Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The argument for atheism

During my college career, I learned among other things, that if I took it upon myself to teach the subject I was studying, I would reach a deeper level of understanding of that subject. The teaching could involve other real people or just other people in my head. It really didn't matter, I just needed to approach it from the angle of the expert.

For those of you that know me, you know to some degree or another that I have had a "conversion" back to Catholicism. Born a Catholic, the "conversion" back was necessary because I lacked a fundamental understanding of the religion.

In order to grow in my knowledge of the faith I have taken to explaining and defending Christianity and Catholicism. To some degree this has been just in my head and to some degree in various public outlets.

Today, I was looking for arguments supporting atheism in order that I might rebut them. My only experience with atheism to date is the argument "you can't prove God exists, therefore he doesn't." Which I find amusing for many different reasons but will not list them here. In my quest for intellectual arguments ruling out the reality of God i visited the The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science Official facebook page. I mean, he is the renowned atheist of our times right. I must say I was looking for some good arguments to chew on to help me bolster my own arguments for the existence of God. However, I was woefully disappointed.

I found two things on this site. The first was The "you can't prove God exists argument." These intellectual atheist kill me. They wrap this argument up in "academic" language and believe that makes it valid and believable. I guess unfortunately, it does for some people and they loose their souls to it. They would have you believe that the randomness they believe in is more believable than a "magic man" in the clouds. I'm sorry, but I don't get it.

The second thing I found, I also expected, was attacks on the faithful. I learned something else in college. In my logic course I learned that if you have to attack me personally your argument is invalid. You would think that if you were going to try to convince someone that you are intellectually superior, you would at least read up on the academic rules for arguments.

I got nothing out of the experience because I do not find the argument "You can't prove God exists, therefore he doesn't exist" a persuasive argument for atheism. Additionally, I do not find "If you believe in God, you're stupid" to be a persuasive argument.

In the end, I find it far harder to believe that this thing we call existence is all just random than i do believing that it is a willful creation by a being that is far beyond our comprehension. The fact that this being is the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob and that he sent his only begotten Son for the salvation of mankind is beyond the scope of this particular post. However, that it is what I firmly believe.

Just a note. Least their be any thought that I am proud of myself for my conversion back to God and my desire to know Him more and more, I know that my conversion and desire for Him are gifts of Grace from Him. I am thankful for these gifts and pray that I do not squander them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Book of Judges and the Papacy.

I've been reflecting on the book of Judges lately. One recurring theme from this book is that in those times there was no king and every man did what he thought best. This seems to lead directly to the other theme which was that man kept falling into depravity and causing a divide between Israel and God.
I love looking at the Old Testament through the lens of Christ and the Church. I see this as a clear foreshadowing of the Papacy and the moral authority of the Magisterium of the Church. The connotation being that we need one clear leader to guide us in matters of faith and morals and not every person running around deciding what they think is best.
I wonder if any of my Catholic friends have made this connection as well and I wonder how my protestant friends interpret this.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What does the Bible have to do with me?

What can stories about a bunch of people a long time ago mean to my life? I have heard this and similar sentiments too often about the Scriptures. God wants to reveal things about himself to you through the Bible. I will tell you from my own experience, once I really got into it I could start to see how the stories applied to me. I first noticed this when I had been reading the books of history. The day that it first struck me I was smack dab in the middle of 1 Samuel.
A recurring theme throughout the Old Testament is that people who put their faith and trust in God are able to accomplish things that are otherwise impossible. Whether it is a woman well passed child baring age that was barren her whole life becoming pregnant, a foreigner who is in prison being elevated to the administrator of an entire country, or a few men defeating an entire battalion of a superior enemy. These are just a few examples; the Old Testament is full of stories which fit this theme.
The following is how I first saw these themes play out in my own life. We were having a major problem at work. We had spent several days on the problem and we were nowhere closer to solving it. The problem was beginning to spill over into my (and others) personal life. I was feeling anxious and was not able to focus on other aspects of my life.
To relate this problem to one of the better know Old Testament accounts, let me try to compare it to the story of David and Goliath. Most people know the basic tenants of this story. Goliath is a massive warrior who dwarfs all others. He taunts the Israelites constantly that they have no one who can defeat him in battle. David is not only much smaller but also is a shepherd rather than a warrior. David put all of his faith and trust in God and went to meet Goliath in battle. To say that David killed Goliath with ease is a major understatement.
That is how I felt with this problem. That there was no way I could track it down and solve it. There are just so many places this problem could have been. It could have been in our infrastructure, in our code, or as the result of something from the outside that was coming in and we had been unable to track down. Even worse it could have been some combination of these things. You see the problem was huge, Goliath like if you will.
I guess at first you could have compared me to the entire Israelite army. I was just trying to do it on my own. After all God has done for me in my life, it took me nearly a week to bring my problems to him. I went to bed one night with a prayer on my heart that I would be delivered from the feelings of anxiety and the overall obsession with the problem. I got up the next morning to face my Goliath and to say that I killed Goliath with ease would be a major understatement. I literally walked into work sat down at my desk and found a small typo that changed the face of the problem. I fixed the typo, and the problem dropped like a large man hit squarely in the forehead with a stone from a slingshot.
Least this sound like a dry account of some hum drum day to day activity let me assure you that when I solved this problem with such ease, I was immediately rocked with a feeling of awe at the blessing which God had bestowed on me.
What was God trying to reveal to me. I believe that He wanted me to learn that if I am faithful to Him and trust in Him he will deliverer me from my enemies just as he did time and time again for our Israelite ancestors in the faith. What does God want to reveal to you? Pick up a Bible and find out.