After my Glenn Beck piece of last week…

06/23/2010 Comments (50)

A reader writes:

Many of my Catholic friends want “Good” alternative Books on U.S. History vs. the books being promoted by Glenn Beck? After sharing your blog But I Learn So Much from Glenn Beck! many people want good books about U.S. History.

Can you make any recommendations of good U.S. History books?

First, a caveat.  I would be as cautious about rejecting books just because they were mentioned by Beck as I would about uncritically embracing books promoted by Beck.  Beck may very well recommend books that are quite good, just as, for instance, many fundamentalists will constantly recommend the greatest book in the world, the Bible.  The problem is not with the book, but with who is...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

Another Lame Naturalistic Explanation

06/21/2010 Comments (3)

...for all religious experience.  Such explanations always seem to be favored by people with the sort of social skills you see in those who spend too much time on computers or wearing highwater jeans and tape on their glasses.  They tend to talk as though the rest of the human race is a different and inferior species and they explain their inability to get a date to the prom with the words, “I chose to remain at home thinking Great Thoughts!”  Looking to people who demonstrate remarkably little understanding of basic human interactions for understanding of the inmost workings of the human heart on the thing that matters to us most is generally inadvisable. Rule of thumb: if gags like this ...READ MORE

Filed under lameness abounding

Wishing Grey Was Black Ruins your Spiritual Health and Makes You Stupid

06/18/2010 Comments (14)

Jimmy Akin has great fun with some crank’s biblical “proof” that Obama is the Antichrist. 

Then, sadly, a bunch of Catholics embarrass themselves hoping and speculating in the comboxes that he is Antichrist anyway.  Some of the commentary runs:

Well Mr. Akin… it crushed me… but I know you are right… I saw the title and was hopeful… alas, I was wrong…
Good work, even if it isn’t what I wanted to hear!
Aw, darn it!  Mr. Video Maker really “tickled my ears,” until I read what Jimmy had to say.  Now I just feel silly!
Barack Obama is not THE Antichrist but AN Antichrist like all the other Antichrist’s that have existed throughout the ages.
Nah, but I personally believe he...READ MORE

Filed under obama

Stephen Hawking is a brilliant physicist…

06/16/2010 Comments (31)

and an absolutely room temperature average member of the British intelligentsia when he stops talking about his field of expertise and starts talking philosophy and religion.

What particularly amuses me is “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

Two things are funny about this.  First, is the suggestion that “religion” (and by that, members of the UK Chattering classes typically mean “Christianity and especially popery”) doesn’t “work”.  I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.  It’s true that religion doesn’t “work” if you are trying to use it to...READ MORE

Filed under intellect worship vs. intellect use

George Orwell once said

06/14/2010 Comments (34)

that some ideas are so foolish, only an intellectual could believe them.

Here is Peter Singer, Brilliant Philosopher, on the solution—one might even call it the “final solution” for climate change:

Here is a thought experiment to test our attitudes to this view. Most thoughtful people are extremely concerned about climate change. Some stop eating meat, or flying abroad on vacation, in order to reduce their carbon footprint. But the people who will be most severely harmed by climate change have not yet been conceived. If there were to be no future generations, there would be much less for us to feel to guilty about.

So why don’t we make ourselves the last generation on earth? If we would...READ MORE

Filed under sin makes you stupid

Ignorant Armies Clash By Night

06/11/2010 Comments (28)

Last week, the English press got all breathy about the “hint” that Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, might have some microscopic critters crawling about on or under its surface.  The hintiness of the evidence is very hinty indeed, but it was interesting enough to sell a little beer and shampoo (the true function of the media), so the editors went with the story and the commenters immediately came out of the woodwork to Tell Us What it All Means.

What fascinates me is how much exercise people get leaping to conclusions, constructing non sequiturs, and, of course, boasting about their superior faculties of reason (over religious people) or (a much smaller minority in the Country that Used to be...READ MORE

Filed under fundamentalists both religious and atheistic

Confirming Really Little Kids

06/09/2010 Comments (18)

A reader writes:

While you may not be the best source for my questions but in that your name came to mind first, so here goes.

I have been writing/publishing/developing the Little Flowers Girls Program ( for many years now.  I strive to develop a program that fits the needs of families while teaching the girls a bit about virtue life, etc.

Here’s the problem - one of our ‘wreaths’ is written for girls preparing for Confirmation and was developed for girls approx. 12 and up as I found (or thought I found) that was a pretty good median age for this sacrament.

However, I have been contacted by one woman whose girls will be getting confirmed in 3rd grade along with...READ MORE

Filed under mailbag

But I Learn So Much from Glenn Beck!

06/07/2010 Comments (229)

One seldom runs into Catholics who like to wade through books like The God Delusion for those valuable nuggets of truth they can glean from the ocean of Augean muck that are the atheistic diatribes of Richard Dawkins.  Most Catholics seem to figure out quickly that the signal-to-noise ratio makes the game not worth the candle.  If they want an education in science and religion, they realize, they had better apply to people like Fr. Stanley Jaki, who understood both rather well.

But rare is the day when I point out that Glenn Beck is as reliable a guide to matters of faith and the public square as Dawkins is to faith and science that I do not hear the complaining squawk, “But I learn so...READ MORE

Filed under pseudoknowledge

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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.