Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Fr. Alfonse Nazzaro Blog: John 1:35-42 They Followed Jesus

John 1:35-42  They Followed Jesus
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”  The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Most atheists like to think of themselves as “free thinkers”.  They are not.  And my experience has been that the atheists I know are atheists for reasons that have nothing to do with thinking, science or logic.  They might not freely admit it, but in most cases their childhood confirms it and their lifestyle proves it.  Now, don't get me wrong, atheists can be anyone:  priests, bishops and popes.  They can be any "Christian" you know.  Remember:  you cannot judge a book by its cover.
The impact that family life can have on the heart and mind of a young person is humbling.  Most of the atheists I know grew up in a very strict and severe Christian household.  Although they were introduced to the Bible at an early age (and they learned it by heart) they never experienced a loving God’s heart.  And since God is love, is there any wonder why God would not be rejected? 
Where there is no presence of love, there is no presence of God.  God does not reside in hell.
Since we are all creatures of knowledge and experience, is it so hard to believe that if a child saw love coming and going through the back door, they would find it hard to believe that love was real or lasted forever?   Is it so hard to believe that if a young child grew up without a father then they would find it strange calling God “Father”?  Of course not! 
Well, I for one am convinced that there is no such thing as a “free thinker”, for most are slaves of their past. 
Yes, we all fancy ourselves as thinking for ourselves and being “independent minded”, but the truth of the matter is: we are creatures of habit, and we will easily follow something or someone for reasons other than “truth”, “love” and “humility”. 
And if you still don’t believe me, then take a look for a moment at another aspect of the free thinker’s life.  So many of them are diehard members or adherents to various organizations and movements, the only exception being the religious ones (They consider those to be full of zombies).  But who are the brainwashed?  Who are the confused?  Even atheists feel the need to gather together and to support one another.  Even they need to be indoctrinated in seminars (seminaries).  Even they still buy a lottery ticket, while at the same time denying any chance in heaven that God exists. 
What chance is there of winning the Powerball or Mega millions lottery?  One in a billion.  What chance is there of God existing?  Fifty-fifty.[1]  After all, either God exists or He doesn’t.  But if he does and I believe, then I just won the jackpot! 
Maybe the reason why they live for today is the same reason why we go to Church.  You never know.
We are all followers.  We follow people in life as we follow them to our death.  I prefer to follow the Lord every where: in life and to the death. 
We all take chances.  We take chances every day.  I prefer to take my chances with the Lord. 
We all have doubts.  We have our doubts in people.  We decide to trust.  I prefer to give God the benefit of my doubts and to trust in Him. 
We talk to people every day.  We hear them all the time.  And most of the time we just repeat what we already heard.  I prefer to talk to the Lord and listen to His every Word, for not only did He speak like no other, but He spoke directly to me; to my heart and mind. 
The disciples heard what John had said and followed the Lord.   It's not that crazy when you think about it.  We do it all the time.  We do it with others.  
Following Jesus is no different than following others, just better and smarter. 
_______________________________________
1] An Explanation:   Many atheists responded to this assertion in a very negative way.   After all, is there a 50:50 chance that the sun will rise?  Is there a 50:50 chance of having the winning ticket?  Is there a 50:50 chance of having Royal Flush?  No.  No. No.  I never used these examples, except for winning the lottery ticket, and I didn't say the odds were 50:50, so I do know more than some people think when it comes to probability.  Is there a 50:50 chance of God existing?  Yes.  Reason:  Not only are there only two choices to be made but there are only two kinds of arguments that can be made:  those in favor of God and those against God. For every argument that attempts to refute God, a similar argument can be made in favor of God.  It's not the quantity of arguments that make it 50:50! It's the quality of the arguments that make it 50:50.   

44 comments:

  1. Your "explanation" in the footnote makes no sense. Probability has nothing to do with the number of arguments you can tally up on each side of an argument-- the soundness of the assumptions of those arguments (assuming they are valid)determines the probability of the proposition being true. That has nothing to do with the total number of arguments.
    ANY proposition that is either true/false has arguments and counter-arguments that can be made on either side, so there's no unique symmetry here. There are an infinite possible number of deities that one can imagine, and for every conceivable god one can imagine an anti-god that will punish you for everything the original would have rewarded you for, and reward you for everything the original god would have punished you for. Merely being able to imagine something and make arguments is not evidence of existence.

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    1. Father's explanation makes perfect sense, for there are reasonable and qualitative arguments for God that are just as reasonable as those against God (and here I am giving "the arguments against God" some undeserved benefit).

      YOU SAY: There are an infinite possible number of deities that one can imagine...

      I SAY: EXACTLY...that one can imagine. But it seems as though you can't imagine any. Well you don't have to, for there is only one that can imagine others or better yet, create them in His "image."

      YOU SAY: Merely being able to imagine something and make arguments is not evidence of existence.

      I SAY: Again, you're absolutely right..."If one simply imagines it." But if the One reveals himself, well, then, there need not be any imaging required, just reflection and meditation.

      As an atheist, you assume that all arguments in favor of God are baseless. You are a biased individual. For the arguments for/against the Christian God will never be scientific, but rather philosophical and theological.

      No one in their right mind expects to find God under a microscope or telescope, just as no one expects to find the brain matter of an artist in their painting. However, they can expect to find Him in his art and in the meaning and purpose of his artwork. They may even be able to speak to him and study under him, and imitate him.

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    2. "Father's explanation makes perfect sense, for there are reasonable and qualitative arguments for God that are just as reasonable as those against God (and here I am giving "the arguments against God" some undeserved benefit)."

      His argument doesn't make any sense. First, as has been pointed out many, many times, this argument (which IS a reformulation of Pascal's Wager whether or not the author wants to admit it), only tells you whether or not to believe in god, but it doesn't tell you which god is the correct one to believe in. Wouldn't it be ironic if you used this argument to believe that god exists, and then the god that exists is one that would send you to hell for believing that a god exists?

      Second, I'm not a religious scholar, but it seems odd that the Christian god would be ok with you believing in him simply for the sake of playing the odds and not out of a genuine love for Jesus Christ.

      Now, in terms of why the "50/50" argument is just wrong, it doesn't matter whether or not the numbers of arguments for/against the existence of god are equal. What maters is the probability that those arguments are true. Let's say I have a million arguments that claim A is true, but little or no evidence that those arguments are sound. On the other hand, let's say that now I only have one argument that claim A is false, but based on whatever criteria are at hand, there is a 99% probability that the argument is sound. Clearly you are more likely to be correct if you believe that claim A is false.

      Now, you can make the argument that the arguments for gods existence are more likely than the arguments against his existence, but it's just flat out wrong to say that it's a 50/50 chance since the number of arguments is equal

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    3. I usually do not allow comments after 30 days (please see the conditions for leaving a comment). Anyways, I am more than happy to answer your objections. I will start from the bottom up.

      YOU SAID: "Now, you can make the argument that the arguments for gods existence are more likely than the arguments against his existence, but it's just flat out wrong to say that it's a 50/50 chance since the number of arguments is equal"

      I SAY: You're absolutely correct. It's nonsense to make a legitimate argument based on the number of arguments. That's why I didn't make such an argument. This is what I said at the very bottom of my meditation:

      "For every argument that an atheist makes against God, the same argument may be made in favor of God (or shown to be irrelevant or erroneous); for every argument that appears to deny God, a similar argument can be made in favor of God."

      This is a qualitative statement, not a quantitative statement. Who cares how many arguments you make in favor or against something. It is the quality of the argument tha matters, not the quantity.

      I have yet to see an argument that an atheist has made that cannot be either refuted or rejected by a superior argument.

      YOU SAID: "Second, I'm not a religious scholar, but it seems odd that the Christian god would be ok with you believing in him simply for the sake of playing the odds and not out of a genuine love for Jesus Christ."

      I SAY: Thank you for admitting that you are not a religious scholar. Now what's so odd about a Christian God who would be okay with you believing in him simply for the sake of playing the odds. It's a start. Actually, it's a humble start. The writer Niel Gaiman, an agnostic, (who I am not a big fan of) wrote: "I think we can say that God exists in the DC Universe. I would not stand up and beat the drum for the existence of God in this universe. I don't know, I think there's probably a 50/50 chance. It doesn't really matter to me."

      If God is willing to save the unbeliever (read what the Pope just recently said), then why shouldn't he save the one who is willing to take a chance on him. It's a heck of a lot better than placing our allegiance on the promises made by human leaders, of the promises of success and or power. That's crazy!

      What you find hard to believe is that God could be God; that is, superior to our human standards. What I find incredibly hard to understand is how anyone (without universal knowledge) could slam the door shut so tightly on the notion of God. I can understand agnosticism. I cannot understand atheism.

      SOMEONE WROTE: "Father's explanation makes perfect sense, for there are reasonable and qualitative arguments for God that are just as reasonable as those against God (and here I am giving "the arguments against God" some undeserved benefit)."

      I SAY: Thank you! But this is very confusing...sounds like you understand me one minute and then the next minute you are giving arguments that simply do not accurately represent my meditation.

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    4. Fr. Alfonse, you completely misjudge what atheism is. You think agnosticism is a weak flavor of atheism whereas almost all atheists are agnostic about ALL gods. But agnostic doesn't mean 50/50, it simply means there is no strong evidence for the god hypothesis but no definitive proof that there couldn't be one or many. In that situation one is a functioning atheist, but is agnostic about the possibility of there being gods, simply show the evidence and an atheist becomes a tentative believer.

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  2. Moreover, even if I granted your proposition that there was a 50% probability of God's existence, what does that say about your faith? Catholicism is just one of many monotheistic religions. It's fine if you are Catholic because you like being Catholic, but you sound really stupid railing against atheists when the only thing you have over them is an imaginary coin flip and an arbitrary preference.

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  3. ZT205: "What does that say about your faith?" Just that: Faith. In the Catholic Church no one professes "I know there is one God." what they profess is the following: "I believe in one God, I believe in One Lord...I believe in One holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church." I will even grant to you that some people have the faith the size of a mustard seed. But that's the same as going from Zero to one. It's enormous!

    Everything else you said is simply ideology or insult. You mention multiple gods (it seems to be a favorite among atheists who believe in no god at all). So be it. But you know that a million fake dollar bills proves only one thing: a real one.

    You just confirmed what I have been saying. For every argument made against God, a similiar argument can be made in favor of God. For every argument that appears to refute God, a similiar argument can be made that supports God.

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    1. A million imaginary unicorns doesn't prove a real unicorn, sir.

      You've also ignored his point about the NUMBER of arguments being irrelevant compared to the SOUNDNESS of those arguments.

      Pascal's Wager is a bankrupt road to travel down. The holes in this primitive argument have been pointed out countless times.

      Your experience of atheists as having reasons that are not scientific or logical sounds like a unique one to me. Most of the ones I have experience with are just the opposite. I won't bother to refute your vague accusations about atheists' childhoods and lifestyles. I will just say that it's so easy to attack someone's motives instead of their actual beliefs, as if that invalidated the truth of their opinions. You are clearly an accomplished, respected, and successful person, but I find your arguments childish.

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    2. A million fake one dollar bill doesn't prove a real one, sir? On the contrary, it does.

      For every argument that apparently refutes God, a similar (if not even stronger) argument can support God. Get it?

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    3. ' In the Catholic Church no one professes "I know there is one God." '

      Yet, I would guess that if you started asking people if they "knew" there was a god or not, many would say yes.

      "I will even grant to you that some people have the faith the size of a mustard seed"

      How exactly does the measurement of faith relate to a volume?

      "A million fake one dollar bill doesn't prove a real one, sir? On the contrary, it does"

      Really? How? I could go to some toy manufacturer's warehouse and pull out a million toy lightsabers. By definition, they would be fake because there is no such thing as a real lightsaber. And I'm not talking about real in the sense of "representation of an idea" or "image and likeness,” I am talking something that I can cut through steel plates with or deflect lasers. The real thing. But no such thing exists no matter how many fake ones are made.

      Looking at your post on unicorns on 01/15/13, you make a ridiculous argument about existence. I doubt anyone is going to argue the idea that something can't exist because it isn't "flesh and bone;” that is an argument that you yourself inserted here. Even worse is your statement that plants, rocks, the sky, etc. can’t exist because they are not flesh and bone. (Yes, I know you are not making this claim, but the fact that you are presenting it in such a way to make it seem that someone did is completely absurd.)

      The whole point about unicorns is that if someone says unicorns exist, more than likely they mean a real unicorn; one that I could ride, I could breed to sell as pets, I could take DNA samples to figure out their ancestry, etc. Nobody is going to confuse the existence of the idea of something with the real, physical existence of that same thing (where such a thing can or could physically exist, I’m not talking abstract concepts like “love,” “democracy,” or the number 12). Nobody is dismissing the idea of unicorns, they are dismissing the actual, physical unicorn.

      Now to make the connection to god, when you say god exists, I’m guessing you don’t mean an abstract representation but a “real” thing. If you want to make that claim, fine, but in order to show it is real, you are going to have to start by giving us things that we can strictly define or measure so that we can test this claim to definitively show not only that a god exists, but that it is your god, not one of the several thousand other possibilities. Now before you start saying “Wait, how do you measure love or democracy, aren’t those real?”, I will say that yes they are, but they are abstract, not physical objects. Abstract concepts cannot create a universe, forgive sins, give eternal life, etc. And when you can give us these definitions or properties, we can then see if the chances are actually 50:50.

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    4. A "real lightsaber...one that cuts through steel, etc.." Really? Why does a lightsaber have to cut through steel? Why? And where did you get your definition of a lightsaber? From the movie theatres?? Where did you get your information from? George Lucas??? And you say they don't really exist???

      Try the U.S. Government next time for your source of information and the latest technological demonstration in which a "lightsaber" destroyed a missle.

      Please child...You are out of your league.

      Also...the rest of what you say is meaningless after such a pitiful opening argument.

      But I will say a few things. When you say that someone's argument is not true (the dollar bill example) but then use a different argument to prove your point (a lightsaber), you didn't prove a single thing, except for the fact that for every argument made against God, a similiar argument can be made in his favor. And by the way...you're wrong on both examples as I just mentioned above.

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    5. “ Why does a lightsaber have to cut through steel? Why? And where did you get your definition of a lightsaber? From the movie theatres?? Where did you get your information from? George Lucas??? And you say they don't really exist???”

      Do you often have a difficult time distinguishing reality from fantasy? I am going to assume you are familiar with Star Wars and know what a lightsaber is (or if not, you have the capability to look it up). If I were to ask anyone who has seen the movies, they would probably understand what I was talking about if I mentioned one. Can YOU produce a real one for me? Not a toy. Not a model. A real working lightsaber that does what is portrayed in the movies. Yes, there are toys. Yes, there are models. Yes, there is the idea and/or concept. But you cannot produce a real working physical lightsaber, because NO SUCH THING EXISTS.

      “Try the U.S. Government next time for your source of information and the latest technological demonstration in which a "lightsaber" destroyed a missle.“

      You do realize this is not a real lightsaber, it is a laser. It does not meet the requirements I have asked for. Lasers are real. Many people use them daily. You can go buy a pretty cheap one at Radio Shack.

      Let us move on to something else. Say I am a military contractor. The government has just paid me several trillion dollars to give them a jet fighter that can go Mach 15, pull 20 g’s, is invisible and can turn into a submarine. I give them a drawing on a cocktail napkin in crayon and a model I carved out of a bar of soap. Does that plane exist? According to you it does. According to anyone reasonable, it does not.

      Or perhaps I am a building contractor. You pay me lots of money for a house. I give you the blueprints and say “all done.” There is the house. Houses are real, they exist. The blueprints are real and they even depict your actual house. Does your house exist? Where do you put your stuff? What color are you going to paint it?

      The next one I will leave to you. Please describe something (physical) to me that you know does not exist. Next, all you have to do is make a fake one, and then the real one will suddenly exist.

      “Please child...You are out of your league.”

      If by “out of your league” you mean “not within a group who cannot tell fact from fiction”, then yes I am.

      “Also...the rest of what you say is meaningless after such a pitiful opening argument.”

      Debatable.

      “When you say that someone's argument is not true (the dollar bill example) but then use a different argument to prove your point (a lightsaber), you didn't prove a single thing…”

      It was actually Fr. Alfonse who used a different argument (dollar bills) against someone else’s argument about multiple gods. Are you saying that you can use a different argument to prove something true, but not to prove something false? In any case, we know dollar bills exist, you probably have some. We also know fake dollar bills exist, it is possible (but maybe not probable) that you have one. Does my statement actually prove anything? No, but it does show that the original statement is not always true.

      “…except for the fact that for every argument made against God, a similiar argument can be made in his favor. And by the way...you're wrong on both examples as I just mentioned above.”

      And for every argument against (Shiva, Ra, Dionysus, Baal, etc), a similar argument can be made in their favor. Or do you disagree with this? Now using Father’s argument about a million fakes proving one real, how can you tell which one is real? Doesn’t each have a 50:50 chance?

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    6. You don't get it do you? You are wrong in every possible way.

      1. You've limited your understanding of a lightsaber to your own definition of a lightsaber. Lightsabers do exist and they really work in the movies with special effects. So you are wrong in this aspect.

      2. You are also wrong in assuming that a light sabers do not work outside of movie theatres. a laser is a device that emits light (electromagnetic radiation), and a saber is simply a light beam. And yes, there is a light saber that actually exists that cuts through steel. Look it up.
      So again, even in this aspect. You are wrong.

      3. Finally, you are playing a game that will soon end; that is, one day, we will create a handheld light saber and then what??? What will you say then? That they don't exist? What will you say when we create our first flesh and blood unicorn? What will you say? But the real question will be, what will they say about us? Will they treat us (their creator) like some people treat our Creator?

      Do you say that the toy sabers and stuffed unicorns were not created by man just as you say that light and narwhals were not created by God?

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    7. 1. I have a torch, does that count. (If you insist in diluting the definition of things in this way then what is it about god that mmakes it/him special?)
      2. Plasma cutters are awesome, as are high powered lasers. However, lasers do not stop at a fixed length like light sabres and neither of them can stop energy blasts from going through them. Surely you saw in the movie how sabres blocked both blaster fire and that they sabre beams would not pass each other - good luck getting lasers that won't pass through each other.
      3. Ah, Light Sabre of the gaps. Excellent riposte.

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    8. “Ah, lightsabers of the gaps” I am surprised that you, an atheist, would be taking the position against science. History teaches us that for someone to build their case on what science has not yet been able to do or explain is foolish, for tomorrow it may be able to do it. I am surprised that you, an atheist, would take such a position!

      I on the otherhand do not take such a position: because I am a man of faith in science and in God.

      Unfortunately, like some religions and religious (I include myself as well), inconsistency, incoherency and contradictions continue to plague the atheistic movement as well.

      Anyways…The problem I believe you are having is in your inability to see the correlation between man's created “world” and God’s created world, between what man can take credit for and what man can never take credit for; between stuffed animals and organ-filled animals; between light sabers and light, between the Internet and the Universe, between computers and brains, between actors and creatures, between scenes/acts and days/years, between a stage and soil; between a theatre and a world, between a toaster and fire, between decorations and nature, between drama and life; between created things not knowing who their creator is (stuffed animals, computers and the Internet) and created things able to know who their creator is(man).

      When you read a biology book or a physics book, do you say to yourself: “Look at all we can understand and explain!” or do you say, “Look at all we can do!” Do you understand that “explaining” something and “doing” something are two different things? Do you understand the difference between a brain and thinking? Do you understand the difference between an eye and seeing? Do you understand the difference between material and efficient causes and formal and final causality?

      Do you understand that if you try to explain everything scientifically, you exclude a great deal of knowledge and wisdom, purpose and meaning?

      Do you know understand how YOU reduce the world and man to only what you can see through a microscope or telescope; while philosophers and poets, and musicians, and artists and theologians,etc. are continually expanding it? Do you now see the difference between a black hole and a big bang?
      Do you understand that the only reason why we have stuffed animals is because we are not bright enough to create an organ filled one? Not yet, at least. And when we do, guess what: we will be its creator, correct? Now, will it know that? That's the question!

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    9. I remember a debate I had with an atheist. She said "Life has no purpose". I replied: "But all it's parts do...Right?"

      She thought herself very scientific. But what she was actually doing was philosophizing.

      She wasn't doing a good job with either.

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  4. You're right. The number of arguments is irrelevant. The soundness of them is important. But by saying you're right, I'm simply reiterating what I said above:

    "For every argument that refutes God, a similiar argument can be made in favor of God. For every "proof" that God does not exist, the same "proof" may be used in favor of God's existence."

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  5. Oh, by the way, let's stop picking on these poor unicorns. They always seem to get in the way of such "sound" and "serious" scientific, philosophical or theological arguments.

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  6. I think that you still missed the point of the contention that was being levied against you.

    A 50:50 proposition doesn't simply require there to be two possible outcomes, it requires that the two outcomes are equally likely.

    A good example of this is sports matches. There may only be two teams playing in a given game, and thus two possible outcomes, but the relative likelihood of those outcomes is usually not 50:50.

    Now in the present case there are a few problems in claiming that the existence of a deity is 50:50, the most obvious being that there is not really any way that you can calculate the odds; if you claim that the odds of a deity existing are 50:50 then you're going to have to show your math.

    This goes directly to comments about unicorns, etc. or deities other than your favorite, being 50:50. It is a rhetorical device known as reductio ad absurdum. If the existence of one being, the only evidence for which is non-empirical and literary, is a 50:50 proposition, then the likelihood of existence for all such beings is equally a 50:50 proposition.

    Thus, as one earlier commenter pointed out (the comment is now deleted), since there are literally millions of deities, mythical creatures, etc. that meet these conditions, and each has a 50% chance of being real according to your argument, the logical conclusion is that exactly half of them must exist.

    Thus as you presented Pascal's wager, not only must you believe in the Christian God just in case, you must also follow Islam, Shinto, Norse Gods, Aztec Gods, Mayan Gods, etc. Moreover, since many of the religions are mutually exclusive, and if half of the deities of all the panthea of all the peoples throughout the history of the world exist, then everyone is going to some sort of undesirable afterlife, and there is no point to worshiping any of them.

    I would assume that you understand all of this and the rhetorical device discussed above, but your insistence upon defending this 50:50 assertion you made suggests that either, you don't get this, or you get it but can't admit that you made the mistake because...well I don't know why you wouldn't be able to admit a mistake.

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    1. Drew: I find it almost ridiculously hilarious at how difficult a concept this is for an atheist.

      50:50 Means the following: FOR EVERY ARGUMENT MADE AGAINST GOD, A SIMILIAR ARGUMENT CAN BE MADE IN FAVOR OF GOD. FOR EVERY ARGUMENT THAT APPEARS TO REFUTE GOD, A SIMILIAR ARGUMENT CAN BE MADE TO SUPPORT GOD. Hence 50:50. What is so difficult to understand about this?

      I find it hilarious!

      First of all, it has nothing to do with Pascal's Wager. Nothing. But I think you are someone who learned Pascal's Wager and "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". So, you can stop claiming Pascal's Wager.

      Pascal's Wager is the following: If you have 1:1,000,000,000 chance of winning the lottery and you are willing to play the lottery, then why not play the chance of God??? PERIOD.

      That's it.

      You remind me of an ALPHABATOLOGIST; that is, someone who would say that I am insane for saying "If A = B and B = C, then A = C"

      How can an A equal a C? Well, not exactly...but since we are referring to quantities, then we can say that A represents a quantity. Correct?

      Okay...get out of your box! That is, 50:50 represents ojective and reasonable arguments. There are plenty of highly intelligent people who believe in God and for rational reasons. There are highly intelligent people who do not believe in God for rational reasons. Understand?

      For every rational argument made against God, a similiar argument (if not even more rational) can be made in favor of God.

      Hence, the arguments are equal. What is not equal is the observer and his attitude (or ideology) or so many other factors that play in the mind of a believer or an atheist.

      I hope you finally figure this out. Atheists are looking pretty foolish for not having been able to understand such a simple argument.


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    2. "50:50 Means the following: FOR EVERY ARGUMENT MADE AGAINST GOD, A SIMILIAR ARGUMENT CAN BE MADE IN FAVOR OF GOD. FOR EVERY ARGUMENT THAT APPEARS TO REFUTE GOD, A SIMILIAR ARGUMENT CAN BE MADE TO SUPPORT GOD. Hence 50:50. What is so difficult to understand about this?"

      The difficult part is: this is not what 50:50 means. 50:50 means that two outcomes are equally likely, that is definitional of probability theory. If the above is what you meant when you said 50:50, then you should have written that and not couched it in probabilistic language. For the sake of the rest of my response I'll use this language instead.

      "First of all, it has nothing to do with Pascal's Wager. Nothing. But I think you are someone who learned Pascal's Wager and "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". So, you can stop claiming Pascal's Wager."

      Ok then, when you said "After all, either God exists or He doesn’t. But if he does and I believe, then I just won the jackpot!" which is simply a reformulation of Pascal's wager, you presumably meant something completely different.

      "Pascal's Wager is the following: If you have 1:1,000,000,000 chance of winning the lottery and you are willing to play the lottery, then why not play the chance of God??? PERIOD."

      This is essentially the exact same thing you said in the original article and here you identify it as Pascal's wager, yet in the previous paragraph you said that this post had "nothing to do with Pascal's Wager. Nothing." So which is it?

      I'll go one further (and this is an extension of what I said before), the logical conclusion of the argument you've provided here can only result in atheism.

      1. There exists a probability of a deity's existence which depends upon the abundance of arguments for and against that deity (the logical conclusion of what you claim 50:50 means).
      1a. The lack of ability to test arguments means the same arguments can be made for all deities and be equally sound.
      Therefore,
      2. All deities are equally probable.

      If the chance of a reward justifies belief, then based upon 2, one must believe in all deities.

      3. Many deities will punish you for believing in other deities.
      Therefore,
      4. Belief in all deities may yield punishment.
      5. If one believes in all deities, one may receive a reward or punishment.
      6. 2 therefore benefit and punishment are equally likely

      Conclusion: Believing in all deities is equally likely to yield punishment as it is a reward, so you're no better believing than not, thus the only logical course is to not waste your time. Q.E.D.

      "There are plenty of highly intelligent people who believe in God and for rational reasons. There are highly intelligent people who do not believe in God for rational reasons. Understand?"

      Neither of these were my claim so they're irrelevant, though I'd point out that while there are highly intelligent people who believe they don't seem to do so for rational reasons when asked, look at Francis Collins.

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    3. I should also add to my last response that there are also intelligent (and not so intelligent) people who disbelieve in God for irrational reasons, as well.

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  7. Father: It's not that atheists do not understand you. It's that they don't want to understand you.

    How else can you say it??? It's not that they don't get it. It's that they don't want to get it.

    I was wondering what else you could say. How about this:

    For every "God Delusion" book written by a zoologist (Richard Dawksin), a "Dawkins Delusion" book can be written by a priest with a Doctorate in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford University (Alister McGrath).

    Science is objective, that's not the problem. What is the problem is what you called the "observer" or "the subjective" analyzer who takes the data and interprets it.

    For Dawkins to take an objective scientific fact and make a statement that "God does not exist" makes him a horrible theologian. What reputable scientist can jump disciplines so quickly?

    Fr. Most of the atheists reading this won't even understand what I am saying. It's no use.

    You said it well except for one thing: Pascal's Wager is really about placing the worst possible (imaginable) bet: there is no God. That bet is 100% a losing bet. That's Pascal's biggest point in his wager. The Catholic Church would disagree for they would leave it to the mercy of God, but that was Pascal's point.

    And by the way, he was a mathmetician and a philosopher. That's why atheists don't understand him. He was a genius and a geek. That's another reason why atheists don't understand him.

    I liked the alphabetologist point. Atheists are in a box. They can't seem to put philosophical and scientific points together. They only see things from a very small perspective.

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  8. Why not introduce Drew and ZT205 to Leah Libresco, the young atheist blogger who became a Catholic this past year? Are they going to call her an idiot? Is that the only argument they ever really have? that isn't very scientific.

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  9. Rev. McGrath is a Church of England pastor. He won high honors for his scientific research at Oxford. He also holds a doctorate in theology. He has been in debates with Richard Dawkins and considers Mr. Dawkins to be highly ignorant of Christian belief.

    Have you noticed how the "superstar" atheists have only one degree (if they have any at all) while the one's they debate have a scientific and a philosophical or theological degree? They want to debate God without having a single theological degree (from a reputable college)! That's the problem! How can you debate against God without even knowing God??? How can you debate anything without knowing anything?

    Isn't that interesting. The box! The little box of a little bit of knowledge.

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  10. As someone just passing by I am laughing at the sheer ignorance of your comments Alfonse. Why don't you show your post and comments to a Catholic mathematician and see what he or she has to say about your understanding (or lack thereof).

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    1. I actually did. And he has a PhD in Mathematics. And he loved it. But it's not necessary to have a PhD in Math to understand the argument that is being made since it is not a mathematical argument but rather a rational argument. What I did was borrow a mathematical formulation(50:50) and used it to express a rational statement: "for every argument made against God, the same argument (or similiar) can be made in favor of God..."

      Think of it like this. It is very common for mathematicians to borrow letters from the greek alphabet to compose mathematical expressions. No one would ever think that they were trying to say something in greek.

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  11. Father: Why hasn't a single atheist answered the question you indirectly asked: Why do atheists play the lottery? That's the question I would like them to answer. Doesn't it go against their creed?

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    1. Could you please tell us exactly what this "atheist creed" is and how playing the lottery would go aginst it?

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  12. I noticed Drew made some very logical comments on Jan. 15th and Alfonse hasn't responded to him yet.

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  13. Who is "Alfonse"? If you are referring to Fr. Alfonse, then you should use proper titles. Even secular newspapers and media refer to priests as Rev. or Fr. When they do so, it doesn't make them biased. It makes them civil.

    1. The problem with Drew's arguments are his assumptions. Take for example his first assumption: "The lack of ability to test arguments means the same arguments can be made for all deities and be equally sound.
    Therefore, 2. All deities are equally probable."

    What Drew just did is demonstrate his lack of comprehension with regards to the argument presented in the blog.

    Fr. Alfonse argued 50:50 with regards to the quality (not quantity) of arguments made for and against the existence of God. What Drew is attempting to do is manipulate the argument by turning it into an argument for and against a particular God. Understand the difference?

    To which I am more than happy to respond in the following way:

    Who said that these types of arguments cannot be tested? Philosophically they can be tested. Theologically they can be tested. Archeologically they may even be tested. And, in certain cases, scientifically they can be tested.

    I would also like to add the following. If Drew's logic were correct, then the same argument can be made regarding scientific theories in which experimentation and observation are impossible(such as moments prior to the BIG BANG of the Universe, life on other planets, and pre-historic man (to name just a few)). Now since most of these theories cannot be verified or confirmed experimentally or visually, would Drew then argue that all theories are the same?

    In religion, we start with a hodge-podge of various religions. There are some things in common with many, if not all, religions. Then there are some things that are significantly different. The mistake that atheists make routinely is that they immediately consider all religions to be equally fabricated and superstitious, without even considering any of them to be factual and true.

    What the religious person does is examine each one. What the atheist does is dismiss them all.

    Now to study a religion doesn't take a lifetime. It simply takes some time and a desire to know the truth.

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    1. (Different Anonymous than above, it's hard to keep all of us straight.)

      "What Drew just did is demonstrate his lack of comprehension with regards to the argument presented in the blog. Fr. Alfonse argued 50:50 with regards to the quality (not quantity) of arguments made for and against the existence of God. "

      No, Father Alfonse said nothing about the quality of the arguments. All he said was for every argument for (or against) god, a similar argument can be made against (or for) god. Nothing is stated about the validity of any argument. That is why his whole 50:50 idea fails. I can just as easily say the exact same thing about anything; Quetzalcoatl, Arawn or (gasp!) unicorns.

      Now let's look at something where the quality of arguments is readily apparent (just as an example); evolution. Proponents of Intelligent Design or Creationism will say that for every argument you can make for evolution, a similar argument can be made against it. But when you look at the actual arguments made, evolution is a thoroughly tested, observable, highly scientific theory, whereas ID is a complete joke. Now the way Fr. Alfonse has it stated, there is a 50:50 chance either one is right. Would you agree with Fr. or would you go with the vast majority of scientists and say evolutionary theory is MUCH MUCH more probable?

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    2. (continued)

      "What the religious person does is examine each one. What the atheist does is dismiss them all."

      Really? How many religious people have examined each one; 20 something major religions and countless minor ones? And on top of that each denomination of Christianity (I've seen numbers ranging from 20,000-40,000 different denominations). How many religious people are of a certain faith simply because of where they live or what their parents are? Would Fr. still be a priest if he had grown up in India with Hindu parents? Now I will not argue that there are not people who have searched, but I doubt their numbers are significant.

      As an atheist (and I can only speak for myself), I will admit that I have not studied each of them, but I still have dismissed them all. In my own religious upbringing, I realized there were some claims that simply were not possible or made no sense no matter how I looked at them or they were explained to me. From there, I found other religions were making similar, unprovable, untestable claims. I did not need to go through every single one to know that if it was making an untestable, supernatural claim, there was no way I could make myself believe it. To state it simply, I do not need to search every garden to dismiss someone who claims "faeries make flowers grow." Checking a few (if any in this case) is enough to know their claims are false.

      "Now to study a religion doesn't take a lifetime. It simply takes some time and a desire to know the truth"

      How much time is enough? Was my 20+ years not enough? Not enough desire? Do I just need to keep going until I believe what you do? What about all those other people with a similar desire for truth who have found it in their religion? Why is their truth wrong?

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    3. You say that Fr. Alfonse did not make mention that these arguments are qualitative but quantitative. So what does "erroneous" and "irrelevant" mean? Are these quantitative measures or qualitative measures?

      "What about all those other people with a similar desire for truth who have found it in their religion?"

      Truth is not subjective. Truth is objective. I would never take away the good intentions of others and their desire to know the truth. But I would not call every good intention truth.

      What would I say? Keep looking. What's 20 years compared to eternity?

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    4. "No, Father Alfonse said nothing about the quality of the arguments. All he said was for every argument for (or against) god, a similar argument can be made against (or for) god. Nothing is stated about the validity of any argument. That is why his whole 50:50 idea fails. I can just as easily say the exact same thing about anything; Quetzalcoatl, Arawn or (gasp!) unicorns."

      Read the blog again. It was clarified a couple of days after it was written for people just like you: atheists and those who wish to shred an argument with the thinnest of threads.

      Now, to your argument:

      Your confusing "discovering" God with "imagining" God. You are doing so by criss-crossing worlds with words. It's like attempting to write music with an x-y axis or a curve on staff paper (i.e. music paper).

      Now, to make it clearer for you.

      You add God to the list of man's creations. By doing so you criss-cross worlds: man's world with God's world. If you wish to say that unicorns do not exist, then you might as well say that man does not exist, for unicorns as well as the Internet and the computer are evidence of a world created by man. Of course, you could confuse the "evolution" of the computer with survival of the fittest, correct? And therefore, write it off as simply a blind and random process. But the evidence points to the contrary.

      If you try to write off God, then you might as well right off the Universe, the narwhals, and humans, for although we may be able to explain these things that exist, we can't take any credit for them.

      Your arguments are confusing because your arguments are not very well structured or logical to say the least.

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  14. Let's see... on one hand : The lottery, other hand : proof of God...hmmmm. I don't get it at all. lottery = another word used for game or gambling. God = another word used for love. just don't understand the comparisons or similarilites at all!

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  15. Why not try...

    on one hand: The lottery, other hand: belief in God.

    Both offer a chance of winning a big prize.

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    1. but I had the biggest prize GOD always even before birth :) didn't even have to gamble :)

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  16. Wow, you atheists are wearing me out. Pounding your point over and over again and again. How about you good old boys go play somewhere else with your disrespectful attitudes. Father Alfonse had dedicated his life 100% to his devotion, always for the good of his brothers and sisters in Christ. Why are you bashing and hating on him? No I take the question back, as I do not want to encourage more venting on your part. Perhaps you like to stir the pot and keep it going, lets agree to disagree. But be respectful in the process, please.

    I hope in your lifetime you receive a miracle or witness a miracle from God. So you can know what I know, which is Our Heavenly Father is real. I have been blessed with two absolute miracles during the last 4 months of my husbands life. Now I have believed in the Lord all of my adult life, so I guess The Lord didn't have to give me the gift of these miracles but he did and I am eternally grateful for them. I wish I could tell you about them in person, because writing about them just doesn't do justice to what happened. Nor does it allow the reader a opportunity of hearing it with their own ears, or see that the emotion it invokes in me is real and not some made up piece of fiction.

    I will pray that every atheist discovers the Lord and invites the Lord into their lives. God bless you all...

    God bless you Father Alfonse, and may our Heavenly Father continue to inspire you with wisdom for all of your days.

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  17. Sorry Christina, you didn't actually take the question back. You posted it. So here's your answer. And I'll ignore the utter lack of respect for atheists that Fr. Alfonse demonstrated in his initial post, and simply give you the broader answer: Religion and those who serve it are not automatically entitled to respect, any more than anyone who espouses any other belief. Respect is always earned, and you don't earn it simply by saying you believe in the supernatural. Al also has the additional handicap of being a Catholic, a sect which has a tremendous amount of horrific deeds to answer for, but refuses to do so, making anyone intimately associated with it even LESS worthy of respect.
    Miracles, huh? They couldn't POSSIBLY have been coincidences, long shots that paid off, or have any other explanation not requiring a supernatural being? Whatever. You won't be convinced otherwise by anyone because it's become critical to your worldview to believe they were miracles. But just because your emotional reaction to whatever these occurrences was is real, that doesn't in any way help confirm that they were miraculous. People have emotional responses to the imaginary all the time.

    Finally, if you're going to waste your limited time praying, and praying about atheists, pray to your god to make himself known in a completely unmistakable, inarguable fashion worldwide. Pray for genuine evidence. That will do nicely. No more atheists. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

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  18. Anonymous writes: "Respect is always earned."

    My answer: To an atheist, respect is always earned. That is why they live in vicious circle: "you scratch my back, I scratch yours" or even better, "You love me, I love you." That is why an atheist can never be depended upon to bring peace to earth. Why? Because the other must deserve it first.

    How is it that you have never thought carefully about what you believe in?

    You say that in Fr's first post that he lacked respect. Can you blame him? According to you, they should have earned his respect, right???

    But of course, you contradict yourself only when it is convenient for you. Typical...of an atheist, who is a living, breathing and walking contradiction.

    You say God should make himself known in a completely unmistakable, inarguable fashion worldwide.

    And then??? what would happen??? Did you ever think of that? Would you love Him because He is powerful or would love Him because He is good? Would you obey him out of fear or would you obey Him out of love?

    Is it possible that you have never asked yourself these questions??? Is it possible??? That would do nicely. It would help you to think about what you are saying. No wonder why so many parents are utterly surprised and shocked when their children leave their nest and go off to College and become crazy partiers! Is it because mommy and daddy are no longer behind them? Is it at that moment that the truth comes out?

    Oh my goodness...you haven't thought about this???

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    1. If I have understood correctly, what I believe the good atheist is saying is that God has failed to impress him/her. And that would be consistent with a society today that refuses to take blame for themselves and prefers to blame others for their failures.

      But mayby God refuses to do what the good atheist recommends. Maybe God is not about being on the big stage. Maybe he prefers the barn and manger. Maybe he isn't interested in a throne on earth but a cross instead. Maybe he doesn't want to be seen by all and all at once. Maybe he prefers to come to us, one by one.

      For too many atheists, even Pope Francis has failed to impress them. They say his humility is false, his love is deceptive and his honesty is "too little to late."

      The question is: Who has failed to impress? Who has failed to comprehend?

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  19. Does an artist need to stand in front of his paiting to prove he painted it? Does he need to paint it in front of the entire world to prove he did it? Does he need to repaint it every day to prove He did it? Of course not, but you say that God needs to stand in front of us, rise from the dead in front of all of us and come back over and over again to remind all of us.

    It's clear from the number of people who believe in Him that He doesn't have to.

    That's not the reason why you don't believe in Him, anonymous. Otherwise no one would, right? And please, don't insult us, like so many atheists do, and say it's because we are stupid or ignorant.

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  20. "Does an artist need to stand in front of his painting to prove he painted it?"

    Artists normally leave a signature so we know who painted it. That way we don't go around thinking it was someone else. Where's the signature that shows Jesus (or His Father) was the creator? Why not Allah, Atum, Ptah, or any of the thousands of other gods people have claimed were the creator of the world/universe?

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