Take a look at this clump of cells!

This is Benson, born premature at 22 weeks — before the age of viability. Doctors never expected him to live, and they generally do not save babies this small, but they made an exception…

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Click on the image to launch the video

The Trolley Problem

There’s been a lot of talk on Social Media about “The Trolley Problem”, as though this somehow defeats the pro-life position. Here is a great response from Catholic Answers:

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Leaving Westboro Baptist Church

A few years ago I became fascinated by the Westboro Baptist Church, the media-savvy Christian group who picket the funerals of US soldiers, and who seem to delight in telling everyone that they’re going to hell.

Since the time when this group first came on my radar, I have been aware that several members of the family at the centre of the organization have since left the church. Below is a video of Megan Phelps-Roper, talking about how she came to leave. I think it’s really instructive watching, particularly for those of us who all too easily write off someone as incapable of change and a lost cause…

Mere Christianity – Book IV – Chapter 11 (“The New Men”)

Clive

Book-4

At last we come to the final chapter of “Mere Christianity” completing my notes for the book.

1. Christ came to transform

“…Christ’s work…is not mere improvement but Transformation. The nearest parallel to it in the world of nature is to be found in the remarkable transformations we can make in insects by applying certain rays to them. Some people think this is how Evolution worked”

(a) We are used to transformation through evolution

“…Everyone now knows about Evolution (though, of course, some educated people disbelieve it): everyone has been told that man has evolved from lower types of life. Consequently, people often wonder ‘What is the next step? When is the thing beyond man going to appear?'”

(b) People have constantly been incorrectly predicting the next step

“…I cannot help thinking that the Next Step will be really new; it will go off in a direction you could never have dreamed of. It would hardly be worth calling a New Step unless it did. I should expect not merely difference but a new kind of difference. I should expect not merely change but a new method of producing the change…. And finally, I should not be surprised if, when the thing happened, very few people noticed that it was happening”

(c) The Next Step is here

“Now, if you care to talk in these terms, the Christian view is precisely that the Next Step has already appeared. And it is really new. It is not a change from brainy men to brainier men: it is a change that goes off in a totally different direction – a change from being creatures of God to being sons of God. The first instance appeared in Palestine two thousand years ago”

This step has some differences in relation to the past…

“And in fact this New Step differs from all previous ones not only in coming from outside nature but in several other ways as well”

Read more

Mere Christianity – Book IV – Chapter 10 (“Nice People Or New Men?”)

Clive

Book-4

Picking back up my notes for C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”…

1. If Christianity is true, why are all Christians not obviously nicer than all non-Christians?

(a) Part of this question is very reasonable

“If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions… I think we must suspect that his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary…”

(i) Jesus told us to judge by results

“Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in ‘religion’ mean nothing unless they make our actual behaviour better; just as in an illness ‘feeling better’ is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up… Christ told us to judge by results”

(ii) When we fail to live up to our calling, we make Christianity harder to believe for others

“When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world… Our careless lives set the outer world talking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself”

(b) Part of this question is very unreasonable

But there is another way of demanding results in which the outer world may be quite illogical…. they should see the whole world neatly divided into two camps -Christian and non-Christian – and that all the people in the first camp at any given moment should be obviously nicer than all the people in the second.

There are several flaws with this kind of thinking…

Read more

The Eagle and Child: S1E6 – “What lies behind the Law”

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

Our penultimate chapter of Book I of “Mere Christianity” is Chapter 4 and is entitled “What lies behind the Law”. In this episode, Jack digs into the consequences of the Moral Law and, in particular, what we can know about the universe in which we live.

Unfortunately, there were some small issues in this episode with my microphone, a bit of a crackle, but hopefully I’ll have it sorted out by the next time Matt and I record agin.

If you enjoy this episode, you can subscribe using iTunes or Google Play. As always, if you have any objections, comments or questions, please send us an email through my website or tweet us @pintswithjack.

Episode 6: “What lies behind the Law” (Download)

 

— Show Notes —

* My outline for the Chapter 4 is available here.

* Jack divides the worldviews concerning the universe into two categories (and later three):

1. The materialist view
2. The religious view

* When we were speaking about the breathtaking sequence of coincidences necessary for life to exist, I referenced a video produced by the Unbelievable radio host, Justin Brierley.

* We mentioned the Big Bang Theory which was put forward by scientist and Catholic priest Georges Lemaitre.

* I briefly referenced the Kalam Cosmological Argument which, when expressed as a syllogism, is as follows:

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause;
2. The universe began to exist;
3. Therefore: The universe has a cause.

The conclusion of this argument is that if time, space and matter came into existence at the beginning, the cause of the universe must be timeless, spaceless and immaterial. Sound familiar?

* We referenced some other proofs for God, such as the Five Ways of St. Thomas Aquinas. For a wonderful presentation on these and some of the other proofs for God, I’d recommend this recording of a talk given by Professor Peter Kreeft, as well as the recently-released book by the philosopher Edward Faser called “Five Proofs of the existence of God”.

* Matt spoke about “Why we’re Catholic”, a book by Trent Horn, which he recently received from a generous podcast cohost!

* Matt talks about his interaction with famous Atheist, Richard Dawkins, who wrote “The God Delusion”. That discussion referenced Lawrence Krauss and his book “A Universe from Nothing”. In response to this, I mentioned a rather funny moment on a TV show where Richard Dawkins was a guest along with Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney.

* We discussed “scientism”, the popular idea that all knowledge must be reduced to scientific knowledge and that other sources of truth, such as philosophy, must be discarded. One of the main problems with this view is that this is not scientific! It’s a philosophical claim! Additionally, science is based on an number of axioms which cannot be proved by science and must simply be assumed:

1. A world outside our minds must exist
2. We must be able to attain true knowledge of this world
3. Logic must be operable
4. Our sense must give us trustworthy data
5. Nature must be orderly and constant

* The two proponents of “Life-Force Philosophy” mentioned were the playwright George Bernard Shaw and the philosopher Henri Bergson. George Bernard Shaw was a great supporter of Eugenics and here is a a brief video clip of him espousing his rather disturbing views.

* Rejoice, there is a C.S. Lewis Doodle this week!

When Devin and Doug came to town…

CAC

Last month was the Catholic Answers Conference here in San Diego. It was a weekend full of great talks from guest speakers and the Catholic Answers apologists.

However, the real highlight for me was meeting in the flesh two guys with whom I have corresponded for some time, but never actually met in the flesh. These two Catholic Titans were Devin Rose and Douglas Beaumont, both of whom should be familiar to regular readers of this blog as I share their articles often. As a bonus, I also got to meet Matt Nelson!

If you’d like to get a better sense of what it was like at the conference, Devin authored a piece on his conference-going experience:

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