Archive for September, 2017

3. Why Believe? by J. F. Kippley

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Forms of belief in God.  As former atheist Anthony Flew showed, there is more than one form of belief in God.  Is God just the great Watchmaker who designed and created the universe and takes no active interest in it, or is God very much more?

     Deism is belief in a God who created the universe and then left it alone except to energize it.  God is the first cause and the sustaining cause of the universe.  Period.

     Theism is belief in a God who not only created the universe but guides it and intervenes in it.

     Polytheism is belief in many gods—a god for war and a god for peace, a god for good weather, a god for health, etc.  This is common in the ancient pagan religions.

     Judeo-Christian theism is belief in the One God who is not only our Creator but who actually loves each individual man and woman, not just “mankind,” and who wants us to love Him.  Furthermore, this One God has intervened in human affairs as told in the Judeo-Christian history.  Easter celebrates as a real historic fact the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Deism or the God of Revelation?

As a believing Catholic, I believe that God loves his entire creation. I believe that God loves you and me and each one of us and that he has revealed His plan for our eternal happiness.  I believe that His commandments are from His love and are for our good, not His.

I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God in many different kinds of language.  I accept the first 11 chapters of Genesis as parable-like accounts that reveal extremely important truths about creation and our relationship with our Creator, similar to the parables of Jesus.

I believe that God entered human history with the call of Abram whose name He changed to Abraham as a sign of the Covenant.

I believe that Jesus worked true miracles like those more recently worked at Lourdes.

I believe that Jesus is true God and true Man, the Christ, the Messiah foretold by the prophets in the Church of the Old Covenant.  In turn, the Lord Jesus founded the Church of the New Covenant upon Simon, son of John.  Just as God had changed the name of Abram to Abraham, so also the Lord Jesus changed the name of Simon to Peter (rock) as a sign of headship in the New Covenant.

To be continued next week.
Permission is hereby given to download single copies for free. Additional copies may also be downloaded without charge provided they are distributed for free.  See http://www.nfpandmore.org/brochure.shtml .

 

2. Why Believe? by J. F. Kippley

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The human existence approach.  Does my existence have meaning?  If there is no God and thus no meaning to life beyond money and pleasure and power, why not commit suicide?
Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) and his wife Raisa (1883-1960) were philosophy students in Paris learning the materialistic doctrines of the day and concluded that life has no meaning.  They were considering suicide when they met Leon Bloy who introduced them to Catholic Christianity.  That was truly a life-saving event for them.

The argument from Design:  Anthony Flew, (died April 8, 2010) was an English philosopher in the field of the philosophy of religion.
A notorious atheist most of his life, he was caught up in the problem of evil beyond that caused by personal sin.  In 2004 at age 81, he announced that he was now a believer in deism.
Mr. Flew gave two science-based reasons for his rejection of atheism.
1) DNA research “has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life, that intelligence must have been involved.”
2) Inconsistencies in the Darwinian account of evolution (NY Times, 2010/04/17).  That is, a completely materialistic approach to evolution, as contrasted with a theistic guided evolution, is simply inadequate to deal with the real world.

The approach of logical reasoning.  St. Thomas Aquinas developed the Five Ways of coming to the conviction that God exists.  You can search them on the internet.
Here is one sentence from the Second Way concerning causality:
“There is no case known (neither is it, indeed, possible) in which a thing is found to be the efficient cause of itself; for so it would be prior to itself, which is impossible.”   Very briefly, nothing comes from nothing.  We are here.  Someone got us started.  That Being we call God.
This Second Way is probably the easiest to understand because it starts with you and me and all of us.  I don’t need any education to realize that I am not the reason for my own existence.  I was born from my mother, and no matter how far back you can imagine, you bump up against the reality that someone had to start the chain.  In the language of philosophy, that Being is the First Cause.

To be continued next week.
Permission is hereby given to download single copies for free. Additional copies may also be downloaded without charge provided they are distributed for free.  See http://www.nfpandmore.org/brochure.shtml .

1. Why Believe? by J.F. Kippley

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

Why should I believe in God?  Sooner or later, every thinking and believing person has to make a decision.  Do I really believe in God?  And if so, why?  These questions are normal.  In fact, St. Peter tells believers to be ready to give a reason for their faith (see 1 Peter, 3:15).
These questions have attracted many thinkers, and various reasons for faith in God have been given; this little brochure will give a few of them.  But first we need to address the huge problem of our day.

Practical atheism: materialism and indifference.
     There are not large numbers of intellectual atheists.  As logicians tell us, you cannot prove a negative.  Also, as you will read a bit later, some atheists have discovered that dogmatic atheism simply doesn’t explain life as we know it.
Far more numerous are practical atheists—those who act as if God doesn’t exist.  Their gods are money and pleasure and power.  They don’t build idols to these, although some of their houses might be called that, but these are the principles by which they make their decisions.
Perhaps even worse than these idol worshippers are those who are completely indifferent about the existence of God and act as if it doesn’t matter.  They don’t deny the existence of God, but they seem not to care.
They are like little children who close their eyes and say, “I can’t see you, so you can’t see me.”  It doesn’t work for children or adults.
Pascal’s wager certainly applies in these cases.   I hope it leads them to think and then to pray.

Pascal’s wager.  Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was such a brilliant mathematician that in 1970 a computer programming language was named after him.  Some of his unbelieving friends were living ungodly lives so he made a bet with them.  “If I live as if there is a God and die and find there isn’t, I have lost nothing.  If you live as if there is no God and die and find there is God, you have lost everything.”  This does not prove that God exists, but it certainly provides food for thought.

The “no consequences” approach.  About 200 years later, Fyodor Dostoyevsky had one of his characters say, “If there is no God, everything is permitted” (Brothers Karamazov, 1879). That played out hugely during the times of aggressive Russian and Chinese atheistic communism when Stalin and Mao killed millions of their own people.
Also, just read the papers.  Some public schools are so anti-theistic that they forbid the Pledge of Allegiance because it contains the phrase “under God.”  With that kind of education, why shouldn’t people do whatever they think they can get away with?  If the only purpose of education is to enable you to earn money so you can enjoy whatever you desire, why not take the shortest way to get money?
We are bombarded by the daily news that gives deadly proof that George Washington was right when he said in his 1796 Farewell Address, Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.”

To be continued next week.
Permission is hereby given to download single copies for free. Additional copies may also be downloaded without charge provided they are distributed for free.  See http://www.nfpandmore.org/brochure.shtml .