Archive for January 16, 2009

Anna Maria visit

Posted: January 16, 2009 by datechguy in catholic, personal
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Took my son to visit Anna Maria college today.

The campus itself is nice, its a small school and a seemingly pleasant place. The young lady giving us the tour was nice and was a good representative of her school.

My problem with the place is one of my pet peeves. The college is a Catholic College There are old crosses on buildings and portraits of older bishops in one or two places, but I saw nothing affirming their Catholic identity. No portrait of the pope, no schedule of Masses (although they do offer daily Mass).

There were pictures celebrating the new president all over the place, banners celebrating diversity, announcements of the woman’s study courses but nothing on the March for Life later this month in Washington. The concert was a “holiday” concert. In the Anna Maria in the news bulletin board at the admissions office there was an article talking about protesting the pope in the US. That was the extent of any recent mention of religion.

The Chapel is downstairs at basement level, its a nice enough place and the corridor leading once one goes downstairs does feel Catholic but it seems to be hidden in order to make sure it doesn’t offend anyone. It’s Gene Robinson all over again:

Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

It’s a real question how many out of 1100 students would know this quote from Luke. Actually the question isn’t that hard, we met with the campus ministry people just before leaving, there are 10 active people in Campus ministry and about that many show up for Mass regularly.

It would be nice if there was at least one picture of the Pope displayed prominently. It would be nicer if Catholic identity actually meant something. I’ve spent much more than I can afford over the last 10 years giving my sons a Catholic education. If I’m going to spend a whole lot more for a Catholic College then I expect a Catholic College.

Then again, I’m also told that there is no restriction on forming one’s own clubs and activities. There is no reason why my son can’t actively work toward changing this since nothing will change without someone changing it. As it says in Romans 10:13-15

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring (the) good news!”

This was touched on by nufey in this post:

They want us to hear, “don’t tell us about your religion”. This goes right in line with the other phrases which seek to silence Christians, “we must tolerate others’ beliefs”, “we all worship the same god, we just follow different paths”, “it’s not a salvation issue”, “I don’t want to be prosletized”.

These are all designed to keep us quiet, so we don’t preach the gospel. It makes them uncomfortable. To those living without the gospel, they should be uncomfortable when faced with their sin. They don’t like to be reminded, yet we have the only message of hope for them.

One must be willing to be out there, one must be ready to absorb the brickbats that might come:

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. John 15:18-21

My boy seems anxious to stand up and be counted. A bad neighborhood won’t change unless good people move in and a Catholic college won’t change unless serious Catholics attend and are counted, and the academic side does seem fine. Maybe it is the place for him to be.

They have the inside track for now, lets see what happens next.

Capt 1 cont. Why Believe / practice?

Posted: January 16, 2009 by datechguy in catholic
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Just back from the college tour will expand on that in my next post but lets finish the thought in my previous one that I got up just before we left the house.

If one actually disbelieves in Christianity, disbelieves in the existence of God and in the divinity of Christ, yet attends and goes through the motion, then your Christian actions are just that of the member of a club with some odd tastes. They mean no more that dressing up for Halloween.

If one is a clergyman or woman who doesn’t believe in Christ or God then you are in the wrong profession, you can not do your job and be true to yourself.

If one isn’t sure about God or Christ and wishes to explore that is a fine. The search for truth is not only a vital part of Christianity but of life in general. This is also why scientific inquiry is very consistent with Christian belief. If a Christian tells you differently they he or she doesn’t know their religion.

If one doesn’t believe at all one might study and examine Christian practice in order to understand it, or as a historical or cultural thing. Christopher Hitchens for example has said that one can’t understand the history of western civilization without some knowledge of scripture, but the actual practice of religion is a waste of time.

In the end the bottom line still remains:

If Christianity is not true then no amount of belief will make so. All ones actions in support of Christianity will not matter.

If Christianity is true then no amount of disbelief will make it not so. All ones actions and denials will have a price that will come due.

Or as I like to say either way live your life the way you want.

After that you’re on your own.

Chapter 1 Why Believe or no?

Posted: January 16, 2009 by datechguy in catholic
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I’ve been promising a series of posts concerning religion and belief so lets get the first one started.

Dealing with Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, people tend to give various reasons for belief, for example the raving atheist seems to have come after long exposure to pro life issues.

As CS Lewis notes in his classic The Screwtape Letters number 25 Christianity AND is not the way to go:

Substitute for the faith itself some Fashion with a Christian colouring.

Since according to Christianity Christ is the Way the truth and the light one must assume truth is the friend of God and falsehood is the foe. Many people give many different reasons why they are Christian in general and or Catholic in particular. I maintain there is only one valid reason, and that reason should trump any and all others:

Because it’s true.

This should and must be the primary reason for being a Christian. No other trumps it. Christianity and the Church is either true or false, there is no middle ground here. If it is true then non belief doesn’t matter. The penalties and benefits are real and will have to be dealt with at some time in the future. Its like not believing in the wind. It doesn’t matter if you believe it it or not it is a reality to deal with.

This means that as a Christian this should be the basis for all belief. I will expand on this in my next post.

Is she outraged by the tooth fairy?

Posted: January 16, 2009 by datechguy in catholic, opinion/news
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This article concerning the God probably doesn’t exist ads is interesting but there is one line that hits one of my pet peeves.

Sherine says she conceived the ads after visiting the fundamentalist website of Christians who sponsored the pro-God bus ads last year.

She was shocked to hear that in their interpretation of the Bible, unbelievers would “burn in a lake of fire.” Sherine rejected such an outcome for her Parsi grandmother,

This is silly silly silly. If she is convinced that God doesn’t exist then why be worried about what somebody else thinks? Someone’s opinion can’t make someone burn.

I think it is actually telling. I think it isn’t a question of trying to convince others, I think it is a question of trying to convince oneself. I think that one of the reasons why you see atheists so adamant concerning beliefs that they consider fantasy is the gut fear of the alternative, yet it is only the Christian alternative that produces this fear, and not other religious traditions. I think that is telling and will be touching on that in later posts.

Lets bottom line it. If God doesn’t exist, no exultation, no pronouncement and no statement of belief will make him exist. So no series of actions following creeds will make a difference after death.

If God exists in general and Christianity in particular is correct no amount of billboards or talk shows will change it. Nor will the consequences of belief, actions or non-belief be avoided. Those consequences may not be what some denominations believe but given the above they will exist.

That is reason.

Via Hot air.