Archive for Catechism

Atheist, liberal and fundamentalist conspire together to misrepresent the faith

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 11 April 2011 by Michael Hampson

Atheist and fundamentalist conspire together to misrepresent the faith, insisting that Christianity demands a God who is a wrathful king, and a bible that is an infallible oracle.

The atheist rightly mocks, and the fundamentalist defends the indefensible.

Most liberals commit the same offence, maintaining the fundamentalists’ notion of an angry God. God is just angry (and you are required to feel guilty) about different things, like global warming and poverty.

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The Top Mistakes Atheists Make – Atheist on Atheist critique

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 15 February 2011 by Michael Hampson

Phil Zuckerman – atheist – lists the top mistakes atheists make. These are the top four.

1. Insisting that science can, or will, answer everything.
2. Condemning all religion, rather than just the bad aspects.
3. Condemning the Bible as a wretched, silly book, rather than seeing it as a work full of good and insightful things as well.
4. Failing to understand and appreciate cultural religion.

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Science as Religion and Religion as Science

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 11 February 2011 by Michael Hampson

The new atheist says, “science true, religion false”.

The anti-atheist responder says, “science and religion do not deal with the same subject matter”. But the problem is, they do. Both science and religion deal with absolutely everything, or they are not doing their job.

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Peter Vardy on Good and Bad Religion

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 30 January 2011 by Michael Hampson

Peter Vardy’s new book Good and Bad Religion is reviewed by Gavin D’Costa in The Tablet.

Vardy argues that those in religions should join with atheists in criticising bad religion.

Hear, hear.

Atheists likewise should recognise complexity, colour and difference within a single religion, as well as learn that their own naturalism is not quite as unquestionable or self-evident as they sometimes think.

Vardy goes on to suggest rationality and virtue as standards by which to judge good and bad religion – and good and bad secularism.

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Christianity and Islam: the official position

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 24 January 2011 by Michael Hampson

Surprisingly, there is one – or at least, one that stands out from the crowd.

Whilst thousands of other denominations get by with inherited historic assumptions and occasional votes and reports, the Roman Catholic church (representing more than half the world’s two billion Christians), in response to the Second Vatican Council, compiled its first ever comprehensive catechism, running to approximately 800 pages and containing 2,865 items. It provides a clear, authoritative statement of a highly significant Christian position on virtually any topic – including other faiths. There is nothing to compare in terms of either comprehensiveness or global significance.

So what does it say on other religions?

Catechism items 836 to 847 describe, very positively, the church’s relationship with (in this order and using these terms) “the catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind”, being more specifically: “those who are fully incorporated into the body of the church”; “the baptised who are honoured by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter” (ie the pope); and finally “non-Christians” defined as “the Jewish people”, “the Muslims”, “non-Christian religions”, and “those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church”.

Specifically on Islam (item 841): “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

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‘God exists’ – or ‘Existence is God’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 18 January 2011 by Michael Hampson

The atheist is right: the God defined by the atheist does not exist and cannot exist.

But if we move beyond childhood concepts of a Santa in the sky, we see that existence itself remains a mystery to be explained.

This mystery can be called ‘God’ – if we so choose.

And this is actually the official teaching of the church, in item 34 of the catechism.

It is also biblical: the name of God in the Old Testament – ‘Yahweh’ – means Existence or Being.

By defining our terms, ‘God’ now exists – as the mystery of Existence or Being itself – and the argument is not over whether or not God exists, but over the nature of God.

And that is one giant leap already.

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