Friday, February 24, 2017

Quote of the Day

What should have primacy in our lives?
  • Secular knowledge or spiritual knowledge?
  • Science or Faith?
  • A magnetic compass or the Moral Compass?
  • Philosophy or Theology?

All are important to be sure, but consider this…
. . . one could live very well without philosophy or without knowing that the earth revolves around the sun. Man cannot live, however, without moral certainties, without being able to form sure judgments about the behavior of others toward him.1

  1. Luigi Giussani, The Religious Sense (London: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1997) p. 19.

Monday, February 13, 2017

What's More Romantic Than Geometry?

My high school freshmen son had to write something for Valentine's Day as an assignment for Geometry class. Deserves an "A"...Don't ya think?!?

A Geometric Love Poem...

Without you my life would be like a circle, pointless. My love for you is like the length of a line, endless. Describing my love for you is like when one tries to draw a point in real life, it's impossible. This love has no need to be proven like a theorem; it's like a postulate, with no dispute.

It is as if we are made for each other because we’re congruent in every way. We must have two congruent angles because I see how similar we are everyday.

You and I must have two supplementary angles because when I see you I do a one eighty and head straight for you. Were you fifty degrees today? I thought that you were acute-y as my heart flew.

And so I’m afraid I must interject; how I wish we weren't so parallel and could instead intersect.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Passion, Politics and the Existence of God

Could the current political climate in this country be used as evidence for the existence of God? Could we take the recent Women’s March and the Right to life March, which both happened within a week of each other, and point to something transcendent? How about President Trump’s executive order on immigration and all the subsequent protests happening right now? Is there a path to God in such a mess? I think there is and I’m reminded of portions of a book called Jacobs Ladder: 10 Steps to Truth by Dr. Peter Kreeft and excerpts from my own book called Faith with Good Reason. Whether talking politics or religion it all starts with “passion”.

Of Passion...
There is no doubt that one side of the political aisle can see the passion of the other side. What the opposition is passionate about may be called wrong, misguided or even evil, but the observable effects of their passion remains factual nonetheless. Humans get passionate about things and I think we all know the difference between true passion and just a passing interest. Many are passionate about proper ethics, morals or justice (the Good). Others have their passion in art, literature, music, dance, theater, athleticism or nature (the Beautiful). Still others have a passion for technology, science, math or discovery (the True). Many are willing to commit their entire lives to these kinds of things, even unto death. This is also how we know we are different than animals. Not even our closest animal relatives show evidence for having a true passion for “the Good”, “the Beautiful” and “the True”. But passion alone can ignite anything it touches. It’s like blind power. I’m sure Osama bin Laden had passion for his cause.

Of Truth...
If you are truly passionate about a cause, it’s not a big step to accepting objective truth as something that is real. Holding truths to be self-evident, as the founders of this nation wrote, is different than a personal belief or opinion. If you are truly passionate about a woman’s universal right to choose or a baby’s universal right to live, you will not accept relativistic terms like “it’s just true for me” or “it’s only opinion”. If you are passionate about how much you love or hate President Trump's executive order on immigration, you will not think of it the way you might think of loving or hating chocolate ice cream.

Of Meaning...
Meaning is next. Once we consent to the existence of at least some objective truth, the acceptance of some real meaning or purpose behind it all is not a far leap either. All people desire lasting happiness and the truths that we hold are meant to lead us to happiness. We use our heads and our hearts in the pursuit of that happiness.

Of Love...
So what is the meaning of life, which will bring us lasting happiness? If we are only physical beings, then only physical things are needed to keep us happy. Outward abundance and physical pleasure should satisfy us fully and bring lasting happiness, but they don’t. We seek more; we seek love; and love is not the same as “good feelings”. If it were, we could say that taking drugs, which result in good feelings, is what true love is all about. So what kind of love are we looking for? It’s unconditional, unselfish and sacrificial love. This kind of love involves more than feelings. It requires willing the good of others, so it requires an act of the will or a choice. So love is an act of the will and can bring lasting happiness to everyone and is thus the meaning of life.

Of Laws...
Humans live in organized societies, which are guided according to certain principles, and those principles are reflected in the laws.Good laws would support and be consistent with what is good for human beings and the "Natural Law" of love. Bad laws would undermine love and thus be unnatural. Of course, without God’s Grace and with our own fallen nature the meaning of "love" and “good” are too easily confused. What some call good is actually bad and what some call bad is actually good; up becomes down and down is up.

"The peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself"
– G.K. Chesterton

But even with the chaos and muddled-thinking it all points to something…

Of God...
If there is sunlight, there must be a sun. If there is electricity, there must be a generator. If love is from the will and is the meaning of life, there must be a first “willer”. If one has accepted even some objective truth or morals, then there must be a source for it. If there is a natural or moral law that transcends human opinion, there must be a “first cause” for it or a moral law-giver. A loving moral law-giver reasonably implies something with intelligence and “intent” and one would do well to ponder what a curious thing that would be. Nothing in this post definitively proves what Catholic theology would say about God, but to say that the truths we hold as self-evident are only a delusion is wishful thinking for those who wish to avoid the reality of the human condition and its passion.

“Man does not explain himself to himself without the odd suspicion that he is missing something.”