A Bunch of Terrible Fallacies for Atheism

02/19/2016 Comments (31)

Last time in this space we looked at the only two good arguments there are for atheism.  In this piece, I want to look at the curious way that atheists themselves cannot content themselves with those two good arguments.  They are oddly drivin to pad the case with a whole raft of fallacies too.

For instance, one common meme among the New Atheists is the Argument from Intellectual Maturity. It's a gripe as old as Celsus, eloquently repackaged in the words of Christopher Hitchens:

[Religion] comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs).


Filed under

The Only Two Good Arguments for Atheism

02/15/2016 Comments (56)

Recently there has been a flurry of books from the "New Atheists." Such figures as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have been holding forth to state . . . well, not anything new.

The reason there is nothing new to say is that there cannot, by the nature of the discussion, be anything new to say. When it came to the question "Does God exist?," St. Thomas could only think of two reasonable objections in the whole history of human thought.

Objection 1: It seems that God does not exist, because if one of two contraries be infinite, the other would be altogether destroyed. But the word "God" means that He is infinite goodness. If, therefore, God existed,...READ MORE

Filed under

God's Gift of Lent

02/10/2016 Comments (6)

(Photo Credit: Manuela Paki-Costa, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Many of my Protestant friends are uncomfortable with Lent. "It's all about mortification and self-discipline when we know that the Risen Jesus is joyful and alive!" they say. "We don't need to mortify ourselves to please God. That's why Jesus died for us, so we don't have be 'good enough'. Moreover, Catholics call it a 'holy season' and Paul says in Colossians 2:16-17 that we shouldn't observe any day as special. So hasn't the Church disobeyed the Bible by doing the Lenten thing?"

Before we talk about Lent as a supposed way of "being good enough" for God, let's begin with this last objection first: that the Lenten season is somehow unbiblical. Now with all due respect, this seems to me to...READ MORE

Filed under

Lazarus and the Rich Man

02/09/2016 Comments (7)

Some people speak of hell as something that can "befall" you--like a safe out of a third story window. You're just walking along, being a nice person and boom! You go to hell!

"I missed Mass this morning because I overslept and then had to work. Am I going to hell?" "Is so and so going to hell because he never heard the gospel?" "What if I don't remember something at confession? Will God judge me more harshly?" These and similar questions trouble the minds of many people. Christian theology is, among other things, aimed at attacking such notions with a very simple point: nobody goes to hell by accident.

Hell is a choice, a deliberate and sustained choice, to reject grace. Both Amos and...READ MORE

Filed under

Honoring Mary "Too Much"?

02/05/2016 Comments (42)

William Bouguereau (1825-1905), “Virgin and Child”

An Evangelical friend wrote me in the course of an Internet conversation about Catholic piety toward the saints and said, "If some church had set up a statue to John the Baptist, and was sacrificing doves to it, then smashing that idol to rubble would be an act of honor and respect for John, not one of dishonor."

I understand the sensibility at work here since I believed something similar to it. I too once believed Catholic piety was intrinsically idolatrous and that Catholics honored saints (especially Mary) "way too much." My problem came when I began to encounter actual Catholic piety. I discovered that no informed Catholic adored Mary or any saint as a god or goddess. I discovered that...READ MORE

Filed under

Rights and Gifts

01/27/2016 Comments (20)

One current notion is the idea that the Church is denying women their "rights" when it tells us, "the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful" (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis). One need not seek far to find rhetoric like this:

"The prohibition against women priests is based on the ancient idea of the inferiority of women. But we are all created in God's image and have the same rights; and the fact that Jesus was male does nothing to negate this. That, along with the fact that all the Apostles were male, is the only thing upon which the Church bases its male-only priesthood. But in the...READ MORE

Filed under

A Sanders Fan Asks About Church Teaching on Voting

01/25/2016 Comments (155)

A reader writes:

Could you please write something about voting for non-prolife candidates? I'd like to tattoo Bernie Sanders somewhere on me, but first I need to know catholic teaching on this. What is church teaching here? I feel like abortion aside, someone like Sanders is more pro-catholic teaching than any "pro-life" Republicans. I shouldn't put quotes over pro-life. I'm sure some are. Nevertheless, is it ok to vote for Sanders and if so, how does one justify voting for a pro choice candidate? Just thought it would be a great and much needed article

Fulfilling a long-standing death wish, I agree with you that this is an interesting question and will make an interesting article...READ MORE

Filed under

Here's How You Can Be Certain That John Wrote John

01/25/2016 Comments (27)

Last time in this space we began to discuss some of the arguments put forward by those who reject the idea that the gospel of John is, in fact, authored by John the apostle, the companion of Jesus and an eyewitness of his resurrection. Let's look at some more of them.

Another criticism of Johannine authorship turns the very sophistication of the gospel against it. Some declare that John bar-Zebedee, a mere fisherman, could not have been an educated Greek-speaking theological genius and therefore could not have written such a theologically sophisticated work.

Here’s the problem: The assumption that a Jewish fisherman living two thousand years ago couldn't be multi-lingual, or educated, or...READ MORE

Filed under

Page 7 of 96 pages ‹ First  < 5 6 7 8 9 >  Last ›

About Mark Shea

Mark Shea
  • Get the RSS feed
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.