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Joe Heschmeyer

About

Until May 2012, Joe Heschmeyer was an attorney in Washington, D.C., specializing in litigation. These days, he is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, and can use all the prayers he can get. Follow Joe through his blog, Shameless Popery or contact him at joseph.heschmeyer@gmail.com.

   
 

Is Religion Just a Social Construct?

One of the arguments against religion is that it’s a social construction – that is, that religion (particularly, belief in an interventionist or “moralistic” god, meaning a god interested in human affairs and morality) is something invented by society, in order to regulate its citizenry. One of the best arguments in favor of this is that more developed societies have more developed religious systems, and are more likely to believe in a god who cares about morality: Source This... Read More

Just What Are Men and Women, Anyway?

Sometimes, the most important questions are the basic ones. Back in 2011, I argued that the most important question in the gay-marriage debate was “What is marriage?” The next year, Robert George, Ryan Anderson, and Sherif Girgis published a book exploring just that question: What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense. But in the face of contemporary questions of transgenderism and gender identity, it turns out that we need to ask a yet more-basic question: what are men... Read More

Are We Living in the Matrix?

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Filed under Culture

On Monday, the New Yorker suggested that “the bizarre finale to Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony brought to mind the theory—far from a joke—that humanity is living in a computer simulation gone haywire.” Lest you think that such a self-evidently absurd theory is a mere cry for attention from a dying publication, the idea that we’re all in the Matrix was actually seriously debated at the American Museum of Natural History’s 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate. The list of those partial... Read More

Getting Morality Wrong

Back in April, Gail Dines, a sociologist at Wheelock College in Boston, wrote a Washington Post piece arguing that pornography is a public health threat, regardless of its (im)morality: The thing is, no matter what you think of pornography (whether it’s harmful or harmless fantasy), the science is there. After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual... Read More

4 Errors About the Burden of Proof for God

I used to be a lawyer before entering seminary to prepare for the Catholic priesthood. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that I’m fascinated by questions about the “burden of proof” in religious questions. For example, does the burden of proof fall on the believer or the atheist? What sort of evidence is permissible to meet this burden of proof? Do “extraordinary” claims require extraordinary evidence? Should they meet an extraordinary burden of proof, above the burden required for... Read More

Trial by Fire: Modernity’s Response to Miracles

Perhaps no single image captures the popular conception of the “Dark Ages” than the idea of trials by ordeal. These infamous trials are the reason we refer to a difficult situation as an “ordeal,” or perhaps a “trial by fire.” One of the most famous depictions of a trial by ordeal is in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A woman is accused of witchcraft, and rather than gathering evidence or taking any but the most cursory of testimony, an elaborate test is designed to “objectively”... Read More

How Richard Dawkins Helps Prove Biblical Inspiration

American Atheists responded to the Pennsylvania state legislature’s designation of 2012 as “Year of the Bible” with mocking billboards, and a press release insisting that “the House of Representatives should not be celebrating a barbaric and Bronze Age book.” It’s a common argument against the Bible, that it can’t be trusted because it’s a book from the Bronze Age. Over on Twitter, Richard Dawkins extended this argument to attack both the Bible and the Qu’ran. Bible and Quran... Read More

Can We Actually Know Anything About God?

Can we actually know anything about God? This is one of the most fundamental questions, and many people, particularly agnostics, will say “no.” The argument tends to go something like this: God, if there is a God, is so far removed from human experience and knowledge that there’s nothing that we can say about Him (or Her or It). Another variation: the only way to verify our knowledge about God would be to die and find out if Heaven and Hell exist; for those of us still alive, we can’t... 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 examined. Today,... Read More

Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

A lot of people online are sharing flow charts that are supposed to show the ridiculousness of opposition to gay marriage. For example (click here to expand): There are several variations of this theme, almost all of which say the same three things: (1) Leviticus forbids homosexuality, but it also bans a bunch of other stuff, and nobody [a.k.a., no Gentile] actually lives by all those rules; (2) Paul seems to forbid homosexuality, but actually means something like temple prostitution; and (3)... Read More

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