Sunday, August 17, 2014

A MOST INTELLIGENT CHOICE: Rational Foundations of the Truth of Catholic Christian Belief

This article is contained in a free one-page leaflet. The leaflet can be downloaded here.

1.       God is real.

·         Nothing can cause its own existence. In the chain of causes and effects we see, if there is no First Uncaused Cause, then the second causes and their effects could not exist. The big bang implies a Big Banger.

·         Humans, the world and their evolution have such a beautiful, intricate, finely-tuned design which can only be caused by an Intelligent Designer, and not by mindless matter nor by chance. 

·         We know of objective moral facts of right and wrong (e.g. do not steal my things) which obliges humans in all cultures. Its power to oblige can’t come from men obliged by the moral law. It comes from a Lawgiver.

·         Our minds are in contact with eternal, objective and absolute truth superior to our minds (e.g. 2 + 2 = 4 ) and the eternal is divine, not human.

·         If miracles exist, a supernatural miracle-worker exists.

·         If there is no God, life is ultimately meaningless. Only God satisfies the deepest longings of the human heart for eternity. The deep joy of the saints can only come from the divine.

·         To bet on God is your only chance of winning eternal happiness, and to bet against him is your only chance of losing. (Note:  Most points build on Peter Kreeft’s Extremely Brief Arguments for the Existence of God.)

2.      Jesus is the real God made man.

·         Many reliable eyewitness accounts, eminent contemporary Roman historians and archaeological findings attest that the man Jesus really existed in history and was worshipped as God.

·         Jesus did things only God can do, and no other human has done. He stopped a storm in one instant, raised 3 dead persons back to life, multiplied 5 loaves of bread to feed 5000 and turned 500 liters of water into top quality wine.

·         Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophecies, the first of which was written around 1400 years before his birth. The odds that one person fulfills only 8 of the prophecies is 1 out of 1017 (1 followed by 17 zeros): a virtually mathematically impossible event.

·         Jesus claimed he was God. He said, I and the Father are one. He forgave sins and claimed eternity, omnipresence, and all authority in heaven and on earth. Since he was not a lunatic or a liar, he should be telling the truth: Lord.

·         Jesus was confirmed dead by the best killers of ancient history, the Roman soldiers, and was seen to have resurrected by more than 500 persons.

·         People around Jesus experienced him as divine and called him God. When St. Thomas saw him risen, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God”. St. John said that Jesus is the Word and “the Word was God.”  Later, St. Paul taught about “Christ who is God over all.” St. Ignatius, a student of St. John, referred to “Jesus Christ our God,”and as “God incarnate”. 
-      Thousands of people in the early years of Christianity, including former skeptics and enemies, gave their lives to testify to the truth that Jesus resurrected and is God. Hundreds of thousands continue to do so throughout history. One estimate says that in the 20th century alone, there were 45.5 million martyrs! (Barrett, Johnson)

 3. Jesus built one Church, the Catholic Church.

·         The Bible and the early Christians testify that Jesus built his Church on Simon, whom he renamed Rock (Petros), and gave him the keys of the kingdom (Mt 16:18-19).  Jesus told him alone to “feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).  The Church has documentary proof  that the Popes succeeded Peter and its bishops are the successors of the other apostles.

·         Jesus and the Church are one.  It is not true the Catholic Church left the true Faith, since the Church is the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), and he is inseparable from his body. He promised that “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20), evil “shall not prevail” against his Church (Mt 16:18), and his Spirit “will guide you into all the truth” (Jn 16:13).

·         The Bible is a Catholic book.  It was the Catholic Synods of the 4th century, one led by Pope Damasus’ Council of Rome in 382 AD, which drew up the official list of the books of the Bible. All Christians trust the Catholic Church when they read the Bible.

·         The Bible refutes the “Bible alone" principle. St. Paul says hold to traditions taught by us by word of mouth (2 Thes 2:15).  The Bible also tells of a Council’s authority where St. Peter declared what we believe (Acts 15) and that the Church –not the Bible—is the pillar and the bulwark of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).

·         The true Church is universal, evangelizing in all parts of the world with more than 1.2 billion members today. Compare this with the 2nd biggest Christian group, the Orthodox Churches with only 230M (1/5 of its size).

·         The Church continues to perform divine miracles:  Eucharistic bread turning into blood; appearances of Mary; heroic saints; cures and sacred images that are scientifically unexplained; saints with stigmata, powers of healing, bilocation and prophecy, etc.

·         Since God is Truth, Reason and Love, his Church is the greatest educational and charitable institution in the world. Modern secular research shows that the Church in Catholic Europe gave birth to modern science, university education, economics, the hospital system, support for human rights, and Western Art.
These statements are either true (they agree with reality) or false (they don’t). They can’t be both true and false at the same time and in the same aspect. To say “this is your truth while my truth is opposite” is to fall into relativism, the greatest problem of our time. Relativism (no objective truth; only subjective “truths”) is (1) self-contradictory, like a square-circle, because if relativism is true then there is objective truth, and so it is false; (2) self-amputation of our mind, limiting our capacity to know reality. This goes against the universally known capability of the scientific mind to know the truth of nature, (3) self-deification: we who were not alive 100 years ago and will not be 100 years hence make ourselves God, the ultimate arbiters of truth, (4) contradictory to the obvious: there are truths that are always true everywhere,  like “mass murder of innocents is evil”.

Given the good evidence in favor of the objective truth of Catholic belief, wouldn’t it take more faith to be a non-believer? Isn’t it logical to try to learn more about this reality, and if convinced, to choose to live by this truth? And also learn more about Jesus’ loving invitation to enjoy God’s life of supreme joy—now and in heaven?

Since Jesus told his Church “He who hears you hears me,” he invites you to read the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, found online, for a modern synthesis of Jesus’ wisdom for us today, and learn to experience the peace and joy of living according to God's intelligent design for human beings. 

The free one-page leaflet containing the article can be downloaded here.


See the film The Case for Christ, based on a best-selling book of an atheist who investigated the claims of Jesus as Messiah and Son of God: here.

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