What Are Dogma, Doctrine, and Theology?

09/17/2012 Comments (11)

Dogma, doctrine, and theology--what's the difference?

Many people are curious about the difference between dogma and doctrine. I'm asked about it surprisingly often.

It would be nice if the Church had an official dictionary I could use to answer this question, but it doesn't.

Instead, it uses terms in documents and most of the time it expects you to already know them. Sometimes it gives you a partial definition, or at least clues about what a word means, but in general it leaves the writing of dictionary-style definitions to the writers of Catholic dictionaries.

Recently I wrote a study of the terms "dogma," "doctrine," and "theology." You can read it here, but in this post I'll give you with the results in an easy-to-read form.


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Dark Passages: The Principle of Voice

09/13/2012 Comments (10)

Jael prepares to do in General Sisera

NOTE: This post is part of a series. Click here to see all of the posts in the series.

Recently I was reading an atheist web site which presented the following passage from the book of Judges as proof of the idea that God endorses rape:

They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil.   (Judges 5:30 NAB)

Is this what the passage means?

Not even close!

And the reason it's not gives us an illustration of an important principle when interpreting the Bible . . .

The "Dark Passages" of Scripture

This is another in our series of occasional posts on the "dark...READ MORE

Filed under bible, dark passages, rape, scripture, violence

Pope Benedict on the "Dark Passages" of Scripture

09/12/2012 Comments (16)

What are we to make of the "dark passages" in the Bible?

NOTE: This post is part of a series. Click here to see all of the posts in the series.

There are certain Bible passages, particularly in the Old Testament, that are disturbing. The question of how these are to be interpreted has been with us for a long time, and apologists and Bible scholars--not to mention Church Fathers and theologians--have made many suggestions.

Recently Pope Benedict provided some guidance. Here's what he had to say . . .

Verbum Domini

The document in which he made his remarks is titled Verbum Domini, which is Latin for "The Word of the Lord."

It was prepared as an exhortation following the 2008 meeting of the Synod of Bishops, a select group of Catholic...READ MORE

Filed under bible, error, inerrancy, infallibility, massacre, problem, rape, scripture, violence

Should Women Keep Silence in Church?

09/09/2012 Comments (56)

The ancient world was very far from being politically correct, and as a result, the Bible contains passages that seem politically incorrect today.

For example, in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, St. Paul seems to suggest that women should be totally silent in church.

Is this true?

If so, how do we square it with the practice of the Church today?

This is an interesting question.

Recently, a priest who is a member of the Secret Information Club wrote and said:

I would appreciate your thoughts on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. This is difficult to address in front of a group of women.

I understand the difficulty.

Reading the Passage Itself

Let's begin by looking at what the passage says,...READ MORE

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Sola Scriptura & the Bereans

09/08/2012 Comments (36)

Do we have to use the "Bible only" principle?

One of the distinctive Protestant principles is expressed in the slogan sola scriptura, which is Latin for “by Scripture only.” The idea is that every teaching on faith or morals must be directly or indirectly based on the Scriptures.

That leads to the common question, “Where’s that in the Bible?”

It’s an important question. In fact, it’s a question that needs to be asked about the doctrine of sola scriptura itself. Because if every teaching on faith or morals has to be based on the Bible thensola scriptura must be based on the Bible.

If it’s not, then it is a self-refuting claim and is false.

So what passages do Protestant Christians appeal to in support of sola scriptura?


Filed under acts, berean, bible, bible only, paul, protestantism, protestants, sola scriptura

Revelation 12: Who Is the Woman Clothed with the Sun?

09/01/2012 Comments (196)

The Virgin of Guadalupe displays the sun, moon, and stars symbolism of the Woman of Revelation 12

The book of Revelation contains a passage in which St. John sees a great sign in the sky. He wrote:

And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

She brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne [Rev. 12:1, 5].

This is part of a very intriguging passage of the Book of Revelation.

Who is this mysterious Woman clothed in the sun?

In the following video, we explore that question and look at different theories that have been proposed. There have been a number proposed, and they each point to...READ MORE

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Are You a Hater or a Bigot? Or Are You Just Intolerant?

07/25/2012 Comments (750)

A reader writes:

I had a question that I needed to ask you. I just found out that the owner of Chick-Fil-A stated that he was against Gay Marriage. Personally, I agree with him, yet when I told someone on the Chick-Fil-A Facebook page that being against Gay Marriage isn't the same as being "Anti-Gay", they ended up calling me a "Hateful bigot".

Does being against Gay Marriage automatically make me a hateful person or oppressive person?

I don't try to hate anyone and I don't want to be seen as hateful by others. I just feel conflicted. If you can help me understand how to resolve this conflicted feeling that I'm currently having, I would be very thankful!

It is difficult to know...READ MORE

Filed under bigotry, hate, hate speech, hatred, homosexual marriage, intolerance, political correctness

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

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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 the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."