Sunday, October 28, 2007

An Amazing Website

It is called the "International Catholic University". Is the brain child of Ralph McInerny, who is a fellow at the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas and is quite the well known Thomist. I encourage EVERYONE to check it out. Best of all, it's FREE online courses. There are some real gems in there (I am thinking especially of Janet Smith's intro the Sexual Ethics).


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Christopher Hitchen's and the Impossible Question

I recently listened to a debate between Christopher Hitchens and Alister McGrath. I would first like to say that Alister McGrath did a fantastic job and showing the reasonableness of Christianity. This debate was held by the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC. The debate was interesting to say the least.

One thing stood out to me in that debate and that was a question that Mr. Hitchens asks every group he talks to. He asks "can you show me a human action that is good and requires God's help, that is, a good action that cannot be done without God's help?" He follows that with "can you tell me of an evil human action that can be done in God's name." The point is simple. He seems to think that, in his view, no good action can be differentiated between the believer and the non-believer. He believes it impossible in fact and the first part of his question has never been able to be answered he states. He states that it is rather easy to come up with an answer to the second part of the question.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hitchens makes a logical leap. It is not my hope to attack his character (which seems to be so easy to be done in the Catholic blogosphere), rather, I simply wish to analyze his argument.

The problem is that Mr. Hitchens makes the presumption that every human act that is good is done out of the person's own accord without any divine help. Christian theology states that God's grace helps us in all our actions and that this grace is made available to all men (men in the sense of all human persons). Mr. Hitchens is taking the scientific route, of that which is only observable to the realm of the investigative. However, the problem is that, and Mr. Dawkins even agrees with this, it cannot be proven that God does not exist. In the end, Mr. Dawkins says, one is only dealing with probabilities. If such is the case, then, according to a true scientific method, Mr. Hitchens us not allowed to make the jump in regards to whether or not human actions are done by their own power or from the grace of God. Science deems to "wait until it is possible to observe". That, however, will not happen until one sits before the judgment seat of God. Only then will we see how God has worked through us in our lives.

I knew there was something wrong with Mr. Hitchens' question when I first heard it. I almost fell into his trap. His trap creates confusion of which the obvious easy answer for the second part creates a confusion in the individual to re-think his whole outlook on life. This brings about the easy possibility of denial based on an irrational position.

However, thanks be to God that I didn't fall into the trap. I thought to myself "well, everyone is capable of doing good acts. However, the problem enlies in the fact that we are making a presumption that the power to do that good act comes from us".

Science is unable to determine the root cause of where our ability to do the good act comes from. In fact, to determine good actions is outside the realm of science, as "good" is also something that is not scientifically observable. Finally, the act itself is the only observable thing, but the root and the moral value of the act are totally and completely unobservable.

So, Mr. Hitchens, I ask you this, show me how "the good" is observable in science, and show me, using your scientific technique (of which atheists are so fond of), how you can prove scientifically and without a doubt that your ability for doing good acts comes ultimately from you.


Monday, October 08, 2007

A great post on Evangelization