Friday, August 29, 2008


I posted this in Wikipedia:

Religious scholars, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian, affirm the possibility of knowledge, even of metaphysical realities such as God and the soul,[11] because human intelligence ("intus", within and "legere", to read) has the power to reach the essence and existence of things since it has a non-material, spiritual element. They affirm that “not being able to see or hold some specific thing does not necessarily negate its existence,” as in the case of gravity, entropy, mental telepathy, or reason and thought.

According to these scholars, agnosticism is impossible in actual practice, since one either lives as if God did not exist (etsi Deus non daretur), or lives as if God did exist (etsi Deus daretur). These scholars believe that each day in a person’s life is an unavoidable step towards death, and thus not to decide for or against God, the all-encompassing foundation, purpose, meaning of life, is to decide in favor of atheism. Even if there were truly no evidence for God, Christian philosopher Blaise Pascal offered to agnostics what is known as Pascal’s Wager: the infinite expected value of acknowledging God is always greater than the expected value of not acknowledging his existence, and thus it is a safer “bet” to choose God.

These religious scholars argue that God has placed in his creation much evidence of his existence, and continues to personally speak to humans. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli write about a strong, cumulative case with their 20 rational arguments for God’s existence.[18] And, these scholars state, when agnostics demand from God that he proves his existence through laboratory testing, they are asking God, a superior being, to become man’s servant.

According to Joseph Ratzinger later elected as Pope Benedict XVI, agnosticism, more specifically strong agnosticism, is a self-limitation of reason that contradicts itself when it acclaims the power of science to know the truth. When reason imposes limits on itself on matters of religion and ethics, this leads to dangerous pathologies of religion and pathologies of science, such as destruction of humans and ecological disasters. "Agnosticism," said Benedict XVI, "is always the fruit of a refusal of that knowledge which is in fact offered to man… The knowledge of God has always existed." Agnosticism, stated Benedict XVI, is a choice of comfort, pride, dominion, and utility over truth, and is opposed by the following attitudes: the keenest self-criticism, humble listening to the whole of existence, the persistent patience and self-correction of the scientific method, and a readiness to be purified by the truth.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sleeping in God

On the Feast of the Assumption, Pope Benedict XVI once again spoke about a favorite theme in his preachings, and which is the center of his considerations in Jesus of Nazareth:

Christ's life and thus a Christian's life is a life of prayer, communion with God, and that is also the life of Mary, and all the great things that happen to Christ, to Mary, and therefore to a Christian depend on this intimate communion with God.

All personal privileges and all evangelizing effectiveness lie in prayer.

To stress this in connection with the Assumption, the Pope pointed out "the last reference in the Bible to the earthly life of Mary."

He said that this is found "at the beginning of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, which presents Mary as recollected in prayer with the disciples in the Cenacle, awaiting the Holy Spirit."

"Since then," the Pope says, "there is a double tradition, from Jerusalem to Ephesus, which attests to her "dormition" or "sleep." Or as the Oriental writers put it: her sleep in God. It was this event that preceded her movement from earth to heaven."

That's worth repeating: Sleeping in God preceded Mary's move to heaven.

Benedict does the same in Jesus of Nazareth and in his other less known work, The Pierced One. In both books, he stressed that the great events in the life of Jesus, those which had a powerful multiplier effect, were preceded by prayer: Jesus' Baptism when he is praised as the beloved Son and given a mission; the choice of the apostles, the building of his Church; his great miracles, whereby he showed his divine largesse; his Transfiguration, through which he strengthened the apostles by showing his divine light; the institution of the Eucharist, the sacrament which brings about love, charity, the heart of holiness; his Crucifixion and Death, our redemption.

Mary, our Queen, was assumed to heaven, because she was a person of deep prayer.