Christianity and Society.
The most compelling reason for Christianity / Catholicism is that it is true. The bible verse: “the truth shall set you free”, described by Pope John Paul II as possibly the most important bible verse of all.
There are many, many proofs of the existence of God and the overwhelming majority of people historically and currently living believe in God. Some of the most dynamic perspectives comes from Dr. William Lane Craig (apart from of course Fr. Robert Spitzer SJ), alongside contributions from other experts, as follows:
The Absurdity of Life without God (short version)
The Absurdity of Life without God (long version)
Can God’s Existence be Demonstrated?
Bishop Barron on Who God Is & Who God Isn’t
Is Christianity Credible? | Gibson Hotel – Dublin, Ireland 2017
Q&A: Is Christianity Credible? | Gibson Hotel – Dublin, Ireland 2017
Explaining The Trinity / Triune God
God the Father
Logic and evidence can bring us to the understanding of a God of creation, of a personal relationship the individual can have with Him. However, it requires revelation from God to complete the picture for us – through the life of Jesus Christ and his Church. Note, however, that God reveals Himself to an individual only to the extent that that individual desires that degree of revelation – thus each individual’s journey of faith. Christ only performed His miracles when the recipient showed the necessary faith in Him.
The Shroud of Turin has become the most evidential relic and scientific evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, of his being part of the Triune God, involving technology beyond the capability of mankind, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aXudXRBbro . Why then do Western governments ignore God? (Suggested answer: for their own power base).
There is little doubt that man needs God to give us a purpose / meaning in life. From a societal perspective, God provides us with an anchor, to give society a sense of stability, a sense of justice and an ability to properly relate with one another. Business needs certainty in order to plan and manage economic life and politicians and Government must provide that anchor. In an even more important manner, society needs God. This is done by means of the Ten Commandments and the Natural Law as a fundamental baseline but this was not sufficient and required the presence of Jesus Christ as an example to us for proper living and behaviour as well as providing the ultimate for the redemption of our sinful behaviour. The ancient Jews fell into the trap of living by lots and lots of rules and ignored these principles of proper living. Living by principle is significantly better than living by rules, thus God gave us a minimum life rule set (the Ten Commandments) and the best set of life principles (e.g. Love and The Beatitudes). But are we about to do repeat the same mistakes? If justice is man made, and might is right, where are we? What about Mercy?
Some references to the Ten Commandments:
The Ten Commandments: What You Should Know (Prager University)
Bishop Barron on The Ten Commandments
Origin of the Ten Commandments – Jordan Peterson
As regards the Natural Law, some references:
What Is Natural Law? (#AskBishopBarron)
Andrew Napolitano – The Natural Law
Jordan Peterson Nobody Breaks Natural Law Without Consequences
Natural Law and the Revenge of Conscience (J. Budziszewski – Acton Institute)
As regards Conscience, some references:
Bishop Barron on Conscience and Morality
Two-Minute Warning: Conscience: A Blank Check (Chuck Colson)
The golden rule is unique to Jesus Christ / Christianity and states: do unto others what you would wish done unto you. Other religions have the silver rule which entails the avoidance of harm which is a long way away from the golden rule. This golden rule creates relationships at level 3 (contribution to society) and level 4 (with God). Otherwise we would have to settle with level 1 (e.g. my physical satisfaction) and level 2 relationships (the comparative – I am better than you).
Christianity also establishes the transcendent nature of man. Whether we like it or not, we will survive this life. There are 5 transcendentals – (1) perfect knowledge/truth, (2) perfect love, (3) perfect justice/goodness, (4) perfect beauty, and (5) perfect home/being. Our consciousness seeks out these five transcendental experiences. There is also medical evidence for our transcendence https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqJXa3o1Rqo&t=23s . As a brief example, where does our sense of justice (the child who says “that’s not fair”) come from? Where does our ability to think conceptually come from? What about terminal lucidity?
Materialism has undermined our belief in transcendence that as a result some people find it difficult to believe in God and the human soul. It takes from people their sense of happiness, dignity, ideals, virtues, and destiny. These observations were confirmed in a 2004 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry that linked the absence of religion with a marked increase in suicide, meaninglessness, substance abuse, separation from family members, and other psychological problems. If we underestimate our transcendence, we undervalue one another, under live our lives, and underachieve our destiny.
Living a comfortable life does not give us peace, only Truth will give us peace. Living in comfort will make cowards of us and bring fear to the fore. There is no point in seeking messages from preachers to make you “feel good”. In reality you need to “be good”. Also trust in God, listen and pray to Him, and He will set you right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STW1_auJXe8 . Religious belief and practise also has its benefits socially and not just spiritually. A publication from the Iona Institute points to this – to read the report please click on https://www.ionainstitute.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Religious_practice-1.pdf
One of the key messages of the Bible to us as a society is to go forth and multiply. A key message from the abortion debate by the secularists is go forth and decline.
The Western world is becoming more and more anti-Christian e.g. events in Ireland, in ignoring Christian persecution in the Middle East, in Canada. This decline can no longer be laid at the door of sex abuse scandals but more at the desire of individuals to indulge themselves at will and to oppose any “rule-book” against that. Deligitimising Christianity is a key objective for anti-Christians, with power being a key motivator, the media, money and the nanny State as the primary mechanisms, and using whatever convenient ideology, such as materialism, utilitarianism, feminism, relative morality. A historic example is that of Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries – the welfare systems of the monasteries took hundreds of years to replace.
Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) stated that the Church has three roles to play in Society: 1. To worship God 2. To serve the poor (in its widest sense and not for example just those who are materially poor) and 3. To preach the Good News of Jesus Christ and salvation for all. This is a amazingly redemptive mission, both spiritually and socially, but a very challenging one, given the nature of mankind. He also stated that faith and reason complement each other. Faith allows us to know God and that along with reason, it shapes all activities towards achieving a greater good. Click on : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ogwBCRpAmg
The Catholic Church is, in any case, the largest charity in the world. It is also the largest provider of non governmental healthcare in the world. No one helps the poor more than the Catholic Church. It operates more than 140,000 schools, 10,000 orphanages, 5,000 hospitals and some 16,000 other health clinics. Its aid agencies spend up to €4 billion in over 200 countries.
What about Saint Teresa of Calcutta and her work on behalf of the destitute? What about St. Thomas More and his integrity? versus the monstrous “will” of King Henry VIII? There are many, many saints who are positive examples to us all. And the secular world does what in this context? Their big ticket item? “Reproductive” health care / a declining birth rate??
What about the power of prayer? What about the Lord’s prayer, “Our Father” or the prayer by Blessed John Henry Newman – the Mission of my Life or the prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas for Ordering a Life wisely, or the Serenity prayer (Niebuhr) or even the Rosary?
Christianity declares us (each individual & society) as stewards of life. If we instead try to act as the owners of life, and declare life to be a mere existence without an eternal soul, where do you think we will end up? Self-destruction?
Matthew 6:33 (Douay-Rheims Bible): Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and His justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.
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