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How Do You Know You’re Not in the Matrix?

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Filed under Man

At the heart of the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas is the idea that we come into contact with reality through the senses. But what if our senses are not a reliable source? Perhaps our senses are deceiving us, and everything we perceive isn’t real but is merely an illusion like in the movie The Matrix. Descartes This skepticism of sense knowledge was part of René Descartes’s methodic doubt, which many radical skeptics have adopted. Descartes argued: Whatever I have... Read More

Do Theological Claims Need to be Falsifiable?

Antony Flew’s famous 1950 article “Theology and Falsification” posed what came to be known as the “falsificationist challenge” to theology. A claim is falsifiable when it is empirically testable—that is to say, when it makes predictions about what will be observed under such-and-such circumstances such that, if the predictions don’t pan out, the claim is thereby shown to be false. The idea that a genuinely scientific claim must be falsifiable had already been given currency... Read More

Is It Reasonable to Believe in Miracles?

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Filed under Belief

Should I believe in miracles? This question doesn’t pertain to whether I should believe in this miracle or that miracle. It has to do with whether I’m rationally justified in believing in miracles as such. David Hume's Wisdom for the Wise The eightenth-century Scottish skeptic philosopher David Hume argued the wise man should not believe in miracles. The basis for his assertion was what might be called the “repeatability principle”—evidence for what occurs over and over (the... Read More

Is God Necessary for Human Happiness?

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Filed under God, Man

Christians have always heard that only God can make them happy. In fact, some Bible translations render Psalm 16:2 as, "You are my God. My happiness lies in you alone." But an atheist would say, “I don’t need God to be happy. I can get along just fine without him.” It is true that an atheist can experience kinds of happiness without living for God. But if an atheist persistently and culpably rejects God, Fr. Robert Spitzer argues in a new book, he will not be able to experience... Read More

Reason’s Bunker: The One-Sidedness of the Modern Mind

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Filed under Man

St. Justin Martyr, a second century philosopher and Christian apologist, once reflected that Platonic philosophy added “wings” to his mind.1 He was referring to the way that Plato’s theory of ideas freed his reason, allowing his thoughts to rest not just upon the sensible things of this earth, but rather permitting him to contemplate the unseen yet essential realities that undergird and give meaning to all of existence. Justin is a witness to the way that truth can lift our minds... Read More

“The Martian” and Why Each Life Matters

Ridley Scott’s The Martian is a splendidly told tale of survival and pluck, reminiscent of the novel Robinson Crusoe and the films Life of Pi and Castaway. In this case, the hero is Mark Watney, an astronaut on a mission to Mars who is left behind by his crewmates when he is presumed dead after being lost during a devastating storm. Through sheer determination and an extraordinary application of his scientific know-how, Watney manages to survive. For example, realizing that his food... Read More

Did the Fall of Man Really Occur?

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Filed under Man

The Catholic Church asserts the truth that mankind has suffered a privation of grace as a consequence of disobedience. By the sin of our first parents we are saddled until the end of time with the defect of Original Sin. Man is fallen. To be born into this world is to be burdened with a life of toil, trial and torment. Adam and Eve were in a state of grace in the Garden of Eden before succumbing to temptation. The doctrine of the fall is a most obvious proposition expounded upon by nearly... Read More

The Myth of the Free-Thought Parent

Some years ago while I was delivering a lecture on faith and reason at a secular university, I informed my audience that I had taught the Apostles’ Creed to my daughter, who was four or five at the time. I then noted that as a family we recited the creed every day during our family devotions. As I expected, the audience appeared to be disturbed by my revelation. One of the students spoke for many when she insisted that children should be raised without “religious dogma”. Instead,... Read More

3 Easy Steps to Show that Absolute Truth Exists

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Filed under Belief

Gorgias the Nihilist, an ancient Greek philosopher, was said to have argued the following four points: Nothing exists; Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood. Of course, if you can understand his argument, he’s wrong. So too, many modern thinkers hold to positions that, fall apart into self-refutation when critically... Read More

Love, Tolerance, and the Making of Distinctions

I recently wrote a piece on Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn Jenner. I argued that the manner in which Jenner spoke of his transition reflected a Gnostic anthropology, which is repugnant to a Biblical view of the human being. I didn’t say a word about Jenner personally; I urged no violence against him/her; I didn’t question his/her motives. I simply made an observation that the moral and spiritual context for transgenderism is, from a classically Christian standpoint,... Read More

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