Thursday, January 29, 2015
Before answering the Why question a philosopher would ask the What questions- what is morality? what is a moral life? After answering the What and Why they would likely then proceed to the How questions- how can I live ethically? how can human societies be collectively moral? This helps explain why philosophy books tend to be quite big and not very popular. They seem to spend a lot of time proving what the reader already knows to be true or attempting to disprove what the reader thinks of as 'common sense.' Religion appears to offer a way of short-cutting all this tedious playing with words. All religions have associated moralities and within the Abrahamic religions these have the sanction of divine revelation. Morality is what revelation says it is, obedience to God is the only acceptable response to revelation and within the content of that revelation, either in the form of scripture or divinely mandated authority, is all the guidance required for individuals and societies to live out the moral life in practice.
There is no real doubt that if this is an accurate summary of religious belief then many of the criticisms levelled at religion by New Atheists like the late Christopher Hitchens (God grant him rest) and the current Richard Dawkins (God keep him on Twitter) are well merited. Such a rigid structure which requires no moral judgement on the part of believers but merely an acceptance of the first principles of faith would lend them and their belief system to being manipulated in the service of anyone who could pervert the interpretation of revelation to suit their own purposes, as Islamic State and Boko Haram appear to have done with Islam. There are, however, a number of things which could be said about this critique....click here to read more
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
My new friend Brittany has posted another great article in her series Letting God Lead: My Journey Through Protestant and Catholic Beliefs on her blog Equipping Godly Women.
This one is called Is the Eucharist just a Symbol? 5 Convincing Proofs that say that it's not!
This is a great article of Catholic Apologetics...and Brittany isn't even Catholic!
Let's pray for her RCIA journey...we'd love to have her on our team. =)
Unconditional Love – I was blessed to have two wonderful parents, who were married for 54 years prior to my father’s passing in 1999. My mother died 28 weeks later. (The photo was taken at my First Communion in 1965, at age 8). For the first 42 years of my life, they were living examples of parental love to me. They loved me unconditionally, as all parents do so well.
I did not come from a wealthy family. My father worked in a printer’s shop, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom, until I turned 10 years of age. Read more...
Monday, January 26, 2015
Want to know the secret to an enduring marital love after 35+ years of marriage? How can you have such a love?
With 35+ years of marriage to the same wonderful man, of this I can speak from experience. Many people ask me, “What’s your secret?” Let’s face the truth – in this day and age, at least in the United States, we don’t see one-time marriages with longevity much anymore. When we do see them, we see a consistent theme: an enduring love that has weathered the storms of life. So, you ask, what is the secret to maintaining that enduring love?
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Next morning when Balaam arose, he saddled his donkey, and went off with the princes of Moab.....When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord there, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam’s anger flared up and he beat the donkey with his stick. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she asked Balaam, “What have I done to you that you beat me these three times?"....the angel of the Lord said to him: “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come as an adversary because this rash journey of yours is against my will. When the donkey saw me, she turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, you are the one I would have killed, though I would have spared her....”
from Numbers 22:21-34
To the best of my knowledge there is only one postlapsarian example of a talking animal in the Bible. For atheists and sceptics of course that is one too many. Balaam's ass is conclusive prove, they argue, that the Scriptures are simply a collection of fables and fantasies. If, however, you were to turn to the Bible after reading actual collections of fables and fantasies of a similar length and similar antiquity to the Old Testament it is the comparative lack of talking animals which would strike you. It is an obvious motif to use and the Jewish scriptures use it remarkably sparingly which should alert you to the fact that there is at the least something unusual in the way that their holy books were compiled or in the beliefs which they held. Be that as it may my primary purpose in this post is with defending modern animals not ancient texts. Whether you accept the account of Balaam, the Angel and the suffering donkey as an historical account or as an extended parable then either way I would contend that there are important lessons which we can learn from it.
The donkey was savagely beaten because Balaam did not understand the benefit that she was conferring upon him by her behaviour. And often, indeed, it is the case that humankind mistreats or destroys this or that part of the environment in ways which they would not do if they fully realised the long term damage which they were doing to themselves and their species by their actions. A pangolin, for example, can eat up to seven million insects a year. We do not know what the impact upon us would be if these insects were allowed to multiply unchecked. It is unlikely to be good however and there is an excellent chance that we will find out because currently pangolins are being hunted to extinction across two continents, Asia and Africa. In this we resemble Balaam, we are attacking something which simply by being itself may well be defending us......click here to read more