Mary: Queen and Commander of the Pro-Life Movement

(The following is a slightly modified email I sent on March 15, 2011 to some local pro-lifers in response to a conflict regarding how to approach Mary in a pro-life setting)

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe

Thank you Vivianne!

I think your key point is at the end.  There are two goals we can pursue here with 40 DfL.  One is ecumenism, and one is ending abortion.  40 Days for Life is about the latter, while ensuring openness to all denominations.  I know we all agree that is the guiding principle.  How exactly to achieve it, I am not sure.  What I am sure of is that discord as the result of such a discussion is of Satan, and whoever gives himself over to despair of unity because of such disagreements has lent an ear to the Father of Lies.
But I want to take that even further and tell you all about something that has been on my heart for some time now.  It is another pro-life strategy, and it seeks to be guided by God’s methods instead of man’s.  Some have pondered “What would Mary want here?”  But we need not guess at it.  She has told us.
(If you are one of those souls who has an automatic disdain or apathy for so-called “private” revelation, this email will be of little worth to you.  But know that you are rejecting the teachings of Christ’s Church, as this Church authoritatively teaches, in CCC 67, that the Sensus Fidelium is capable of discerning these revelations.)

I must preface this by pointing out that it seems I have been more persecuted recently by Catholics for doing Catholic things than I have been by non-Catholics.  I go evangelizing door-to-door and have been greeted with warmth even by Muslims who appreciate my care, while I am condemned by Catholics for my “proselytizing and pushiness.”  I pray something Marian at an event with non-Catholics and am complimented by Protestants for my Faith, while I am condemned by Catholics for “pushing what others think to be idolatry” .  I speak of the unprecedented urgency, depravity, and apocalyptic nature of our times (merely quoting claims in many approved apparitions) and I am thanked for pointing this out by even the lost sheep; the dissolute, the homeless, the sinners: protestants, Jews, and Muslims alike; while many Catholics chastise me saying “Stop being distracted, times have been bad before, everyone dies anyway, you’re being fanatical and people don’t like that.”  I speak of the errancy of Darwinism and the fact of Adam and Eve, and Catholics roll their eyes at me, explicitly or implicitly saying that I ought to be more concerned about potentially offending modern scientists than offending God; while the uneducated youth on the streets are happy to hear me proclaim the fact that even they know to be obvious: we are not the mere descendants of apes. 

I am not seeking sympathy! I say these things only to point out that the great tragedy of today is not the persecution we receive from without, but the wretched tepidity and lukewarmness from within the walls of our own Catholic Church.  We are like a knight in full armor cowering in a corner afraid to engage a small rabid animal. Our disastrously weak faith is demonstrated by our hesitation to proclaim the full Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of Truth) to all.  Human wisdom says water down truth so it is less offensive.  Divine wisdom says “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Luke 7:23) Divine wisdom proclaims Truth in all its beauty and majesty and splendor, and permits those who cannot accept it to walk away (John 6:66). 

One woman I spoke to while going door-to-door was once a Protestant and told me about how she converted to Catholicism because when she had a daughter, she wanted to raise her in a faith with more ritual.  Thanks be to God she did not run into a modern Catholic who uses that pathetic “lowest common denominator” strategy, tip-toeing timidly around and making sure to pretend we are really not much different!  This woman had fallen away from the practice of the Faith for quite some time, and said it was a sign from God that we showed up at her door when she did, and told us she would get back to Church.

To the point: I am striving to take my orders from Heaven.  Heaven speaks through the Magisterium, yes, but Heaven also speaks directly.  Our mother, who is the mother of all, the greatest creature who will ever exist, and the Queen of all Creation, has been perfectly clear that SHE is the one in charge of our current apocalyptic struggle.  Christ has saved her for these times, and she is our commander.

The strategy I suggest seeks to place itself completely under the mantle of Mary.  “So it is a Catholic campaign, then” you may say to me.  It is not!  It is far more inclusive than even those on the “inclusive” side of this debate wish to  position themselves.  It is welcoming of all true believers, for it seeks to hurl at Satan, as one massive attack, all those prayers that God hears (and these are not only not limited to Catholics’ prayers but are also not limited to Christians’ prayers); prayers directed against a common enemy.  What great allies against the Culture of Death I have met among non-Christians: Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Jehova’s Witnesses, and those who believe but are still seeking a Church!  Why should we neglect to unite their prayers with ours?  If you ask someone “do you believe in God?” and his response is an unqualified “yes” (not “yes, but…” or “yes, as a…”), and he recognizes the same enemy we recognize, then his prayers ought to be united with ours, through Mary.

She has made it clear that under her mantle Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Jews, and Muslims are to unite against Satan.  Do not accuse me of religious indifferentism!  Daily I hope and pray and work so that all may become Catholic, where alone abides the fullness of Truth.  But there is no time to wait for that to happen.  Only the most arrogant of souls could claim that God does not hear the prayers of any non-Christians.  So if we are to exceed the walls of our own Catholic Church, let us not arbitrarily limit ourselves to non-Catholic Christians. 

To Catholics Mary is the Mediatrix of all grace; the Mother of God and the Queen of the Universe.  to Protestants she is the mother of Jesus, the one whose pleas initiated His first miracle, and one of the few who accompanied Him on Calvary. She is greatly revered by Mormons as well. To Muslims she is the most regarded woman in their holy book, the fairest woman in heaven, and as a virgin gave birth to the one who is to judge the world at the end of time; one of her greatest apparitions, Fatima, carries the name of one of Mohammad’s daughters, and in Cairo in the 1960s she appeared to millions, including Muslims who greatly revered her .  To Jews, she was the perfect Jew, keeping the law like no other, having every admirable trait that a Jew ought to have; we also know she is spoken of in their own scriptures.  To all others, she is the most beautiful woman in existence, the worker of the greatest wonders the world has ever seen; from Lourdes to Fatima to Cairo to Medjugorje, the object of more Holy Pilgrimages than anything.  She is at least nominally revered by the millions who wear her weapon, the Rosary, as jewelery around their necks.    Souls of all races and colors and creeds flock to her apparition sites; her maternal love is simply irresistible to all but those with hearts of stone, for “if anyone should glory in having God for his Father and yet has not the love of a true child for Mary, he is a deceiver, and the only father he has is the devil” – St. Louis de Montfort

Abandon your fears, your concerns, and your hesitations!  Our own devices will not bring about the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart that she promised us.  She will; through our response to her call.    She has told us we are to pray together; not just Protestants and Catholics but all believers.  She has told us that the Rosary is not just for Catholics.  Reject her orders at your own peril, devout soul!  Fear Judgment Day as well, as we all ought, but consider that the rejection of a mother’s love may be more detestable to Him on That Day than all the sins against purity and temperance in the world. 

How exactly to go about with such a strategy?  I certainly have not worked out all the details, though I will continue to think and pray about this.

Remember also, devout Catholic, that outside those very few truly faithful, obedient, orthodox Catholics; we do not have any complete allies in this fight.  Even the more conservative Protestant Churches have neglected to condemn contraception, which is at the heart of this Culture of Death- so you will be doing no good in reciting to me a list of evils contained in Islam, Mormonism, etc. (even though I may agree with you)- because I will respond to you with that fact.

I am not asking you to turn this current campaign into what I suggest.  Not only would I have no right to do that, but I recognize it would be imprudent at this point.  But for the future, I feel confident that this method I describe is God’s Will, or at least a significant part of His plan.

Unlike Vivianne I have not yet taken this to expert opinions and spiritual direction.  As always I submit this to those who are more qualified and learned than myself.  But I hope you can see the wisdom in this approach, because this wisdom did not come from me; I do believe God put it in my heart.  It is not the type of approach I would come up with on my own.  And trust me, I resisted it for a long time.  I am not saying it is the only valid approach to the exclusion of an explicitly Catholic one or an explicitly Christian one, but I do think it may very well be the best one.

I anticipate there will be holier and better Catholics than myself who will disagree with me here; and I just ask that before responding  they first pause and prayerfully consider what I suggest, because I will take their input very seriously.  Consider that it is not my own ponderings, but striving after obedience to Heaven’s guidance that makes me say this.    Consider that our allies in this battle are not limited to Christians. 

 Consider that Mary clearly is the means by which God has chosen to bring about the renewal of faith that we so direly need. Consider what she HAS done and what therefore she can and will do.  Consider that she is the woman spoken of in both Genesis and Revelation, and only by God’s grace, through Mary, do we have any hope in this age. When God sought to put an end to this continent’s Culture of Death almost 500 years ago, He did not do it through man’s carefully strategized efforts.  He did it through an apparition of His mother, as you all know, Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It will not be different this time!


In Christ, Through Mary,
Dan

Save The World

I’ve always wanted to save the world; to solve all of its problems with my effort. I have always hated to see people suffer, or to see them not living as full a life as they ought.

Since a very young age the most logical method of doing this seemed to me to be theoretical physics.  It is indeed the most fundamental science.  Stretching from the tiniest particles to the largest expanses of the universe, it seeks to consolidate all things into one general unified theory, always striving after “the secret of the universe.”  Before I had become a teenager I was delving into this field of study.  Finding this secret; unlocking the key to the physical universe would certainly save the world, would it not?

Well, in High School I realized I was not going to achieve my goals in this area.  So I became a little more practical.  I turned my efforts towards engineering and inventing.  Surely if I could only discover an abundant energy source, an easier means of transportation, and better construction methods, all of the world’s problems would be solved. To this end I pursued my degree in Mechanical Engineering from RPI, and poured thousands of hours into researching, designing, prototyping, and applying for patents on inventions I had conceived. I worked for GE Energy and GE Global Research.  I took classes in entrepreneurship and inventing.

This combined with my theory that right legislation would save the world.  I educated myself in every political hot-topic and spent countless hours racking up thousands of posts on internet forums debating them. I campaigned for causes and for politicians and became involved in every controversial happening I could find.  With the right machines and the right laws to encourage them and enable them, we would surely see victory!

Late in college I realized I would not be successful in these strategies, either. But something else happened around these years; my Catholic awakening.  I was leading a typical life of promiscuity, debauchery, intemperance, apathy, and the like until then.  Toward the beginning of freshman year I saw these sins tearing me apart and finally vowed to radically change my life forever.  NOW I had really found out how to save the world.  I would take these lessons I had learned; these lessons of sexual purity and faith in God, and save the world by letting everyone in on it.  I started apostolates and clubs, wrote articles, gave talks, made YouTube videos, and talked to my friends about these pressing issues.

As I was graduating college, I realized that these arguments, also, would not save the world.  But now I am onto the next step in my efforts to save the world.  And that is to realize that I cannot save the world.  I cannot, but Jesus and His mother can.  I now realize that God does have the solution; one overlooked even by most Christian and Catholic apologists, and certainly overlooked by the so-called movers and shakers of this world.  He gave us a solution, and we ignore it at our own peril.  The solution is His mother, that woman whom Satan fears even more than God.  That woman who we infallibly know will crush the serpent’s head.  Mary Immaculate, the pinnacle of all creation.  The Queen of the Universe. The Mother of God. Our mother.

How did I not know this earlier? Well, I grew up in modern Catholicism.  You could describe it in many other terms; protestant Catholicism, professional Catholicism, worldly Catholicism, cultural Catholicism, feel-good Catholicism, effeminate Catholicism. It is the type of Catholicism that appeases everybody, pleases everybody, sedates everybody, and saves nobody.  In 20 years of going to Church most Sundays, I never heard of an apparition, the rosary, the scapular, the need for confession, or even the existence of daily Mass. I probably passively believed that God ceased speaking to man after Jesus ascended.

But now I know that God has not left us as orphans.  He has sent us His mother.  It is due time that we cease placing trust in the world and turn to her.  She will lead us to the mercy of her Son, but there are only a few grains left in the hourglass for the Time of Mercy.

I do not reject any of my former methods.  I certainly still spend much time arguing for virtue; for purity, for faith.  I still tinker with inventing, and even sometimes find myself pondering abstract physics.  But I thank God that I never discovered that secret to the universe, and never invented that boundless and cheap energy production machine.  Perhaps, if I did, I would never have reached the point where I am now.  The point where I am truly saving the world, because I pray the Rosary every day.

The Point of Purity

(This article was first published in July 2008)

Lust is the most widely unopposed sin of the day. It is evident everywhere; shelves are stocked with magazines aimed at inspiring it, non-marital relationships usually involve intercourse, sexual self-gratification is expected, and impure thoughts have become a bragging point.

 

The reason is simple. Temptation wins in the absence of strong conviction to do battle with it. Conviction is withering away today. Comfort, pleasure, and immediate gratification are considered of greater meaning than eternal principles, and the temptation that lust casts upon us is relentless and powerful. Aside from the wisdom of our ancestors and the commandments of God, which are deplorably mocked and disregarded; there is solid reason upholding why refrain from lust and its expressions is absolutely necessary for everyone.

 

Premarital sex has become so accepted that a proposal to avoid it will now invoke laughter in most. People who prefer this sad, degraded moral common ground seem to act as if society has always been this way, if not outwardly then privately, but truly the prevalence of such promiscuity is only a recent trend. Those who came before us understood its perils, which result not only from casual encounters but also relations between serious, yet unwed, couples. The latter situation is flat-out expected; serious couples who save themselves for marriage are considered senseless, but that choice will lead them to incomparably happier lives. The decision to spend the rest of one’s life with another must occur before this pair engages in intercourse, so a proper judgment can be made. Such intimacy is designed for, and regardless of your views on purpose, is confirmedly adept at bonding man and woman. When applied before marriage, this bonding power acts only to cloud judgment and put in place an enslaving fear of ending an inadequate relationship, causing it to drag on and devour valuable months or years. If the relationship does end, the deprivation from that bond causes a type of sadness that no man should ever have to feel; it is a sadness that frequently accounts for depression and motivates suicide, the rate of which is unsurprisingly astronomical these past few decades,  and one that stems from giving oneself entirely to another, only to have that gift cast aside, along with a serious part of the soul. When this crippling sadness fades, all that is left is the knowledge that your love was all for naught, with the only outcomes being lost time and lessened bonding power of intimacy for future relationships. That same enslaving fear could also be the grounds for a marriage that either ends in divorce or continues with unhappiness for the duration of the couple’s lives, or at least far less happiness than could have been obtained if the spouses were instead inspired to seek a better match. This is not to say that all married couples who engaged in premarital relations are unhappy, but it is so for an astonishing number, and guarding against such a rampant affliction should be a top priority in everyone’s life.

 

Casual sexual encounters have that same effect of lessening the bonding power of intimacy for future relationships, but take it to an extreme level. When a man shares his bed with one for whom he has no strong and developed feelings, he is showing utter disrespect for himself and his bedmate. He is tearing up his prospects of ever benefiting from intimacy and tossing them into a fire, for he has removed intimacy entirely from the realm of meaning and placed it into the realm of fleeting biological gratification. Like a drug user, he becomes resistant to the pleasures he pursues, except instead of the body being affected, it is the soul.

 

Adultery is one form of promiscuity that thankfully is still frowned upon. Its prominence is caused primarily by insufficient willpower to resist and, despite a general agreement in its negative effects, an inadequate sense of true conviction opposing it. This may be a consequence of the complete lack of opposition to the other forms of promiscuity, and as evil begets evil, degradation of conviction in one area leads to the same in the others that are related. Triumph is only attainable when the door latched shut to vice, instead of leaving it ajar and hoping only some will enter.

 

In resisting lust, so many people, despite being principled in many areas, fail to firmly shut this door by inviting sexual self-gratification into their lives. Even many of today’s Christian Churches do not oppose the practice. The reasons to eliminate masturbation may be the least obvious of all the transgressions from lust, but they are neither weak nor scarce. Masturbation has the opposite effect that many theorize it has. It is not a form of releasing built up tension; it is nothing but a means to temporarily appease your passions and thereby empower the propagation of temptation. As rewarding a child with candy in response to every tantrum serves only to reinforce future tantrums, so responding to temptation with masturbation will only cause you to crave more, while promoting your body to master and demoting your being to slave. Freedom can only be realized with utter refusal to satisfy any of the demands that lust solicits, and despite its differences from sexual encounters with others, masturbation is simply another way to satisfy lust instead of combat it. Complete refusal of self-gratification will grant you far greater focus, for when you know there is no possibility of committing this act, your subconscious will cease nagging you to give in. Greater willpower for employment in any pursuit also comes into the possession of whoever accepts complete refusal. Banishing from your life a pleasure that has been so depended on is a great achievement that, as with all struggles, paves the path for more achievement. The common saying “95% of people masturbate and the other 5% of people lie” illustrates the plague of weakness and surrender filling the minds of men. The subservience to their bodies of those who share this view has been developed to such a degree that they refuse to consider that people even exist who are not under such a spell. Do not believe in such discouragements; it truly is both realistic and vital for everyone to rid their lives of this habit.

 

This all is by no means an exhaustive summary of the malice of lust; far reaching are its effects and its expressions are not limited to what has been mentioned here.  Know too that one need not go as far as intercourse with another to suffer greatly; lesser expressions of lust bring the same effects, whether or not to a similarly lesser extent.  Understand there is no safety in numbers here; God does not grade on a curve.  Today, being merely acceptable means appearing exceptional next to the norm, and even appearing just good here may not be enough. 

 

 

Notice there has not yet been any mention of the risk of disease; that is because such an affliction is a fleabite compared to the decay of the soul that is at stake. Some say that as the number of their bedmates went up, the sadness from each relationship ending went down.  Despite appearing like a good way out of the horror of promiscuity; this consists of nothing but one digging his own grave so deep that the very smell of fresh air escapes his memory, and he becomes accustomed to the stench below.  This only means that the worst has happened: sexuality has lost its ability to bind him.  His hunger still prevails, but he can no longer gain nourishment from the food.  He has descended to the realm of mindless animals who wander the earth abiding only by hormones, and the human heart residing here knows nothing but torment.

 

But hope is not lost for those who have followed these ways. Though this makes Purity more difficult than for those who have always chosen it, in surmounting the challenge true joy can be found. God can give you a chance to start anew; with His help no burden is too large to bear .  Let Him guide you towards the life given to those who reject lust; for obtaining the benefits of its absence are even more persuasive than avoiding the downfalls of its presence. 

We know when we see someone free from the chains of lust.  For him, life is truly an adventure as opposed to a weak attempt to minimize pain and maximize pleasure. His happiness is based on principles that no event will ever darken.  He is impervious to the traps that ensnare the hedonists and even those who remain moderate in this sin, for he has chosen to elevate himself to a level of meaning that is completely independent of such triviality.  His time is spent living in the deepest sense of the word.  Without the distraction of lust, he is able to pursue his true purpose.  Without the parasite of lust, he is able to give his whole heart to his cause.  Without the agony, dominance, and deceit of lust; he puts today’s permissive, purposeless, and feeble culture to shame.  Defeating lust is only one step, but it is a large step, and one that cannot be skipped.  The deepest part of every man’s heart yearns for this great existence more desperately and persistently than any other desire he knows.  This understanding can be most real at the close of reading a great novel or watching a powerful movie, but is sadly often gone by the time the next temptation knocks. Do not let such decisions tear you away from the life you crave and need.  Take heed of that which your immortal soul knows is right and cast aside that for which your mortal flesh begs.  One side must be taken.

Atheism: The Masquerading Folly

Atheism: The Masquerading Folly

(This article was first published July 2008)

Christopher Hitchens. Richard Dawkins.  Sam Harris. Daniel Dennet.  Bill Maher.  They are the warriors of the new atheism, having convinced far too many that their bleak outlook is the only position confirmed by solid intellect, with anything but it being blind childish faith. The reality is an absolute and foolish opposition to the pure reason that governs all pursuits (science included).  Here are a few drops in the ocean of reasons to believe in God, an ocean that is wholly absent with regard to Zeus and other falsehoods to which they compare Him.

Biology

An atheist must believe that a man is merely natural, so if it can be demonstrated that a man is more than just a physical object, a collection of matter and energy, then God’s existence has been equally demonstrated.  If a man has more that makes him up than the particles that comprise the physical world, then he has what Christians call a soul.  If he has a soul, then what Christians call He who made this soul is God.

Observe the consistency in the order of creation; how all the way from the tiniest virus up to the smartest chimp there is a linear progression of these organisms’ capabilities.  Add some complexity to its biological makeup, and the behavior of the creature enhances in stride.  This everywhere perfect trend is entirely ruptured when we compare man to the greatest mere animal.  This undeniable chasm can only be explained by the immaterial soul of man.  Are there any instances in which one virus acts like a normal virus, mindlessly attaching to any compatible cell it bumps; but only a speck longer up the biological hierarchy forming complex colonies like some ants or bees?  No.  Since man’s situation is the only one we see the discrepancy, the next step is to ponder what is so special about man.

The Universe

Humans have been advancing the great cause of science for thousands of years.  In virtually every area imaginable; massive leaps in understanding have been made beginning from our instinctual knowledge to today’s scientific laws.  But another question exists in which no progress at all has been made; how did the universe begin?  The existence of the universe has often been used as an argument for God, with the atheist’s response usually citing it as just another question science has not yet answered, but one day will.

Can one logically conclude that mankind will ever (or even theoretically could ever) explain such a phenomena, given this infinite difference in our degree of understanding with regard to all other scientific questions?  There is no reason to believe so.  We must remain content knowing that such knowledge will never be ours, and this is not due to a technical detail; those have proven ineffectual against man’s ingenuity.

A Stephen Hawking or Carl Sagan may argue that we have made no progress in discovering why the particle X doesn’t move like we predict under force Y either.  But to them I ask: how long have we been pondering this question? 4,000 years or less than 100?  And have we really made no progress whatsoever?  Are there not plenty of reasonable theories that could indeed work?

The existence of the universe is not a new question.  We have always pondered how anything could come into existence, since this fact does not seem coherent.  Philosophers and scientists alike have been doing their best for thousands of years.  Not one inch of progress has been made.  When Richard Dawkins claims “we’re working on it,” you should realize that he is conveniently ignoring the fact that the question, by definition, cannot be answered.

But, for a long time, most people have had an answer to the question of the universe: an uncreated God created it.  An atheist may insist that one cannot claim God can exist by Himself any more than one can claim the universe can exist by itself.  He will say that God being by nature uncreated is simply defining away the question.

This is not the case, as any believer must eventually proclaim “I don’t know how God can simply exist.  I don’t know how He can be uncreated, and I could not possibly ever understand.” This response is perfectly acceptable with regard to God (the argument against Him by atheists that reference His inherent intangibility allow for it), but this is the one response that science, does not have the authority to give.  Nothing that pertains to the physical could possibly be inherently unknowable.   Though some areas remain to be discovered, there is no room for mystery in mechanics.  Without God, “it is unknowable” is simultaneously the only possible response to the universe’s creation, and the only impossible response.  This paradox then can only be solved by the introduction of a non-, or super- natural element, or in other words, God.

The only possible avenue left to escape the conclusion from this line of reasoning being “God exists,” is to say that the universe was not created; it simply always existed.  One event was preceded by another, ad infinitum.  While this violates the logical necessity for all physical things to have a cause, it also violates something less abstract: The Second Law of Thermodynamics.  This law, referred to often as the most fundamental law of all science, guarantees a finite period of existence for the universe.  It tells us that every single physical thing that can possibly happen increases a quantity called entropy.   Entropy can be thought of as disorder or energy dissipation.  As it is always inescapably increasing, it eventually leads to a complete heat death of the universe; a state where nothing else can ever happen since there is no more energy. Essentially an eternal void of darkness and nothingness.  This same fact should also shatter any new age style hopes of an afterlife as an “energy form” or “life force.”  (The incoherent blend of science and spirituality that creates such views, which causes only confusion without any understanding or true enlightenment, is often seen preached in one form or another by people, organizations, and publications like Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, A Course in Miracles, The Law of Attraction, The Secret, etc.  They speak of things like quantum mechanics  and particle vibrations to give the guise of science, but only instill extremely dangerous philosophies.)

Free will is a reflection of God’s ability to create the universe; to make and fill space and time.  A choice is, for similar reasons as the universe’s existence, unable to be explained with science. It is something from nothing, the ultimate paradox.  Freedom in this context means only “lawlessness.” A lack of a cause and effect relationship. Motion without mechanics. A completely unscientific process.  It is inherently impossible from an atheistic mindset.  All of us make a multitude of these truly free choices every day, yet it is the very existence of these that the atheist must argue against more than anything.   Will you believe him when he tells you that your free will is an illusion (this is implicit in all atheism)?  Does the best use of your intellect really guide you to the conclusion that your entire life is nothing but the meaningless fruition of an empty equation?

The Ideal Machine

This argument is not alone an attack on atheism; but the reaction that it should and likely will provoke in every human being, atheists included, is what supports the case for God.  It is a similar dilemma that confronts Neo (Keauna Reeves) in “The Matrix” and reflects earlier philosophical questions asked in ancient Greece.  Under atheism, all pleasure and happiness is nothing but a chemical reaction of some sort.  This means that a machine could theoretically be developed that would keep you in a state of perfect happiness for your entire life.  You would be suspended in a vat of gel, achieving nothing, but you would be achieving the true ultimate good in the eyes of the atheist, who can only gauge this by pleasure and pain, happiness and suffering. An atheist may insist that this machine would not be the same, that it couldn’t replicate the feelings that real achievement gives.  But that is not what we are dealing with.  We are dealing with a perfect machine; one that could indeed replicate any feeling (to the atheist all feelings are physical, so this is perfectly possible), and if any certain feeling somehow required a certain type of experience to cause; then this machine could convince you of the false reality of such an experience.

Do you hook up to this machine?  The philosophy that has no God compels you to.  I hope you would not hook up to it, but that behavior only has any merit whatsoever if reality has some purpose.  Such purpose, a simply physical world cannot give.

There is one more response that an atheist could give; that hooking up to the machine would render one useless in helping others better their own pleasure to pain ratio.  This type of altruism cannot be justified under atheism, and I will go further on that in the following section.

Missionary Atheism

There are many intelligent atheists who travel the world on a mission to convert,  and more still who  put themselves and their own comfort on the line for the sake of their atheism.  They boldly proclaim their reason for doing so as fulfilling the need to spread truth.   Under theistic beliefs, selflessly spreading truth is indeed a noble undertaking; it helps souls reach their eternal home and brings peace in the meantime.  But what does an atheist gain from doing so?  To him, the pursuit of good is defined by whatever appears to be the most effective means of bettering the pleasure to pain ratio.  Campaigning for a cause absolutely will not achieve this end.  He may insist that it will; that once his views are accepted and their implications put to practice, his own life will reap the benefits of this superior view.  But if evidence is of the utmost importance to the atheist, he will look at it and realize that this is not so. Those who really work for change never live in the aftermath of the change long enough to be compensated for the blood, sweat, and tears that it required.  Martin Luther King died while still living in racism.  Even Jesus died far before Christianity became common.  C.S. Lewis, the enormously intelligent pre eminent Christian apologist of the twentieth century, died in old age under increasing modernism, after fighting it for almost all his adult life.  The atheist’s views demand that he live a quietly hedonistic life, while outwardly conforming to the crowd almost no matter what.

The atheist may, though not using these words, compare his desires to those of an ant’s evolutionary pre-programmed selflessness, or herd instinct, for the colony; but does he really believe that his wit lies on the same level as the ant’s?  Does he not have the power of will by virtue of reason and intellect to overcome such an irrational urge (for it is not truly self-interested), and instead pursue what the pretenses of his beliefs define as happiness?  For as we can most definitively deem, the ant himself would be better off not fighting the colony’s enemy to the death; he does so for the sake of the colony.  Considering only his own welfare, this ant should at least wander off and live a few more minutes of his life instead of facing a hostile insect that will certainly kill him, but the advance of whom he could slow by fighting to the death. Man may not claim “we reason this way because of evolution.”  Quite the contrary, it is evolution that is this way because of our reason; it can theoretically explain instinctual urges, but not mindful decisions. Such decisions must be independently justified, for they are the very things that allow for consideration of the theory of evolution.  An intellectually honest atheist would realize that his views say the colony doesn’t matter; only he does.  This honest atheist must plan out his life as such:

Gain a skill that has a high probability of awarding consistent employment in a job as easy as possible, or move somewhere with large government welfare.  Eat for pleasure and do not exercise to pain.  Get a good health insurance plan so that if this causes a health problem, you can afford plenty of painkillers.  Buy a great cable subscription and the latest videogames so you have a pleasurable and effortless way to spend your time.  Have few or no children to avoid work that does not directly benefit you.  Swallow up all the anti depressants you can find to silence your conscience if it starts punishing you for achieving nothing.  This is what atheism in practice truly is, and it is tragically rampant.  Those who champion atheism may not realize it is precisely that which has allowed so many to sink to this level; but they must realize that if they deviate significantly from such a lifestyle, they are preaching the existence of God with their actions.  G.K. Chesterton summarized this perfectly when he said, in Orthodoxy, “to preach egoism is to practice altruism.”

Many atheists will strongly argue against pain and pleasure being the basis of their morality, but their beliefs remove the authority to do so.  Either there is just our human perception, or there is more.  If the former (which must be the view of the atheist, as saying there is more than that is nothing other than attesting to the existence of the supernatural); what meaning could any choice possibly carry except its capacity to make this perception (which is the only thing of importance to an atheist) positive or negative?  No meaning.  Boil down any atheist’s theory on morality and you will arrive at pleasure and pain, or positive perception and negative perception.  But if more than our own perception exists, which is the believer’s wager, there is room for something other than mere pleasure in the construction of morality.  Indeed if an eternally unchanging and perfect God created our very perception and the universe in which it resides, then and only then would it be logically sound to attribute inherent meaning to His commandments, which are implicit to His nature and would harmonize with His creation due to His perfection.  Then and only then could a choice be guided by any ultimate goal other than pleasure.

The final retort of the atheist is that even if pain and pleasure is the only basis of his morality; he will still work to eliminate the belief in God of others, despite doing so not increasing his own pleasure most effectively, because this at least can work to increase the pleasure of the converts he wins.  The problem with this is that his beliefs do not even justify altruism.  The only pain he cannot escape is his own; the only pleasure he can pursue is that which is won for himself.  The only perception he can even suppose exists is the one he experiences.  Other humans cannot be anything to him except means for advancing his own pleasure; for their pleasure is inaccessible to him by any stretch of the imagination.  It makes quite a bit of sense for the atheist to refrain from stealing his friend’s belongings (at least when he thinks he may get caught), but an entirely altruistic act like donating to charity and telling no one is unjustifiable, just as is spreading his version of truth solely for the sake of his audience.  One who believes in God can see all humanity as His children, created with equal dignity and inherent meaning due to the inherent worth of their perfect Creator who thought their existence good, and therefore worth charity.  One without such belief can only be certain of himself.  You must be quietly careful of accepting, in your mind, the altruism claim of atheists.  Ponder whether that is truly what they see as the foundation of their beliefs, or a transparent façade.  Always refrain from judging, but do not feel compelled give equal credit to the one with love in his eyes and the one whose language is dripping with sarcasm and whose demeanor reeks of hatred and anger.   I certainly have found the latter to be the case with more than a few missionary atheists, and fewer than most missionary theists.

The Impossible Uniqueness of Jesus

Long has the argument of the tri-dilemma of Jesus been used, and rightly so. It points out that only a few opinions of Jesus stand even a basic test of reason: that He was a liar, a lunatic, or the Son of God at whose feet we must kneel.   Some attempt to wiggle out of those options by concocting some grand historical lie, and each year seems to present a different one.  Do know that the history of Jesus as told by the Church is attested by multiple parties of the time, each with different stakes on the issue.  One who denies the life of Jesus must also deny a significant portion of that era’s secular history.  But let us say for the sake of argument that the resurrection of Jesus and His other miracles did not happen.  Let us instead simply focus on the 3 years of proven teaching by Jesus, during which period He gave moral commands of unprecedented clarity, lived a completely selfless and spotless life, while also continually insisting that He was the Son of God, the Word made flesh, and the only path to heaven.  Those who would give Him the credit of a “good teacher” while rejecting His claims to power are confronted with quite a task.  Knowing that humans are all made of the same stuff, and tend towards similarity; a perfectly reasonable expectation would be to find similar people in history.  Other moral teachers who dispensed of impeccable wisdom throughout a spotless life and had the courage to die for it, but also the whole time claiming divine status as the only truth.  Such an inquiry will find none but Jesus Christ.  Even if one insists upon closing his eyes to the mountains of evidence and denying Christ’s resurrection and miracles, he is still confronted with the question of why Jesus is so immeasurably unlike any other who has walked the Earth.  Rational reflection on this question guides towards the conclusion that Jesus was unlike any other in behavior because He truly was, as He claimed, Divine.

A common logical fallacy contributing to a lack of belief in the resurrection is the notion that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Though extraordinary evidence does exist, this is notion is incorrect.  All claims require reasonable evidence.  If one conclusion is more evident and reasonable than the next, it should be believed despite one’s prejudiced (and itself unreasonable and unproven) claim that it is “extraordinary.”  For a friend you know you can trust; it should require no additional proof for you to believe him when he tells you about a 50 car pileup he witnessed than when he tells you about how he was pulled over for speeding.  A father’s plea “Jump!  Just do it! I know I can catch you!”  as his son stands on the edge of an unknown abyss should compel him just as readily as when this father gives the child a glass of milk to drink.  It is natural to forget that if the father is unworthy of trust, he could have far more easily poisoned the milk.  Deciding an ordinary issue based on minimal evidence is more likely to be detrimental if those who put forth the evidence are unworthy of trust than deciding an extraordinary issue based on reasonable evidence is; even though this risk is the very thing that the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” crowd are trying to do away with.  Conversely, in a serial line of reasoning leading to the conviction of a man; each piece of this chain, no matter how seemingly ordinary, must be held up to the same scrutiny as if it was the sole convicting piece.

Faith For Effect

In conversation, a believer might point to the comfort and joy he finds in his faith.  The atheist will usually claim that he will not live a lie for those ends, but as I described in the “Missionary Atheism” section, these are the only ends that he can rationally use to guide his decision making.  This atheist cannot deem a lie wrong and unworthy of his pursuit if it is reasonable to believe that such a pursuit will better his pleasure to pain ratio; honesty is simply a means to this end that, if reasonably deemed an obstruction in one instance, must be abandoned.  Though seeking condolence is by no means the best motivation to seek God (but is far better than not seeking God); atheists should realize that claiming “I cannot believe in God to make me happy because that would be living a lie” makes no sense by their very own philosophy, a philosophy that lacks any instrument to gauge reality except pleasure and pain.

***

Many ask why God could not have just made Himself more clear; one reason is that something directly and immediately obvious to the physical senses, testable and verifiable, cannot be loved deeply.  How many people would die to spread Newton’s Laws?  No sane man.  What father would spoil his son with a constant shower of expensive toys aimed at winning the son’s affection by proving the father’s love?  No sane father, for he would know that the love developed would be both shallow and fleeting, and the child would inevitably grow to despise the father.   But fueled by the blood of the martyrs, Christianity managed to explode from very few adherents at the time of Christ’s death to many millions a few centuries later, and now claims followers from all the ends of the Earth, One-third of all people, unlike any other force in history.  This happened because of love, for Christ said “By your love they shall know you.” Science is wonderful; but it allows for no true love.  And truly there can be no love for an atheist, only neuron firings. No music, only noise. No beauty, only varying light wavelengths. Would you allow your eye to command your nose to deny an aroma?  Neither then should you allow the tempests of your mind to insist the heart deny what it knows to be true; music, beauty, love…and the source of all these, God.

***

Act on this reason

God certainly exists.  Let us take heed of this reality by doing our best to align ourselves with Him.  This means an honest and open hearted attempt to find His truth, regardless of what demands it puts upon us, and what our previous, misguided opinions already dictate as “their” truth.  Do not make the mistake of some by conjuring up your own personal religion.  Describing God truly is the most difficult task humanity is faced with, and thinking that one can surmount such an obstacle alone, disregarding what has been found by the tradition of thousands of years of the greatest minds this World has ever seen, is the height of misplaced wishful thinking.  You are far better off locking away your math textbook and attempting to define all of calculus, number theory, and linear algebra without help.

Do not delay. Nothing can be more important than conformity to God.  No argument or circumstance can ever justify apathy or agnosticism in this realm.  If you believe in God you likely believe in heaven, and given heaven’s existence, what is the purpose of this world?  God does nothing superfluously, but if this world were for its own enjoyment, it would be precisely that.  Know then that this world, this life, is not at all for its own sake.  It is for determining our placement in the next.   Make a thoughtful decision but also know that sitting on the fence only allows either yard’s dog to bite you.  This is not something to ever be put on the back burner, no matter how busy you are.  Each breath you now exhale is one step closer to your inevitable death.  Some mock the use of fear as a motivator, but this is reality; let it sink in.

So find a Church.  This is a difficult part of your spiritual life and you will be constantly under pressures to make the wrong choice.  Avoid those who say you are your own personal savior; you are imperfect and your savior is not.  Avoid the ideologies that gain followers by appealing to the desires of your flesh; your body will be temporarily appeased but your soul will cry out. Seek the faith given to us by the most righteous founder; it is this person more than anything that defines a religion.  Seek a church that is not fickle in its doctrine and does not bend to meet the times; for right and wrong are of God and therefore perfect and above time, unaffected by the opinions of the mob. I will not hide that this advice guides you towards Catholicism, but still listen to what each side has to say, and dismiss nothing until testing it thoroughly; single out all selfish desires and seek out what gives your heart peace.  While you are doing this, at least follow the rules common to most religions.  Pray.  Do not steal, cheat, lust, or concern yourself with possessions; even if you can find ways to justify these behaviors in your own mind.  When you have found your religion, follow it in full, without essentially creating your own personal religion by dismissing those doctrines you dislike.  Respect the authority of your Church; regard it as the soldier does the officer, not as the inmate does the jailer or as the commander does his advisors.

Seek and you will find.