Category Archives: Quotes

Responding To Richard Dawkins: Part 2

The Closet Atheist‘s 31 favorite quotes from The God Delusion, and my first thoughts upon reading each them.

Part 2: 17 — 31

“Do people never open the book that they believe is the literal truth? Why don’t they notice these glaring contradictions?” p. 94

81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.”42

“And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.”43

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.”44
~ Catechism of the Catholic Church

All of this is to say that, as a Catholic: While I do believe that the Bible is Truth, it is not the only source of Truth. Like a male and a female, Scripture and tradition make no sense on their own but, together, make more sense. And the “contradictions” in Scripture, like the fact that no one is perfect, don’t take away from the beauty and truth that results when two become one…

Woman1

“It is an essential part of the scientific enterprise to admit ignorance, even to exult in ignorance as a challenge to future conquests.” p. 125

“One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.” p. 126

I’ll do these two at the same time.

On the one hand, Richard Dawkins, you say that, when it comes to the study of nature, it is “essential” to admit ignorance, even exult in it — take it as a challenge.

But then you lament that, when it comes to one’s study of God, a person could ever be satisfied with not understanding something.

It sounds like you’re essentially saying “Ignorance for me but not for thee.”

Which makes you sound like a hypocrite.

And why would I listen to a hypocrite?

“. . . Design certainly does not work as an explanation for life, because design is ultimately not cumulative and it therefore raises bigger questions than it answers – it takes us straight back along the . . . ultimate regress.” p. 141

To look through a telescope or a microscope in the hope of one day declaring “There is no God” is like trying to disprove the existence of a woman by studying her newborn baby.

On another note: The Catholic Church’s take on life and where life comes from.

“Some educated individuals may have abandoned religion, but all were brought up in a religious culture from which they had to make a conscious decision to depart. The old Northern Ireland joke, ‘Yes, but are you a Protestant atheist or a Catholic atheist?’ is spiked with bitter truth.” p. 166

I agree.

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” p. 167, George Bernard Shaw

I agree.

“A great deal of the opposition to the teaching of evolution has no connection with evolution itself, or with anything scientific, but is spurred on by moral outrage.” p. 211

I agree.

“If you agree that, in the absence of God, you would ‘commit robbery, rape, and murder’, you reveal yourself as an immoral person, ‘and we would be well advised to steer a wide course around you.’” p. 227 (quoted partially from Michael Shermer)

I agree.

“To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird. . .” p. 237

To quote Bob Dylan: “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.”

“Why should a divine being, with creation and eternity on his mind, care a fig for petty human malefactions? We humans give ourselves such airs, even aggrandize from our poky little ‘sins’ to the level of cosmic significance!” p. 238

Why should a divine being care about humanity?

You just said why: because he’s got creation and eternity on his mind.

And if a cosmic being does care about us, is it not logical for us to care about our “sins” that offend him?

“It is, when you think about it, remarkable that a religion should adopt an instrument of torture and execution as its sacred symbol, often worn around the neck.” p. 251

Here is something to supplement your thinking.

“The idea that baptizing an unknowing, uncomprehending child can change him from one religion to another at a stroke seems absurd – but it is surely not more absurd than labeling a tiny child as belonging to any religion in the first place.” p. 315

What about labeling that same child an atheist? Is that not “absurd” as well?

And if a child, through the use of their reason and as a result of their own research, one day says “I believe there is a god,” will you see them as “absurd”? Because, if you will — if, in your eyes, everyone who is not a non-believer is a fool — I fail to see this decency that you claim to have as an atheist since, to you, everyone who is not an atheist is a lesser human being; absurd, as opposed to not absurd.

“The faithful are encouraged to profess belief, whether they are convinced by it or not. […]” p. 352-53

Having attended church every weekend of my life (when I wasn’t sick or otherwise not able to make it) I can say that not once have I ever been encouraged to just say I believe. So I don’t know where such a claim is coming from.

On a related note:

“…do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
~ Matthew 23:3

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…”
~ Matthew 7:21

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. p. 354 (Mark Twain)

I wouldn’t say I fear death, either.

It’s what might come after death that keeps me up at night.

“The atheist view is correspondingly life-affirming and life-enhancing, while at the same time never being tainted with self-delusion, wishful thinking, or the whingeing self-pity of those who feel that life owes them something.” p. 361

Isn’t it wishful thinking to say that atheism will never be “tainted with self-delusion… or the whingeing self-pity of those who feel that life owes them something”?

After all: History is full of examples of people thinking “___ will never happen.”

One example being:

Titanic

In Conclusion

“Baby’s First Atheism” are the words that come to kind when I think of The God Delusion. Take of that what you will.

There is more I could say about Richard Dawkins’ words, but this post was just me expressing my first impression of his views.

For now, my final words on Richard Dawkins are these:

Atheism strikes me as, for lack of better words, a terribly boring view of life.

To me, renouncing all belief in anything supernatural is the equivalent of choosing to watch paint dry all day, every day, for the rest of my days.

If I were to live in a world with absolutely nothing associated with anything supernatural — i.e., Richard Dawkins’ dream world — I would be denying myself pieces of art like this:

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A Catholic Responding To An Atheist Responding To Lutheranism

Excerpts from A Look At Luther’s Small Catechism by The Closet Atheist, and my thoughts:

“And make it very plain to [parents] what an awful harm they are doing if they will not help to train children to be pastors, preachers, clerks . . . and that God will punish them terribly for it.”

So every child must be a pastor, preacher, or clerk?

I understand being a “preacher” in the sense that one is willing to share their faith when the circumstance calls for it. After all:

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
~ 1 Peter 3:15

Otherwise: Being boxed into three roles feels, for lack of a better word, limiting. A child can’t grow up to be, for example, a writer?

I was raised to believe that… trans people were disgusting, and… should be avoided.

Hmm. What does Jesus say about avoiding others and seeing certain people as “disgusting”?

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
~ Matthew 25:40

In case, after reading my post that deals with total depravity, you didn’t believe that there are Christians who really believe that we are “worthy of none of the things for which we pray” and “deserve nothing but punishment,” well, here is your proof.

*raises hand*

I believe.

This probably disgusts me more than anything else, especially when we are still urged to pray for what we want, even after being told that we don’t deserve to have our prayers answered. At the same time though, this teaches that no matter how bad we are, God will still give us everything we pray for (because of grace)…

What’s so bad about not deserving anything, really?

If I told you that I had told my girlfriend “I deserve sex,” you’d (probably) justifiably think This guy is a misogynist.

Granted, that is an extreme example.

But my point is: When we go around saying “I deserve ___,” that can lead one down a dark path…

Despair3
Photo by Pavel Tereshkovets.

Regarding praying for what one wants:

Not all prayers will be answered. And even if they are, not always in the way that one wanted, or in a way that is immediately clear.

Why? Because:

Ideally, a prayer isn’t a person saying “Do ___, ___, and ___ for me and I’ll continue to love you and serve you, God.”

Ideally, a prayer is: “God, please do ___, ___, and ___ for me. But, trusting that you see what I cannot, and trusting that you have the best interests of humanity at heart, not my will, but your will, be done.”

…we’re told to do good unto others, when, after all, we can’t be good, only God can. So why try?

We “can’t be good” in the sense that, despite the good we do, we will always, to some extent, fall short.

No one is perfect.

Which is why there are signs like this:

Sign3

Just because I’m not perfect doesn’t mean I can’t still strive for perfection, though.

To bring up my girlfriend again: Just because I can’t see the world from her perspective — just because I can’t be her — doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t try and empathize with her.*

I am reminded of a quote:

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”
~ Michelangelo

1:55 — 3:01:

“What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.”

This is just gross and weird. I don’t have anything else to say about it.

Hmm. To give my two cents:

In the desert, God gave his people bread to eat.

Since Jesus is one of the three aspects of God, eating his body is the evolution of that act: No longer are people eating bread that God sent down from Heaven to sustain their life — now people are eating God himself, who has come down from Heaven to be the bread that will sustain them.

I am reminded of the starving passengers in Snowpiercer (2013). Running low on food after scrambling to board a train that is the only hope for survival, the passengers, in their hunger, eventually resort to cannibalism. One of the passengers, seeing that a baby is about to be eaten, cuts off his own arm and says “Give me the child. If you’re so hungry, eat this instead.”

What Jesus is saying when he offers us himself is:

“Do not eat yourselves. Eat me instead.”

The hunger Jesus wants to satisfy is not physical, but spiritual.

*I actually don’t have a girlfriend. 😥

A Catholic Responds To “34 Things Atheists Are Tired Of Hearing”

Thank you to The Closet Atheist for her post 34 Things Atheists Are Tired Of Hearing.

Excerpts from it, and the thoughts I had after reading each “thing”:

The only reason you don’t believe is because you don’t want to be obedient.

A relationship with God is about more than following commands. (Matthew 19: 16 — 22)

Evolution is just a theory!

Just because evolution is a theory doesn’t mean it has no basis in reality.

Science changes its story all the time, but the Bible never changes because it’s the truth!

Than why did Martin Luther attempt to remove 7 books from the Bible? If that is not one example of the Bible being changed to suit one’s own “truth” than I don’t know what is.

The watchmaker analogy.

Just because a person makes a watch doesn’t automatically make that person deserving of devotion. i.e., The watchmaker analogy tells us nothing about the nature of the watchmaker; it just tells us that someone made a watch. And it doesn’t tell us for what purpose the watch was made, either. For an example of creating something just for the sake of causing pain and suffering, watch The Human Centipede.

You believe deep down, but you’re not willing to admit it because God would punish you for being a sinner.

You know what a person believes? Are you a mind-reader? Because, you should know: The Bible frowns on that. (Deuteronomy 18: 10 — 12)

It’s dangerous to be a Christian these days because we are being persecuted in this secular society.

Jesus said this would happen, and to embrace it with joy. (Matthew 16:25)

If not the Bible, where do you get your morals from?

The world isn’t split into Christians and atheists. There are so many more worldviews. And so many Christian denominations, too. At least one of which does not depend on the Bible alone for its view on existence…

Evolutionists took Intelligent Design out of public schools, because they’re afraid of it because it’s true.

Your evidence to prove what you’ve just said is true?

It takes just as much faith to be an atheist!

How do you determine how much faith something takes?

Atheism is dangerous because it claims that man is his own god.

Atheism claims there is no good reason to believe in a god. There’s a difference.

When God does things that don’t make sense, just trust him and have faith.

I agree. But: This advice is worthless to a person who doesn’t believe in a god. If I told you “The Loch Ness Monster does things that don’t make sense, so just have faith,” I imagine you would think I had a few screws loose.

I’ve experienced God personally, so he’s real.

He’s real to you, yes. But: This person you’re talking to has not “experienced God personally,” so your words are ultimately worthless, are they not? Getting someone to believe you because of an experience you’ve had depends on the relationship you have with this person, too. For example: I’m more likely to believe in aliens if my best friend tells me they were abducted than I am if a stranger tells me they were abducted.

So do you think you’re smarter than everyone else?

How do you measure how smart a person is? The reason I ask is: A Christian man with a PhD once wrote this to me: “I’m entitled to my opinion, as an expert with a graduate film degree [where’s yours?]!!!”

This is a Christian country.

And? This country also hung people because of their skin color. How Christian…

Why don’t you believe? Is it because something bad happened to you?

To quote Hannibal Lecter: “Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling. I happened.”

Just wait until you’re dead!

Do you know the final destination of one’s soul? Because I was certain that is information only God has.

Just read the Bible.

Many atheists were once Christians. Care to expand on “Just read the Bible”?

I’m praying for you.

Good. But: Do it for the right reason.

Hitler and Stalin were atheists.

Your point being?

There’s no proof that God doesn’t exist.

True. But I don’t see that fact alone leading to mass conversions.

Why do you hate God?

Atheists hate God the same way people hate Joffrey from A Game of Thrones.

We all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts.

I agree.

Without religion, society would fall to chaos.

This January, Christians gave the nuclear launch codes to this man:

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Without God, there is no meaning.

Humans can make their own meaning. Whether that meaning will weather life’s storms is another matter…

Even though you don’t believe in God, he still believes in you.

If I were an atheist, why would I find comfort in the notion that a being that doesn’t exist believes I do?

You can’t look at the beautiful sky and tell me no one created that.

Actually, you can. Hence why you are having a discussion about this in the first place.

You’re going to hell!

And that’s when you know your attempt to reach out to atheists has failed.

We don’t see wind either but we know it’s there.

Considering it’s hurricane season… too soon. Too soon.

If evolution is real then why are there still monkeys?

Because not everything evolves in the same way or at the same pace? An organism’s environment being one factor that determines how it changes over generations.

What if you’re wrong?

Than may they have lived a life where, ultimately, being wrong doesn’t matter. You don’t have to say “Jesus is lord!” in order to make the world a better place. Just look at all the atheists who lost their lives in WWII, fighting for human dignity.

So do you even believe in anything?

I know one thing atheists believe in: The importance of an open mind.

There are no atheists in foxholes.

Certainly it’s not unthinkable that someone would reconsider their worldview as shells are falling around them, but there’s no guarantee of that happening.

You’re taking it out of context!

Than do your job as a Christian and explain the context. Don’t yell at a person because of an issue it is your duty to rectify.

10-Word Story: Vulnerable

Mental or physical; emotional or linen; she has no walls.

Woman 7

Thank you to the beautiful woman whose photo inspired this piece of writing.

And thank you to Love Alchemical for a conversation we had recently that helped me to understand myself better:

Catholic In The 21st Century (CIC): There’s something about nudity that fascinates me. Through my writing, I hope I can figure out what it is. … …there is a sense of freedom to being naked that one can’t get any other way.

When one is naked, all that they physically are is exposed for all to see: There are no barriers of any kind (like clothes) to hide behind.

And I guess I’ve been looking for freedom in my own life lately. At times I’ve felt trapped. Confined. And I’ve wished I could “take off” my regret, anger, and fear as easily as a person takes off their underwear.

I apologize if this all sounds weird. I’m just thinking out loud.

Love Alchemical (LA)Thank you for sharing. The sense of confinement and desire for freedom resonates and easily correlates to being in our most natural state. You’re not alone 🙂

CIC:  You’re welcome.

And thank you for reading.

You’re right: “…desire for freedom resonates and easily correlates to being in our most natural state.”

It means a lot to know that I’m not alone.

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A Response To “I love being naked!”

Note: The language in this post could be called “Explicit” so reader discretion is advised.

As followers of my blog know, I write about nudity. For example:

Nudity was reserved for the bedroom or the bathroom. So it was… interesting… to be naked in a room that was neither. Walking around the living room, I felt like I was seeing it with new eyes. I felt like, all my life, I had been wearing a “Clothes Filter,” and now the filter was off. My eyes were as naked as my body.
~Being Naked Outside

Because of my Catholic faith, I don’t want to shy away from subjects like nudity. As a Catholic, I’m supposed to be a light in a dark place:

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~Matthew 5:14 — 16

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And that means talking about subjects considered by many to be taboo or indecent.

Which brings me to a blog I discovered weeks ago but, for the longest time, was not sure how to feel about. Until now.

Specifically, I’m talking about this blog post: I love being naked!

Below are excerpts from that post, and my thoughts on them:

…it’s such an awesome feeling. Having nothing touching your skin. Being able to touch anything you wanna touch, with nothing in the way. It’s looooove.

I understand. And I agree.

Being naked can be an awesome feeling. It can be nice to have nothing touching your skin. To be completely free.

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
~Genesis 1:31

“And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”
~Genesis 2:25

It’s so sexy! Cuz that’s obviously what it’s all about. Being naked turns me on. Like big time. It makes me wanna touch myself all over all the time. And sometimes I do.

Once again: Perfectly understandable.

When you are naked, not only are you showing all of yourself, your body is preparing to give all of itself.

What do I mean? I mean this: Sex is an act of giving. The woman receives the man. The man enters the woman. The two become one.

“…a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
~Genesis 2:24

Image result for man and woman usb port comic

That’s why you want to sexually excite yourself when you’re naked: Your naked body is telling you “It’s time for sex.”

…I can get myself so increeeeeeeedibly turned on I can barely get myself to stop being naked any more.

There’s an old saying: “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.”

I don’t say that to come across as the stereotypical religious scold…

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…I say that to tell you, belle noowelleDon’t allow your nudity to become too much of a good thing.

There could come a day when you regret the choice to be naked.

And I don’t want that day to come.

I want being naked to be something that changes your life for the better in ways that you continue to discover throughout your long and happy life.

I know that might sound corny, but it’s true. I want you to be happy, belle noowelle.

Being naked is so cool. It helps with getting naughty, it makes me feel sexy, and it makes lame Sundays so much more interesting. Try it!

belle noowelle, your honesty and openness is attractive.

You don’t have to be naked to come across as sexy. You are sexy by just being your unashamed and positive self.

What I’m trying to say is: You’ve found something that brings you joy, and you want to share that joy with others, so that they may have what you have. And, to me, there is nothing more beautiful than that.

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To conclude this post:

belle noowelle,

May being naked continue to bring you a feeling of freedom.

May your orgasms always be shattering.

May the people in your life always look beyond your naked body, appreciating your naked soul, too.

And, when all is said and done, may you look back on the life you have lived with no regrets, knowing that all the choices you made ultimately brought you to where you wanted to be, even if you didn’t know where it was that you wanted to be.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…”
~Ecclesiastes 3:11

~21stCenturyCatholic