Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The "Amazing Grace Argument"



First off, what is the "Amazing Grace argument"? It is a stance that argues Catholics need to avoid certain works and productions that might appear to promote Christianity but are in fact subtly trying to insert Protestant theology. It comes from the fact that if one were to listen to the lyrics, one will find Amazing Grace promotes "once saved, always saved", a notion incompatible with Catholicism.

I'll give some more examples.

EXAMPLE #1: Gospel music

This may come off as an odd statement from someone like me but…I hate Gospel music.

Worse yet, I hate when someone (usually a Protestant) takes a pop song and tries to make it into a Gospel song. While some songs can be interpreted as talking about God, not all of them fit that profile. Yet none of that compares to when someone (again, usually a Protestant) takes a pop song, tries to make it into a Gospel song but ignores both the un-bibilcal and anti-biblical words in the song.

Two more reasons why I hate Gospel music: there's truth to the South Park joke that Gospel music is just pop music with all instances of "baby" being replaced with "Jesus." Furthermore, while I don't remember who said this, Gospel music always comes off like the singer has the answers to everything. It's so annoying and arrogant.


My Twitter followers will note that this Palm Sunday, I tweeted about my attempt to watch Fox's The Passion but I gave up after five minutes. Having since gone back and tried watching it again…I wish I gave up sooner. This is the most bland, scrubbed-clean, watered-down take on the Passion I've ever seen.

In fact, what is it supposed to be? At first I thought it was going to be a Passion play, but it included segments I don't recall being included in classic versions. I then thought it was going to be a Christian rock concert, but they included a bit with a cross being carried through New Orleans.

What irked me the most was towards the end when host Tyler Perry said "it doesn't matter what you believe."
Uh…yes it does matter. If it didn't matter, why did you go on for about two hours about the death of this one guy that you're so quick to say you believe in? And didn't this very same guy say "no one goes to the Father except by me?"

EXAMPLE #3: Easter being celebrated in any church not connected to either Roman Catholicism, any Eastern Rite, or Eastern Orthodoxy.

Yeah, all the other churches can go on about how Jesus's sacrifice overcame death, but how do any of them know when Easter is supposed to be celebrated? Of the few that still do the Eucharist, do any of them get the deeper meanings behind everything?

EXAMPLE #4: Any film made by Pure Flix or any film part of what critics are now calling the "Christsploitation" genre.

This includes (but is by no means limited to) God's Not Dead,  War Room, Fireproof, Heaven is For Real, and Saving Christmas. All these films turn over massive profits in spite of being blasted by critics. Saving Christmas, for example, is one of a handful of movies that have a 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes; that means it's worse than the average Adam Sandler movie.

I can cite others that don't require much explanation but in every case, the Catholic production not only gets better reviews but it winds up more sought-after.

Want my advise?

Stop giving people Fox's The Passion; give them The Passion of the Christ.
Stop giving people Easter jam-sessions; give them the link between the Resurrection and Genesis.
Stop giving people Pure Flix; give them The Lord of the Rings.
Stop giving people Bibleman; give them Daredevil.
Stop giving people Gospel music; give them Gregorian Chant.

If that last one sounds odd, consider this: a group of nuns named the Benedictines of Mary. Queen of Apostles in Gower, Missouri have recorded several albums of chant that have won far more distinctions than any Gospel group anyone can name.

The message is clear: substance leads to belief and feelings alone lead to atheists, and atheists are idiots.

Monday, March 28, 2016

In Loving Memory of Mother Angelica



Eternal rest grant onto her, O Lord.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Quick Responses to Atheist Objections #2



Welcome to part 2 of answering atheist objections. If you missed part 1, here's a link to get you up to speed.
Now, off we go:

2. "God's existence is proven by scripture."

This argument presupposes its premise. People believe in scripture and place value in the words because they already believe in the religious principles the text describes. There is no inherent value to the Bible, Quran or any other religious text; these documents are not self-authenticating in any way.
(Since when does proving something's existence or non-existence depend on whether written documents can authenticate themselves? If I were to tell you America broke away from England and I presented the Declaration of Independence as proof, why would you ever reject it on the basis the document itself can't prove  that's what it actually says? Even if you could, does that mean I should reject what he just said because his words are not self-authenticating?
As far as this "people place value on what they already believe", how do you explain the Bible's call to be skeptical of claims, including [but not limited to] Jesus calling on people to test the Scriptures to check what He says, to test the spirits, and in some cases even states not everything in it is self-explanatory?)
In fact, many factual inaccuracies and inconsistencies can be found within religious texts themselves. For example, the Bible contains two separate creation stories, each of which provides a very different explanation. Similarly, there is no historical, archaeological or scientific evidence to support many of the stories in the Bible and the Quran.
(While I can't speak for the Quran, I do know the claim of the Bible having inaccuracies and inconsistencies has been debunked long ago. In fact, all--and I mean ALL--claims along those lines are ALWAYS a result of either poor translations, taking the verses out of context, or poor scholarship. 
To prove this, here's a link that helps explain some common supposed contradictions.)
Ultimately, religious texts are infinitely fallible because they are man-made products of whimsy, poetry, mythology and some history woven together into a new whole. The texts in the Bible have been gathered from many oral sources over thousands of years and compiled arbitrarily into a single document; it's hardly surprising that the narrative would be so inconsistent. Other religious texts have similarly convoluted histories.
(Then doesn't that mean an equal and better case can be made his stand is also fallible, especially since experts don't agree with his reason, and furthermore don't think the thousands of years is a hinderance? Doesn't it seem like his is just chronological snobbery and nothing more?)
Aside from the problems with individual texts, there's also the obvious issue that the very presence of multiple scriptures negates the authenticity of any single religious document. It's impossible for every religious book to be true; it's highly presumptuous to assume that one's own preferred scripture is the single "true" scripture while all the others are false accounts. It's far more likely that every religious book is equally fictitious and unreliable.
(How does it negate it? Do fans of every NFL or NBA team claiming their team will win the championship negate the fact only group will be proven right? How does "impossible for all to be right" equate to "all are equally wrong?" Since when is it illogical to conclude if your stand is right, then others must be wrong? Isn't that what the author is doing? 
And how come no library or book store or online shop puts religious texts in the fiction section? Could it be the rules governing book genres don't agree with him? I'd love to hear a good answer to this, but out of the 800 atheists I've asked, none of the 800 could come up with a believable answer.)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Quick Responses to Atheist Objections #1



The other day, I was going through atheist publications to come up with ideas for posts and I came across a work called Why There is No God by Armin Navabi. In it, he addresses 20 common theist reasons for why one should believe in God and tries his best to refute them to no real avail.

I'll try my best to put all 20 takes on here in due time but for now, I found a collection of some online and I'll tear each one apart by showing why they don't make that much sense.

Before I do, I want to first share a quote from Sherlock Holmes in the story The Sign of the Four:
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

I want you to think long and hard about that quote, because a) you'd be surprised by how many atheist arguments fall apart in light of this quote and b) while we can figure out what is so by what something is, we can also figure it out by what isn't so.

So on with the pathetic atheist argument with my response in red:

1. "Science can't explain the complexity and order of life; God must have designed it to be this way."

First, when considering this position, it's important to recognize the difference between complexity and design. Complexity itself does not require an intelligent creator. It's easy to impose a design upon things that exist by chance or developed through a natural process like evolution.
(First off, notice how Navabi states a difference exists between the two but does not explain what that difference is. Complexity generally means to characterize something with many parts where those parts interact with each other in multiple ways. Design is the creation of a plan or convention for the construction of an object or a system. Now in light of these, how can one say complexity does not require an intelligent creator? Don't buildings require extensive blueprints? Don't watches require specific parts to function? 
Second of all, notice the slight of hand in the statement: he wants us to think science can answer the how. Here's the major problem: when someone says science can't do something, what they mean is science can't answer the why, as in why it operates this way and not a different way. In other words, they're asking a question science itself is not equipped to answer.)

To an extent, this argument gains traction because of wide misunderstanding of science and especially evolution. Everything in the universe conforms to certain simple scientific rules that have been repeated over billions of years. While this can be awe-inspiring, it by no means suggests a creator.
(How? You just admitted there are scientific rules in place. How did they get there? Was the rule's discoverer the same person who placed it as a rule of existence? If not, was it there before they discovered it? How long was it there? If they didn't put it there, then who or what did? Since he also admits rules are repeated over several years, how long do they have to be repeated before we no longer need further repetition to accept it? On what basis should we accept it? What misunderstanding is he talking about? Doesn't it seem more like he doesn't understand what people mean when they say science can't explain something?)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Anti-Atheist Meme #25



All credit goes to the Freedom From Atheism Foundation for this:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why I Am NOT Voting



Despite the fact this post is coming in an election year, one may be quick to notice I have not put up who I want to win the election.
Before I explain why, let me first get into what brought this on:

In a recent episode of The Download on ChurchMilitant.com, a point was brought up about which commandments were playing the biggest role in the presidential election. Election 2012, for example, was dubbed a 6th Commandment election because of the then major issue of gay so-called "marriage". Election 2016 was called a 7th and 8th commandment-centered election because of all the socialist notions touted by one candidate and the brazen tactics of another.

While it wasn't the discussion's main topic, that had me thinking just how well any of the candidates stack up to the Commandments. Seeing as projection markets say it will come down to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, which one will I vote for?

The answer is…neither.

Between Clinton's near-obsession with abortion rights and Trump's multiple Bible gaffs, I don't see any point in voting this time.

In fact, what reasons exist to vote for either one? Let's look at some and why none of them make any sense:

"You should vote for Clinton because it's time for a female US president."
So you're saying her qualifications are based just on her gender? How is that any different than voting for someone because they're black?

"You should vote for Trump because he'll make America great again."
Since when is American greatness based on who our president is? Are you saying America was never great when we had a bad president?

"Trump will create jobs."
Jobs are created by entrepreneurs, not the government.

"Clinton has political experience."
Explain Benghazi to me then.

"Trump will only sell out to the rich."
How much is Hillary's net worth again?

"Hillary knows it's immoral to not care for the poor."
But apparently her husband didn't know it's immoral (and illegal) to lie to a grand jury.

Now the main one both sides use:

"You should vote for our candidate because (s)he is the lesser of two evils."

Allow me to point out a few things wrong with using that argument:
Besides the obvious fact you just indirectly admitted your candidate is evil, "lesser of two evils" only comes into play when all available choices are evil, there are no other choices to make, and you can't get away with not making a choice.
In the case of a presidential election, there is ALWAYS another choice to make and it's the one I'm going to do:

Not vote at all.

And don't hand me any of that "if you don't vote, you don't have a voice" bull. My 1st amendment rights are dependent on me being a citizen, not on me voting.
Besides, what if I vote for someone and they impose an immoral action on the people? Wouldn't that make me culpable, even if there was no way of foreseeing it? I would say it does.
Is it immoral to not vote? I don't think so. If you think it is, consider this: you vote every day on what you're going to buy. Is it immoral for you to not buy anything if you don't find something you believe is worth buying? Then why should it be immoral to not vote for someone you don't really believe?

And that's what it comes down to for me: I don't think either candidate believes in a power higher than themselves and neither believes that they will have to answer for more at their final judgment than an everyday citizen would.

Besides, there is only one party I'd vote for and that's the Constitution Party…too bad they don't have ballot access in my state.