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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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Sola Scriptura and the Empty Tomb

Workshop of Daniel Chorny and Andrey Rublev, Icon of the Women at the Grave (1420s)
Was sola Scriptura true during the time of the Apostles?Were the Apostles and the first-century Christians bound to follow Scripture alone? These are the two options. You can claim, despite the clear evidence to the contrary, that the Apostles and early Christians believed in Scripture alone. But doing so both undermines John's faith in the Resurrection and renders the New Testament irrelevant. Or you can concede that the Apostles and early Christians didn't believe in Scripture alone. But then you have to throw out all of the alleged "Scriptural proofs" for sola Scriptura, and concede that it's a post-Apostolic man-made tradition that contradicts the written word of God.

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Biblical Double Standards

Simon Hendricksz, Tobias and the Angel Curing Tobit of Blindness (1630)
If Protestants held every book of the Bible to the standards that they hold the books that they reject, they would end up missing a huge number of their books. And conversely, if they approach the Deuterocanon with the same charitable reading with which they approach (say) Judges, there would be no reason not to include it as part of the Scriptures. We can see that clearly by looking at 5 alleged "Biblical contradictions" in the Deuterocanon.

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What if the Protestant Interpretation of John 6 is Correct?

"And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, And not man for the Sabbath." Mark, II, 27.
Let’s talk about the Bread of Life discourse in John 6:22-70. The Catholic interpretation makes sense, but it's a shocking one. We think that this lengthy passage is about the Eucharist, and that Jesus Christ literally means that we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood in Communion. This teaching, radical to twenty first-century ears, was no less radical to first-century ears, and even many of Jesus’ own disciples stopped following Him upon hearing it. Protestants typically disagree with this interpretation, arguing that Jesus’ commands that we should eat His Flesh and drink His Blood are just metaphors. Often, both sides are so busy debating the credibility of the Catholic interpretation that neither stop to seriously ask, “Does the Protestant interpretation make any sense?” The obvious question is if Jesus is speaking metaphorically, what’s it a metaphor for? What is Jesus actually saying?

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