A Reader Asks About An Atheist Friend's Increasing Hostility

05/04/2012 Comments (64)

He writes:

I'm a Catholic.  The purpose of this e-mail to you is to ask for your guidance in approaching a problem that I am confronted with from time to time.  The problem is this:  My good friend, perhaps my best friend, is an atheist, and we have argued with each other on occasion over the last 28 years, the various points regarding religion and atheism without any real difficulty in maintaining our friendship.  However, our discussions these days mostly center around the sexual abuse scandals that seem to be in the press more often now than ever before.  Of all the religious subjects that I have argued about over the years with my friend (e.g., the Existence of God, the Crusades,...READ MORE

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Question about Prayer

05/02/2012 Comments (10)

A reader writes:

Why would God listen to the prayers of a sinner like myself if I can't get my own house in order? 

God hears your prayers because he loves you and has given you the Holy Spirit to pray in and through you.  Prayer is God’s gift to you, not your gift to God.  Do you refuse to listen to a child who has not learned his “please” and “thank you” yet?  Is not “Please” and “thank you” your gift to the child, making him a polite grownup and not a selfish savage?  Same with you and me.  God answers our prayers, not because of our earning it, but because he is changing us from selfish savage who care only about ourselves into people who love others.  Sure you are a sinner. ...READ MORE

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What's the Fun of Having a Blog…

04/27/2012 Comments (5)

...if you can't post a curious tale of love and industrial espionage?


And while we're on the subject of fun short films:

Have a great weekend!  You... are great!

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Conversation with a Good-Natured and Confused Person

04/25/2012 Comments (28)

He wrote:

I take the story of Jesus metaphorically too, like many biblical stories in the old testament. I take it as a story that wants to give us a theological message, which in the end is the important thing, wheter or not it happened.

The people who report the story, and who died for it in gruesome ways, neglected to make this clear to the people who crucified them, stabbed them, and stoned them to death. The key to understanding a text is not to ask, “What does it mean to me?” but “What did it mean to the people who wrote it?” Those people very obviously meant to say that they had seen Jesus Christ alive bodily after his death and had eaten fish with him and poked their...READ MORE

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Question about the HHS Mandate Snow Job

04/23/2012 Comments (54)

A reader writes:

I'd love to see you discuss the following on your blog: in the rhetoric of those pushing for forced contraception provision in health-insurance plans, there seems to be an implicit "fatalistic adversarialism" (to coin a phrase). When you listen to the contraception party's statements, they seem to claim "Women are being restricted from obtaining contraception by this or that employer." What's inherent in such statements is (a) an assumption that a woman employee has no where else to go for employment, that some how she is stuck with the offending employer (this is the "fatalistic" portion); and (b) an assumption that the employer, simply by not providing something...READ MORE

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Certain Inconsistencies That Chesterton Would have Loved

04/20/2012 Comments (35)

My atheist friend, back for more, writes:

Atheists don't crib from "Judeo-Christian morality" but try to follow the Golden Rule, something that existed in human thought and morality long, long before Jesus or even the Hebrews and is taught by all religions and philosophies in one form or another.

My reader is apparently unaware that there is a distinction between the Golden Rule ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you') and various forms of natural law which prescribe a sort of rough and ready sociableness that can vary widely from culture to culture.  It is simply not the case that all cultures "basically say the same thing" and it is emphatically not the case that...READ MORE

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A reader has a question about a fundamentalist theory about hell

04/18/2012 Comments (97)

She writes:

I work out of Shreveport, Louisiana, just right along the Bible belt, where Catholics are a minority among the Christian community. In my workplace, it is clear that I am Catholic (saints calendar, purgatory book, and a rosary right on my desk). It's my mini way of evangelizing due to the fact that God did not gift me with an eloquent tongue on fire.

I had a Baptist coworker (we talk a lot on theology and prayer openly at work) who came up to me today apologizing for his disregard in helping me at work yesterday. I told him to think nothing of it, which turned into a friendly conversation about what we did after work. I told him, since I don't have internet at home...READ MORE

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Scratch an Atheist, Find a Fundamentalist

04/16/2012 Comments (143)


So the other day, on my Patheos blog, I note that poor Cardinal Pell made the cardinal (get it?) mistake of forgetting that the purpose of the MSM is not to inform or enlighten, but to sell beer and shampoo by ginning up hysteria and fake dudgeon about idiotic nonsense.  Case in point:

Step 1: Arrange a debate between Richard Dawkins and Leading Catholic Prelate.

Step 2: Allow Dawkins to blather about how Old Testament Jews were a small tribe of ignorant savages and brutal barbarians who were way behind us in their understanding of 21st century moral standards, not to mention in their grasp of biology and the art of making blenders and microwaves.  This is, of course,...READ MORE

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About Mark Shea

Mark Shea
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Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.