say someone like my uncle was just an intelectual sheep. Horse$&/#. the lack of wisdom it takes to dismiss previous generations work is astonishing.
    So happens Bill, my uncle was a life long batchelor who spent more time seeking truth (obsessively) than anybody I know. He loved reading atheists and guys like Hitchens just for fun. When he died, I filled about 30 boxes with probably a thousand books. He was the type of guy who was a card carrying g member of the ACLU but was a life long conservative and hated their guts. He would laugh at the laziness of modern atheist and the arrogance of dismissing the previous guys ability to think independently. He struggled mightily at times with faith and had significant "dark nights". He didn't suffer from some "meme" thing.
    He asked and looked for answer under a pile of books until 2 in the morning. Is that what Dawkins s does? Or is he just finding a way to make up for his lack of wisdom by saying that everybody before him was an idiot.?

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  123. Chris, you are a breath of fresh air and common sense, and on top of that, you make me laugh!!

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  124. I'm increasingly annoyed at modern arrogance. This assumption that ancient peoples or even just a couple of generations ago were somehow more gullible or given to believe fairy tales. I bet not. I'm not talking about wives tales but sober things like life and death and how to live.
    First century middle easterners , I would bet, would be a far harder sale on something like the Eucharist or the resurrection. They lived hard, real lives where death and harsh reality was a daily reminder. They weren't given to following unsubstantiated claims. You see that in the Gospels as well. Think about Thomas. All his long time friends, who witnessed all the miracles with him, are telling him that Jesus is risen and walked among them. He still doesn't believe even having experienced all the miracles and having followed Jesus for three years. If there was one thing that ancient man understood, it was death. They witnessed humans being cleaved by swords at the road side. People dropping dead all the time in abrupt illness. They knew life and death. Only something starkly real, putting hands in his side, witnessing a dead man alive again with a glorified body, would compel a man from that age to drop his life and follow Jesus to their own ridicule and violent death.

    It's modern man who has witnessed technology and knows that the seemingly impossible can be possible , that would be for more likely to believe in extraordinary events. It's modern man that is either lazy and presumptuous or willing to believe anything having decided they now simply know it all.

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  125. In other words, If I were the best salesman in world history, wanting to pull off a great deception for whatever reason, I would have an impossible time pulling off the Resurrection of a man in first century Palestine.
    As for Modern man? Hell , give me a copy of the latest new age book at Amazon, a well designed commercial pitch with all the emotion, and send me to the neighborhood weekend carshow. I'll have 12 gray haired , pony tailed boomers following me in their hot rods to the Resurrection of Jimmy Hendrix in the reincarnated form of a German shepherd.

    Bill , go read anything from john chrystostom or Augustine and tell me they are not notably more sober and unflinching than modern man. Especially a depressed, life sucking narcissist like Dawkins. So much for lunch

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  126. So, it is obvious that it is important to all of you to make Mr. Dawkins out to be some kind of mental midget. But I assure you that he is more intelligent than any of you. The concept of memes can be understood by a fifth grader. It is not complicated. Dawkins does discuss more complex issues but memes is not one of them. If I told you this was a concept posited by C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton, you would understand it instantly. It is your prejudice and maybe even hatred against Dawkins that distorts your cognitive abilities.

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  127. Thank you, Margo. My last comment is not directed at you. I do not question God's Divinity, assuming that he exists, he of course is Divine. It is Jesus that I do not consider Divine.

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  128. You utterly miss the point, Bill. A "meme" does not prove or disprove any truth.

    And, I am sure Vost is more intelligent than Dawkins. Which still proves nothing.

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  129. A "meme" does not prove or disprove any truth.

    All of this wisdom that has stood the test of time is nothing more than memes. That is the point.

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  130. "All of this wisdom that has stood the test of time is nothing more than memes."

    According to… Dawkins. So? What authority does he have?

    And you miss the point again. I said a "meme" does not prove OR disprove any truth. Are you claiming otherwise?

    One more thing: Dawkins may have a high IQ for all I know. But it does not mean he is wise, or that he has the truth.

    Remember, he's the guy who said that "nothing" is "something". My second grader has more wisdom than that. IQ's mean little without wisdom or logic.

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  131. Question: What physical attributes do these non-physical "memes" possess, in order to affect a physical longevity, aptitude, detail, or dominant trait in a physical body?

    Answer: None. Ideas, jokes, stories, are all performed by the mental (immaterial) faculties. There is nothing material, at all, about these things, which are cognitive in process and non-physical in concept.

    Question: Where do we find, in nature via biological science, the originating substances for said memes? Why can we not we go a step previous to this "development of memes within human biology" back to its very beginnings?

    If he's got all the logical answers that explain everything about everything, he should very easily point us to the origins, or at least to something concrete scientifically.

    Answer: Because he has no data from the physical world to support his notion that immaterial memes are measurable or observable, or even real.

    Question: How do memes account for free will, the human conscience, and morality?

    Answer: ???

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  132. "All of this wisdom that has stood the test of time is nothing more than memes. That is the point."- Bill

    Okay, let me see if I can follow this. Religion and the concept of eternal life is psychologically comforting and therefore it is likely to be passed down from generation to generation because it is an idea that appeals to us all.

    And since the idea has such universal appeal it makes since it would be passed down for 2000 years regardless of whether or not it is true.

    So you don't believe the length of time the ideas have been around add to the credibility of the ideas.

    Would you say that is a fair representation of what you are saying? (Like I said, I'll be the dumb one, I don't know Dawkin's work and so I'm trying to make sure I understand what you are saying.)

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  133. Would you say that is a fair representation of what you are saying?

    Finally! Someone understands what I am saying. Thank you, Kat.

    You don't have to agree with me. At this point, I will settle for someone understanding me. If you can understand it, why can't the others?

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  134. Chris- you are absolutely right! (And thank you for the kind compliment.)

    As you go through the historical record it is very obvious human's historical "progress" isn't a straight line but ebbs and flow. Scientific and intellectual advancements are discovered and lost throughout just western civilization. They same too with ideas of equality and liberties.

    On top of that, our educational system is not designed to produced the smartest critical thinkers. It is designed to provide enough education and knowledge to create a productive workforce.

    But back when education was the sole privilege of the wealthy and the religious....a productive workforce was never the goal.

    People forget that now days. They think everyone can read, everyone goes to school therefore everyone is educated so we are so much smarter than the people in the past. But we aren't really comparing apples to apples there.

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  135. I'm about three steps past what you're just now clarifying, Bill.
    You explain memes as having a biological effect.
    Yet you give the "out" that we can say "no" to memes (ie, choosing to pass on a joke or not).
    You give biological credence to them, which would require scientific concreteness by Dawkins' own standard (science!), yet Dawkins offers none.

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  136. BTW, Kat, that wasn't meant as an insult to you. I know your method is to lead out the thinking. I jumped ahead b/c the Dawkins' illogic makes my brain melt.

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    1. No worries! I didn't take anything as an insult! I knew what point you were making. Besides your demand for your IQ points back had me rolling. I might steal that......

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  137. Question: How do memes account for free will, the human conscience, and morality?

    First of all, we don't have complete free will. Most of what we do, we are compelled to do. We have very few real choices as to what we can do. Even what we think we are choosing to do is controlled by habits, compulsive behavior and addictions.

    Nubby, you simply don't understand the concept of memes. They do affect our consciences and morals. The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are good examples of memes that affect both.

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  138. Opps! I'm sorry Leila, I forgot the "no reply" rule

    *Goes and sits in the corner with the dunce cap*

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    Replies
    1. Here. I'll join ya.

      *Dunce cap with chin strap* SNAP!

      Delete
    2. LOL. We are Leila's Troublemakers! (Well, after her perfectly well-behaved children.)

      Delete
    3. Girl, I'm just gonna sit here, all dumb in my pointy cap, til you can get to me with a solid explanation on memes, and explain it to me real slow-like...

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    4. Just for solidarity, I will join you, as I sometimes break my own rule!!

      Also, we are going to get to 200 comments soon, so everyone remember to subscribe by email, or you will have to "load more" and that's a pain in the rump!

      Delete
  139. Well, by all means, help this moron out, Bill
    Give me the originating substance of said memes. Give me the lab tests and results. I need data. I need to know where Dawkins gets the impression (which is all it is) via biology of all things! that we are a bunch of non-thinking, habit controlled blobs of random, yet perfectly organized, evolved cell clumps operating on whims that aren't really our own whims.

    And - now that I consider it - who's to say his whimsical thoughts on memes are accurate? Why would I trust his habit-controlled, compulsive self (as he describes people) over my own thoughts? He's tied to his debilitating memes, just as I am, yet I can choose to ignore him. So I think I will.

    Oh, wait, was my choice there just driven by a "meme" randomly assembled to perfectly allow for an imperfect human choice?

    It's a non-drinking night here - and yet ...

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  140. Whoa! Are you saying morality is a meme? That we believe the virtues listed in the Sermon on the Mount because we are taught the Sermon on the Mount?

    Oh Bill, please,please, please don't tell me you are moral relativist!

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  141. Remember, he's the guy who said that "nothing" is "something"

    Nothing IS something. It's nothing.

    Read A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krause. You took great delight in trying to make a fool of Dawkins. I won't forget that. :-)

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  142. Give me the originating substance of said memes. Give me the lab tests and results. I need data.

    Aargh! Are you just playing Jill the Dunce? Let me give you a real simple example of a meme. The ABCs. Children like to sing it. It gets passed on. It is a simple meme. People like the Bible and want to pass it on. It is a more complex meme. THE IS NO BIOLOGICAL PROCESS INVOLVED. NADA!

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  143. And your last line in that reply doesn't lead you to ask the very obvious:
    If there is no biological process involved, which is his line of work, then what authority does he have to say anything about "memes" controlling or not controlling human choices (or not "faux" choices)?

    Your reply answers exactly zero questions that I lobbed above, doesn't it?
    I don't care if it's ABC's or the Lord's Prayer, that's completely. besides. the. point.
    It's not lost on me what a meme is, Bill, but thanks- lol.

    Here's a few more dumb questions, since you're so far ahead of me, apparently:

    Why is a biologist positing ideas that cannot be verified in a lab or in his field?
    Why is a biologist positing ideas about human consciousness and morality that have zero physical properties, the only kind of properties a biologist of his specialty should be concerned with?
    Who cares if people "like" stuff and pass it on? The real crux is - does truth get passed on and can we verify that truth?

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  144. Actually, there are plenty of biological processes associated with thoughts. You should know this since you've been skeptical of the idea that souls and other non-physical components of a person exist. So if we wanted to study the way a person's brain works while thinking about an idea, we could do that.

    Memetics isn't generally considered a real science, since it doesn't really make predictions and doesn't provide evidence for anything new (People like to spread ideas, duh. This is not a surprising insight). It's got less data involved than sociology, which itself is often considered a soft science. Just because "meme" is a useful word doesn't automatically add it to the scientific canon.

    I'm not sure Dawkins (the biologist) is exactly qualified to talk about this sort of thing. Remember, this is the guy who overtly refuses to even glance at the Qu'ran but is still convinced it's comparable to Mein Kampf.

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  145. "Nothing IS something. It's nothing."

    Are we on Candid Camera? Am I being punk'd?

    Nubby, can I join you for that drink? I'd like a Bloody Mary with Grey Goose.

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  146. Is truth real? Or did truth just get enough "likes" on MemeBook to pass it along?

    I mean, the whole concept of there being knowable truth- is there such a thing in Mr Dawkins MemeWorld?

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  147. Nubby,

    You have a very narrow minded view of what Dawkins is qualified to write about. He is very knowledgeable in the area of Christian religions including Catholicism.

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  148. My brain can't get past nothing being something.

    Let me break it down as I understand it. "Nothing" means "no thing". Meaning, there is no "thing" at all. "Thing" is absent.

    "Something" means there is a "thing". "Thing" exists.

    "No thing" cannot be "some thing" or else we live in Crazy Town. Like, where "existence" means "non-existence", for example.

    I'm beginning to see why Truth is rejected today. We can't even agree that "no thing" means "no (as in nada, zip, zilch) thing", not "some (meaning yeppers, it's there!) thing".

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  149. "He is very knowledgeable in the area of Christian religions including Catholicism."

    You're kidding, right? He is an ignoramus on these subjects, from what I have seen. It's embarrassing. For him.

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    Replies
    1. And he is completely ignorant of philosophy and psychology, too. Why do you consider him an expert on anything but biology? And where did he get his expertise on "memes"? (Which you agree even a child can understand.)

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  150. I've read his stuff. Heard his talks. I'll never be in the tank for that tripe.

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  151. "Something" means there is a "thing". "Thing" exists.

    Even an empty void is something. Everything is something. Even nothing. :-) give it up.

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  152. Bill, a void is a void.

    What does "no-thing" mean?

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  153. And where did he get his expertise on "memes"?

    He made the word up. It doesn't really require any "expertise". We all know what he means by the word.

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  154. Merriam-Webster Online: Nothing: not any thing : no thing

    So, in other words, it is the negation of "thing". Thing does not exist in "nothing". It cannot be a "thing" since it is the negation of "thing". That's what the "no" means. The point of the "no" is to denote the absence of "thing".

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  155. "He made the word up. It doesn't really require any "expertise". We all know what he means by the word."

    You never answered: How does a "meme" prove or disprove anything?

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  156. Leila,

    You are hell-bent on making Dawkins look like an idiot. So he said nothing is something. Get over it.

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  157. What he said was idiotic. He made himself look like an idiot, and an entire audience laughed at him. Perhaps he needs some humility. Get over it.

    Now that we've both told each other to get over it, will you finally answer my question? Or Nubby's?

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  158. How does a "meme" prove or disprove anything?

    A meme just passes on information. In itself it doesn't prove anything. It just shows how a story like the Resurrection can be passed on and elaborated upon.

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  159. Why on earth did you bring it up, then? Of course stories are passed on. A child knows this. Why did we have this "meme" conversation? To show that Dawkins is brilliant? I am so confused….

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  160. I do not question God's Divinity, assuming that he exists, he of course is Divine. It is Jesus that I do not consider Divine.

    Oookay. So, God can be Divine, but Jesus cannot be Divine? So it is possible for Divinity to exist, but Jesus cannot be Divine? So you both trust in Jesus, but doubt in who He said He is?

    And yeah, I'm still wondering how ya'll got on that Dawkins tangent...let's bring it back to the issue at hand please.

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  161. Did I bring it up? I thought you brought it up :-). It's past my bedtime on the East Coast. PLEASANT MEMES!

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  162. Margo, Right? Ya leave for five minutes and their having cocktails and kicking over trash cans.
    Good night Bill

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  163. "And yeah, I'm still wondering how ya'll got on that Dawkins tangent...let's bring it back to the issue at hand please."

    There may have been bloody marys involved.......

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  164. No, no, no Chris. We were tipping cows!

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  165. Hahaha yeah! Can't believe I missed cocktail hour in the Bubble! That's what I get for going to my parish's 5:15 daily mass followed by Evening Prayer and Benediction in our Adoration chapel (yes I offered up prayers for all my Bubble buddies :))

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  166. Just in case we pick up in the morning where we left off on the "memes"... drinking rum before 10am doesn't make you an alcoholic. It makes you a pirate.

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  167. Margo, thanks, I needed that!! Kat and Nubby, you are on a roll!! Too fun. Good-night, Bill, sweet memes to you, too!

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  168. Margo,

    It is possible, maybe even probable, that God truly does exist, in which case he/she/it would be divine by definition. This would not make Jesus divine unless what is said about him is really true.

    I trust in Jesus and in all the possibilities of who and what he is. Who's to say he isn't more like a saint than a god? Or maybe he is just a personality imbedded in our subconscious as a result of our repeating so many prayers and brainwashing ourselves to believe he is real.

    At this point I just don't know. Trusting in him is a sort of safety net to save me from damnation if it turns out that I am wrong and have somehow offended God by being wrong, which I doubt would be the case.

    ReplyDelete

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