Commenter Cam left a long and thoughtful comment on a recent post of mine about suffering on earth vs. Joy in heaven.  There’s a lot to talk about in it, but I want to start with a point about rational argument.  Cam says, …it might be worth noting a difference between some Christians and some atheists here. An atheist might approach an argument by saying: ‘there may be some gaps in my argument, and these gaps may or may not… Read more

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. Thomas is nothing if not thorough.  Having established that God’s Divine Word is identical to God Himself, he then goes on to eliminate the various ways that God’s Divine Word might have been distinct from God Himself. Among things that are not distinct in essence, there can be no distinction according to species, time, or nature. Therefore, since the Word is consubstantial with the Father,… Read more

The Dogmat has been renewing his interest in photography recently, and has come across a number of pertinent articles. 13 Exercises for Photographers That Can Help Jump-Start Creativity: The Dogmat will be taking himself for walks in the future, camera in paw, and he can use a little help getting back into the game. Some of these look like a lot of fun. (Note: “exercise” means making photographs subject to certain constraints, not calisthenics. Although the Dogmat could use those… Read more

If you’re reading this blog you’re probably already aware that Fr. Robert Barron of Word On Fire has been appointed one of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ three new auxiliary bishops. I didn’t hear anything in Archbishop Gomez’ press conference today about how they would be serving, but I have some speculations. The Archidiocese of Los Angeles is immense, the largest in the United States in terms of population. It has historically been divided into five pastoral regions, each with… Read more

In a previous post I argued that free will allows the making of poor choices, and that poor choices* lead to suffering for one’s self and for others, yet God valued that free will enough to allow suffering to follow from it.  This led many people to ask the obvious question: what happens in Heaven?  There’s no suffering in Heaven, yet presumably we still have free will.  How I can square my claim with that point of doctrine? It’s a… Read more

We’re blogging through St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae, sometimes called his Shorter Summa. Find the previous posts here. This chapter is surprisingly topical given last year’s new English translation of the Roman Missal.  In the Profession of Faith the phrase that had been translated “of one being with the Father” is now translated “consubstantial with the Father”.  This is a difficult phrase, to be sure, but it has the advantage that at least it isn’t deceptively clear.  Thomas has this to say about… Read more

One of my favorite pieces from the Swing era is Benny Goodman’s epic version of “Sing, Sing, Sing”, which to my surprise I heard playing over the loudspeakers while in line for the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland a few days ago. It’s long, so start it going and let it play in the background while you read your e-mail or something: Of course, Goodman wasn’t the original composer; that credit goes to Louis Prima, who not only plays a mean… Read more

The Dogmat saw the usual range of stuff, including a couple of thought-provoking pieces and some absurd and touching faith in the power of technology and technological thinking. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Amiens in Minecraft: Be sure to click through and watch the video; it’s truly an amazing accomplishment. (Link courtesy of Tom McDonald.) What’s the Point of Pointless Suffering?: We’ve been discussing suffering recently, chez Dogmat; here’s one of Jennifer Fitz’ recent posts on the subject. Five… Read more

In my previous post I ended by suggesting that God couldn’t remove all suffering in the world without changing humanity: without making human beings something they are not.  In this post I’m going to explain why I say that.  It comes down to free will, which leads to some surprising places. We human beings have free will in a sense that other animals do not seem to.*  We can choose from among many choices; and though we always choose from among… Read more

My atheist interlocutors have presented me with a vast number of questions on my post “Which Monotheistic God is God”, a rich lode that I suspect I could continue to mine for a very long time indeed.  Many of the questions have to do with the question of suffering: if God is truly good, and truly all powerful, why didn’t He create a world without suffering?  Why doesn’t He prevent suffering before it happens? This is one of the truly… Read more

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