This is as fundamental as it gets: Why do we believe in God? In this extended Faith Clip, Father Barron delivers rational, logical, and even scientific reasoning for belief in God based on our human desires, the order of the universe, and the intelligibility of our existence.
Okay, yes, Aristotle was a pagan — but you can't blame the guy for living centuries before the birth of Christ. You can, however, give him credit for laying out the basics of a good speech. Basics, Father Damian Ference argues, that every good priest ought to keep in mind — and in practice.
Aristotle was a pagan. He died more than three hundred years before the Incarnation, and so Dante put him in the first circle of hell along with his great teacher, Plato. Yet St. Thomas Aquinas consistently referred to Aristotle as “The Philosopher,” and the Catholic intellectual tradition is steeped in Aristotelian thought. Although Aristotle never once heard a homily, he offers an excellent study of public speaking in his treatise titled Rhetoric, which can tell us a lot about what makes a homily good, or not so good.
According to Aristotle, a good speech – and in our case, a good homily – is built on three pillars:ethos, pathos and logos. So let’s examine each pillar to see what Aristotle is up to.
ETHOS: This first pillar deals with the credibility and the character of the preacher. Do you believe what the preacher is saying? Is he trustworthy? Is he worth listening to? Does he practice what he preaches? Does he have integrity and virtuous character? In other words, is he holy?...
Is Christianity a reasonable religion? With all the head scratching going on over creation theories and humanity's place within them, Word on Fire blog contributor Andrew Law explains Pope Benedict XVI's take, which manages to maintain both science's rationality and God's grace. Looking for some illumination? Read on.
Is the Christian faith reasonable? Can an assent to the claims of revelation be made today with intellectual responsibility, facing the full light of the facts that the natural sciences have afforded us? Can the existence of God be in some way proven?
These types of questions are so commonplace today because they cut to the core of our society’s ongoing crises of faith. It is abundantly clear that for many young (and not so young) people genuinely seeking after the truth, science- particularly evolutionary biology and neuroscience- seems to threaten if not utterly discredit the most fundamental doctrines of Christianity: God's creation of the world, humanity's unique place within it, and the existence of spiritual beings—good and evil—capable of affecting material realities.
For its part, evolutionary theory provides a compelling and elegant account of the organization of biological systems and of the subsequent development of life, a development that to all appearances is quite unguided by any superior intelligence. As a theory, evolution may very well have serious problems, internal contradictions and room for refinement; at the same time, it must be admitted that the various forms of creationism on offer—everything from Biblical literalism to Intelligent Design, each with a different amount of natural selection they allow to have occurred independent of God’s miraculous interventions—have an air of desperation about them. God’s role in the history of creation seems more and more crowded out by the entirely natural processes of biological history, and the responses of many Christians seem to implicitly acknowledge this fact by challenging legitimate conclusions of science or by inserting God into dark areas of empirical inquiry...