Category Archives: atheism

Why don’t people read the books?

The other day, I posted a slight rant about pluralism, and a certain notion that has crept in post-Vatican II. The Church rightly teaches that there is a “ray of truth” in all ideologies and religions, and that “ray of truth” is what appeals to people and ought to ultimately lead them to Catholicism. The Church, however, also holds there is a great deal of error in these other religions. Vatican II tries to emphasize building dialogue on the good things in other belief systems, but that has often manifested itself in a mentality of pluralism or indifferentism or even syncretism. So, taking for granted a great deal presuming my audience was primarily Catholics, and not intending to directly debate atheists or other non-Catholics as such, I posted a piece about how if we, as Catholics, truly believe our religion is the Truth, then that should influence how we address the issues of the Church in public life, pluralism, religious liberty, and education. We should not, in our Catholic schools even, be teaching our faith as just one option among many. In public schools, a thorough education should at least include “the Great Books,” and that includes many works of Catholic thought.

All that said, I inevitably got some spiteful replies from atheists and agnostics (or I presume so). I refused to directly engage them in a debate where I’d simply be rehashing the arguments of Catholic philosophers. I instead, per the point of my post, invited them to read some of the great texts of Catholic and Christian philosophy–some of which should be prerequisite to a proper education. The person accused me of committing the fallacy of appeal to authority. I tried to explain that I was not appealing to authority but rather referring the reader and/or interlocutor to the texts that explain things better than I could. There’s a huge difference. So this person posted yet another flippant response. Since I had said all I intended to say on the matter and saw no point in preceding in what would inevitably descend to a flamewar, I wasn’t sure the post required a response. Further, I’ve been quite busy these past few days and feeling particularly badly health-wise, so while I’ve been online and have posted a reflection or two since then, I have declined to respond immediately.

The person took my silence as a sign of defeat and posted yet another ad hominem about how I am supposedly “willfully ignorant” because I refuse to debate him or her. I wrote a lengthy response that I felt merited its own post:

Write whatever you want. Moderating a discussion to the audience and purpose I intended does not make me willfully ignorant. It makes me the moderator of this blog. There are plenty of threads on this blog where I’ve directly argued with atheist commentors. I just have no interest in doing so in this particular thread, because the purpose of it was to address the question of how Catholics should handle a pluralistic society. The post is not directly dealing with atheist-Catholic dialogue or apologetics. I don’t see how inviting you to actually read the books that I’m referring to, which make the arguments I’m taking for granted, constitutes “willful ignorance.” It constitutes willful refusal to have a discussion that would be inane without the proper context.
I have a thorough education, and I have an informal self-assigned Great Books education that I engaged in on top of schooling. I have never been adverse to studying world views that are different than mine, and I appreciate learning from them what they have to offer. However, as G. K. Chesterton said, “The object of an open mind is to shut it on something solid.”
Further, you hardly gave me that much time to reply. I realize that this Internet culture presumes instantaneous response, but I haven’t had that much time the past few days, and what time I have had, I have been having severe pain from the aortic dissection I live with. So I simply have not had interest in engaging in adversarial debates in the time I’ve spent online this past few days.

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Pray for Warren Buffett

Now is the time to pray very hard for Warren Buffett. The 81 year old multi-billionaire and sometime richest man in the world has announced he has cancer.

By the world’s standards, Warren Buffett is a very rich man, and a very successful man.

In reality, though, Buffett is a very poor man. Like Citizen Kane, he has money–not necessarily “all that money can buy,” since he has lived most of his life like Ebenezer Scrooge–but he ultimately has no meaning in his life.

Buffett is an agnostic, openly hostile to the Catholic Church, has already given tons of money to “population control” and will leave the bulk of his estate to Planned Parenthood when he dies.

Like most billionaires, Buffett is a registered Democrat

I’m hoping that, at the very least, that Buffett’s recent concern for the national debt (odd for a Democrat) will lead him to change his mind and leave it all to the government, even though it would only be a drop in the bucket compared to the trillions Obama has spent on “bail-outs” for Buffett’s CEO buddies.

“But,” you say, “the Democrats are the party of the poor! Republicans are the party of the rich!” No, Republicans are the party of the middle class and of small business owners. Democrats are the party of the mega-rich manipulating the poor into voting for politicians who will use helping the poor as an excuse to give more power to the elites. Look at Obamacare: millions of people have been duped into thinking this is some kind of socialized medicine that will provide them with free health care, when in fact it’s *forcing* them to give more money to the insurance companies. More welfare for the rich brought to you by the Democrats.

But imagine the good that would be done if Buffett would give his riches to the world’s largest charitable organization. I don’t know any atheist or agnostic charities that actually help people. My family has been helped by government programs. We’ve been helped by Christian charitable groups, particularly Catholic Charities and the St. Vincent de Paul Society (people who volunteer with St. Vincent de Paul are generally some of the nicest people I’ve ever met). We’ve never been helped by any secular charity. I don’t even know if there *are* such things. Secularists don’t start charities to actually help people: they start “charities” for saving the whales and killing the children.

My tendency to rant aside, I am greatly concerned for Warran Buffett’s soul, as well as the horrible damage that will be done if he leaves billions of dollars to Planned Parenthood and its ilk. Even if the federal government and every state cut its funding, Planned Parenthood could remain in business for years, making a fortune off of abortions while duping Democrats into thinking it does anything besides abortions.

Meanwhile, poor Warren, a child of God who is infinitely valuable and infinitely loved in his Father’s eyes, will most likely suffer very greatly in Hell for the damage he has done to human dignity, both through his corporations and through his support for “reducing the surplus population,” as his mentor Scrooge put it.

Our Lord warned us, speaking of a rich man, that some people will not even be persuaded if one should rise from the dead. Certainly, our society is filled with people who have heard of Christ’s resurrection and do not believe in it–Buffett is in his own spokesman’s words such an individual.

Dickens, in spite of Our Lord’s words, suggests that a rich man *can* be saved by the warning of a friend from Hell. But while Scrooge is “converted,” he is converted merely to a “joy of giving.” The Masons invented the myth that giving is inherently joyful to give a reason for alms without Christ. Of course, the Popes say that true charity is impossible without Christ (see the encyclicals condemning Freemasonry and see Benedict XVI’s _Caritas et Veritate_).

Christianity is honest enough to recognize that giving is *NOT* inherently joyful. Christians become joyful by giving because we shed our attachments and become more Christlike. But the whole reason Christians *give* is that it’s an experience of self-denial. We realize that this life is temporary, and we are supposed to store up treasure in Heaven where no thief can enter nor moth nor dust destroy. That’s why the Catholic Church, in spite of the many detractions and calumnies thrown at her by secularists, is the largest charitable organization in the world. That’s why Christians, collectively and in spite of their economic status, perform more charity than all the “billionaire philanthropists” who give of their excess to meaningless causes.

But in spite of the fact that he is like the Rich Man who let Lazarus starve to death, and in spite of the fact that his role model is Ebenezer Scrooge, we must pray very strongly that this man softens his heart of stone. Through the intercession of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Katherine Drexel, St. Nicholas and others, may Warren Buffett open his heart to the Gospel. Dear Lord, send your Holy Spirit upon him. Send him a vision. Send him the right book to read, as you sent Edith Stein the autobiography of Holy Mother Teresa of Avila. Have him open his eyes to the Scriptures. You know what it takes, and we know that, through the interrelationship of love You have made us for, You want us to pray before You act, for as you said to Your Mother at Cana, “it is not My time yet” unless we and the saints intercede first and do our small part.

So please, Dear Lord, do what it takes to convert Warren Buffet. Let him be received into the Church and receive the sacraments before he dies, even if it is a death bed conversion. Give him time to change his heart and his will. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on Warren Buffett and on the whole world. Amen.

Happy Holy Days!!

One of the points I usually make about the “Holiday Season” is that, for Catholics, it really is.  Not only do we have Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but we have Christmas for 12 days, Epiphany, St. Nicholas Day, Immaculate Conception, Guadalupe, etc.

However, something struck me recently about those who try to say “holidays” to be politically correct.  Just as “Christmas” means “Christ’s Mass,” “holidays” means “holy days.” I already *knew* this, but it just occurred to me that it’s a great irony that “holiday” has come to be a term to *avoid* the True Meaning of Christmas.  Indeed, calling Christmas “the Holiday” speaks to the point that it *is* “The Holy Day.”

So, Happy Holy Days to you, stupid secularists!

Kevin O’Brien as J. R. R. Tolkein

“There’s not going to be a Reagan @—— on this show”

It’s always interesting when seemingly separate news stories converge on a similar theme.  This week, this has happened with three stories about recent studies.

First, the Census Bureau announced last week that married couples are now a minority of US households, and more people are cohabiting than married.

Second, a fellow named Ben Shapiro has royally ticked off the Hollywood elite with his upcoming book, _Primetime Propaganda_, based upon interviews he conducted with various TV executives about their agendas.  Shapiro, a Jewish Harvard grad, asked for interviews with various TV executives for a study of “social themes in television,” and thinking he was a fellow liberal, they gladly shared their agendas with him.  He also recorded all the interviews, and he has published many of the videos.

I’ve read several articles about the controversy, and mentioning some key quotations.   He’s got some real zingers from big time producers, directors, writers, etc., saying how conservatives are “stupid” and “medieval” and completely unwelcome in Hollywood.  He talks about some performers who, while not totally blacklisted, were relegated to B or C-list status merely because of their conservative beliefs.  One example was _A-Team_ and _Star Trek_ star Dwight Schults (Murdoch/Barclay), who was rejected for a role on _St. Elsewhere_ (which went to Howie Mandel) because, as producer Bruce “Gwyneth’s dad” Paltrow put it, “There’s not going to be a Reagan a****** on this show!”

Thoughts on this issue:

1.  The “Teletubby Principle”: Liberals love pushing their agenda in every avenue they can, but they hate it when their agenda is exposed.  In other words, among themselves, or when they think they’re among themselves, they’ll be completely up front about what they’re doing.  If a conservative exposes it, however, even *quoting* what they’ve said to begin with (or, in this case, showing them on video saying it!), that conservative is a nutcase conspiracy theorist.  Way back in the late 1990s, gay publications started proudly proclaiming that the then-new PBS fad, _Teletubbies_, was full of homosexual subtext.  Someone writing for a magazine owned by Jerry Falwell quoted what these gay rights activists were saying about the show, and the mainstream media spun the story as, “Jerry Falwell says _Teletubbies are gay.  What a loon!”  (Falwell for his part said he thought _Teletubbies_ was a great show, that his grandkids watched it, and he didn’t even know of the controversy till everyone else did).
The MSM, including FOX News, like to push the notion that conservatives are uneducated and anti-intellectual, but whenever conservatives demonstrate critical thinking skills or cite their sources, it’s “paranoia,” “conspiracy theories,” etc.

I spent 2 years in graduate school taking classes from liberal literature professors telling me all about postmodernism, Marxist criticism, feminist criticism, etc.  It’s OK if you apply those methods *as* a liberal among liberals, but if you’re a conservative, and you turn their own methods back on them, you’re a bigot and a conspiracy theorist.  Thus, the “spin” on Shapiro’s book is not what he’s recorded and quoted straight from the horses’ mouths, but it’s that Shapiro is obviously a racist and a liar!!

2.  For example, I just saw a comment from one liberal who referred to Stephen Colbert (the liberal Catholic darling of all sorts of people) saying that “Hollywood has a liberal bias because life has a liberal bias.”  To the minds of liberals, conservatism = racism, and the existence of minorities is itself liberal.  They’re trying to spin Shapiro’s quotations to make it sound like Shapiro is uncomfortable with depictions of minorities on TV.  That’s not Shapiro’s point.  One of the most-quoted points in the book is that Sesame Street was intended for inner city minority kids.  This is no closely guarded secret that Shapiro has uncovered by deep cover spy work; it can be found in any article or retrospective about the show.  My kids and I were watching the old 20th Anniversary special on tape a couple months (OK, I was watching it; the kids left the room) back, and they talked about the same thing.  Gordon (played by a different actor then) was originally supposed to be the main character, and Oscar the Grouch was supposed to be a metaphorical racist. Now, what the liberals are taking out of Shapiro talking about this is that *he’s* a racist because he doesn’t like that _Sesame Street_ depicted minorities.  That’s not his point.  His point is that the producers of _Sesame Street_, like typical liberals, have a condescending attitude towards minorities.

His point is that _Sesame Street_, by the producers’ own admission, is designed to make children comfortable with liberal ideas like divorce, etc.  Again, watch any retrospective special, DVD commentary, or whatever about _Sesame Street_, and they’ll brag about the “expert educators” they use to determine how to integrate “social themes” into the show.  I’m a huge Henson fan, but come on, watch or read *any* real life interview with the guy, and it’s  obvious he was a pinko.  He made no secret of it.  And Sesame Street is on the Socialist Broadcasting System.  What is the big secret?  The only reason people find this notion absurd is precisely that they’ve been brainwashed by it.

3.  Does anyone think people like Susan Harris, Linda Bloodworth Thomason, Tony Thomas or Norman Lear are *not* flaming liberals?  Again, they make no secret of their agendas!!!  They say it!  The only thing that makes Shapiro’s book special is that he catches them showing what absolute contempt  they have for conservatives, and even that is no big secret.
Yet the idiots in the comboxes keep saying things like, “Don’t conservatives have something better to do,” and “Come on, it’s just a TV show.”  And we’re to believe that conservatives are idiots?

A liberal won’t let you read a book or watch a show or movie, without telling you every little theme of subtext in it, and without insisting it *has* to have subtext, but if a conservative does the same thing, the conservative is a nutjob, a time waster, a spoilsport, etc.

That brings us to the third related tidbit in the news this week: a survey which asked Americans what percentage of the population they think is homosexual.  52% of Americans think that 20% or more of the population are gay.   35% think that 25% or more are gay, which means that they think there are more “gay” people than Catholics, African Americans, Hispanics, etc.   In reality, the most generous figure of people who identify themselves as “gay” or bisexual is maybe 4%.

Another case of liberal hypocrisy I like to point out, along with the “Teletubby Principle”, is how, when Ellen Degeneres “came out of the closet” and had her TV character do the same, ABC said it was important to represent gays and lesbians on TV because they were supposedly 10% of the population.   A couple years later, when the Catholic League led a coalition of devout religious groups (Including the Jewish ADL) and pro-life groups in protesting ABC’s _Nothing Sacred_, the network claimed, “We cannot allow programming decisions to be made by what amounts to 10% of the population.”  HUH?  (And so they think that sincere religious believers and pro-lifers account for only 10% of the population??)

Joe Carter at First Things matches these perceptions up to GLAAD’s evaluations of representations of “GLBT” people on scripted “prime time” television (he notes the numbers are even higher if you include “reality TV,” news, talk shows and daytime dramas.  Now, the number of gay characters on network and cable scripted series today has skyrocketed since Ellen’s controversial outing nearly 20 years ago.  The number of prominent “gay” characters out of the total number of regular and recurring characters on current-running shows is probably about 4%, anyway.

However, Carter points out that this doesn’t match up to the depiction of Christians, which he claims is unfavorably skewed down.  Of course, a barrage of commentors have challenged Carter’s claims, arguing that people presume TV characters are “Christian” unless otherwise noted, or that studio execs are afraid of touching Christianity and courting controversy.  Yet they’re *not* afraid of courting controversy by a) insulting Christians; b) depicting committed Christians, if at all, as hypocrites and freaks  and terrorists; c) depicting *other* religions in a favorable manner; d) depicting divorce, fornication, adultery, etc.

If the argument is that characters on TV should fairly depict what America “looks like,” and so they need to have a certain percentage of gay characters just like they have to have certain percentages of black and hispanic and female characters, that’s fine.  Then let’s look at ABC’s statements about the _Ellen_ controversy and the _Nothing Sacred_ controversy again: 10% are homosexual (actually, far less)?  10% are pro-life, committed believers of Christianity and Judaism (actually, far more)?  Then there should be at *least* as many characters on TV who are sincere, committed Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox Jews as there are characters who are gay.

Why don’t we ever see a TV show with a man or woman who has more than 3 kids *and is happy about  it*?

I’m pretty sure there are more Catholic monks and nuns in this country than Buddhist monks, but if TV shows want to depict someone “holy” and “at peace” and all that, they show a Buddhist monk or monastery.

People on TV shows and movies always recommend yoga and tantric meditation and stuff as ways of attaining peace, but you never hear them suggesting the Rosary or Eucharistic Adoration.

Quotes of Wisdom come from Confucius and the Bhagavad Gita and whatever, but never from the Bible.  If they do quote the Bible, it’s that one verse from Leviticus they love to quote, or maybe Psalm 23 or something, and usually it’s some made-up verse that anyone with a modicum of familiarity with Sacred Scripture knows doesn’t exist.  (One of my favorite examples of this was a time on _The X-Files_, when a “Bible verse” was cited from the Gospel of John.  I forget the exact made-up chapter and verse they used, but it implied that the 21-chapter Gospel of John had well over 50 chapters).

And people think there is no liberal bias in the media?

Were dinosaurs closer to birds or reptiles?

What was the posture of a tyrannosaurs?

Is Pluto a planet?

What is the smallest particle?

Everything in science is subject to revision with new research or new analysis.

Why does anyone take anything scientists say as absolute?

The problem with “FactCheck.org” and similar projects

It’s a FACT that God exists. It’s a FACT that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died for our sins. It’s a FACT that Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church and the Sacraments. These are not uncertain “beliefs”, opinions, fairy tales or wishful thinking. These are historical facts that I know to be true just as much as I know that Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon or Alexander the Great was educated by Aristotle or Cyrus the Great ended the Babylonian Exile.

The fact that some people choose to ignore the historical evidence for these events–and the Bible alone provides more historical evidence for many events than we have for other things secular historians take for granted, even ignoring the vast field of Biblical archaeology and the corroborations of the Bible in secular histories and extra-canonical religious works from the Biblical era–does not make them any less factual than they are.

Any organization, book, website or school which claims to teach fact without teaching these facts is promoting ignorance. They would balk at the idea of not teaching evolution as scientific fact, yet why do they not teach the Bible as historical fact?