THE REMNANT NEWSPAPER: Prophetic Words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

Many a modern preacher is far less concerned with preaching Christ and Him crucified than he is with his popularity with his congregation.  A want of intellectual backbone makes him straddle the ox of truth and the ass of nonsense…Fulton J. Sheen

America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance.  It is not.  It is suffering from tolerance:  tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos.  Our country is not nearly so much overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broad-minded.  The man who can make up his mind in an orderly way, as a man might make up his bed, is called a bigot; but a man who cannot make up his mind, any more than he can make up for lost time, is called tolerant and broad-minded.

A bigoted man is one who refuses to accept a reason for anything; a broad-minded man is one who will accept anything for a reason—providing it is not a good reason.  It is true that there is a demand for precision, exactness, and definiteness, but it is only for precision in scientific measurement, not in logic. The breakdown that has produced this natural broad-mindedness is mental, not moral.  The evidence for this statement is threefold: the tendency to settle issues not by arguments but by words, the unqualified willingness to accept the authority of anyone on the subject of religion, and lastly the love of novelty.

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What Difference Does Heaven Make?

Only the difference between hope and despair in the end, between two totally different visions of life; between “chance or the dance”. At death we find out which vision is true: does it all go down the drain in the end, or are all the loose threads finally tied together into a gloriously perfect tapestry? Do the tangled paths through the forest of life lead to the golden castle or over the cliff and into the abyss? Is death a door or a hole?

To medieval Christendom, it was the world beyond the world that made all the difference in the world to this world. The Heaven beyond the sun made the earth “under the sun” something more than “vanity of vanities”. Earth was Heaven’s womb, Heaven’s nursery, Heaven’s dress rehearsal. Heaven was the meaning of the earth. Nietzsche had not yet popularized the serpent’s tempting alternative: “You are the meaning of the earth.” Kant had not yet disseminated “the poison of subjectivism” by his “Copernican revolution in philosophy”, in which the human mind does not discover truth but makes it, like the divine mind. Descartes had not yet replaced the divine I AM with the human “I think, therefore I am” as the “Archimedean point“, had not yet replaced theocentrism with anthropocentrism. Medieval man was still his Father’s child, however prodigal, and his world was meaningful because it was “my Father’s world” and he believed his Father’s promise to take him home after death.

via What Difference Does Heaven Make?.

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.

Thinking About Thinking – A Reflection on some of the Modern Pitfalls and Logical Fallacies that Hinder Us | Archdiocese of Washington

 

A lot of breakdown in modern communication comes down to logical fallacies and cognitive distortions that have us talking past each other. Perhaps, as the new year draws near, we might spend a little time reflecting and “thinking about our thinking.”

All of us fall into these traps. I have spoken before on the blog of the problem of “all or nothing thinking” and also our tendency today to take everything personally, to be thin-skinned. Perhaps some of the following reflections on the nature of our knowledge and how we both argue and reason, may also be instructive, since, as a group, we tend today to be very polemical, ideological and not always well reasoned in our thinking. Indeed, careful reasoning is NOT an obvious gift that most in these times exhibit.

via Thinking About Thinking – A Reflection on some of the Modern Pitfalls and Logical Fallacies that Hinder Us | Archdiocese of Washington.

Is Tolerance a Virtue? – Truth and Charity Forum

There is no point in teaching tolerance if virtue is not taught along with it. In this way, “acute tolerance confusion” will give way to “resolute virtue commitment”.

via Is Tolerance a Virtue? – Truth and Charity Forum.

God: the end for which man was made

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Man has a purpose in life. Just as all created things are ordered to an end, so too are we. Of course the ultimate end of many created things are well known due to our observations from daily life; they can easily be studied and recorded by scientists and others. For instance, we see in nature the assimilation of minerals to sustain the lives of plants and the use of these plants as food for animals and man alike. This food chain is but one observable set of events that indicate the importance of everything in creation and the apparent ordering of the lower to the higher.

English: Street clock in Globe, Arizona, USA F...

Man is also a creator of things and the intended purpose of our creations is normally apparent; a clock keeps time, a chair is to sit in, etc. These are the ends, if you like, or purpose for which they were created. In fact we judge the ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of our creations by their ability to conform to the purpose for which we made them. A clock that cannot keep time is useless (bad) in regards to the purpose for which it was created and useful (good) according to its accuracy in keeping time etc. The same can be said of all created things.

But what is the purpose of man? If it makes sense that we create things with a purpose and aim and that the natural order seems also to have a purpose, then should we (creations of God) not also have some purpose in life? Since we are not ordered to a higher form as food nor are we created to enhance the ease or comfort of a superior being here on earth, perhaps we are ordered to that which is not observable in our physical world. We might say that our aim is of a higher order; ordered to the spiritual rather than the physical.

We are not man-made creations devoid of fault for our defects. If we were clocks, we would be clocks that could self-direct our obedience to, or deviance from, our intended purpose. We could decide if we were going to run fast, slow or not at all. In fact, we might even declare that we were not clocks at all. We could decide that we would not adhere to the purpose of ‘clock’ to which we owe our existence. We might decide that we are beautiful and should be adored for our beauty or that we are beholding to no one and therefore should only seek self-satisfaction as a goal. Though we could make such a decision, it would not have any bearing whatsoever on objective reality. Since we possess such freedom of choice we bear culpability for the decisions we make to either accept or reject our intended purpose.

God has revealed to mankind the purpose for which we were made. This aim and purpose as taught by His Church is that we are to know, love and serve Him. It is through this means that our destiny is fulfilled and that we are able to seek happiness not only in this life but also throughout eternity. If we have heard and assented to this purpose as revealed by God, we might then measure success or failure by our conformity to this intended purpose. By obedience to this fundamental Truth we find our happiness and achieve peace of soul. All else might be considered a life completely devoid of reality; a life lived in conformance to a lie. Such a life brings unhappiness, confusion, and conflict. Yet many prefer such a life to that which is consistent with Reality.

The world may think the Christian soul, living in accord to God’s plan, a complete fool . . . though nothing could be further from the truth. This would be like an employee who refuses to do the work for which he has been hired, criticizing those who do their appointed jobs. He may deride them as zealots or mad men because they labor ceaselessly rather than lounge around . . . but a day of reckoning will eventually cost him his job. In regards to the Christian life we find ourselves a minority and thus tempted to abandon our purpose – the narrow path that leads to eternal happiness. We must continually remind ourselves that wrong is always wrong and that right is right even if the whole world is wrong. To know our purpose in life and to live according to this purpose frees us from a life of slavery to our own whims and those of others. It frees us from taking a poll in order to decide what is right or wrong. To know our purpose in life and to live in harmony with this end is mere common sense. It is the homecoming of the prodigal son, the raising up of oneself from the fall of Adam, the return to our original nature – that for which we were made.