What percentage of our salvation is our doing, and what percentage of it is God’s doing? This is a common way of approaching the question of salvation, and it’s a driving force for a lot of bad theology. For example, Steven J. Cole claims that Roman Catholicism "teaches that in order to gain enough merit for salvation, we must add our good works to what Christ did on the cross." That's a common misunderstanding: since Catholics believe human cooperation is necessary, that must mean we're reducing God's credit from 100% to something lower, right? And it's ultimately for this reason that Martin Luther and later Protestants (most famously Calvinists) will argue that man’s free will in the realm of salvation is basically an illusion: we provide 0% to salvation. Why? To ensure that God gets 100%.
This afternoon, I gave a talk to the returning teachers at Christ the King on the virtue of study. I made four basic points: 1) Reason is good, and ordered towards God, since all truth is of the Holy Spirit. 2) Therefore, studiousness is a virtue that we ought to practice. 3) This is particularly true of Catholic school teachers, given their unique calling. 4) Studiousness must be rooted in prayer, and should help us to pray better. Here's the text of the full talk:
Is teaching children religion brainwashing? The question was posed at Debate.org, and an astounding 86% of respondents said yes. So why should Christian parents share the Gospel with their children?
If the soul doesn't exist, then the mind is just matter, a sort of sophisticated computer. If that's the case, we'd be lead to the absurd possibility (even likelihood) that the universe doesn't really exist, but is just a computer simulation. Here's why that argument is surprisingly popular right now (even being debated at the American Museum of Natural History), and three reasons where is - and all materialism - goes wrong.
Yesterday marked the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision in which abortion was declared to be a Constitutional right. Here are four sobering realities to consider.
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.
Seth Millstein at Bustle has compiled a list of 11 pro-choice responses to common pro-life arguments. This is my response to his three biggest points: about the life of the unborn child, about whether sex carries with it a responsibility for motherhood, and about whether "rape exceptions" make any sense.
The famous comedian George Carlin was a fervent atheist, and had a particular disdain for Christian prayer. He argued that it was arrogant of us to ask the God of the Universe for anything. He’s got a Divine plan, and then we come along to ask Him for special favors. But Carlin also viewed prayer as either destructive or worthless. After all, God is the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good God of the Universe, and He has a Divine Plan. If our prayers cause Him to change that plan, Carlin reasoned, we’re making things worse. If our prayers don’t cause Him to change His plans, what’s the point?
A popular progressive political argument is that the only truly pro-life choice is to vote Democratic. After all, the argument goes, even if said Democrats are vocally "pro-choice," they're also pro-social net, and the presence of a social net prevents women from feeling like they "need" abortion. During Republican administrations, in contrast. social nets get slashed, pregnant women feel more desperate (and less capable of caring for the children with which they're pregnant), and abortion goes up. It's an interesting theory, but is it true?
One predictive factor in opposition to gay marriage -- and even opposition to homosexuals themselves -- is genetics. Certain people are more naturally averse to homosexuals and homosexual behavior than others. This means that, if it's wrong to oppose homosexuality because certain people are "born that way," then it's even worse to oppose "homophobia," since even more people are "born that way," and the genetic link is stronger.