A Review of Common Fallacies that Weaken Arguments. | Archdiocese of Washington


It occurs that our capacity to converse and to set forth arguments for the truth are often hindered today on account of many factors. One of those factors is a paradoxical relationship between a kind of skepticism and and exaggerated insistence on absolute proof that results. The fact is, absolute certitude in our human condition is rare, and to insist on it is usually unreasonable. This of course does not mean that firm certitude cannot be had in many matters as well as lesser degrees that remain a firm confidence as to the facts in a matter.

On Monday there was posted a reflection on the nature of thinking (Here)and argumentation and there was a promise of a follow-up. Herein is an attempt at that follow-through. First a quick review of Monday’s post:

We can distinguish two types of argumentation: Deductive and inductive.

via A Review of Common Fallacies that Weaken Arguments. | Archdiocese of Washington.

A Strange Thing Jesus Said to a Paralyzed Man – Another Insight from Pope Benedict’s New Book | Archdiocese of Washington

The Gospel from Monday the second week of Advent is the gospel of the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof. It is presented to us in Advent because, among the many prophecies about the Messiah, would be that the lame would walk. But the Gospel also helps us to focus on Jesus’ central mission for us, and it is very provocatively expressed in this Gospel.

The Gospel passage contains a rather peculiar and somewhat awkward moment. Jesus looks at a paralyzed man and says to him, As for you, your sins are forgiven (Lk 5:20). What a strange thing to say to a paralyzed man.

The Pharisees and scribes of course are all worked up for other reasons, but their reason is not ours, we know that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins. Let us stay focused on the strange thing to say to a paralyzed man, your sins are forgiven you.

One of us modern folk might be tempted to tap Jesus on the shoulder and say, “Ah excuse me, Lord, this man is paralyzed, his problem is paralysis, that’s what he needs healing for.”

Of course Jesus is not blind or unintelligent, knows this. But looking at a paralyzed man he does not see the paralysis as his most serious problem. The man has a far more serious problem, his sin.

Read more . . .

What is the Solution to our Stressful and Anxious Lives? Go to the Center. | Archdiocese of Washington

In yesterday’s Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, the Lord described a kind of self-destructive cycle that assails us and then proposed a solution. In this post there is an attempt to focus in a bit more on the solution proposed by the Lord.

But to review the problem, the self destructive cycle recall this text from yesterday’s Gospel:

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. (Luke 21:34-35)

To describe the cycle of the problem in more modern terms:

Read more . . .

‘We’re Starting to Get Our Act Together’ | Daily News | NCRegister.com

50th Anniversary of Vatican II

This being the case, what particular aspects of the Second Vatican Council would you like to see clarified?

This is what I did my doctoral dissertation on last year here in Rome, and this is the subject of my book that’s just been published by Eerdmans. In short, it relates to Lumen Gentium, the Constitution of the Church, Section 16. This states it’s possible under certain circumstances for people to be saved without hearing the Gospel if they’re inculpably ignorant, seeking God seriously, trying to live their life according to their conscience, assisted by grace — which is a very important point.

But then almost everyone ignores the next three sentences, which say that even though it’s theoretically possible for people to be saved without hearing the Gospel, as a matter of fact, “often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.”

Therefore, for the sake of their salvation, it’s urgent that the Church carry out its work of evangelization. Even though it’s possible for people to be saved without hearing the Gospel, it’s not so easy, because we’re not talking about a neutral environment. We’re talking about where the world of flesh and the devil are doing their best to put people on the broad way or keep them there.

So lots of people aren’t seeking God and really do need to hear the Gospel and be called to repentance, faith, baptism and conversion in order to be saved. Christianity isn’t just about enriching somebody’s life. For many people, it’s a matter of heaven or hell. This truth needs to be brought forward at this time because all our exhortations to be more enthusiastic about evangelization, more zealous, are going to fall on semi-deaf ears unless people really believe it will make a significant difference to people’s lives. Not just for this life, but for eternity.

via ‘We’re Starting to Get Our Act Together’ | Daily News | NCRegister.com.

Silly Sunday Sermon

Christ feeding the multitude (Coptic icon)

Christ feeding the multitude (Coptic icon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here we go! It’s time for the sermon I bet most of us have heard at least once in our lifetime.

This Sunday we will hear the Gospel reading taken from John 6:1-15. This is the story of the multiplication of loaves, where Christ feeds 5000 people with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish (a pretty impressive miracle wouldn’t you think?).

Depending on your pastor, it might be time for the Silly Sermon of the year where they like to proclaim that the real miracle was not the multiplication of the loaves at all. The real miracle was that the people, inspired by Jesus of course, took out the food they had stashed under their cloaks and tunics and shared it with everybody else. The preacher will then proclaim that this is an even greater miracle than the multiplication of the loaves. Can you imagine it? People actually sharing? Wow!

I can’t quite get myself to see much of a miracle in a bunch of guys pulling sandwiches out their pockets and sharing them. Well, just for fun, let’s pretend that it is.

In that case, my generation had a much bigger miracle than this one that we can brag about. At the Woodstock festival, way back in August of 1969, there was all kinds of sharing going on. I’m not sure if Jesus was there or not but I’m pretty sure there were a lot of folks there that may have thought that they were Jesus. Anyway, at Woodstock the hippies not only shared their food but they were sharing their drugs and some were even sharing their bodies with almost anyone they met. Now that was huge. Quite the miracle don’t you think? It makes Jesus’ miracle look small in comparison. Maybe Jimi Hendrix made them share all their stuff, I’m not sure. I don’t know what possessed them to do it but most of them don’t remember doing it anyway. Most people my age aren’t even sure if they were there or not.  We think we were; but we’re not sure, a miracle in its own right, maybe. We could have stepped through a wormhole or a time warp or something.

Anyhow, I’ve given you ample warning. So now you can remember to put your thinking caps on before you go to church because you may need them: the “miracle of sharing” sermon is coming to a parish somewhere close to you this Sunday. I can hardly wait, can you? Let’s all just share in the silliness!

Oh, and just one word of apology to all my stingy, non-sharing Jewish friends. We don’t really believe this sermon, it’s just so much fun. So lighten up, would ya?