What a glorious opportunity to discuss “Truth” with the one and only Dr. Peter Kreeft. I have to admit; one must be on their toes when discussing any topic with the good doctor, he is one of the great intellects and authors of our time, period. He is always patient, kind and just downright fascinating in this conversation; Dr. Kreeft engages the imagination and guides us deeper into the reality of Divine Revelation. “Jacob’s Ladder: 10 Steps to Truth” is an absolutely splendid voyage to undertake; put on your thinking caps, dive in to the ocean of your heart, and be prepared to be awed and delighted. A must have book for anyone who is seeking Truth.
Among the topics, or “steps”, that Kreeft’s characters delve into include:
Do you have the passion to know? Does truth exist? What is the meaning of life? What is love, and why is it so important for our lives? If there is a God, what proof is there for his existence? Has God revealed himself to us in a personal way?
In our conversation with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., we enter into “God So Loved the World: Clues to Our Transcendent Destiny from the Revelation of Jesus“, which is the third installment of his “Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence” series. Not only is Fr. Spitzer a brilliant theologian, but he has the heart of caring pastor who understands the needs of the questing minds of so many lost and wandering souls. With an extraordinary grasp of philosophy, theology and cosmology, he is able to take complicated concepts and mix them with joy, beauty, and a grace-filled enthusiasm without doing damage to the subject matter. In this volume, he addresses “What is LOVE”, “Who is LOVE”, and maybe in an even deeper way, “The why of LOVE”. Of course we know, “God is Love”, but God as a Father? God as a Son? God as Holy Spirit? How is the mind to grasp such penetrating Truth? And more importantly, how is the heart to perceive this eternal divine mystery?
We were able to meet with Fr. Spitzer for this discussion at his offices located at the Magis Center in Garden Grove, CA.
In this volume the brilliant Fr. Spitzer probes in detail the major question that if an intelligent Creator God – manifest in logical proofs, scientific evidence, and near death experiences – who is the source of our desire for the sacred, and the transcendental desires for truth, love, goodness, and beauty, would want to reveal himself to us personally and ultimately.
He then shows this is reasonable not only in light of our interior experience of a transcendent Reality, but also that a completely intelligent Reality is completely positive–implying its possession of a completely positive virtue – namely “love”, defined as agape.
This leads to the question whether God might be unconditionally loving, and if he is, whether he would want to make a personal appearance to us in a perfect act of empathy – face to face. After examining the rational evidence for this, he reviews all world religions to see if there is one that reveals such a God – an unconditionally loving God who would want to be with us in perfect empathy. This leads us to the extraordinary claim of Jesus Christ who taught that God is “Abba”, the unconditionally loving Father.
Jesus’ claims go further, saying that He is also unconditional love, and that his mission is to give us that love through an act of complete self-sacrifice. He also claims to be the exclusive Son of the Father, sent by God to save the world, and the one who possesses divine power and authority. The rest of the book does an in-depth examination of the evidence for Jesus’ unconditional love of sinners, his teachings, his miracles, and his rising from the dead. As well as the evidence for Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit that enabled his disciples to perform miracles in his name, and evidence for the presence of the Holy Spirit today.
It’s great to be joined once again by Mark Brumley, this time to discuss “Knowing God: God and the Human Condition” (previously titled God and the Human Mind) authored by the great Catholic writer, teacher, and publisher Frank Sheed. Written in 1966 during the time of the Second Vatican Council, Sheed addresses the most challenging questions the human mind can pose about God, without presenting answers in dry academic way. Instead, because of his gifted writing style, he engages the reader with a desire to discover “mystery” in all its forms.
“This book is vintage Sheed: clear, commonsensical, and convincing. This is the Sheed of the two masterpieces of apologetics Theology and Sanity and Society and Sanity. But this is also a new Sheed: older and wiser, more practical and human–the post-Vatican II Sheed. I mean this in all the good senses, the John Paul II senses: he is sensitive to the dangers of “the good old days”: verbalism, “dead orthodoxy,” rationalism, deism, what Sheed calls “theometry” instead of theology: an abstract, formal theological geometry that only wants to define terms and win debating points. Instead, this book is a kind of theological midrash, a deepening, a spelunking in the caves of the deepest mysteries with the clear light of honest words–honest with heart as well as head. It unites dogmatic theology with lived religion. It is precisely the breath of fresh air that Pope John XXIII opened the windows for, and in terms the layman can clearly grasp. —– Peter Kreeft, Author, Because God is Real
It is always a delight to talk with Fr. Robert Spitzer! His sure brilliance, combined with his infectious joy and good humor, is so engaging that any topic he leads us on becomes an adventure. With “Cosmic Origins”, a soon to be released DVD, Fr. Spitzer and a group of physicists and academic heavyweights exploring modern scientific theories about how the universe came to exist. I would call this a “mathematical apologetic”, which is so beautifully points to the greater “purpose” of our creator, that I couldn’t help but smile through the entire presentation. Stunning, wonderful…and so much fun!
To learn more about this film and how you can arrange screenings for your parish or group go here Cosmic Origins explains what we know about the beginning and nature of the universe, as well as its transcendent implications in clear, easy-to-understand terms. The 49-minute film weaves together a compelling narrative from academics and credentialed scientists pointing toward a very Catholic understanding of how the universe came to exist.
Objection 1: It seems that sacred doctrine is not a science. For every science proceeds from self-evident principles. But sacred doctrine proceeds from articles of faith which are not self-evident, since their truth is not admitted by all: “For all men have not faith” (2 Thess. 3:2). Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.
Objection 2: Further, no science deals with individual facts. But this sacred science treats of individual facts, such as the deeds of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and such like. Therefore sacred doctrine is not a science.
On the contrary, Augustine says (De Trin. xiv, 1) “to this science alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected and strengthened.” But this can be said of no science except sacred doctrine. Therefore sacred doctrine is a science.
I answer that, Sacred doctrine is a science. We must bear in mind that there are two kinds of sciences. There are some which proceed from a principle known by the natural light of intelligence, such as arithmetic and geometry and the like. There are some which proceed from principles known by the light of a higher science: thus the science of perspective proceeds from principles established by geometry, and music from principles established by arithmetic. So it is that sacred doctrine is a science because it proceeds from principles established by the light of a higher science, namely, the science of God and the blessed. Hence, just as the musician accepts on authority the principles taught him by the mathematician, so sacred science is established on principles revealed by God.
Reply to Objection 1: The principles of any science are either in themselves self-evident, or reducible to the conclusions of a higher science; and such, as we have said, are the principles of sacred doctrine.
Reply to Objection 2: Individual facts are treated of in sacred doctrine, not because it is concerned with them principally, but they are introduced rather both as examples to be followed in our lives (as in moral sciences) and in order to establish the authority of those men through whom the divine revelation, on which this sacred scripture or doctrine is based, has come down to us.
For an online version of St. Thomas Aquinas’ “Summa” click here
“Christian Apologetics with Dr. R. R. Reno” explores numerous facets of faith and reason in the life of the Church and the world. Grounded on the work of giants, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, Blessed John Newman, soon-to-be Blessed John Paul II, G. K. Chesterton, Blaise Paschal and Stephen Barr, Dr. Reno helps us to open our minds to make the journey to our hearts.
R. R. Reno is the editor at First Things: A Journal of Religion, Culture, and Public Life, and Professor of Theology, currently on leave from Creighton University. His theological work has been published in many academic journals. Essays and opinion pieces on religion, public life, contemporary culture, and current events have appeared in Commentary, and the Washington Post. In Fighting the Noonday Devil Reno suggests that putting ourselves at the disposal of what is real is what trains us for true piety. His other recent books include Genesis: Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible and Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible.
I love “The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution”! James Hannam has written a fascinating study of the Christian Middle Ages and its foundational importance to the science of our day. He’s brought back the important contributions of half-forgotten thinkers. James demonstrates how they were brought to such a state because of the political agendas of the last 500 years. Why is this important? Because it has everything to do with fundamental Truth, and what is ordered in the Universe. And at the heart, it is faith in God which drives science and it’s healthy functioning in society and culture. It was, and should be today, rooted in the Christian understanding of faith, reason, philosophy, theology and all the other things that round out the wholeness of the human person and the created world. Fascinating stuff indeed!
“Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity” is a compassionately engaging and intellectually-savvy response to the attacks on the existence of God. Trent Horn is a welcomed fresh voice in the forum of Catholic apologetics. Well-researched and thoughtfully presented, this book is a must have for all who wish to defend the faith, but it’s also for those who wish to know and grow in it as well. In our conversation, we touch on many of the enter points for dialogue which we encounter everyday in discussions with family, friends, co-workers, and how to approach those times of engagement in a Christ-like manner. A highly recommended book by Trent and, his publisher, the good folks at “Catholic Answers”.
Answering Atheism gets high grades on the three R’s: It is readable, reasonable, and researched. Its defense of the cosmological argument has depth and detail, yet it is not so technical that you need to take a philosophy course to comprehend it. —Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy, Boston College
I’ve read many works of popular apologetics; this is the best! –Stephen Bullivant, editor, The Oxford Handbook of Atheism
“Something Other Than God: How I Passionately Sought Happiness and Accidentally Found It” by Jennifer Fulwiler… what a phenomenal book. An engaging read, great topic, and an inspiring, joyful witness! Leave it to the editor/author of one our favorite blogs “Conversion Diary“, to pen not only a great conversion story, but one of the most moving cases for Catholic faith out there. Her honesty and humor are refreshing. You feel the struggle Jennifer experiences as she searches for answers. Her quest leads her to a peace for which most of us yearn. Hats off to Ignatius Press for the production values on this book of quality worthy of the story contained within it’s pages. This is a book you will pass on to others, so I would just suggest the purchase of multiple copies… it’s just that good!
“This heartfelt book is a lovely account of a spiritual journey and a charming memoir. The author’s epiphanies are wonderfully conveyed and will resonate with readers.” —Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
“Thought-provoking, honest, and often hilarious. It will strike a chord with anyone who ever posed –or tried unsuccessfully to avoid– the big questions of life.” —Gretchen Rubin, New York Times bestselling author,The Happiness Project
With a pastor’s heart and eagle-eye accuracy, the gifted Al Kresta addresses “Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st Century Opponents” in his newest book published by Our Sunday Visitor. The secular world has presented many twisted versions of the “Truth” over the years: from New Age thought to Isalm, Scientism to Consumerism, Oprah and Shirley to Bart Erhman and Carl Sagan. Al Kresta challenges the “opponents” of faith with Christ-like love and wisdom. In the process, he teaches us all how to evangelize as a true disciple of Christ. A must have work for all those who may have a seeking heart and a desire to grow in their faith and to share it with family, friends and all they may encounter. One of the best books offered in this Year of Faith….a modern classic that should be in every Catholic home!
Dangers to the Faith: Recognizing Catholicism’s 21st Century Opponents is the perfect springboard for discussing the new world in which the Catholic Church exists today. Learn how to better carry out the missionary mandate of the Church. The question isn’t whether you will be a witness to Christ, but whether you will be a faithful witness.
“The Seven Big Myths About the Catholic Church: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction about Catholicism” by Dr. Christopher Kaczor is a must have resource for Catholics!
The misconceptions about our faith are so prevalent in today’s society that is almost guaranteed that you will encounter at least one of these myths in daily conversations with friends, co-workers, and sadly to say, family members. To have the peace of mind, in order to answer the objection, is invaluable, especially when we are called to the New Evangelization. But even more than that, Dr. Kaczor helps us to give a reason for our hope…the presence of Jesus Christ and His saving grace and mercy found in our Roman Catholic faith.
The Church Opposes Science: The Myth of Catholic Irrationality
The Church Opposes Freedom and Happiness: The Myth of Catholic Indifference to Earthly Welfare
The Church Hates Women: The Myth of Catholic Misogyny
Indifferent to Love, the Church Banned Contraception: The Myth of Opposition between Love and Procreation
The Church Hates Gays: The Myth of Catholic “Homophobia”
The Church Opposes Same-Sex Marriage Because of Bigotry: The Myth That There Is No Rational Basis for Limiting Marriage to One Man and One Woman
Priestly Celibacy Caused the Crisis of Sexual Abuse of Minors: The Myth of Priestly Pedophilia
“All of this book is full of clarity and charity, but two chapters are masterpieces, each worth ten times the price of the whole book. The chapter on contraception is the most simple, commonsensical, winsome and persuasive I have ever seen. It could have been written only by a very good and wise husband and father. The chapter on same-sex marriage has the clearest and the completest logic I have ever read on the subject.” —Peter Kreeft, Boston College