The Resurrection: Hallucination or Vision?

Suppose your ninety-year-old grandmother tells you she sees leprechauns dancing in the butter dish in the cafeteria at her assisted living home. Would you think her perception conforms to objective reality? Or would you think she’s hallucinating? My guess is the latter. Imagine now your grandmother dies, and then a few days later you see her sitting in a chair …

John’s First Letter to the Protestants?

St. John’s letters are numbered among the New Testament epistles commonly referred to as the Catholic epistles. But it would seem that his first letter, in particular, is far from Catholic. For example, he seems to teach the Protestant doctrine of the inner testimony of the Spirit and deny the need for a magisterium (a living, teaching authority): “You have …

Who’s Intolerant: The Relativist or the Absolutist?

Are you tired of being charged with intolerance? I know I am. Anyone who believes in absolute truth has felt the sting of this charge. “We should accept everyone’s opinions as equally valid,” say the relativist. “Since you absolutists don’t, you’re intolerant.” Let’s put a stake through the heart of this charge. A bad combo  First of all, this argument …

Does Being Catholic Matter?

Catholics claim Christ constituted his church as a visible society with a hierarchical structure. And as Dominus Iesusteaches, this society “subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him” (16). Catholics also claim membership in this visible and hierarchical society is necessary. And yet Jesus’ teaching in Luke 9:49-50 seems to …

Christian Faith is Not Blind Faith

There are many charges atheists level at Christians, but one of the most common is that their faith is blind—that is to say, faith is belief without evidence. Leading atheist voice Richard Dawkins writes, “Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion” (“Is Science a Religion?”, The Humanist, Jan-Feb 1997). Julian Baginni, British atheistic philosopher …

Why the Universe Can’t Be Merely a Brute Fact

Can the universe be a mere brute fact? Can we say, “The universe just exists and that’s that—it has no explanation at all”? Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, thinks so. In a recent interview with Phil Torres at salon.com, Carroll says, “There’s certainly no reason to think that there was something that ‘caused’ it; …

Pointless Prayer or Gracious God?

As many saints have testified, and many Christians affirm, the life of prayer is not a piece of cake. It’s hard work. It requires great effort to keep a prayer routine in the midst our daily activities. It can also be a very humbling experience to be faced with God’s silence in response to our prayer, realizing our requests are …