Logical argument for Catholicism?

Okay, let’s say you’ve managed to reach the conclusion there is a God. Great.

Is there a logical argument to actually lead from that to the conclusion that Catholicism/Christianity is true?

No, because the doctrine of the Trinity is inaccessible to the light of human reason; therefore it cannot be known that Jesus Christ is God without the infused knowledge that comes with the supernatural grace of faith.

Once you accept that Jesus Christ is God, the Catholic Church is the only logical conclusion.

Well thats an open thread question:)
First and foremost we need faith. Faith is not outside logic, but greater than it. Meaning, it promps and compells us to do things that are not logical in every sense, but logical for the good of our souls.

I hope your thread leads to the good discussion you are hoping for,
Michael

Humming birds are a tiny miracle. They flap their wings like 80 times a second.
Caterpillars metamorphose into Butterflies. They dissolve and somehow turn into a beautiful creature.

Romans 1:20 tells us: ‘For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse’—if they do not believe. Job 12:7 and 9 says: ‘Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee . . . who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?’

That suggests the existence of God, if anything. I’m speaking about a logical argument for Catholicism/Christianity over other religions.

God is a mystery. He is a loving, living God. But how do I explain a God who is three persons in one?
Pray about it and see which religion you think is the truth.

Peter Kreeft just wrote a book on this very question called “Jacob’s Ladder.” I haven’t read it, but Dr. Kreeft is always engaging, witty, funny, logical and down to earth.

I myself am working on a brief outline of steps from self awareness all the way through to Catholicism. If I get the chance to finish it soon, I’ll post it here.

If a god exists, there is no reason to suppose that the Holy Bible (as the allegedly revealed word of that god) is any more logical than the alleged revelation to Muhammad, or the Torah, or the belief in Rainbow Serpent and the Dreaming, or the polytheistic Greeks and Romans, or whomever else one could name among the diverse forms of worship on the planet.

Everyone thinks they have the one, true faith. No-one is willing to concede any ground. If there is a god, it seems utterly ridiculous that it would tolerate such a multiplicity of beliefs.

Try telling a Muslim that the Catholic Church is the logical faith if one is to believe in a god.

For logic to function, you need to see a certain causality–a necessity in a train of thought. X idea leads naturally and conclusively to Y idea, and so on. A can be proven, and we therefore accept B. Even if A cannot be conclusively proven, we can be so reasonably sure of it that* B *is most probably correct.
At the very least, you need a sensible and coherent line of argument.

Why would Catholicism be more logical than another religion?

**

Its unparalleled historical coherence and the uniquely historical nature of its sacred texts, for one thing. Islam simply borrows from Judeo-Christian history and other religions employ mythology with no historical grounding.

Christianity is an historical religion, taking place within human history. It is not something you can reach by pure logic alone.

Yes, Islam accepts the Torah, the Psalms and the Gospels as precursors to the Qu’ran. Christians accept the Old Testament as the precursor to the New.
At least three major, monotheistic faiths have historically-based** texts as their foundation.

Is that logical, though, or simply coincidence? Those faiths emerged from roughly the same part of the world, so it’s hardly surprising that they might draw on some common antecedents.

Do sacred texts logically need to be historical, or is it just convenient that the text can be fitted in with the broad sweep of history (most of which the sacred text never mentions, incidentally).

Are myths and oral traditions less logical than texts which rely on the appearances of angels, the parting of an ocean by a miracle, or the resurrection of a three-day corpse (to cite just a few examples)?

**(It must be said that the history is often highly contestable: early Genesis, for example. Some of these “historical” texts were created by tribal, nomadic, illiterate people and emerged in written form after a long oral tradition.)

As others have pointed out, ultimately the gift of faith is necessary, but there’s nothing wrong with using logic as far as it goes. Here are some arguments I have heard from others, which may need some fleshing out, and someone will find flaws, but perhaps you will find something helpful.

Argument A1

  1. Jesus was pre-announced in many detailed prophecies.
  2. The future is only known in such great detail by God.
  3. Therefore, the prophecies were from God.
  4. Therefore, Jesus was pre-announced by God.
  5. Therefore, Jesus is from God.
  6. Therefore, what Jesus says is true.
  7. Jesus claimed to be God.
  8. Therefore, Jesus is God.
  9. Continue to Argument B

Argument A2

  1. Jesus said he would rise from the dead of his own power.
  2. Jesus rose from the dead.
  3. No prophet claimed to have raised him, and what Jesus says is true (See Arg. A1).
  4. Therefore, Jesus rose from the dead of his own power.
  5. Only God has complete power over life and death.
  6. Therefore, Jesus is God.
  7. Continue to Argument B

Argument B1

  1. Jesus founded a Church.
  2. Jesus entrusted his Church to Peter (Mt. 16:18-20; cf. Is. 22:22).
  3. Only the Catholic Church has Peter’s living successor.
  4. Therefore, the Catholic Church is the Church which Jesus founded.
  5. Jesus is God (see Arg. A).
  6. Therefore, the Catholic Religion is true.

Argument B2

  1. Jesus is God (see Arg. A).
  2. Only the Catholic Church can be traced historically to Jesus.
  3. Therefore, God established only the Catholic Church.
  4. Therefore, only the Catholic Religion is true.

Ok, good. There is a god, or rather, let’s say, that there is a deity. Is it one or are there many? Logically, if the universe has a transcendent origin, uncaused cause, the prime mover, this origin must be from outside of the universe and completely independant of it. It must be the foundation of all reality or rather, it is the ultimate reality. By many different arguments (Ontological, Kalam, etc.) you get to the conclusion that there is one deity that is separated from the creation. That automatically leaves you with only two possible true worldviews - monotheism and deism.

When you get here you must look at the world, at history, at your own life and study if there is or was any sign of this deity. You will soon find such claims from probably more than 90% of people that ever lived. And I personally think theism is much more logical than deism.

So the deity did show itself. How? Let’s see… is there a famous monotheist deity… aha! This God of Abraham seems to be a universal rockstar… But wait, there are still at least three options. Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Since Christianity claims to be the fullfillment of Judaism, let’s focus only on christianity and islam. The best way to know what they truly are is to look at their origins. With Islam you will find quite brutal arabic society that was domesticated by a prophet-conqueror. With christianity you will find a suffering preacher who refused to be a wordly king until his people knew redeption from sin. Muhammad preached mercy of God the Most High Ruler, Jesus preached love of God the Father. Followers of Muhammad were warriors (and some were just rulers, at least in the beginning), followers of Jesus were martyrs. For christians heaven is grace through sacrifice of God himself, for muslims the paradise is a reward for good works. For muslims the life itself is a test, for christians the life is a marriage proposal.

You will find two very different worlds. Now, Tawhid and Trinity. We already agreed that God is one in being. But is God one in hypostasis, in persons? I use this logic. If God is to be selfsustained, he must not need the creation for his existance. For someone to exist, he must be able to express himself in some way (maybe vital functions, maybe thinking, if he is a mind). To express yourself, there must be you, the means of your expression and the result of your expression. So if God exists, he must have these three components in himself. He is God the Father, the Holy Spirit is the means of his expression (the spirit, the breath) and God the Son is the result of his expression (the Logos). These three cannot be different in being, since God is one in being. They are different in something we call persons, hypostasis.

So let’s say, you will agree that christianity is true. But there are again three options. Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism. If you will read the Church Fathers, those who walked and talked with the Apostles and their closest students, you will find out that original christians believed in the true presence, in the apostolic succession, etc. Just his is enough to make the case againt protestantism. So Catholicism or Orthodoxy? Since they are two sister churches, it is very hard to choose, but I think that the key lies in the apostolic succession, to be precise, in the succession of the Bishop of Rome, Peter the Rock, the visible sign of the Churches unity.

Anyway, here are my 2 cents. :twocents: God bless!

Because the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ, True God and true Man and he promised that the gates of Hell would never prevail against His Church. His word is good enough for me. The Catholic Church can be historically traced back to Jesus. Study the Early Church Fathers and the history of the Catholic Church. In spite of all the problems the Catholic Church has had to endure, it still teaches the same truths that Jesus gave us. The Church is Holy, even if some of its members are not. So we pray that all will be ONE in Jesus Christ as He Himself prayed for. One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. God Bless, Memaw

For both the OP and hansard:

Tim Staples has a DVD entitled: why be Catholic where he walks the audience from why believe in God to why Catholicism is logical and true. Also another good book for why Christianity is logical and true is Case For Christianity by Lee Strobel. He’s non-Denominational, but his logic and evidence is good for showing why Christianity is true.

Blessed Bishop Fulton Sheen’s book “Life of Christ” also has a whole chapter on this entitled: “The only man pre-announced” or similar. Bishop Sheen goes through that Mohammad was not predicted, Buddha was not predicted, the Dali Lama was not predicted, Confucius was not predicted. Jesus Christ was.

The other big logical argument comes from history. First, no serious historian doubts that Jesus existed. There is too much historical evidence (both in Scripture and outside) for his existence. No serious historian doubts that something happened in Palestine in the first half of the 1st Century. These 12 un-educated men, who lived their whole lives no further than a few miles from where they were born, suddenly start travelling thousands of miles proclaiming that an obscure Rabbi rose from the dead.

This, then, becomes the next logical argument. 11 of those 12 were killed, in the most torturous ways, for proclaiming that this Rabbi was the Son of God, Savior and was Resurrected, bodily, from the dead. Why is this a logical argument? Because all of them could have avoided the horrible deaths by simply denying it.

Let me give an example, take my namesake, Nathaniel. According to some historic accounts, Nathaniel / Bartholomew, was skinned alive. Lets pretend you made-up a religion. Let’s say you did it for one or more of the following reasons: Fame, power, pleasure, money etc. Then in whatever country your preaching this lie, they arrest you because what you’re preaching is against the law. Then you find out the penalty is death by skinning alive. They bring you before the judge. The judge says that he will sentence you to be skinned alive UNLESS you say that it was all a lie, all made up.

Now lets pretend you’re either really brave, really stupid, or just still under the effects of what ever illicit chemical your ill-gotten gains have bought for you. You say, “no it’s true”. The judge then orders you strapped to a table. A soldier comes in and begins sharpening a knife within view. The judge then says again ‘Deny your religion and you can go free’. Again, let’s suppose that you say again, ‘Nope, it’s true’. The judge then orders the soldier to start. He walks up to your bare feet and cuts across the ball of your foot. He then grabs that flap of skin and begins pealing… The judge then says again, “Deny your religion and you can go free!”

How long could you last?

Bottom line: psychology says that no one ever dies for what they KNOW is false.

All 12 were willing to (St. John may have been saved by a miracle) and 11 did die slow, torturous deaths instead of deny that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and Rose from the dead.

I have more, but I’m being told to get off the computer.

I hope this helps. God Bless you both on your journey of Faith. :signofcross:
Poor Knight of Christ

There is certainly more than enough evidence to build an inductive case for Christianity. But you can’t deduce the Faith.

Don’t be so quick to jump the gun. Now, there may be no way to know for sure, but if you can make it to recognizing that Judaism was the God chosen faith at one time, and then see that Jesus fit the criteria for the Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies. Then after you can recognize Jesus as Messiah, you know that what he teaches is true, which if he claims to be God (God the Son), then you can accept that to be true, which eventually leads to Christianity/Catholicism.

It’s more complicated than that, but it is possible to get to the Trinity AFTER believing Jesus is God, and even that AFTER recognizing Jesus as the Messiah of the Jewish faith. All this, considering this was similar to the way it was done the first time around.

The first step is getting to that the Jews in the OT were God’s chosen people and the true faith. Part of the issue with this is that it does require some faith. Knowing something by fact of history and reason can be a bit different if there is not enough evidence to give reason a place to stand. There will always be a bit of faith involved.

[quote=Matthew 16:17]Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.
[/quote]

Even if Christ was predicted, how does that enhance the logicality of him? The Australian Aborigines believed in the oneness of creation probably 30,000 years before anyone in the middle east did. Some belief systems do not rely on Messiahs, specific gods or any historicity.
Which is logical–the creative ancestors that existed from before time, or a Christ that some ancient texts happen to predict?
If you don’t believe in those texts, then the resulting theology is completely illogical, even ridiculous. To believe that Christ was the logical progression from the old to the new testaments, one would need to believe in the texts themselves. If they’re just ancient writings, with some degree of historicity to them, then they stand as primarily historical texts. The difference, obviously, is whether you believe in them or not.
Which god is the right one? Which text? Which prophet?
Muhammad was not predicted in any text that we know of.True, but he’s never presented as a God. He’s a prophet. Most prophets were not predicted. Therefore, I can state, logically, that pre-announcement is not necessary for prophets.

The other big logical argument comes from history. First, no serious historian doubts that Jesus existed. There is too much historical evidence (both in Scripture and outside) for his existence. No serious historian doubts that something happened in Palestine in the first half of the 1st Century. These 12 un-educated men, who lived their whole lives no further than a few miles from where they were born, suddenly start travelling thousands of miles proclaiming that an obscure Rabbi rose from the dead.

This, then, becomes the next logical argument. 11 of those 12 were killed, in the most torturous ways, for proclaiming that this Rabbi was the Son of God, Savior and was Resurrected, bodily, from the dead. Why is this a logical argument? Because all of them could have avoided the horrible deaths by simply denying it.

Let me give an example, take my namesake, Nathaniel. According to some historic accounts, Nathaniel / Bartholomew, was skinned alive. Lets pretend you made-up a religion. Let’s say you did it for one or more of the following reasons: Fame, power, pleasure, money etc. Then in whatever country your preaching this lie, they arrest you because what you’re preaching is against the law. Then you find out the penalty is death by skinning alive. They bring you before the judge. The judge says that he will sentence you to be skinned alive UNLESS you say that it was all a lie, all made up.

Now lets pretend you’re either really brave, really stupid, or just still under the effects of what ever illicit chemical your ill-gotten gains have bought for you. You say, “no it’s true”. The judge then orders you strapped to a table. A soldier comes in and begins sharpening a knife within view. The judge then says again ‘Deny your religion and you can go free’. Again, let’s suppose that you say again, ‘Nope, it’s true’. The judge then orders the soldier to start. He walks up to your bare feet and cuts across the ball of your foot. He then grabs that flap of skin and begins pealing… The judge then says again, “Deny your religion and you can go free!”

How long could you last?

Bottom line: psychology says that no one ever dies for what they KNOW is false.

All 12 were willing to (St. John may have been saved by a miracle) and 11 did die slow, torturous deaths instead of deny that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and Rose from the dead.

I have more, but I’m being told to get off the computer.

I hope this helps. God Bless you both on your journey of Faith. :signofcross:
Poor Knight of Christ

Yet, people will willingly die for a theology they believe to be true.

Now, you’ll say, “Therefore, they must have seen the proof,” to which I would say, “So did Muhammad.” (Even though he died a natural death).

Really, people will believe anything, and it’s nearly always the faith tradition in which they were raised. This is hardly surprising.
Quite often, they will die for it.

It has nothing to do with logic.

The Truth Project is an innovative DVD curriculum that teaches viewers how to develop a systematic and comprehensive biblical worldview.

Educator Dr. Del Tackett is both engaging and winsome as he teaches Christians to apply biblical truths to every area of life.

youtu.be/GJ8ikrDisDU

Sorry, but you are missing something. The argument is not about just anyone choosing to die for his faith. It is about the apostles choosing to die for their faith.

As you have said, such choice proves the sincerity of the faith. Good. But the point is that they would have known if that faith was true. They would have known if they were making things up. They would have known if they were lying.

So, we have two points:

[LIST=1]
*]The apostles sincerely believed that what they were saying was true.
*]The apostles knew if the things they were saying were true.
[/LIST]
Do you see what conclusion follows…? Hint: if someone knows that p, then p (“knows§ => p”); if someone sincerely believes that p, then one does not know that not p (“believes§ => not knows(not p)”)… And here we have premises “believes§” and “knows§ or knows(not p)”…

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.