Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Things That Make Me Go 'Hmmmm.'

1. In talking with a non-Catholic, he made the statement that Christ created ONE Church and it was Catholic. The boat, however, rotted away making it necessary for Luther, Calvin, and others to scrape off the pagan barnacles that had attached themselves and bring the Universal Church back to true Catholicity. In essence, what he told me was that the Protestants were the REAL Catholics! Interesting. So naturally, I asked him, 'So if you, a Protestant, and I, a Catholic, jumped into a time machine and went back to the 1st century Church and worshipped together, you would feel more comfortable in that Church as a Protestant than I would as a Catholic?' He responded with a profound 'Yes'. Hmmm. My next question became, 'So it seems that I don't have to be a great theologian or scholar but only have to read the Early Church Fathers to prove that they're all Calvinists?' Was the New Testament Church Protestant? Were there Evangelicals at the Council of Jerusalem or Nicea? Unless there was an altar call, I doubt it. See this for more:

2. Suppose you came upon the letters 'S.O.S' carved into the sand on a beach of a deserted island. If you found a hut with windows, doors, and a roof on it, you'd probably infer that someone designed it and had been there to scrawl those words in the sand. I guess there's a chance (maybe one in a trillion) that the letters were scrawled by chance or the hut was built by some act of chance but is it likely? Hmmm. Who would use a one in a trillion explanation for those letters being formed by the wind? See, Atheists use arguments like 'If you sat a million monkeys at a million typewriters for a million years, one of them would eventually type out Hamlet by chance.' Yes, but when we find a transcript of Hamlet, we don't wonder if it came from monkeys--we believe that it came from Bill Shakespeare, based on all available evidence. The reason Atheists use these improbable explanations for the universe is because they are his/her last shot to remain Atheist. It's a psychological issue for them, not a logical one.

3. The Pope has stepped up and called all God-fearing people to engage in dialogue while using our reason. He takes a stand and says what every political leader and every religious leader should be saying--that acts of violence in the name of God lack reason. Jihadists, suicide bombers, genocidal dictators, and yes, even rogue Crusaders from days of yore commit grave offenses against God and man when they do what they do. So how does the Muslim world at large react? They stage violent protests, threaten bodily harm and death to the Pope and all 'people of the Cross', shoot a nun in the back, blow up Christian holy places, and kidnap a Catholic priest! HMMM. It really shouldn't be this hard. Pope Benedict holds up a mirror to Islam and instead of looking hard into it, they take the mirror and stomp on it. This is an act that lacks reason and any religion that cannot or will not stand up to the scrutiny of reason is a false one. Jesus Christ is Knowledge, Wisdom, and Truth. What kind of God would subject his creations to ignorance? Now I know this stems from Islam's perception of the human person--that we are fundamentally useless and mere slaves of Allah. We don't deserve to possess knowledge. We are unworthy of anything except Allah's will which is imposed upon us. Thankfully, Catholics see it differently. Humans are created in the image and likeness of He who is Good. As a result, humans are fundamentally good--for God looked upon all he created and declared it very good. Martin Luther called us piles of dung. I beg to differ and so does Pope Benedict. By virtue that we are made partakers of Jesus' divine nature and made children of God through His death and resurrection, we are more than dung heaps. What Father would declare his children to be piles of crap? No, we are children and as such, we participate (albeit imperfectly) in the perfect knowledge, wisdom, and truth that our God possesses. God is wise and we have elements of wisdom. God is merciful and we show mercy to others. That's why we cannot appeal to simple emotion and call that faith. For if our faith cannot withstand reason, it's empty because it's not faith that exists in understanding. The Muslim reaction worldwide has been nothing short of irrational and speaks volumes about Islam as a whole and Islam as it exists in the natural order. Rather than educated dialogues and responses to the Holy Father's challenge, we see a religion utterly incapable of a)defining its tenets clearly and b)unwilling/unable to withstand reasonable criticism. Pray for Islam and for our Holy Father.

4. John Calvin said that the Church is 'those who profess to worship one God and Christ'. He says that the Church is 'invisible, manifest to God only'. HMMM. This gives rise to a couple of problems. When has God ever established a covenant (that's what the Church is--the administrator of God's covenant on Earth) where its administration was invisible? With Adam and Eve, we had the very visible Paradise to respresent God's covenant with them. With Noah, God gave us the very visible flood and rainbow to represent His covenant with us. The covenant with Moses and the Hebrews was represented by the very visible parting of the Red Sea, the 10 Commandments and the Passover. He also gave them priests for visible sacrifices, judges for visible legal proceedings, and kings as God's anointed one. The covenant with David was represented by the Temple, the Kingdom itself (a very visible kingdom, to be sure) and the very visible Ark of The Covenant. Why would God then 'go stealth' when His Son came to establish the New Covenant? In Mt 18, Jesus tells his Apostles how to settle an issue--take the issue to the person and try to resolve it. If he persists, take 2 or 3 with you and confront that person. If he persists in his wrongdoing, TAKE IT TO THE CHURCH. And if he wil not hear 'EVEN THE CHURCH' you are to treat him as a heathen and a publican. How in the world could they take a grievance to a Church they themselves could not see? Couple that with Paul calling the Church 'the pillar and foundation of the truth' (not the Bible, the Church!), and it's easy to see that he could not call some invisible union of believers something that is visible--a pillar. Given that 30,000 Christian churches exist today with differing fundamental beliefs, Paul could only be talking about one church, one doctrine, and one pillar. Furthermore, if 'Church' is merely a collection of unified believers, why would Paul and the other apostles appoint bishops to oversee the believers? In appointing successors, they establish a hierarchy just as Jesus established a hierarchy when he chose 12 men who became 'the foundation' of the Church. Clearly they were set above the rest of the disciples and believers, connoting a hierarchy that was visible. Paul says that unless you are sent with proper authority, then you have no right to preach, teach, or evangelize. Even Paul had to spend time with Peter before he was commissioned to undertake his mission. So why would a hierarchy exist in an invisible church? It'd look like Wonder Woman (visible) flying her jet (invisible).


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