Friday, July 10, 2015

Books by Dave Armstrong: Proving the Catholic Faith is Biblical: From Priestly Celibacy to the Rosary: 80 Short Essays Explaining the Biblical Basis of Catholicism


 [completed on 2 August 2014; 245 pages. Accepted for publication by Sophia Institute Press on 11 November 2014; published on 7 July 2015]

----- To purchase, go to the bottom of the page -----


ENDORSEMENTS



“Dave Armstrong is a master of biblical citation and compressing arguments. He does in a few pages what many apologists take chapters to accomplish.”

Al Kresta, Host of Kresta in the Afternoon

“A treasure-trove of biblical texts demonstrating the veracity of the Catholic Faith. This is a must-read for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.”

Tim Staples, Catholic apologist (at Catholic Answers) and Author


FACEBOOK INTRODUCTION / ANNOUNCEMENT OF ACCEPTANCE FOR PUBLICATION / SOPHIA PAGE



TABLE OF CONTENTS  

[slightly different chapter titles in some cases, from the published book, which also doesn't contain the larger categories (in Roman numerals)]

Dedication
Introduction [see below]

I. Bible and Tradition (Authority)

1.Tradition is Not Always a Bad Word in Scripture +
2. The Catholic “Three-Legged Stool” vs. Sola Scriptura
3. Tradition: Short Reflection & Basic Explanation
4. The Bereans & “Searching the Scriptures”
5. Ten Deuterocanonical References in the New Testament
II. Doctrine of the Church (Ecclesiology)

6. The Catholic Church: Why we Accept Her Claims
7. Catholic Ecclesiology & the Jerusalem Council [read original longer dialogue]
8. Three Biblical Arguments for an Authoritative Church +
9. “Call No Man Father” & Calling Catholic Priests Father *
10. We Believe All that the Catholic Church Teaches
11. On the Scandal of the Outrageous Claim to be a Church
12. On Whether God Would Protect His Church from Error [read original longer dialogue]
13. Are Church Councils More Authoritative than Popes?

III. Priestly Celibacy

14. Short Exposition on Catholic Priestly Celibacy
15. The Celibate Priesthood as a Higher Calling
16. A New (?) Argument for Mandatory Priestly Celibacy [read original post and Facebook discussion]

IV. Theology of Salvation (Soteriology)

17. Works Can be Good or Bad, Just as Traditions Are
18. Faith & Works (But Not Justification) in Isaiah Ch. 1
19. Catholic Soteriology in John 3:36 (“Disobey the Son”)
20. Hebrews 3:14 (Lots of Catholic Theology on Salvation)
21. Unanswered Prayers of Jesus as a Counter-Reply to Limited Atonement
22. John 12:32 vs. John Calvin & Limited Atonement
23. God Doesn't Predestine the Damned (2 Thess 2:10-12)

V. Purgatory and Penance

24. Prayer, Penance, & the Eternal Destiny of Others
25. The Abundant Biblical Support for Lent *
26. Divine Chastisement (or, Purgatory in This Life) *

VI. The Holy Eucharist and the Sacrifice of the Mass

27. Mystery is No Basis for Rejecting Transubstantiation *
28. On the Nature of Idolatry
29. “The Apostle Paul Says He is a 'Priest'?! Where?!”

VII. Sacramentals, Devotions, and Worship

30. Sacramentalism & the Bible +
31. Biblical Support for Ritualistic & Formal Worship +
32. Is the Rosary “Vain Repetition”? *

VIII. The Communion of Saints and Angels

33. Asking Saints to Intercede is a Teaching of Jesus *
34. Praying to Angels & Angelic Intercession *
35. Worshiping God Through Images in Holy Scripture
36. Martin Luther's Belief in the Invocation & Intercession of Mary & the Saints, as Late as 1521 [read online]
37. The False Doctrine of “Soul Sleep”
38. New (?) Biblical Argument for the Veneration of Saints: God “In” & “Through” St. Paul

IX. The Blessed Virgin Mary (Mariology)

39. Biblical Arguments for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary *
40. Holy Ground & the Perpetual Virginity of Mary *
41. Rationalist Objection to the In Partu Virginity of Mary
42. Martin Luther & the Immaculate Purification of Mary*
43. Mary's Immaculate Conception & the Bible*
44. Quick Biblical Proof that Mary is the Mother of God
45. The Bible & the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary *
46. Mary the “Queen Mother” & “Queen of Heaven”
47. Mary as the Woman in Revelation 12 [read longer original dialogue]
48. Biblical Analogies for Marian Apparitions

X. Papal Infallibility

49. Protestant Difficulties Regarding Papal Infallibility
50. The So-Called “Infallibility Regress” Objection [read original longer dialogue]

XI. Christology and Trinitarianism

51. The Bible “Never Says that Jesus is God”? Wrong! +
52. The Holy Trinity Proven from Scripture +
53. Is Trinitarianism Demonstrable from Scripture Alone?
54. Trinitarian Baptismal Formula & “Jesus Only” Baptism
55. Should God the Father be Visually Depicted in Paintings?
56. Satan's Tempting of Jesus as a Proof of His Divinity
57. Jesus' Divinity & Matthew 21:16 (cf. Psalms 8:2)
58. Jesus is Explicitly, Directly Called “God” (Romans 9:5)
59. Jesus' Agony in the Garden vs. “Be Not Anxious” [read original longer article]

XII. Marriage and Sexuality

60. Annulment is Not Catholic Divorce
61. Contraception: “Be Fruitful and Multiply” *
62. Contraception: God Blesses Parents with Children *
63. Contraception: Onan's Sin & Punishment [read online]
64. Reply to an Attack Against NFP & Spacing of Children
65. Contraception, Murder, & the Contralife Will
66. Does the Bible Condemn Homosexual Acts?
67. St. Paul's Argument from Nature Against Homosexual Acts (Romans 1) [read original longer 
version]
68. The Prohibition of Premarital Sex in the New Testament
69. Does 1 Corinthians 7:36-38 Sanction Premarital Sex? [read original longer dialogue]
70. Thoughts on Women's Ordination

XIII. Hell, the Devil, and Demons

71. Philosophical Defense of the Necessity of Hell [read original longer dialogue: Parts One and Two]
72. The Stupidity of the Devil
73. Demon Possession & Modern Bible Translation Bias
74. The “Conditional” Possibility of Universalism Refuted

XIV. Philosophy, History, and Apologetics

75. Thoughts on a Perfect God Creating an Imperfect World
76. Can God be Blamed for the Nazi Holocaust?
77. The Inevitability of Development of Doctrine *
78. New Testament Proofs of Noah's Historical Existence * [read online]
79. Jesus' Use of Socratic Method in His Teaching [read on my Facebook page]
80. Apologetics Isn't Saying You're Sorry for Your Faith! + [read online]

* * * * *

* = originally published in Seton Magazine: The Premier Online Magazine for Catholic Homeschoolers (from March to July 2014). See my author page with links to all the articles.

+ = originally published in The Michigan Catholic: the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Detroit (from May to August 2014). See my author page
with links to all the articles.


INTRODUCTION 

This is a collection of essays that are (1) short (usually two or three pages), (2) characterized by lots of biblical argumentation, and (3) written in defense of Catholicism (apologetics). Most of them came about as a result of my ongoing efforts to comment on issues that regularly come up in “worlds” of Catholic apologetics and theology online.
The brevity of the chapters indicates the trend in my apologetic writing for many years now: “quick,” precise answers to apologetics questions. For better or ill, this is the world that we live in, and the apologist must make efforts (as St. Paul did, and as Vatican II stressed) to meet people where they are.
I don't deny the continuing utility and necessity of longer treatments (my “corpus” still contains plenty of those!), but most people prefer shorter essays, and their interest in theology and apologetics generally doesn't extend to treatise-length expositions. This is all the truer for beginners in theology.
Many of these essays were written as columns for Seton Magazine, which is devoted to Catholic homeschoolers. Others came from my regular column in The Michigan Catholic, the official newspaper for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Some were originally posted as part of my work in the Internet forum of the Coming Home Network from 2007-2010 (I was the head moderator during that period), and several were initiated on Facebook. All of these essays are meant to answer the questions that people ask and to make the Catholic Faith more understandable, leading to a confident belief and the ability to “make a defense” (1 Pet. 3:15) for this Faith as opportunities arise. I hope by God's grace I have accomplished these goals.

Thanks so much for reading, and God bless you!


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Last Update: 16 July 2015



Dialogue with an Atheist Concerning My Semi-Satirical Critique of Atheism




This came about as a result of an atheist responding to my paper, Why Atheists Are Far More Religious Than we Think. It occurred on a public Facebook page. His name will remain anonymous (unless he requests otherwise), but all the words are his, and will be in blue.

* * * * * 


It really is just kind of semantic. The atheist, at least the scientifically minded one, would not starkly claim that there is no possible way that a god created the universe. We are simply saying that there is no more reason to believe a god created it than to believe it was created by the tooth fairy or a dragon.

Exactly my point in reverse. Thanks for verifying my reasoning. I was arguing that there is no more reason -- and that it requires as much faith [which might be defined very broadly as a belief in unproven axioms] -- to believe that atoms and cells can do the remarkable things they do by their own self-generated power (which came from . . . ?) than to believe that there is a spiritual entity called God that put it into them in creating them.

There is some reason to believe that there is a completely natural explanation as every single scientific inquiry that has ever been solved has been solve through a natural explanation, not a supernatural one, so that is where we are going to focus our efforts of explanation.

There is plenty that is unexplained at the presuppositional level, as my post gets into. No one really knows by what conceivable process life came from non-life. There are several theories bandied about, of course, but by no means any definitive answers. So it requires "faith." You guys don't know why life is here or how the big Bang could start a process that led to it (by what laws and mechanisms?), and so you know no more than we do. You have to believe in faith that the processes that brought about these remarkable things were completely natural , whereas we agree that they are largely natural but that the missing ingredient that explains origins is indeed God. You have faith in the remarkable inherent qualities of atoms. We have faith in God. One is no more plausible than the other in this basic "brass tacks" sense.

Many great philosophers and other thinkers have believed in God, based on various arguments, as well as internal experience or intuition, so the belief can't be dismissed with a wave of the hand as mere fairy tales or on the level of a belief in unicorns, etc.

Might we be wrong in the end? Um... sure I guess. But most atheists would then put it to the theist: why your God and not another religion? Why not a tooth fairy? Why not a dragon?

And we say: "why atoms, that supposedly developed the power to create the entire universe by themselves?" Is that not an incredible blind faith? I would say that is more of a blind faith even than belief in tooth fairies or dragons as alleged possible agents of creation.

Bottom line: Jesus Christ. He revealed that God exists and what He is like. As an apologist I can give a host of reasons why I believe in God, Christianity, and Catholicism in particular. It's like asking someone "why do you love your wife?" There are a host of reasons, and the usual immediate response is to hesitate, precisely because there are so many; you don't know where to start in describing your feelings of love.

These are not questions (whatever one's view is) that are given to short, sound-byte answers. It just doesn't work that way. As I said, many great minds (arguably the vast majority of the best, most original ones) believed in God. Certainly atheists would have a hard time arguing that they were all gullible fools and anti-rational simpletons?. . .

There is no more reason for me to believe in that god than any of the hundreds upon hundreds of other gods that have made sense to their followers throughout time.

There certainly is. Christianity is based on historical argument. We can point to concrete things in history that happened, that confirm the existence of God. That's already very different off the bat from the eastern religions. But most secularists / atheists / agnostics today are ignorant of the huge differences between religions, and tend to collapse them all into an irrational box.

So atheism being a religion is really just a word game. 

Not at all, as I carefully explained in the paper. To believe what you guys do about mere material atoms requires an extraordinary, quite childlike, non-rational faith.

Atheists believe that the origin of the universe most probably has a natural explanation simply because nothing... nothing else ever has had an explanation otherwise.

Sheer nonsense. What you have in effect done is worship matter rather than spirit (that we worship). Why one rather than the other? It's completely arbitrary. You put all your faith in science, which is a variant of philosophy, that starts with unproven axioms just as every imaginable belief-system does. You have to believe that 1) the universe exists; 2) that matter follows discernible predictable laws (uniformitarianism); 3) that our senses can be trusted to accurately convey these laws and observations to us.

This is why modern science began in a thoroughly Christian culture (Europe in the Middle Ages) and why the founders and developers of virtually all scientific sub-fields were Christians or at least some sort of theist: because Christianity offered these necessary presuppositions, to start doing science. Hence, the Lutheran Kepler's famous statement that the scientist was "thinking God's thoughts after Him."

If anyone can claim credit for historic, foundational science, it is Christianity, not atheism. I wrote a whole book about it.

I have never met an atheist who didn't say that if you showed them any actual evidence to the contrary that they wouldn't change their mind. But no religion has yet done so. Not one. And that is the difference between atheism and a religion.

These are merely empty (and rather sweeping, dogmatic) claims. How do you know no religion has ever offered a rational answer to the sort of garden variety questions that atheists bring up? How much of religion have you studied? If you were once a Christian, what books of apologetics and philosophy of religion have you read? Have you read debates between Christian philosophers and atheists, etc.?

It's always easy to make sweeping, dramatic claims (such as you have done) without backing them up.

My argument is of a different nature. I'm not saying that atheists are dummies or immoral, just because they are atheists, but rather, that the faith they claim that Christians exercise and they supposedly don't, is a Grand Myth: that they, too, exercise faith, just as anyone does who believes in any worldview (including science, which is a form of philosophy called empiricism). It's impossible not to start with some unproven axioms, and they are, well, unproven. That means they weren't arrived at through observation or empirical evidence or even reason. They can't be absolutely proven.

So there is no reason for atheists to look down their noses at the supposedly "gullible" or "childish" Christians on this score. There is equally no reason to claim that Christianity is allegedly inexorably opposed to scientific inquiry. It's all atheist fairy tales and talking points, exhibiting a huge ignorance of the history of both science and philosophy.

Atheists (in my experience) are ready to change their mind for evidence.


And in my 34-year experience discussing things with atheists it is just the opposite: they are largely impervious to reason and fact if they go against their views already held in faith, without reason at the axiomatic level.

But there are atheists who have converted and become Christians by means of reason. I know several of them. I just haven't seen it happen in my own experience. I've had several atheists tell me, though, that my books were key in convincing them to become theists and eventually Catholics.

If one changes their mind without evidence, what is to stop them from drifting from one religion to another to another every time someone presents them with a new perspective? 

I fully agree. Reason has to be exercised in any rational, plausible worldview, or it ain't worth much.

What each religion is asking the atheist to do, is to take their un-evidenced word for it, but not the next person's un-evidenced word for it.

That's what an unsophisticated Christian might do: "just accept our beliefs with a blind faith" -- but that is not the view of either the Bible or the Christians who devote themselves to rational defense of the faith (apologists like myself) or those who are philosophers of religion or theistic philosophers.

I literally have no reason to choose one religion over the next besides my own comfort with its message.

This clearly exhibits your non-acquaintance with the competing truth claims of various religions. Again, I ask you: what have you read of Christian apologetics? How much did you even understand the theology if you were once a Christian? Neither can a person cannot reject what they never understood, or fully understood, either. They are, instead, rejecting a caricature or straw man, which they proceed to pillory the rest of their lives if they are atheists.

I have shown this again and again in analyzing atheist "deconversion stories." Soon I will be compiling a book about that, too, and how so many atheists vainly fancy themselves as such experts on the Bible, whereas they are in fact profoundly ignorant and don't know the first thing about proper biblical hermeneutics or exegesis or the various literary genres in the Bible, etc., or the ancient Near Eastern (i.e., Mesopotamian) cultural background that is a crucial component of both Judaism and Christianity.

Moreover, I would point out that no message is more appealing (in one big sense) to human beings than atheism. You're accountable to no higher being. You can do whatever you want or desire to do, including the usual sexual desires and freedoms that people so often seek after. You can go the hedonist route and live merely for pleasure, or have fun deriding Christians and having a sense of self-importance and superiority in so doing (I've met many atheists of that sort; but many are not).

In other words, it's a wash. Human beings of whatever belief-system tend to follow what personally appeals to them. If you want to claim that this is the exclusive characteristic of Christians or all religious folk, it works the same way in criticizing atheism, so this "argument" proves nothing one way or the other.

The more honest atheists, such as Aldous Huxley, even freely admitted that they ditched religion precisely for the purpose of sexual freedom.

. . . which honestly Christianity's message in the end comforts me in no way.

Exactly! But atheism does, and makes you feel good, which is what you accuse Christians of doing. You do the same thing that you have just derided. You choose it because it suits you. We believe, on the other hand, that we choose Christianity, not because it makes us feel wonderful and warm fuzzy happy, but because it's true.

The great apologist G. K. Chesterton stated, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."

It's a difficult life, but I wouldn't trade it and its joy and peace with anything. I've tried to seriously live the Christian life for now 38 years. It has never let me down. But it is not without suffering. Joy is deeper than suffering. This is why Christians have been willing to die as martyrs through the centuries. They weren't trying to avoid suffering, but rather, hell.

This is what you have just revealed to us is how you approached the matter: based on your desires and the comfort-factor, not based on an objective, dispassionate search for metaphysical and/or moral truth. At least that is how it appears or sounds at first glance. I'm just going by your own words . . .

As for the different faiths, theists (of the Abrahamic vein) are fully convinced that there are no gods at all... except for their one god. Why is it completely rational for Christians, Muslims, Jews to discount every other god that people follow except for this one, but the atheist who believes in just one fewer gods is absolutely wrong?

Yes; that is the nature of monotheism, because we believe that this one God has revealed Himself. We do for various reasons, that can't be briefly summarized, because there are so many of 'em.

It's not that you believe in "just one fewer god" but that in so doing you have to explain the universe according to pure naturalism or materialism, and it just doesn't make any sense and comes off sounding rather fantastic and irrational, when closely scrutinized, as I did in this paper.

You're welcome to explain to all of us how these atoms managed to do all that they have supposedly done, by themselves, with no outside or spiritual or supernatural aid, as a result of an explosion 15 billion years ago (or however long ago it is believed to be now).

We're waiting with baited breath. But no atheist has done so thus far, and I would bet good money that you will not be the first one. It's such a mystery that atheists are now fond of postulating "multiverses" so that they can simply ignore their huge problem of explaining origins, and push it back to earlier universes that they are equally ignorant of, as to process and origin. Very convenient, isn't it? If you can't explain something, invent a completely arbitrary fairy tale, with no rational or empirical evidence whatsoever to back it up . . .

And we Christians get accused of "God of the gaps" with this sort of desperate avoidance analysis going on among materialist scientists? It's a joke!

We are effectively living the same process with one minor tweak further. All religions have equal amounts of evidence (zero) so why one non-evident religion over the next? 

You are merely assuming what you are trying to prove here, which is circular reasoning. You have not provided any actual reasons for believing these things. You simply make bald assertions. And I can tell you from my own long study in apologetics that they are not true statements. I do have the papers and books that already contain my reasonings.

There may very well be a god/goddess/gods/goddesses,

If you truly believe that, you should assume an agnostic stance, rather than an atheist one (but it sounds like you self-identify with the latter).

but since he/she/it/they have elected to give no evidence to the empirical senses with which they created us,

Once again, you assume what you think you prove. There is all kinds of empirical evidence for Christianity. Jesus was an actual human person, identifiable in history. He performed miracles, which were witnessed. He rose from the dead and was seen by more than 500 eyewitnesses. There is an empty tomb that hasn't been adequately expained. It was guarded by Roman soldiers, under the pain of death if they failed to guard it. We know that the tomb was empty, from hostile reports and theories that the body was stolen, etc. People were willing to die for this faith, etc. There is all sorts of hard evidence that has to be grappled with.

There is no way to know who it is without relying solely on personal subjective interpretation and heresay [sic] from supposed eyewitnesses from centuries ago in books which no one has any reason to believe other than faith in certain groups of human being who have supposedly preserve the integrity of these first hand accounts hundreds of years ago.

This is incredible "reasoning." We rely on eyewitness and firsthand testimony for all historical accounts whatsoever. You don't doubt those when it comes to the existence of Socrates or Alexander the Great or even Abraham Lincoln. But all of a sudden when religious faith is involved, all these people were gullible idiots, who made up a bunch of fairy tales, and then were willing to die for the fairy tales.

It makes no sense at all. What this amounts to is a huge double standard, where you accept history, except when anyone religious is the testifier or witness of what happened at a particular point. Then you dismiss it. That's irrationally arbitrary, self-defeating, and bigoted.

The Bible has, time and again, been backed up, as to its extraordinary historical accuracy, whether through manuscripts (e.g., the Dead Sea Scrolls) or archaeology or textual analysis. It's accurate. It reports history. But someone who denies the existence of miracles beforehand simply dismisses any miraculous account.

That's not a strictly "rational" analysis. It's not rational to arbitrarily choose to disbelieve that a miraculous event can ever happen, and so dismiss any such account because it doesn't fit the arbitrary axiom already accepted for no good reason.

Many things in science would have been thought totally impossible or implausible before they were proven (e.g., quantum physics or black holes or relativity). Yet what was "impossible" because possible and even "proven" in the usual scientific fashion.

Why could not miracles be the same sort of thing? How can you or anyone else say in a blanket way that they could not ever possibly have happened? You cannot . . .

Unless someone has a "Damascus road" experience, personally, their faith isn't in god anyway, 


At some point, experience must enter in, yes. We Christians claim to have various spiritual experiences that confirm our faith and beliefs. I have had several, myself. My life changed.

it's in people: the person who wrote the Scripture they believe, the person who they passed it onto; the person they passed it on to; the person who passed it on to you. 

Every belief-system has an internal tradition and a heritage which has been passed on. There's nothing new under the sun. You as an atheist argue the same way that atheists did 3,000 years ago. And that is because you all start from the implausible axiom that I have discussed in my paper. Because you have so little reason to back yourself up, you have to content yourselves with bashing Christianity, to make yourselves feel so intellectually superior to us. It just won't fly.

It may with some construction worker in a bar or an old lady with purple tennis shoes, who don't know apologetics or philosophy from a hole in the ground, but not with someone who is acquainted with those things, and how the atheist / secular mind works. I used to think in largely the same terms, and I was spoon-fed secularism in school.

If people want to say atheism is a religion, I guess thats fine if one wants define what one means by religion.

My argument in my paper was that it was not a whit more reasonable, nor does it require any less faith (defined as acceptance of unproven and unprovable axioms). You have not really overcome my actual argument at all. You're just preaching . . . That's usually what atheists do. Not always (I've had some extremely interesting and constructive dialogues with several atheists), but usually.

Just note the the faith in atheism is in a logical system, that has heretofore been the only system that has ever offered a correct answer to the way anything works. 

Where to begin? It's not logical at all, as I think I have shown: not at the presuppositional, axiomatic level. It's a profoundly faith-filled, arbitrary, implausible view. Secondly, atheism doesn't own science. Quite the contrary: it was begun by Christians and completely dominated by them for hundreds of years. Even now, some 40-45% of scientists would identify as some sort of theist (as well as a probably lesser, but significant number of philosophers: many among the best ones). Yet atheists routinely assume that they are the reasonable ones and own science. It's a lie.

What we Christians say is that science (or matter) is not all that there is. There are other forms of knowledge, and religious faith is real, and rational, and can be defended as such.

I don't consider logic my "god" because I don't believe in a god. 

I can see that, because from where I sit, you are not arguing very logically at all. Your belief-system is arbitrary and meaningless irrationality (which I would argue is what all atheism always logically reduces to).

I believe it's a system through which we have found answers and has thus far been the only such system.

That's simply not true. Science (begun and dominated by Christians), philosophy, and religion have all given us plenty of answers and solutions.

Is that faith? Sure? I guess? Sort of? But in a very different way. Semantics.


I think there are lots of word games that atheists play. I have offered what I believe is a solid, logical critique.

Nothing personal! Thanks for the dialogue.

* * * 


I don't have time to argue all of these points you've laid out. But I will get to the meat of it. If you have actual evidence, feel free to share.

I have evidence all over my website. The most applicable to an atheist would be my web page on atheism. Then there is my book, Christian Worldview vs. Postmodernism. And my basic run-through of Christian apologetics, Mere Christian Apologetics.

If you don't want to purchase any of those, or my book on science, linked above (available as low as $1.99), I'll send you a PDF file of any of them for free.

And I repeat my original point. Yes... atheism is faith in the same way that your disbelief in the tooth fairy is faith. in the same way that your disbelief in the tooth fairy is a religion.

That makes no sense. I don't spend my time proving that the tooth fairy doesn't exist, as atheists do with God. My faith / religious belief isn't merely a reactionary denial of what is believed not to exist at all, but rather, a positive, proactive assertion of something.

The tooth fairy (like Santa Claus or unicorns or the man in the moon or the Easter Bunny and all the other silly atheist "analogies" to God) has no historical or philosophical evidence in favor of it, as God does. No great philosophers or scientists or other great thinkers hold to belief in it. It truly is a mere fairy tale fit for small children only.

To compare that to the Judaeo-Christian God, or even the "philosopher's God" (of say, someone like David Hume, who was not an atheist, as commonly believed) is instantly silly and a farce. But it's garden-variety atheism, and used all the time for its mocking "value."

Atheism is faith in precisely the way that I have argued that it is in my paper that you replied to: you (like anyone else who attempts to think seriously about reality) must accept unproven axioms. These cannot be argued for according to reason or evidence (empirical or otherwise).

The atheist has the special and extraordinary burden of being forced to believe that somehow something came from nothing, of its own power, and then exploded and produced all that is in the universe.

Present science tells us that the universe isn't eternal (laws of thermodynamics). It's running down. It began in an instant, in the Big Bang. That original "egg" somehow came from nothing whatsoever and came to possess the properties of reproduction, evolution, and creation of everything else.

For those of us who think that belief in God is a far better and more plausible explanation than that, it is (with all due respect) utterly absurd to accept such a ludicrous scenario. Any three-year-old knows that you can't get something from nothing.

But every atheist must believe exactly that. They do it based on sheer blind faith and unwillingness to accept the rational alternative that an eternal creative spirit exists; an eternal intelligence.

Even those who aren't theists know that something is out there; some kind of primal intelligence or organizing principle, to explain the wonders of the universe. Hence, Albert Einstein (a type of pantheist) wrote:

[T]he belief in the existence of basic all-embracing laws in Nature also rests on a sort of faith. All the same this faith has been largely justified so far by the success of scientific research. But, on the other hand, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe -- a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
(To student Phyllis Right, who asked if scientists pray, January 24, 1936. Einstein Archive 42-601, 52-337; from Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann, Albert Einstein, the Human Side [Princeton Univ. Press, 1981], pp. 32-33)

See more on Einstein's religion.

It's always fascinating to me to see how atheists attempt to respond to this particular argument, which I believe is of considerable force. Usually what we see is exactly the replies that my opponent gave above: little of substance: lots of bald assertions, contra-Christian or contra-theist "preaching" and studiously avoiding the central issue: how did something come from nothing and how did mere matter obtain all these remarkable powers that it now has?

It's pretty much a blank at that point and a clear example of completely blind faith in the unprovable, non-rational (arguably anti-rational) starting premises of atheism.

Atheists in effect worship trillions of atom-gods and cell-gods: exactly as I contended in my paper. Virtually every power that the Christian attributes to God, the atheist applies to atoms and cells. It's a profound faith indeed, based on no evidence whatsoever.

I think atheists are intelligent and thoughtful people. I am not claiming that they are generally irrational types of people. But I do say that with regard to the questions I bring up, the starting premises of atheism are quite irrational and unworthy of allegiance.

It's also good for atheists to recognize that we Christians have some serious thinkers among us, too, and that we have "good arguments" on our side as well.

Again, you are misrepresenting me. Atheists do not claim that there is absolutely no way a deity could have done it. We claim that there is no more reason to believe it than any other extraordinary claim. If you listen to any talk by prominent atheists like Dawkins or Tyson, you will hear them repeatedly say they cannot disprove god. The reason you will not hear us taking apart tooth fairy theories is because no one is making them or trying to get them into scientific discussions. And no one said science is unique to atheists. It is unique to scientist[s], which happen to be theists and atheists. The problem is when either group gets to something they don't understand and slaps creative answer to it rather than an observed one. In the theists' case: god did it. And your assessment of my scrutiny of historical documenta is erroneous. if you think religious texts are the only ones atheistic historians scrutinize, then you aren't accounting for the very first thing liberal universities teach when analyzing historical documents. The goal in any such analysis is to determine biases, limitations, and personal perspective rather than taking it at face value. Apologists however, have no other goal than to make the document/data/observations fit into a predesigned paradigm.

Thanks for your further thoughts. Now why don't you also provide some solid, plausible answers to the basic questions that are your burden as an atheist?:

1) How did something come from nothing?
2) What caused this something from nothing, of its own power, to explode and produce all that is in the universe?

3) How did the original "egg" come to possess the remarkable properties of reproduction, evolution, and creation of everything else?
4) How did life (not to mention intelligence and rational self-consciousness) come from non-life, by purely materialistic processes, all inherent in the potentiality of the original "egg" that somehow came from nothing whatever?

We say "God" and that gets immediately dismissed as supposedly "unscientific" and/or good ol' "God of the gaps."

Fine. Having dismissed our proposed explanation, what is your alternate (or better) one? You haven't told us. If you say you have no explanation or speculation at all, this strongly confirms my entire contention: you are operating in blind irrational faith: every bit as much as you say ours is, and arguably much more so.

After all, the universe is here (as all agree) and it had to be caused by something or Someone. Again, I reiterate my original argument, which stands unrefuted: we worship one Spirit-God, while you in effect worship trillions of atom-gods and cell-gods and the goddess Time: all of which can and do produce anything and everything in the universe (just like we say our God does!).

I don't need to provide solid claims as I am not making the assertions you are claiming I am making. I am not saying something came from nothing. I'm saying with the evidence currently in our grasp, it would appear that the big bang happened, and that there is absolutely no reason to assume jesus christ or yahweh... or odin was responsible for it. Your arguments necessitate you to constantly build straw men. Is it possible a god did it? Maybe idk. But why without evidence assume it was god? Why believe god can always exist but not matter? My answer AGAIN to you is I don't know. And thats where my atheist's "faith" comes in. Since every other answered query in the history of humankind has been answered by science and reason, I'm thinking that this too will probably be answered by science and reason. Since every "proof" you have given so far for god is completely inconclusive, and exemplary of the very kind of non-science that make atheists skeptical of christian science, that reinforces my leanings that the answers will be natural rather than supernatural. I think most likely, if these questions are ever answered, it will increase our understanding of what is natural, rather than convince me of something supernatural. But who knows? And your claim that atheists "worship" atoms/cells/time is the ultimate straw man.

Well, it's as good of a non-answer as I have ever gotten from an atheist. What else is new . . . ?

I haven't given any "proofs" for God in this discussion. And that is because I'm challenging you to establish a rational basis for the presuppositions of your belief (per my paper that you replied to), and the present existence of the universe. You have not done so. But at least you are honest enough with yourself to not try to make a futile effort which would not bode well for your worldview. it's best to refrain in that case.

As I have said repeatedly, the evidences, arguments, and reasons I can give for theism and Christianity are in my 49 books and 2,300+ papers on my blog. They can't be summarized quickly. That is mere child's play. Thoughtful worldviews must necessarily be scrutinized at length and with fairness and an open mind. I have offered to give you any of my books for free.

But you have to be willing to read them. "You can lead the horse to water, but you can't make him drink" . . .

I think I'm done here. You have absolutely no interest in what I'm saying, provable by the fact that you cannot even describe my position. You are clearly set in your intellectual superiority as you have demonstrated by your assertion of yourself as a "sophisticated christian" as opposed to the thousands of other christians who don't have the fluency with apologetics that you do. Your condescension and repeated misrepresentation of my arguments are going to be the bane of your apologetics, even before your confusion of reason with things that make sense to you.

One last thing, I just noticed:

"why believe god can always exist but not matter?"

The laws of thermodynamics tell us that the universe is running down; therefore very few believe anymore that it is eternal. It's not eternal; it began with the Big Bang, as far as present science can determine. If it were eternal, it couldn't have "begun."

Belief in an eternal God is distinct from that, since God is spirit and not subject to the laws of physical nature.

May God bless you with all good things. I bear you no ill will; nor do I judge your motivations, as you have now judged mine.

I bear you no ill will either. And you can claim non-judgement all you want. But when you say things like "any three year old knows..." Or calling my responses "non-answers" show your true feelings.

* * * * *



Thursday, July 09, 2015

Why Have Legal Same-Sex Unions Come About in Our Day and Time?: Some Off-the-Cuff Ruminations

By Dave Armstrong


PREAMBLE

I love the history of ideas. When something this momentous occurs it is useful, I think, to step back and take a look at what has transpired in recent history to bring about such a tragic breakdown of societal morals and traditions. These are my own speculations along those lines.


1. THE CRUCIAL, FUNDAMENTAL CONTRACEPTION CONNECTION


The initial "intellectual opening" to the notion of a so-called "gay marriage" came about, I believe, in a two-step process, 30 years apart: the acceptance of contraception (in "hard cases" of course) for the first time among any Christian group, by the Anglicans in 1930, and the widespread introduction of the birth control pill around 1960. Thus, the current revolution in thinking has occurred over an 85- or 55-year period, depending on where one wishes to start in the causal chain. The longer period is within the lifetime of my parents; the shorter span, within my own lifetime. The sexual revolution might also be said to have started around 1960 (especially after 1967: the "summer of love"), as the large baby boomer generation came of age.

Now, how is this related to same-sex "marriage" and homosexual acts? It has to do with the fundamental purposes of things, and what is natural as opposed to unnatural. The primary, essential purpose of marriage is procreation: producing of children as the fruit of the sexual oneness of a married couple. That's not to deny the unitive / pleasurable function of marriage, but it is the most important purpose. Obviously, this can only occur between a man and a woman. Thus, in order to prepare a population for the notion that, somehow, two men or two women can "marry"; first it is necessary to break this immemorial and instinctive connection between sexuality / marriage and procreation.

Once this heretofore casually assumed link was questioned, then we had the related notion of sex merely for fun; for the relinquishing of desires and biological needs only, rather than for the purpose of having children; or, more specifically, being open to conception when and if it occurs.


2. THE FRUITS OF CONTRACEPTION AND THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION


That was the first necessary break in the ongoing moral tradition of western civilization. It broke the intrinsic connection between [heterosexual] sexuality and procreation. Sex could now be utilized for pleasure purposes only (and without "consequence"); utterly disconnected from its deepest purpose. This leads, of course, to a breakdown in marriages, due to a much easier promiscuity and widespread premarital sex, which runs contrary to both procreation within marriage and the idea of being committed solely to one person, sexually and exclusively within [heterosexual] marriage. It was the triumph of the "playboy" lifestyle.

Women had at last given up the fight for traditional sexuality and surrendered to those who wished to reduce them to mere objects of pleasure. And so we have seen those fruits, in the alarming rise of illegitimate births and now cohabitation. Families are breaking down (usually meaning that fathers aren't present). This in turn leads to massive, debilitating poverty, crime, and hopelessness (those direct connections all being massively confirmed by secular social science). If you want to see the way that things are progressing, look at the inner cities. That is the fruit of secular liberalism and it's so-called "progressive" economic and sexual viewpoints and policies. That's our future. A wonderful sight and prospect, isn't it?


3. GENOCIDE OF PREBORN CHILDREN: THE NEXT LOGICAL STEP


Legal childkilling [aka abortion] came along in the US in 1973: by judicial fiat, just as this ruling was. At that point, we could no longer in any way, shape, or form, be considered a "Christian" country, or guided (even vaguely) by Christian principles. Just as contraception had separated moral married sexuality from children, in an abstract (theoretical) way, so abortion literally separated the children from life and the womb and from their place in the scheme of things, by depriving preborn children of their very lives, solely based on the will of the mother. This was the decisive Step Two in separating both marriage and [heterosexual] sexuality from children.


4. "DIABOLICAL LOGIC"


Once that was accomplished, then homosexual acts and homosexual "marriage" became far more thinkable. As we have seen, the entire process took 55 years (since the Pill) or 42 years (since Roe v. Wade). After all, if sex need not have any intrinsic connection to children, then, homosexual sex is just as supposedly "natural" or defensible as heterosexual sex. It simply took a while for society to get used to the inexorable "diabolical logic" involved.


5. LEGAL LICENSE, LIBERTARIANISM, LIBERALISM, AND LIBERTINISM


Active homosexuality was so counter-intuitive (and so clearly condemned in the Bible), that it took a massive 40-year propaganda campaign to break down cultural resistance to it. Here is where a relentless, ferociously motivated secularism allied with libertarianism took over. The Big Stupid Idea of the sexual revolution was "do your own thing" or "do whatever feels good." In strictly legal terms, the notion that government could no longer say anything about sexuality or what goes on behind closed doors, came about with Griswold in 1965 (contraception), which was a direct legal precursor or precedent to Roe in 1973 (the so-called "right to privacy" nonsense).

Libertarianism, in its purest secular or popular form (a half-sister of the beloved liberalism), dictated that it was no one's business (last of all, the government's) to interfere with people's "personal lives." Thus, we see that not only in sexual matters but in things like physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, and drug use. The related myth is that none of these things affect anyone else. This ties into active homosexuality. It's thought that it does no harm to anyone else, even though we know for a fact that homosexual sex (whatever one thinks of it, morally) has dire health consequences (that go far beyond the conquered AIDS virus).


6. THE "BIG LIE," PROPAGANDA, AND BRAINWASHING


So how was same-sex "marriage" able to be pushed upon a society greatly opposed to it as recently as twenty, even five or ten years ago? This was accomplished by good ol' propaganda and re-education in the public schools, combined with an increasing cultural moral relativism. If you want to advocate something, then what you do is simply proclaim (not argue) it, over and over. It's the old thought of the Big Lie: if you repeat something often enough, people start to believe it, wholly separately from rational argument and fact and previous tradition. This is standard tactics of the Left. They understand this. They learned it from Hitler and his propaganda campaign against the Jews.


7. THE "BAD TREATMENT" / SYMPATHY TACTIC


Specifically, how this is done is to appeal to cases where homosexuals have been treated abominably (particularly, sad murders). This is something that any kind-hearted person could agree with. But what happens is that admonitions to be kind and loving to all people become mixed-up with accepting immoral acts that the same people were involved in. This is our society today. No one can disagree with what anyone else does (in many areas, including this one) without being accused of being "hateful" and "intolerant." To disagree is to be a bigot and a hater: a bad, wicked person. That is the fruit of moral relativism and sexual libertinism.


8. OUR FAILURE TO SEPARATE THE SIN FROM THE SINNER


This was really all it took: years of that: drumming into everyone's head that homosexual sex is not a whit different from heterosexual sex, and that homosexuals have been treated so badly. This was our failure, too: those of us traditionalists who did not exercise charity, and separate the sin from the sinner. The secular world, as always, took that ball and ran with it; milked it for all it was worth. It was the equivalent of the "back alley abortionists / coat hangers" card of the pro-aborts that was exaggerated a thousand times over: far more than the actual case numbers and facts would suggest. These tactics work.


9. THE FASHIONABLE BOGUS GENETICS ARGUMENT AND THE IGNORED LEGITIMATE ENVIRONMENTAL ONE / AND REMEMBER THE BIBLE?


After years of that, sympathy developed for the "underdog." We also see the "argument" that homosexuality is "genetic" and therefore, cannot be resisted. The problem there is that there is no compelling scientific evidence for a genetic inevitability. Studies of separated twins have confirmed it. We also know that homosexual sex can be a learned or environmental thing (prisons being a prime example). There is a lot of evidence that disruption of proper relationship with one's father has a direct causal relationship to later active homosexuality. But we're not allowed to even bring up such things anymore.

The second problem is that the Bible casually assumes that the sin of homosexual sex can be resisted, since it is assumed that it is serious sin, and God doesn't forbid what is impossible for human beings to avoid. It would be like God condemning the drinking of water.

But since our society as a whole couldn't care less anymore what the Bible teaches (it's regarded as an outdated, outmoded, irrelevancy from ancient times), it doesn't have any societal effect on the discussion.


10. SUCCESSFULLY BRAINWASHED YOUNG PEOPLE LEAD THE CHARGE


Young people are polling some 80% in favor of same-sex "marriage." This is why society changed so rapidly. Politicians (and Supreme Court Justices) saw the trend, and started jumping on the bandwagon. Liberal Democrats love anti-traditionalism in morals, and so they were entirely predictable (with Obama and the Clintons flipping on a dime, just as Bill Clinton (like Gore and Jesse Jackson; even Teddy Kennedy) had done regarding abortion.

Less predictable was the Republican or conservative espousal of these sins. But since much of conservatism or Republican "thinking" these days is dominated by a secular libertarianism, it started breaking down, too. Pretty soon it was a fashion, and no one wants to be out of fashion or unpopular, or regarded as a bigot, and all of a sudden a New Norm was here and people jumped on the bandwagon, not having the spine or principle to disagree and be unpopular.


11. POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS AND HOW "REPUBLICANS" BROUGHT THIS ABOUT EVERY BIT AS MUCH AS LIBERAL DEMOCRATS


Politically, our beloved independents, swing voters, third party types, and libertarians, widespread among conservatives (in the "Stupid" Republican Party), have directly helped bring about same-sex "marriage" just as they have prolonged abortion. We had a golden opportunity to overthrow the latter and prevent the former. It only came about by the vote of one man, after all (Justice Kennedy, supposedly a "Catholic"). The third-party types became disenchanted with Republicans because they weren't perfect, or canonized saints (as if they ever were or could be), and either voted for an irrelevant third party candidate or sat home on their hands on election day. The irrational, mindless fanaticism for the pro-abort Ross Perot in 1992 literally (undeniably) cost the elder President Bush the election.

We shot ourselves in the foot, as so often, and have now reaped what we have sown. This led to four terms since 1992 of liberal Democrat Presidents, who in turn appointed morally radical Supreme Court Justices. Had Clinton and Obama at least not been re-elected, the Court would likely look different and we wouldn't be in the mess we're in. But because the myth among libertarians is that both parties are exactly the same, they enable Democrats to get elected, and the Supreme Court is able to make an atrocious ruling like this.

It's true that Justice Kennedy was appointed by Reagan, but as a result of the Democrat travesty against Robert Bork. Bork died in 2012, so had he been on the court, Obama would have replaced him with another radical, even if he had been defeated in 2012, because he would still be in office. In any event, presidential elections have huge repercussions. Because conservatives have failed in their in-fighting and compromises, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, secularism now reigns supreme, and increasingly intolerant.

President Clinton blessed us with the liberal Justices Ginsburg (1993) and Breyer (1994). If the third-party / swing voters, etc. hadn't handed him the election in 1992 by absurdly voting for Perot, those would have been likely conservative appointees and this vote would have been different. President Obama has appointed Justices Sotomayor (2009) and Kagan (2010). All four, of course, voted for "gay marriage" (liberal appointees always remain liberal / leftist / secularist). Again, presidential voting has great consequences. We could have easily won this cultural / political battle. But the myth and fairy tale that the two political parties are exactly the same has been a large part of the cause of our downfall. Thanks, secular libertarians and RINOs!

As recently as 1986 (Bowers v. Hardwick), the Supreme Court upheld anti-sodomy laws. According to the article on this case in Wikipedia:

The majority opinion, written by Justice Byron White, argued that the Constitution did not confer 'a fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy.' A concurring opinion by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger cited the 'ancient roots' of prohibitions against homosexual sex, . . . Burger concluded: 'To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.' . . .
The opinion . . . [stated] 'to claim that a right to engage in such conduct is "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty" is, at best, facetious.' White was joined by Justices William Rehnquist, Sandra Day O'Connor, Warren E. Burger, and Lewis F. Powell in upholding the anti-sodomy law, while Justices Harry Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and John P. Stevens dissented, viewing the law as unconstitutional.

Yet in 2003 (Lawrence v. Texas), this ruling was reversed (as conservative rulings can be, but hardly ever leftist / secularist rulings), and anti-sodomy laws in 14 states were struck down. The so-called "right" to sodomy was now sanctioned, and it took only 12 additional years to create out of whole cloth a supposed right to "same-sex 'marriage'". Justice Kennedy wrote this ruling, too, joined by three liberal Justices, renegade elder Bush appointee Souter, and Sandra Day O'Connor. The three dissenters were all Republican appointees: Justices Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas.

It's true, as we see, that sometimes Republican appointees (e.g., Souter, O'Connor, Kennedy) "go liberal," but on the other hand, virtually the only Justices that can be counted on to uphold legal and moral traditionalism, are Republican appointees.

Yet we are told that the two parties are Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. Don't believe it! Go by the facts, not fanciful rhetoric.


12. OUR FAILURE TO PRESENT A PLAUSIBLE PRO-ACTIVE VIEW OF MARRIAGE AND SEXUALITY


On the flip side, we Christians have failed to explain why contraception is wrong; how it led to abortion and now same-sex marriage; and have failed in our task to convey a full, vigorous proactive case for abstinence until marriage and the wrongness of sex outside of heterosexual marriage (a subset of apologetics). Thus, children were left open to being brainwashed by societal propaganda, with few Christian alternatives being visible or available or even thought of. Why, then, would we expect anything different of our children? They have taken in what society and their schools offer them (with their mother's milk), and no one wants to go against the grain. The sad irony is that Pope St. John Paul II has given us the gift of his magnificent teaching on the Theology of the Body. But our society (and even many compromised Catholics) no longer cares enough to even read, let alone accept it.


13. CONCLUSIONS, SUMMARY, SOLUTIONS, AND WHAT LIKELY LIES AHEAD


All of this is why I think legal same-sex marriage is here at this time. It was an inevitable development, and diabolical progression of false ideas, one leading to the next; just as it is also quite arguably inevitable now that traditionally moral Christians will be persecuted in the not-too-distant future, and will be pariahs and outcasts in our wonderfully fulfilling and happy secular society.

All we have to do is to live and share our faith to counter this, and above all, to have lots of children, to alter demographics, and with it, society. It's not complicated at all. But since Christians now have no more children than anyone else (having bought the secular anti-child mentality), that option is off the table until we see a massive revolution of serious Christians, deciding to have lots of children and to raise them as disciples of Jesus Christ, who accept all that the Bible (and the Church) teaches. That would transform our society.

It's a long way off, but it could, and I believe will happen. The immediate [human] cause of it will be the persecution which now will inevitably come; indeed, has already begun in several ways.

My mentor, Servant of God Fr. John Hardon often noted that "the worst centuries were always followed by the best." We're only 15 years into this new century. Revival (based on past history) could very well come. But we're so far gone now that it will take incredible suffering to wake us up, precisely as was required again and again for ancient Israel. Let's pray for revival, and in the meantime, continue to live out and boldly, charitably defend traditional moral teaching.

For my past writings on this topic, see this web page of mine.


* * * * *

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Pope Francis Defended: Helpful Resources for Confused, Troubled, and Frustrated Folks



I wrote on 9-20-13:


For all of you out there worried about the pope. Relax; chill. All is well. We have a pope who says the unexpected: a lot like Jesus. And, like Jesus, those who don't get it and are outside looking in, will misunderstand, and those who are in the fold will grasp what is being said, in the context of historic Catholic teaching, if they look closely enough and don't get hoodwinked by silly media wishful thinking.
Those who are outside often hear only what they want to hear (God loves everyone, even sinners!!!) and not what they need to hear (stop sinning; stop this sin . . .).


I wrote in a letter to a friend:


It's the same old dumb misunderstandings: media misreports what the pope said; never understand what he means in context, and in context with past teachings. Don't fall into their trap! Pope Francis is a good Catholic; nothing to be alarmed about at all. The world wants Christians to renounce their teachings. We're the guys who have never done so. We keep the same moral teaching that the Church had from the beginning: no abortion, no divorce, no contraception, no same-sex "marriages," etc. Virtually no one else has done so! So the attack is against us to change traditional morality, and we will never do that.



1. Pope Francis' Notable Humility: Could it Possibly "De-Sacralize" the Papacy? (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 3-14-13)

2. Nine things you need to know about Pope Francis's inaugural Mass (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-17-13)

3. Should We Be Concerned About Pope Francis's Inaugural Mass? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-18-13)

4. Pope Francis on Homosexual Unions (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-20-13)

5. Behind the Campaign to Smear the Pope (Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Crisis / The Wall Street Journal, 3-22-13)

6. How Should We Understand Pope Francis Washing Women's Feet? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-28-13)

7. Canon Lawyer Pete Vere on the Pope Francis Foot-Washing Controversy (Dave Armstrong's Facebook page, 3-30-13) 

8. Radical Catholic Reactionary Super-Site Rorate Caeli's "Cherished Friend" and Featured Pope-Basher, Marcelo González, is a Holocaust Revisionist (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 4-8-13)

9. Pope Francis and lying to save life  (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 5-15-13)

10. Did Pope Francis Preach Salvation by Works?? (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head, 5-23-13)

11. Dreadful Misleading Headline of Catholic Online Pins Heresy on Pope (Brian Kelly, Catholicism.org, 5-23-13)

12. Did Pope Francis Say That Atheists Can Get to Heaven by Good Works? (Jimmy Akin, JimmyAkin.com, 5-24-13)

13. Did Pope Francis poke Protestants in the eye? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-4-13)

14. Pope Francis and the Vatican "gay lobby"—10 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-12-13)

15. From the IOR to the gay lobby: Pope Francis tells all on flight from Rio to Rome  (Andrea Tornielli, Vatican Insider, 7-29-13)

16. Seven things you need to know about what Pope Francis said about gays (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 7-29-13

17. Pope Francis and the Franciscan Friars (Michelle Arnold, Catholic Answers, 7-30-13)

18. Don’t Tell the Press: Pope Francis Is Using Them (Elizabeth Scalia, First Things, 7-30-13)

19. Misinterpreting Francis [Homosexuality] (Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, 7-30-13)

20. Franciscans of the Immaculate decree worries traditionalists (Catholic News Agency, 7-30-13)

21. Pope Francis on Homosexuality: Take a Deep Breath (Scott P. Richert, About.com Catholicism, 7-30-13)

22. On the Pope’s Remarks about Homosexuality (Scott P. Richert, Crisis, 8-1-13)

23. What Did the Pope Really Say about Gays in the Priesthood?  (Fr. Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap., Crisis, 8-5-13)

24. Pope Francis Uses the Terminology of "Extreme Traditionalism" (Some Quibbles with Kevin Tierney's Arguments) (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 8-5-13)

25. Pope Francis Will Enliven the Benedict Legacy (Jeffrey Tucker, Crisis, 8-12-13)

26. What should we make of Pope Francis bowing when greeting people?  (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 8-30-13)

27. Is Pope Francis about to eliminate celibacy? (9 things to know and share) (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 9-12-13) 

28. What Pope Francis really said about atheists (Stephen Kokx, Catholic Vote, 9-13-13)

29. Did Pope Francis say atheists don’t need to believe in God to be saved? (9 things to know) (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 9-15-13)

30. Pope Francis Focuses on the Bigger Picture With New Interview (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register,  9-20-13)

31. Pope condemns abortion as product of 'throwaway culture' (Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service,

9-20-13)

32. Go Home New York Times, You’re Drunk  (Steven D. Greydanus, National Catholic Register,  9-20-13)

33. Francis’ Interview and the Unexpected Unity of the NY Times and the Francis Haters (Mark Shea, Catholic and Enjoying It, 9-20-13)

34. Pope Francis Contradicts Himself! (Mark Shea, Catholic and Enjoying It, 9-20-13)

35. Francis Confounds the Associated Press (Elizabeth Scalia, The Anchoress, 9-20-13)

36. Francis and Benedict, Peter and John (Thomas L. McDonald, God and the Machine, 9-20-13)

37. The key to understanding Pope Francis: the 99 lost sheep (Phil Lawler, CatholicCulture.org, 9-20-13)
 
38. Pope Francis and His Critics  (Scott P. Richert, Crisis, 9-23-13)

39. Pope Francis Has Not Diluted the Pro-Life Teachings of the Catholic Church (Fr. Frank Pavone, LifeNews.com, 9-23-13)

40. The Mission of Pope Francis, S. J. (Michelle Arnold, Catholic Answers, 9-23-13)

41. Report: Pope Excommunicates Priest for Supporting Gay Marriage, Female Priest (Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart, 9-24-13)

42. The Papal Interview: A Survey of Reactions  (Joseph Meaney, Crisis, 9-25-13) 

43. Pope Francis and ‘The Interview’ (Abp. Charles Chaput, CatholicPhilly.com, 9-25-13)

44. Pope Francis: Every Unborn Child Has the Lord's Face (Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq., Catholic Online, 9-26-13)

45. A Big Heart Open to God: The exclusive [complete] interview with Pope Francis (Antonio Spadaro, S. J., America, 9-30-13)

46. Did Pope Francis just say that evangelization is “nonsense”? 8 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 10-1-13)

47. The Pope, Abortion, Mercy and Context  (Fr. Frank Pavone, National Catholic Register, 10-1-13)

48. Is Pope Francis about to “rip up” the Vatican constitution? 12 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 10-2-13)

49. The Pope’s Pro-Life Declaration “in Context”  (Dr. William Oddie, Crisis, 10-3-13)

50. Random Thoughts on Rush Limbaugh's Comments on the Pope's Alleged "Marxism" (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 5 Dec. 2013)  

51. Vatican: Scalfari Interview Misses Details, Conflates Facts (Edward Pentin,  National Catholic Register, 10-5-13)

52. Atheist interviewer didn’t take notes, record interview with Pope Francis: Vatican spokesman  (John-Henry Westen, LifeSiteNews.com, 10-7-13)

53. Pope Francis’s new letter to homosexual Catholics (9 things to know and share)  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 10-11-13)

54. Is Pope Francis going to let the divorced and remarried receive Communion?  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 10-22-13)

55. Why the media keep getting Pope Francis all wrong (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, 11-7-13)

56. Papal Style: Caring for Souls while Leaving Doctrinal Exposition to Others (Dr. William Oddie , Crisis, 11-19-13)

57. Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome Vol. III. Being All About the Legislators of Evil in Illinois (Scott Eric Alt, 11-20-13)

58. Pope's words in interview may not have been his own, Scalfari says (Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency,  11-21-13)

59. Only Fools RUSH in Where Angels Fear to Tread: Limbaugh Excoriates Pope Francis Unfairly (Fr. John Trigilio, 11-30-13)

60. Would Someone Just Shut That Pope Up? (Patrick J. Deneen, The American Conservative, 12-5-13; mostly about economics)

61. The Thing That Used to Be Conservatism Puts Out a Hit on Francis (Mark Shea,  National Catholic Register, 12-5-13)

62. The Controversy Over Evangelii Gaudium  (Rachel Lu, Crisis Magazine, 12-9-13)

63. Pope Francis addresses Marxism charges, women cardinals in La Stampa interview (Catherine Harmon, The Catholic World Report, 12-15-13)

64. Pope Francis takes on allegations and rumors about his papacy: 9 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 12-15-13)

65. Pope Benedict Defends Francis on Markets and Ethics (Andrew M. Haines, 12-16-13, Ethika Politika)

66. Pope Francis on the “parable” of the loaves and fishes: 11 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 1-1-14)

67. Don’t fall for this Pope Francis hoax: 5 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 1-2-14)

68. Dialogue: Has Pope Francis Changed the Constant Catholic Prohibition of Contraception? (Dave Armstrong, 1-2-14)

69. What did Pope Francis say about the children of homosexual couples? 8 things to know and share  (Jimmy Akin,  National Catholic Register, 1-4-14)

70. Does Francis Really Have a Marxism Problem? (David Byrne, Crisis Magazine, 1-10-14)

71. Did Pope Francis baptize a baby whose parents aren’t married? 12 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 1-12-14)

72. "Those who are willing to understand Pope Francis, can and will do so. Those who aren't willing, won't, and possibly can't as well." (Dave Armstrong, Facebook,  1-18-14)

73. Rolling Stoned on Pope Francis, Part I. In Which the Untalented Mr. Binelli Speaks Untruths With Acid Certitude (Scott Eric Alt, 1-30-14)

74. Rolling Stoned on Pope Francis, Part II. In Which the Untalented Mr. Binelli Waxes Doltish on the Humanity of Popes (Scott Eric Alt, 2-1-14)


75. Il Papa’s Not a Rollin’ Stone  (Christopher Manion, Crisis Magazine, 2-3-14)

76. The War on Pope Francis (M. Anthony Mills, Real Clear Religion, 2-3-14) [economics issues]

77. Rolling Stoned on Pope Francis, Part III. In Which the Untalented Mr. Binelli is Introduced to Some Catholic Social Thought He Had Overlooked  (Scott Eric Alt, 2-4-14)

78. Quotes from Pope Francis [great website that notes the massive distortions and spin taking place about the pope; added on 2-8-14]

79. Judge Not (Tim Staples, Catholic Answers, 2-14-14) [Same-sex couples and homosexuality]

80. Vatican’s Cardinal Burke: Media is ‘mocking’ the Pope by creating a liberal caricature (Hilary White, LifeSiteNews, 2-25-14)

81. Does Pope Francis Think that Jesus was Literally a Sinner in a Sense Beyond Bearing Our Sins on the Cross (Partaking / Entering Into Sin)? (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 2-27-14)

82. "The New Gnosticism": The Outrage of Checking Translations of Papal Homilies (+ Elliot Bougis' Claims that Pope Francis is Heretical / Modernist / Liberal, or Reasonable Facsimile Thereof (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 2-28-14) 


83. Did Pope Francis just diss apologists? 9 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 3-9-14)

84. Francis and Traditionalist Catholics (Alberto Carosa, The Catholic World Report,  3-12-14)

85. The Media’s Fictional Francis (John Paul Shimek, The Catholic World Report, 3-13-14)

86. Pope Francis’s First Year (George Weigel, National Review Online, 3-13-14)

87. Did Pope Francis tell a divorced and civilly remarried woman she could receive Holy Communion? (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 4-23-14)

88. Vatican responds to Francis’ call to Argentinian woman; more details emerge (Catherine Harmon, The Catholic World Report, 4-24-14)

89. Pope Francis: Zacchaeus and “legitimate redistribution” (Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, 5-9-14)

90. Breaking: Pope Francis is not an anarcho-capitalist (David Freddoso, Conservative Intelligence Briefing, 5-9-14)

91. Totally Missing the Pope Francis Story, Yet Again (Kathryn Jean Lopez , National Review Online, 5-9-14)

92. Reply to the Ridiculous Bum Rap that I (and Many Apologists) are "Ultramontanists" Who are Special Pleading and Defending the Pope No Matter What (as if his favorite color or ice cream were infallible, binding decrees) (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 5-12-14)

93. Muslim Prayers in the Vatican…Shock Horror?!!? (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing On My Head, 6-7-14) [+ follow-up article]

94. Pope Francis on Sound Doctrine, Memory, and Adoration (Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, 7-10-14, Views from the Choir Loft)

95. Ten Things to Remember if Pope Francis Upsets You (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing On My Head, 7-15-14)

96. Reply to a Critique of My Book, Pope Francis Explained, by Dr. Phil Blosser (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 8-24-14)

97. No scandal here: How the 20 couples married by Pope Francis were legit (Kevin Jones and Ann Schneible, Catholic News Agency, 9-15-14)

98. Sorry, But Media Coverage of Pope Francis is Papal Bull (Elizabeth Dias, Time,  10-29-14)

99. Is Pope Francis Duping Liberals on Marriage? (Paul Kengor, American Spectator, 11-21-14)

100. Pope Francis As Reformer, Evangelizer — And Doctrinal Conservative (National Public Radio; All Things Considered: review of The Great Reformer by Austin Ivereigh, 11-30-14)

101. What Hierarchy Really Means (By Eric Johnston, Crisis Magazine, 12-1-14)

102. The Pope's True Agenda (William Doino, Jr., First Things, 12-1-14)

103. No, Pope Francis Did Not Call the Koran a “Prophetic Book of Peace” (Thomas L. McDonald, God and the Machine, 12-5-14)

104. Pope Francis on Cardinal Burke (+ Discussion) (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 12-8-14)

105. Sorry, Fido. Pope Francis did Not say our pets are going to heaven (David Gibson, Religion News Service, 12-12-14)

106. Exchange on Pope Francis and the Church (Dave Armstrong vs. Tony Jokin; Facebook, 12-17-14)

107. Documentation: Pope Francis is Orthodox, Pro-Tradition and Against Modernism (Dan Marcum, Catholic Answers Forum, 1-9-15) 

108. Are We Called to be Hated by the World? Pope Francis and the Problem of Likeability (John Clark, Seton Magazine, 1-15-15)

109. The predictable provocations of the Pope of Rome ["Rabbits" controversy] (Deacon Scott Dodge, 1-19-15)

110. More Liberal Denial and Despair Over Pope Francis (Scott Eric Alt, 1-20-15)

111. Pope Francis and Catholic Rabbits–5 Points to Consider (Dr. Greg Popcak, Faith on the Couch, 1-20-15)

112. Don’t Pick Political Fights With Pope Francis (Rachel Lu, The Federalist, 1-20-15) 

113. Feeling Devastated by What Pope Francis Says? Try These 3 Helpful Keys (Thomas Peters, Catholic Vote.org,  1-21-15)

114. Christ "Became the Sinner": Pope Francis and Bad Translators (Dave Armstrong, Seton Magazine, 1-21-15)

115. Catholics Reproducing Like "Rabbits": The Essential Silliness of the Clueless Perceptions of Pope Francis' Perfectly Catholic and Orthodox Remarks (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 1-21-15) [+ Facebook discussion]

116. Rick Santorum Should Read the Transcript of Pope Francis’s “Rabbits” Remark. So Should Everyone Else (Scott Eric Alt, 1-21-15)

117. Jeremiad About Catholics Behaving in "Dumb" Ways with Regard to the Words of Pope Francis (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 1-22-15)

118. Debate About Pope Francis Supposedly Having "Foot-in-the-Mouth" Disease (Dave Armstrong, Facebook,  1-22-15)

119. On rabbits and number of offspring: What the Pope did and did not say (Vatican Insider, 1-22-15)

120. Pope Francis Shocks Liberals on Same-Sex “Marriage” (Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, 1-23-15)

121. Was Pope Francis Correct in Publicly Rebuking as "Irresponsible" a Woman Who Had Had Seven C-Sections? (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 1-23-15) [+ Facebook discussion]

122. Critique of Anti-Catholic John Bugay's Attack on Pope Francis Regarding the "Rabbits" Controversy (Scott Eric Alt, 1-23-15)

123. Pope Francis surprised by misunderstanding of his words on family (Catholic News Agency, 1-24-15)

124. When Pope Francis rips ‘proselytism,’ who’s he talking about? He really may not be talking about, or to, Catholics at all (John L. Allen, Jr., Crux, 1-27-15)


125. Anti-Papal Malarkey and Damnable Schism. Or, Pope Francis Derangement Syndrome Vol. X. Maureen Mullarkey Edition. (Scott Eric Alt, 1-28-15)


126. Understanding the Apocalyptic Vision of Pope Francis: The Church at war with the world underlies all (Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Aleteia, 1-29-15)

127. Is the Left’s Honeymoon with Pope Francis Finally Over? (Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, 2-17-15)

128. VIP treatment for LGBT group at the Vatican? Not really (Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency / EWTN News, 2-19-15)
 
129. Facebook Threads Regarding Whether Pope Francis is Being "Bashed" (Dave Armstrong + Part Two / Part III / 2-19-15 and 2-21-15)

130. "Why is Pope Francis so loved by the liberals?" (Dave Armstrong, Facebook, 2-21-15)

131. I’m Shocked, Shocked to Find That There is Orthodoxy Going On In This Papacy [Market Watch and Daily Beast] (Scott Eric Alt, 2-23-15)

132. Is Pope Francis' Papacy a New Front for the Left? (Kate O'Hare, Breitbart, 1-3-14)

133. A Counterblast to Rush Limbaugh on Evangelii Gaudium 54 (Scott Eric Alt, 12-3-13)

134.   The game changer nobody has noticed [Pope Francis' closing remarks to the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops] (Joe Garcia, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, 10-21-14)

135. Here We Go Again or "Lousy English Translations, Pt. CCXVIII" (Joe Garcia, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, 11-26-13)

136. Pope Francis: An Agenda Behind his Back? (Andrea Gagliarducci, MondayVatican, 2-23-15)

137. Concerning Recent Reports from the Blogosphere on the State of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (Fr. Angelo M. Geiger, Mary Victrix, 2-18-15)

138. Pope Francis Defends Human Nature Against Gender Radicals (Anne Hendershott, Crisis Magazine, 2-25-15)

139. Irish Liberals Have Second Thoughts on Pope Francis (John P. McCarthy, The Irish Echo, 2-25-15 / reprinted in Crisis Magazine, 3-2-15)

140. Can a Pope Be a Heretic? (Jacob W. Wood,  Crisis Magazine, 3-4-15)

141. Beware of the two faces of Pope Francis: he ain't no liberal (Jemima Thackray [a liberal], The Telegraph, 1-22-15)

142. Notre Dame Prof Accuses Pope Francis of Being a Misogynist (Thomas P. Williams, Breitbart, 2-23-15)

143. Signs of Hope: The Benedict Bishop Bump (Thomas Peters, Catholic Vote, 3-4-15)

144. Foundless Francis Fantasies (Dr. Adam A. J. DeVille, The Catholic World Report, 3-6-15)

145. Demystifying the Pope Francis Enigma (Msgr. Hans Feichtinger, Crisis Magazine, 3-17-15)

146. Insights on the enigma that is Pope Francis (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, 3-27-15)

147. Misunderstanding Pope Francis: the secular outlook and the scandal of the Cross (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, 4-9-15)


148. If Pope Francis is a "radical" environmentalist, what was Pope Benedict XVI? (Carl E. Olson, The Catholic World Report, 12-29-14)

149. Pope Francis 'refuses' gay French ambassador  (Henry Samuel, The Telegraph, 4-10-15)

150. Pope Francis: Removal of Differences Between Man and Woman Is the Problem, Not the Solution (Zenit, 4-15-15)

151. The unholy political battle to denounce—or exploit—the Pope's environmental message (Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, 5-8-15)

152. Pope Francis: Challenging and Humbling the Faithful (David Mills, Aleteia: Religion, 5-20-15)

153. I Am Not the Pope and Neither Are You (Constance T. Hull, Swimming the Depths, 5-27-15)

154. Did Pope Francis say it doesn’t matter what kind of Christian you are? 9 things to know (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 5-26-15)

155. Pope Francis: “Children have a ‘Right’ to a Mother and Father” (Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, 6-8-15)

156. Pope Francis simply doesn’t take sides (Dr. Jeff Mirus, CatholicCulture.org, 6-5-15)

157. Pope: marriage between man and woman, no to gender ideology (News.Va: Official Vatican Network, 6-8-15)

158. Pope Francis and the Just Third Way (Michael D. Greaney, Homiletic & Pastoral Review, 6-13-15)

159. Draft of Environmental Encyclical Leaked! 12 Things to Know and Share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-15-15)


160. Mixing Up the Sciences of Heaven and Earth (Fr. George W. Rutler, Crisis Magazine, 6-18-15)

161. Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato si: A Beautiful and Profoundly Wise Statement of Christian Environmentalism and Theology of Creation (Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 6-18-15)

162. Critique of Chris Ferrara's Radical Reactionary Hit-Piece in Opposition to Pope Francis' Christian Environmentalism 
(Dave Armstrong, Biblical Evidence for Catholicism, 6-20-15)

163. Pope Francis’s Conservatism of Joy (Aaron Taylor, Ethika Politika, 6-22-15)

164. Fear Not, Faithful Catholics (Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, 6-25-15)

165. Pope Francis’s Puzzling Comments on Guns and War: The Clue to Understanding Laudato Si’ (Jennfer Fitz, Sticking the Corners, 6-22-15) 

166. Pope Francis Has Single-Handedly Destroyed Catholicism (JoAnna Wahlund, Catholic Stand, 9-18-13)

167. Pope Francis has single-handedly destroyed Catholicism AGAIN (JoAnna Wahlund, Catholic Stand, 6-25-15)

168. A Prophetic Pope and the Tradition of Catholic Social Teaching (Fr. Robert Barron, Patheos, 7-14-15)

169. Pope Francis on Weapons: 12 things to know and share (Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register, 6-27-15)

170. An Extraordinary turn of events [Pope Francis and "traditionalism"] (Joseph Shaw, Catholic Herald, 7-9-15)

[see also my book, Pope Francis Explained: Survey of Myths, Legends, and Catholic Defenses in Harmony with Tradition; especially the Introduction]


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Updated periodically with new relevant articles.