Before answering the Why question a philosopher would ask the What questions- what is morality? what is a moral life? After answering the What and Why they would likely then proceed to the How questions- how can I live ethically? how can human societies be collectively moral? This helps explain why philosophy books tend to be quite big and not very popular. They seem to spend a lot of time proving what the reader already knows to be true or attempting to disprove what the reader thinks of as ‘common sense.’ Religion appears to offer a way of short-cutting all this tedious playing with words. All religions have associated moralities and within the Abrahamic religions these have the sanction of divine revelation. Morality is what revelation says it is, obedience to God is the only acceptable response to revelation and within the content of that revelation, either in the form of scripture or divinely mandated authority, is all the guidance required for individuals and societies to live out the moral life in practice.
There is no real doubt that if this is an accurate summary of religious belief then many of the criticisms levelled at religion by New Atheists like the late Christopher Hitchens (God grant him rest) and the current Richard Dawkins (God keep him on Twitter) are well merited. Such a rigid structure which requires no moral judgement on the part of believers but merely an acceptance of the first principles of faith would lend them and their belief system to being manipulated in the service of anyone who could pervert the interpretation of revelation to suit their own purposes, as Islamic State and Boko Haram appear to have done with Islam. There are, however, a number of things which could be said about this critique….click here to read more
My new friend Brittany has posted another great article in her series Letting God Lead: My Journey Through Protestant and Catholic Beliefs on her blog Equipping Godly Women.
This one is called Is the Eucharist just a Symbol? 5 Convincing Proofs that say that it’s not!
This is a great article of Catholic Apologetics…and Brittany isn’t even Catholic!
Let’s pray for her RCIA journey…we’d love to have her on our team. =)
Have you experienced the unconditional love of a parent? How about from God, the Father? Read more to learn about the connection between the two…
Unconditional Love – I was blessed to have two wonderful parents, who were married for 54 years prior to my father’s passing in 1999. My mother died 28 weeks later. (The photo was taken at my First Communion in 1965, at age 8). For the first 42 years of my life, they were living examples of parental love to me. They loved me unconditionally, as all parents do so well.
I did not come from a wealthy family. My father worked in a printer’s shop, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom, until I turned 10 years of age. Read more…
Want to know the secret to an enduring marital love after 35+ years of marriage? How can you have such a love?
With 35+ years of marriage to the same wonderful man, of this I can speak from experience. Many people ask me, “What’s your secret?” Let’s face the truth – in this day and age, at least in the United States, we don’t see one-time marriages with longevity much anymore. When we do see them, we see a consistent theme: an enduring love that has weathered the storms of life. So, you ask, what is the secret to maintaining that enduring love?
Next morning when Balaam arose, he saddled his donkey, and went off with the princes of Moab…..When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord there, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam’s anger flared up and he beat the donkey with his stick. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she asked Balaam, “What have I done to you that you beat me these three times?”….the angel of the Lord said to him: “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come as an adversary because this rash journey of yours is against my will. When the donkey saw me, she turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, you are the one I would have killed, though I would have spared her….”
from Numbers 22:21-34
Peter with John fastening his eyes upon him, said: Look upon us. But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. But Peter said: Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise, and walk.
Turn my heart to Your decrees and not to material gain. Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.
There is a lot of looking going on in these texts. Sight is one of the mechanisms which we use to give our attention to something. Attention is the primary thing and vision is a mere auxiliary to it. What I mean by that is that although no doubt none of us wishes to go blind if it so happened that we did then our integrity as a person would remain intact. Our ability to focus our mind to a point and concentrate upon it would remain unimpaired although it would be discommoded. If however while still possessing sight we lost the ability to pay attention to anything then we would cease to be the person we are now. When considering texts like this then it can be a worthwhile exercise to leave aside consideration of the external events unfolding before the eyes and think about the essential objects upon which the attention of the participants, and by extension we the readers, is centred.
The disabled man whom the Apostles encountered desired to live. He was begging because only thus could he obtain the means necessary to that end. His attention was focussed on Saints Peter and John because he hoped that they could help him to keep body and soul together. His desire was a purely material one. There is a temptation to suppose that the intention of St Peter was equally material, to effect a bodily healing, and that what he gave to the man was good health. We should though bear in mind the words of Jesus ‘Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? (Luke 5:23) The gift which St Peter gave was the name of Jesus, one of the effects of that gift was to heal the man’s disability.
The post-modern mind is often impatient with miracle stories and seeks to discount them. So much the worse for the post-modern mind of course but if, as I suggest, we concentrate on the essence rather than the accidents of this episode is there anything in it which even the post-moderns can profit from?……click here to read more
How can one little gesture of courtesy change your life forever? Read my romantic tale to learn how it changed mine through a Divine moment gifted by God…Read more…
Why should we embrace courtesy? How can we navigate through such an unkind world and survive? Might expressions of courtesy be the answer?
We embrace courtesy to acknowledge dignity towards another, created in the image and likeness of God. In essence, we give the person the respect (courtesy) due to a child of God; we treat the person as we would want to be treated. Father Romano Guardini speaks of this in his book, Learning the Virtues That Lead Us to God:
“…man must be honored in relation to Him who created man in His image and who requires us to honor this image” (p.142).
Yet, how often do we actually embrace courtesy? Read more…