What Is the "God Particle"? And Why Is It Important?

07/16/2012 Comments (10)

Computer simulation of a Higgs boson event

Scientists are abuzz with word that the long-sought "God particle" (aka the Higgs boson) may have finally been discovered.

While most scientists don't like the nickname "God particle" (and while many religious people might not neither), it's certainly generated a lot of coverage in the media.

Because of the God-based nickname the particle has been given, the discovery of the Higgs has attracted a lot of press attention, and I've received quite a number of requests to comment on it.

 

What is the Higgs boson? Why is it important?
And why do they call it the "God particle"?

In this video, I take a look at these and similar questions to give you the basics of the new discovery and...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, boson, god particle, higgs, higgs boson, physics, science

Final Solution? Infant Circumcision Outlawed In Germany!

07/07/2012 Comments (595)

Sometimes today you encounter stories that are truly jaw-dropping, like this one being reported by the Washington Post.

Headlined, "The Crime of Circumcision," it deals with a ruling issued by a judge in Germany that prohibits Jews from circumcizing their baby boys:

A district judge in Cologne, Germany, recently ruled that ritual circumcision is a crime, violating “the fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity,” which outweighs other parental and religious rights. “This change runs counter to the interests of the child,” the court concluded, “who can decide his religious affiliation himself later in life.”

Circumcision is a rite central to the Jewish faith and is, in fact,...READ MORE

Filed under atheism, baptism, christianity, christians, circumcision, freedom of religion, germany, hitler, islam, jews

Why Are There Unicorns in the Bible?

07/04/2012 Comments (22)
If you read some older English translations of the Bible, like the Catholic Douay-Rheims (pub. 1609) or the Protestant King James (pub. 1611) you come across some passages that seem a bit mysterious. For example in the Douay-Rheims, in Psalms 91:11 we read:

But my horn shall be exalted like that of the unicorn.

In the equivalent verse in the King James (Ps. 92:10) we read:

But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn.

In reading such passages, you might think, what on earth does that mean? In these cases, the horn is being used as a symbol of strength or vigor. The Psalmist is saying that thanks to God, I'm going to be given a lot of strength and vigor, so praise God.

Fine, but...READ MORE

Filed under bible, douay-rheims, king james version, scripture, unicorn, unicorns

Science: People Who Believe in Heaven More Likely to Commit Crime?

06/25/2012 Comments (28)

That seems to be the implication of this story by CBS News, which is headlined:

Study Finds People Who Believe In Heaven Commit More Crimes

I guess we should all stop believing in heaven in order to have a more orderly society.

Okay. Let's phone the Pope and give him the bad news, tell him he can start closing churches and winding down that whole new evangelization thing.

It seems the whole 2,000 year experiment has produced undesirable results, and it's time to close up shop.

Or . . . wait.

Maybe, just maybe, there's another possibility.

Could it be that this is just a misleadingly headlined news story from a press that doesn't understand how to report either religion or...READ MORE

Filed under atheism, heaven, hell, morality, religion, religion in public life, science

"To Be Absent from the Body Is to be Present with the Lord"?

06/24/2012 Comments (6)

There is a common argument used against the idea of purgatory in some circles which goes like this: "St. Paul says that 'to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord' (2 Cor. 5:8). It's that simple: If you're a Christian and you aren't in your body then you are with Jesus in heaven. There is no room for purgatory in St. Paul's view. Purgatory is just a Catholic fable--a 'man made tradition.'"

Is this true?

It turns out that if you examine what St. Paul really said, the whole argument is based on a misquotation. St. Paul said nothing of the kind.

Furthermore, if you look elsewhere in St. Paul's writings--to the very same church he was addressing in his "absent from the...READ MORE

Filed under apologetics, bible, corinthians, paul, purgatory

Unbroken Chain of Apostolic Succession (Plus: Bible Software)

06/16/2012 Comments (17)

In this episode of the program I answer two questions regarding apostolic succession and whether, in fact, we have an unbroken chain going back to the apostles.

The first question comes from Marci in Mexico, who wonders about the effect that various practices have on the liceity (lawfulness) and validity of episcopal consecrations.

The second question comes from a gentleman who asks about a particular figure from the 1500s--Cardinal Scipione Rebiba--who has a very unusual property: 91% of all modern Catholic bishops trace their episcopal lineage back to him, and we're not entirely sure who consecrated Rebiba.

What are the implications of that for apostolic succession?

In the...READ MORE

Filed under

Sr. Keehan Turns on Obama?

06/16/2012 Comments (61)

The news broke Friday that Sr. Carol Keehan of the Catholic Healthcare Association (CHA) has broken with the Obama administration's plan to force abortion drugs and contraception on religious institutions such as Catholic hospitals and universities that offer medical insurance.

The dramatic move was announced in a 5-page letter (PDF here) signed by Keehan and two CHA board members.

The move is momentous because Keehan famously broke with the U.S. bishops to endorse the original passage of the administration's Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and then broke with them again to endorse the Department of Health and Human Services abortion drug and contraception mandate, providing...READ MORE

Filed under barack obama, carol keehan, catholic healthcare association, cha, contraception, hhs, hhs abortion mandate, hhs contraceptive mandate, hhs mandate, obama

Would God Really Send Someone to Hell?

06/10/2012 Comments (63)

If God is all-good and all-loving, how could he send someone to hell?

At first glance, it seems that he would not.

But God is infinitely higher than we are, and our finite minds can only grasp a tiny bit of his infinite mystery.

Therefore, we need to check our intuitions about what God would or would not do against what we know. In particular, we need to check them against what God himself has told us in his word.

In this video, I take on the question of whether God would really send someone to hell, and I show that we must reject the simple answer, "No, God would never do that."

But we also see that the matter isn't as simple as saying that God "sends" people to hell.

Drawing...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, catechism of the catholic church, hell, john paul ii

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About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is a Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to This Rock magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."