Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Atheism’

This is a video featuring one of my former professors, Dr. Brent Robbins (and please keep in mind that I attended a secular college).

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this on Into the Dance, but I was what you would call a garden-variety “cafeteria Catholic” up until age 22.

At that point in my life, questions about the ultimate claims of my faith kept bothering me; and try as I might, I could not push them off.

Knowing that Dr. Robbins was Catholic, but also knowing him to be a thoughtful intellectual and supposing that he would, not doubt, be able to help me get past the psychological roadblocks that were causing me to regard matters of organized religion with undue seriousness, I asked if I could come to him for one-on-one counseling sessions.

He agreed.  And contrary to my expectations, subsequent conversations with Dr. Robbins were instrumental in my re-embracing the Faith.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  At no point during our discussions did I get the sense that he was trying to “convert” me.

Rather, he listened attentively to my concerns, encouraged me (as a psychologist, not as a spiritual director) to face the issues that were bothering me head-on rather than trying to suppress them, and shared with humility his own love of the Faith while at the same time expressing genuine, experience-based sympathy with my struggles.

Anyway, in this video for The Coming Home Network International, Dr. Robbins shares the rather moving story of his own reversion to the Faith.

(Just one quick hundred-dollar-word alert: “Hermeneutics” (pronounced her-men-oo-tics) means the science of interpretation — in other words, what “lens” we use to understand certain things)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

If you haven’t seen this short segment, take a couple minutes to watch before reading further.  It’s quite entertaining 🙂

Well who could help being intrigued by devout atheist Bill Maher being in the lineup of Stephen Colbert, a practicing Catholic and outspoken defender of religion (both traits being anomalies in modern entertainment, to be sure).

As you can see, only a small fraction of the Maher segment dealt with religion.  But what little of the “big R” did show up packed more than enough “punch” for a spirited discussion, so here comes my response.

First, we’ll deal with the following statement:

I do admit there are things in the universe I don’t understand.  But my response to that is not to make up silly stories.

Notice that this response does not address the whole of what Colbert said.  (more…)

Read Full Post »

A recent Salon.com article cited statistics indicating that the greatest Western intellectuals — in both science and philosophy — are leaning more and more in favor of disbelief in God.

Frankly, my first response to this was to recall how God often uses the foolish to shame the wise, revealing to little children what He has “hidden from the wise and the learned” (Mt. 11:25).

But for a fuller treatment of the issue, I refer you to Fr. Robert Barron’s latest video.  He nails it, as always 🙂

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Pope_Francis_in_March_2013

Much has been made of a comment Pope Francis made a couple weeks ago in a homily — I think you probably know what I’m talking about.

The Holy Father made two points:

1. All human beings are called to do good; and

2. Christ has redeemed not just Catholics, but all people — even atheists.

Many have taken this to mean that everyone basically gets a free pass to heaven.  But a little clarification is needed.

Really, there is nothing newsworthy here.  The Pope was, in fact, merely reaffirming Church teaching on God’s universal salvific will and the fact that the Body of Christ extends beyond it’s visible boundaries (which is to say, the Catholic Church).

But here’s what we have to keep in mind: Christ, for His part, has redeemed all humanity of all times and all places.  But salvation is a two-way street.  Our salvation required the initiative of Almighty God Himself, “who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

But, as Peter Kreeft says in his great book “Catholic Christianity,” God seduces us, but He never rapes us.

No one can be forced into heaven.  Heaven is an eternal relationship with God and with the assembly of the blessed, and one which must be entered into freely.  God has freely and gratuitously redeemed us, and now we must freely and generously respond with our lives and hearts.

Here is the official Church teaching on the subject:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

…they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.*

But even those atheists (and others) of goodwill who obtain salvation are, just like the rest of us, saved by Christ, not by their own merits.  When they turn toward the good as they know it, they are turning toward Christ, though they may not realize it.  For Christ is the Source of all that is good, true, and beautiful.

Hope that helps clear things up a bit.

* From “Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church” (italics mine), quoted in reverse order — full text here: http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html

Photo from Wikipedia

Read Full Post »

From Brandon Vogt, author of the blog brandonvogt.com, comes a site where atheists and Christians can finally come together for friendly discussions:

To check it out, go to http://www.strangenotions.com.

Read Full Post »

I am hard at work on an article for the newspaper, so for tonight I’ll give you another video.

This one is from “Theater of the Word,” and it dramatizes an early debate between J.R.R. Tolkien (creator of Middle-Earth) and C.S. Lewis (creator of Narnia), back when Lewis was still an atheist.  I figured it would be apropos, given our recent reflections on fairy tales in contemporary culture.  Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »