Monday, December 7, 2009


I suppose this is what they call a "trial of faith." Could it be a mark of improvement? I don't know. But it breaks down like this:

I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, the Resurrection, and so forth. I believe that the Catholic Church is the embassy of the Holy Spirit on Earth, in this life. I find it unlikely that the Apostles simply "made it all up," as a group of Galilean peasants "mistaking" their rabbi for Jahweh Himself is a patent absurdity; He either had to be God, or they had to all be deceived or deceivers -- it's a statistical and a moral impossibility. Furthermore, if the Apostles are the ones "really responsible" for the Church, then they must have been a lot smarter than their Master, because the facts they present are clearly beyond reason. Either their claim that their Master is God is true, or the most berated, undermined, spit upon, targeted, idiosyncratic people that ever lived "invented" a religion that would have baffled even Plato.

And yet -- why am I invaded by a pernicious sense of doubt? What happens goes like this: some absurd question arises in me about the authenticity of the gospels, or the honesty of the Apostles (though it never occurs to me to implicate St. Paul, who everyone now likes to make the whipping boy -- somehow I always assume St. Paul is right, and that may be a rock to hold on to), or some such thing, and then I consider the actual objections in the form of questions, and, go figure, the questions always have an answer; I can show how the objection isn't even viable, how it betrays a misunderstanding, or what have you, and I win one more for the team. And yet, and yet.... That's what it's like: "And yet, and yet...." In other words, there is no rational or evidentiary basis for these "and-yets", yet they still bother me. They are not based on reason or upon data; they are based on imaginary hypotheses, "what-ifs," obsessions, or emotions.

This is why the church regards Faith as a virtue. It is not believing something even in the face of contrary evidence: it is simply holding on to what one's reason has previously judged true. That is, one has faith that, given the derivation of two from the square root of four, it will always remain so in every possible world: faith is based on reason.

If after many good reasons you're still bothered by doubt, the problem is with you, not with the data.

Friday, December 4, 2009


There seem to be some very learned, very orthodox, Catholics pushing a kind of postmodern orthodoxy; they see, apparently, some congruency between the relativistic postmodern movement and the unchanging Faith. What's the rumpus? I don't think I get it. The likes of these include Catherine Pickstock, Romano Guardini, Michael Oakeshott, Eric Voegelin (I think), and, to a certain degree, James Schall. I find it bizarre. Can there really be congruency between that which holds that truth is--or at least the most important truths are--unflinchingly objective and that which holds that there are absolutely no objective truths (except, of course, the proposition, "there are no objective truths")? It's bizarre.

Did I mention: it's bizarre?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Regarding the subject matter discussed below, I've uncovered--by various means--a few insights which I hope will solve the matter. These are the sort of capstone notions I've been looking for all through which would make the issue a non-issue, something to sort of tie it all together.

- Unlike religions which make claims to solitary revelations which must be followed to the letter (e.g., Islam, Mormon), Christ, by writing nothing, opened, rather than closed, Himself to authentication. It's a paradox, so think about it for a minute, even if it hurts your head.

- Admitting, on the one hand, that the New Testament is authentic and then asking, on the other hand, whether something significant has been left out or suppressed is inconsistent. The assertion admits one statement to be true while the question presupposes the falsehood of the same statement.

- Finally, since the first Christians didn't even have any scriptures they could call "their own", the question of "suppression" cannot even be entertained when it comes to that generation. The Apostles had no concern with books; their only concern was preaching, teaching, and the Sacrifice of the Mass. So, any suppression or exclusion would have to have occurred later, e.g., between the Council of Nicea and A.D. 405 when Pope Innocent I approved the canon as it exists today. By that time, the specifically Christian scriptures had been written, and had been commented on heavily, preached and taught heavily, and were accepted throughout the orthodox church as authentic; and those books were: the New Testament as we have it. In other words: the books authenticated themselves by their usefulness, truthfulness, through centuries of use by the Fathers and by the saints, after which the Church collected them into a definitive anthology and gave them her officiating "stamp." Essentially, the Apostolic Age would have been The Time to do any suppressing if any suppressing was to be done, but everything we know about the apostles themselves discourages the view that they were the type to suppress anything. In other words, right where it matters most is right where it is most likely not to have happened.