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Six Biblical Passages to Revolutionize Your View of Prayer and Heaven

Matthias Gerung, The Triumph of the Lamb / The Fall of Babylon (1532)
Protestants tend to be opposed to praying to the Saints and Angels for two reasons: (1) it's offensive to the dignity of God, since we're going to someone besides Him; or (2) it's a waste of time, since we can go directly to God. This hints at the underlying issue - that Catholics and Protestants tend to think of prayer and Heaven very differently. So the core question ought to be: is the Catholic vision of prayer and Heaven true?

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Answering 6 Arguments Against the “Apocrypha”

Zacharias, woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicles (1493)
Protestant Bibles have seven fewer books than Catholic Bibles. These seven books are called "the Deuterocanon" by Catholics, and "the Apocrypha" by Protestants (although, confusingly, they also use "the Apocrypha" to refer to several other books, ones that are rejected by Catholics and Protestants alike). So what's the basis for the Protestant rejection of these books? Matt Slick, at the popular Protestant website CARM (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry), offers six reasons, each of which turns out to rely upon lies, deceptions, or double standards.

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Suffering and the Sanctity of Life: Why We Don’t See Eye-to-Eye on Abortion and Euthanasia

Jack Kevorkian, Very Still Life (2000)
Is it wrong to take an innocent human life if you can do it without inflicting pain? What about if killing the person reduces the amount of pain that they're in? In the debates about both assisted suicide and abortion, it's common to see two incompatible camps emerge. Despite all of the yelling and nastiness between the two sides, there are people in both camps who are trying to do the right thing. Frequently (not always), the problem is that they've simply got two incompatible moral codes. One side looks at the reduction/cessation of suffering, while the other side is rooted in a view of the inherent sanctity of human life. So who's right, and how can we know?

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3 Surprising Lessons from Jesus’ Weirdest Parable

Hieronymus Bosch, Death and the Miser (detail) (1490)
The weirdest and most troubling of Jesus' parables is almost certainly the parable of the dishonest manager in Luke 16, in which Jesus presents a parable of a manager who, upon being fired, exploits his position to cut deals with his master's clients so that he can try to leverage this into a job with them. Rather than being justly furious, the master *praises him* for his ingenuity. What on earth is going on? Three things to keep in mind with this parable.

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Celebrating the Real St. Francis of Assisi

Nazario Gerardi as St. Francis of Assisi, from the film Francesco, Giullare di Dio
Pope Pius XI, G.K. Chesterton, and Pope Francis have all warned about the danger of a sort of "False Francis of Assisi," of loving a sort of distorted vision of the great Saint of Assisi. The truth is, all of those things that the world (rightly) loves about St. Francis are, in fact, simply the natural result of St. Francis' love of God. If you ignore that root of sanctity, you end up with these false Francises: Francis the Hippie, Francis the Italian Nationalist, Francis the poet, etc. The true Francis is Francis the Lover, which is to say, Francis the Saint.

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But Who Created God?

Cima da Conegliano, God the Father (1517)
A surprisingly common objection raised by atheists against the idea of God is "who created the Creator?" The argument asks, essentially, why theists think that creation needs a Creator, but the Creator doesn't. For example, Lawrence Krauss asks, "the declaration of a First Cause still leaves open the question, 'Who created the creator?' After all, what is the difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one?"

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10 Tips on the Art and Craft of Evangelization

Blaise Pascal
Are you interested in sharing the faith more? Are you worried that you don't know how to answer your co-workers' and friends' questions? 1 Peter 3:15 calls us to "always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame." That's a tall order. Here are ten tips that might help.

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