Scratch an Atheist, Find a Fundamentalist

04/15/2012 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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In the Country that Used to be England

04/12/2012 Comments (87) has long been a given that all religions are equally superior to the Catholic Church.  Now that the country has largely de-Christianized, that has expanded to the confidence that all religions are equally superior to Christianity.  So, for instance, Cameron's Britain takes it for granted that Christians can not only be compelled not to wear crosses, but that if one of them becomes uppity enough to do so, all you have to do is trot out the language about mean Christians who advertise their faith as though it was superior to other beliefs.  Whipped Christians, timid about appearing "judgmental", often capitulate to this sort of draconian post-Christian appeal to "judge not, lest ye be...READ MORE

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I stand corrected

04/11/2012 Comments (6)

In response to this recent piece, in which I remarked that it seems to me wrong-headed to use the story of Onan in Genesis 38 as a “proof text” against contraception reader Pete Holter writes:

You are making the care of widows the focus of Genesis 38 by saying that “children were the sole ‘social safety net’ that widows had,” and you come back to this main point in your response to George; but the care of widows is something separate from situations involving heirs and inheritance rights.  When these latter types of situations arise, the Biblical texts explicitly state that providing offspring and preserving property is done, not for the sake of the widow, but for the sake of the...READ MORE

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God's Laughter Day

04/09/2012 Comments (21)

In many places, the Monday of Easter week is the day for celebrating God’s laughter.  Easter, after all, is not just our deliverance from death, but the ultimate instance of God, in a sort of zen humility, quietly putting one over on the devil.  On Calvary, God gave the mighty Lucifer—that great jackass—all the rope he needed to hang himself.  On Easter Monday, the Church shouts (in proper ecclesial Latin), “What a maroon!  What a sucker!  Good job genius!  You had it all figured out, you great bullying murderer and tyrant.  You finally got the plum prize in your claws and figured you’d won once and for all.  You nailed him to the cross, and now you and your kingdom of death are hurled to...READ MORE

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Behold the Wood of the Cross, on Which is Hung our Salvation

04/06/2012 Comments (9)

No words today.  Just look, be silent, and adore.

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A Question about Pious Legends and Devotions

04/03/2012 Comments (176)

A reader writes:

As a new convert to the Catholic Church, I of course really love learning everything I can about the Faith.  As I read, however, I find myself stumbling over things that at first look seem like pious legends whose truth is debatable at best.  I’m thinking in particular of Mary’s mother, St. Anne (her name, being brought to France by St. Lazarus, her relics, etc.) , the history of the “True Cross”, the Sabbatine Privilege, the various promises attached to certain devotions, etc. 

I realize, of course, that none of these are articles of faith at all, but absent the need to accept or reject them at a glance, I’m struggling with how exactly to approach them at all. ...READ MORE

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New Atheist Magical Thinking

04/02/2012 Comments (285)

A reader writes:

One of my atheist/anti-Church friends posted a sign by American Atheists quoting Colossians 3:22 (Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord.”)  (Funny how they always jump on the controversial stuff but never quote “Love your enemy as yourself”).  This prompted a Google search on my part to try and find a suitable explanation of this and other references to slavery in the New Testament that would not make the Church look awful, but I couldn’t find anything really very helpful.  What are your thoughts?

I think that atheists like your friend really need to break...READ MORE

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A reader puzzles about Genesis 1-11

03/28/2012 Comments (70)

He writes:

I’ve got sort of a followup question to the one somebody asked you about Abraham in a recent NCR article of yours. It’s about how to read Genesis 1-11. I’ve heard that Catholics tend to read those chapters as containing figurative language, and I noticed that one commenter in the article said that Catholics take them as allegorical. I’ve been increasingly struggling with how to read those chapters myself recently, and I was wondering if you could help me.

I’ll give it a whack, though I’m not a bible scholar.  Just so you are forewarned.

In the case of Creation and of Adam and Eve, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it means to read them as containing figurative language.


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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.