Consciencious, logical objectivism


#1

Mormonism, Evangelicaism, Judism, Islam, Catholicism etc.

All have thier respective highly intelligent well informed determined apologists, all are very convincing, all believe they have the Truth, all are correct the others are wrong. All can counter and dispute the others arguments.

Does this logical objective viewpoint disturb anyone else here?

Are we simply -smarter- then they? How do we argue that we are correct and they are incorrect from a truly objective perspective assuming we are talking to an alien from another planet (let’s assume). Doesn’t it come down to the best apologist(s)?

I often ponder this from the perspective of…if I were to be locked in a room with a Muslim (or Jew) who is well versed in scripture and a much better debater then I, how do I (or possibly even… do I) walk out of that room still a Catholic?

If you truly consider this from an objective perspective (by that I mean you have to consider the other side, you have to humble yourslef to the idea you may be mistaken), aren’t we simply a product of our environment and not guided by the “Holy Spirit”. For wouldn’t this imply that the 1 billion Muslims the x million Jews and the x million evangelicals are being ignored by the same Holy Spirit?

We have good arguments I agree. Do I belive we ave good arguemnts because I listen more to Catholic apologists and less to other faith considerations? Am I being proud and pompous?
Are we being proud and pompous?

Maybe the answer is that as responsible individuals we are to assimulate all data and come to a conclusion because to not do so is irresonsible. But, that answer doesn’t seem to satisfy me.

If the answer (your answer) is more apologetic literature, you (respectively) missed the point of my question.


#2

It’s an interesting proposal. But I think you’re selling the Catholic Faith short if you objectively look at the arguments.

I don’t need to give you lots of apologetic literature, but consider the arguments in favor of Mormonism, for example. You propose an objective view, a humble, open mind. For that particular religion, a logical defense is not its strong-suit. Many LDS members know that now and they tend to argue on the basis of the “virtuous behavior of Mormons”. There is simply no logical or objective defense for the Mormon faith – in an objective view. Certainly nothing close to the Catholic apologetic.

From there, you’d have to look much more carefully at Islam. Again, this is not a faith that stresses logic and reason at its foundation. It stresses more the power of its spiritual principles and its “communal authority”. In very many ways, it is opposed to a rational, objective and logical view of its foundation. This is again not close to the Catholic view. In fact, a prominent Catholic bishop (I can’t remember who) said recently that it is virtually impossible to discuss religion with Islamic leaders – there is no give and take. There is little self-criticism as well.

For wouldn’t this imply that the 1 billion Muslims the x million Jews and the x million evangelicals are being ignored by the same Holy Spirit?

We see many nominal Catholics or those who have dissented from the Faith and left the Church. But one would not normally say that “the Holy Spirit ignored” those people.

Certainly, a strong part of religious identity is taken from family and birth. But Christ would not command that the Gospel be spread to all nations if He believed that people could not or would not be converted to it.

It’s the person of Christ as well – that is what sets Catholicism apart (the fullness of Christ, in his sacraments and Church). So it’s not just that everything is reduced to logical deductions. That’s an unfortunate outcome of too much reading of apologetical literature. Christ’s spiritual teaching – his incarnation and then desire for union with all humanity. It’s the claims of Christ as well. He does not permit a neutral response. He claimed to be God, and is to be accepted or rejected on that claim.


#3

This is a very good response. I fully realize I posed a difficult question to answer.

(with reference to the bold text), I sometimes wonder if I spend too much time, or better put, too much effort, listening to and comparing apologetic material and not simply prayinging enough. In other words, does the logical side outweigh the spiritual (or at least the effort towards the spiritual)?


#4

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

One might be obliged, if the study is seriously pressed, to acknowledge that the Catholic Faith is the objective view. I mean this in a radical sense. As “deconstruction” assumes and philosophy since Descartes has repeatedly shown, human “objectivity” is not “naturally” possible. (That is, objectivity cannot be established using human faculties alone.) Only Christ, the human being who is also divine, can provide a basis for objectivity, grounded on more reliable foundations than human perception. This is one meaning of His statement, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. (John (RSV) 14:6.)

Hence the notion that the Catholic Faith “could be wrong” is self-contradictory, because of the nature of human knowledge. (It is, of course, possible that one’s personal understanding of a particular point of the Faith could be faulty, however, there is no possibility that the Faith itself is “wrong.” The proposition itself has only formal linguistic coherence; substantively it cannot even be formulated, since the concept of “truth and falsity” depends on the Faith, and not the other way round.) To suggest the possibility that “the Catholic Faith may be untrue” would not be an act of humility (which is itself a category of objectivity) but would rather be a falsehood, a sham, or mere pandering.

All of this is simply to note that “objective rationality” itself is a tenant of the Catholic Faith. This is why the other groups, which have been mentioned, have not been able to maintain it consistently; and we may add to those already mentioned people who purport to pursue “scientific” or “skeptical” approaches in the common sense of those terms. Each of these groups have borrowed more or less of the Catholic Faith and are engaged in attempts to maintain their “systems” without the full scope of the truth. In most cases, they are attempting this even without the root of truth, Jesus Himself. Of course, these various efforts are futile in the long run, but they can be relatively tenacious in the short term, as matters of personal commitment or even willfulness.

For these reasons, one may confidently assert: Be not afraid (see, John 6:20). The Lord is more reliable than “objective reason.” In fact, He is the basis of both objective reality and reason itself, this is why His Church is the “the pillar and bulwark of the truth. (1Timothy (RSV) 3:15.) It is also why His word is more reliable than physical evidence:

My soul looks for the Lord more than sentinels for daybreak. More than sentinels for daybreak, let Israel look for the LORD, (Psalms (NAB) 130:6-7.)
These truths are available to those who pursue reason honestly and broadly. I recently came across the following quotation, attributed to Mr. George Orwell: “Sooner or later one is obliged to adopt a positive stance towards life and society. It would be putting it too crudely to say that every poet in our time must either die young, enter the Catholic Church, or join the Communist Party, but in fact the escape from the consciousness of futility is along these lines”. (catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0232.htm) Communism has been falsified. The Catholic Church subsists.

Pax Christi – sola pax vera – nobiscum.

John Hiner


#5

I sometimes wonder if I spend too much time, or better put, too much effort, listening to and comparing apologetic material and not simply praying enough.

Without daring to judge you at all, or to say anything personal (I’d only speak from my own poor experiences in this regard) – I would bet anything that you just pin-pointed a significant issue.

I say that because I have fallen into the same thing many times (I’m always pulled that direction). Apologetics is an intellectual exercise. It’s very important, essential actually in many ways. But it’s very much a use of the brain – with logic, consistency, historical fact, and sort of a scientific research.

We are always more attracted to doing that than to praying. Why? Well, as the CCC says, we have “The Warfare of Prayer”. That’s really the problem. Prayer is a warfare against our Enemy and against our own tendencies. There are forces that push us away from prayer and make it hard and distasteful at times. But the benefits and value of prayer are infinitely greater than intellectual exercises.

This is because a person can see the intellectual logic, but without prayer and grace from God, will not see the “truth of the heart”. That truth is the person of Jesus. Once our eyes are opened to who He is – then the logic takes a secondary place.

The best thing to foster prayer is spiritual reading. Slow contemplation on the spiritual classics will drive us to more prayer.

God definitely wants us all to be educated and “smart” about our Faith. But what He and what we need to a much greater extent is prayer and spiritual formation. For every hour spent on apologetic reading, we need two hours of prayer/spiritual reading.

The great spiritual classics take a long time to read because they’re meant as “practical” books – they teach us what to do, and actually fulfilling what they teach really takes a lifetime of practice.

Eucharistic adoration, for example, is a great means of increasing faith and being transformed into Christ.

(I say that only knowing the narrow path and seeing the goal, but not as one who can claim the most minimal success in walking that path).


#6

It is interesting that in this period of time when religions, generally, and the Christian God, in particular, are going through a greater criticism that the mind is placed above God as the source of an answer.

Objectively looking at things already implies a frame of reference. It also is expectant of honest answers from wherever it looks. Assuming honest answers are given, perhaps, one thinks, you can arrive at a real conclusion. I was raised Catholic but a point came in my life where I realized, as an adult, that I had to choose to have a one on one relationship with Christ. As Jesus, Himself, said, no one comes to Him unless the Father first draws you to Him. You then accept Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside you. The entire Trinity is involved in your salvation.

What of the other religions? I have met people who were Krishna, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, Jehovah’s Witness, believers in Astrology, as in planning their future against what the stars told them, Buddhist, Wicca, and those who were uninterested in even contemplating the idea of any sort of god.

I have also encountered people who believe that what can be perceived by the senses and analyzed scientifically represents the whole of reality.

However, the current mindset being popularized by people mistakenly referred to as comedians is “Arguing about religion is like arguing about who has the best imaginary friend.” Now, I would like you to think about this. Those who live simple, restrained lives, who follow the Commandments and temper their selfish desires are bad for the economy. Better for people to believe that they should eat, drink and be merry, and live lavishly now, because this is all there is… and it makes money for others. Better to believe that “this is just the way things are” and go with the crowd because, well, “everybody’s doing it,” no matter what ‘it’ may happen to be.

I don’t resent anyone else because of their beliefs. I thank God I live in a country where a mosque stands next to a Catholic Church, with a synogogue down the street. Or that a friend of mine is a Buddhist. I don’t find my beliefs superior to others in the sense that I am better. We are all human beings and, as you may have read, both Pope Benedict, and Pope John Paul II before him, made and are making many efforts to build a global sense of understanding between the various religions and to promote the dignity of the human person in a constructive, peaceful way.

Yes, there is a commonality among the world’s major religions about certain things. However, Allah is not the Christian God, and although Muslims recognize Jesus Christ as a great teacher, they do not recognize His divinity. In the sense that you are truly seeking, you will find Him. And if you feel weak or perhaps, not capable enough, pray for guidance. This is a spiritual journey first. “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all the things that are in it…”

Intellectually, the Church has always maintained that faith and reason are complementary. And that an awareness of God can be achieved through human reason. Pope John Paul II said, “Do not lose heart.”

If you seek honestly and ask, God will surely answer.

God bless,
Ed


#7

My opinion is this statement is incorrect. All of the religions listed in this short list have the same core base. I know and speak with many who do not consider the others “wrong” they believe opportunity is missed by some. But to say anyone of these is wrong is actually to say all of these are wrong. If I were in a foreign place and the people there were worshiping a mountain, tree, pole what ever I would not consider them wrong. I would think there attempts to reveal the Natural Moral Law written in their souls had lead to a misguided symbol of God. Yet since the item they worship was made by God their not too far away from the source.

hope that helps


#8

First, let me say that, as a Protestant, I’ve been thinking much along the same lines as you have – how do I really know I’m right? Sure, I believe what I say, but am I really being objective?

I think the first question you need to answer is – do you believe there is such a thing as objective (as opposed to subjective) truth? Is there a certain and absolute right answer which is not dependent on what you believe, or what I believe? I think the answer is yes. There is an absolute truth to any question of morality and fact. If you say no here, then you’ll probably never be satisfied.

Second, you have to assess whether or not you’re really searching for that objective truth or not. Consider – if you were forced to conclude that one of your current beliefs is wrong, could you accept it? If, for instance, you pray to Mary every day, and the thought of losing that horrifies you, then I’d say you need to work on making the search for the truth your priority, no matter the cost. We all tend to fall into loving the familiar, and convincing ourselves that it’s right. But the fact is that we’re human, and when we make mistakes in belief, we often don’t realize we’ve made a mistake – especially at first. The truth sets you free, but only if that’s your goal. If your goal is to follow the RCC, or to justify your faith, then you’ve set up your own, currently-impassible, roadblock.

After that, you really have to sit down and assess whether or not you can rationally believe what other denominations and religions hold to be true. I’d start with questioning whether God exists (check out some cosmology – Case for a Creator is a good book which makes some great points for study), and work from there.

In the end, apologists are often too focused on defending their beliefs and spreading them to others, and so yes, many miss the point entirely. Just strive for the truth and trust (if you believe you can) that God will show you the truth.

After that, all you can really do is lovingly try to show this truth to others in as objective a fashion as you can. But unlike current apologists, you really need to sit down and consider the arguments of the opposition. Really try to convince yourself of them, objectively speaking, and then test them – see if they hold up. Don’t just trust that your faith is right. “Test the spirits.”

I often ponder this from the perspective of…if I were to be locked in a room with a Muslim (or Jew) who is well versed in scripture and a much better debater then I, how do I (or possibly even… do I) walk out of that room still a Catholic?

To keep your beliefs once they’ve been challenged, you have to either ignore, or intentionally misunderstand the arguments presented (something I refuse to do), or really analyze what’s been said, and see what truth it holds. Pray constantly that God will help you to rationally and reasonably see the truth.

Most of all, don’t be tied to not changing your views. Be tied to following the truth, whatever that may be.

For wouldn’t this imply that the 1 billion Muslims the x million Jews and the x million evangelicals are being ignored by the same Holy Spirit?

No matter who is right, there are some who don’t get the message. As saddening as that is, you have to remember that God gave us a free will. We can choose to ignore the holy spirit if we want to.

We have good arguments I agree. Do I belive we ave good arguemnts because I listen more to Catholic apologists and less to other faith considerations? Am I being proud and pompous?
Are we being proud and pompous?

Isn’t everyone? At least to some degree, I think we all convince ourselves of what we want to believe. But, to a skeptic, how does it look?

For instance, you might say that you believe Mary was a perpetual virgin. I say “how do you know?” Do your reasons stand up to the test of reasonable skepticism? Or are you forced to hold to your belief in spite of skeptics?

If the answer (your answer) is more apologetic literature, you (respectively) missed the point of my question.

While some responses have bordered on more apologetics, I’ve tried to focus instead on the logical issues you’ve raised. I hope my response has been helpful.


#9

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