My Road to Catholic Belief

Mountain Highway

Last week I explained why there is no magic bullet for belief, no simple, straightforward argument that will compel belief in the Christian God.  This raises some questions: how do believers come to believe in Christianity?  And how can Christian belief be rational absent such proofs?First, most Christians come to belief experientially.  Some are taught as children, and later reach out to accept what God has for them: they "taste and see that the Lord is good," as scripture has it.  Others co … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: Natural Theology in a Nutshell

ThomasAquinas

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here.Chapter 35 of Thomas’ Compendium Theologiae is a nutshell summary of everything that has gone before: From all the details of doctrines thus far discussed, we can gather that God is one, simple, perfect, and infinite, and that He understands and wills. All these truths are assembled in a brief article of our Creed, wherein we profess to believe “in one God, almig … [Read more...]

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Arriving at Amen: An Interview with Leah Libresco

ArrivingAtAmen

Leah Libresco, of the Unequally Yoked blog here at Patheos, has written a book entitled Arriving at Amen: Seven Catholic Prayers That Even I Can Offer.  I hope to offer a full review of Leah’s book sometime in the next week or so (capsule summary: I liked it); in the meantime I’ll just say that Leah’s unique—I might say inimitable—take on certain common Catholic prayers and devotions will cause you to see them in a new light, and perhaps understand and appreciate them more than ever before. That … [Read more...]

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Puttin’ on the Ritz in Fits: Fred Astaire meets Gene Wilder

FredAstaire

Because these things make me smile, here are two famous performances of Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz". First, let's have Fred Astaire:Next, of course, Gene Wilder and Froderick Fronkensteen's Monster:And for those of you who just can't enough, here's the original performance, sung by Harry Richman in the movie of the same name:Finally, here's Mr. Astaire again, with some interesting...augmentation...by Club de Belugas. The additions are occasionally jarring, but … [Read more...]

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The Dogmat: Preaching, Double Spaces, and Unfair Readings to Kids

Dogmat

The Dogmat saw quite a lot this week: on preaching, the post-mortem accessibility of double-spaces, the inhumanity of reading to your kids, and What Would Patsy Do?Preaching: What Works? Why Does it Matter?: Jen Fitz tells us some things the Dogmat thinks we really ought to keep in mind while preaching the Gospel.You Can Have My Double Space When You Pry it From My Cold, Dead Hands: The Dogmat favors fixed pitch fonts, and is glad that others agree.BeingLiberal.org Brings the … [Read more...]

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Ngaio Marsh: Night at the Vulcan

NightAtTheVulcan

Night at the Vulcan, also published as Opening Night, is the sixteenth of Ngaio Marsh’s Roderick Alleyn mysteries, and yet another set in the world of the theater; I had forgotten how many of these there were.  I had almost completely forgotten it, and found it enchanting on re-acquaintance.  The only problem with it is that it isn’t terribly satisfying considered strictly as a mystery; there’s a little too much deus ex machine about the conclusion.The tale concerns the days leading up to the … [Read more...]

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What’s the Good of Christianity? And Does it Matter?

Mother Teresa

Last week I opined that the question of what religion is good for is the wrong question; the question is whether a religion is true or not.It doesn't matter a bit whether religion (in the broader sense) is good for anything if it isn't true.  If the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob doesn't exist, if Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christianity is a lie and a sham and unworthy of practice, and ought to be shunned by all good men.  Any good that it does is in spite of itself.One c … [Read more...]

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Today’s Aquinas: No Magic Bullets for Belief

500px-Pythagorean.svg

Occasionally I'm asked what arguments I have that prove that Christianity is true, as if there were a perfect argument for the Christian God so lucid in its rationality that the most hardened atheist could not help but accept it after a few moments' perusal.  (I exaggerate, but, I think, not by much.)  The trouble is, there is no such argument for any proposition, of any kind, in any field.  The closest we come is basic plane geometry, in the field of mathematics, where all reasonable people can … [Read more...]

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Old Blind Dogs: A Man’s a Man For A’ That

I'm in the mood for some Old Blind Dogs this week; so here's Bobbie Burns set to music and sung and played most beautifully. If you've any taste for this kind of folk music, you really ought to give the whole album a listen. … [Read more...]

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