Spring boarding off of Fr.Roberts Barons work of Evanga-blogging with Word On Fire, and his contribution to The Church and New Media, I blog today about the first “chapter” of this series; Dialogue with the unchurched.
I can see where Fr.Baron is coming from. Social media is today a place where even though one of the faithful may find many handfuls of the faithful, still more massive bodies of the un-churched, are in lying. Now I don’t want to burn bridges, and so on my side of commentary I know a good amount of people who aren’t religious, i.e. go to Church regularly but who are really good moral people, of high caliber and who know the contribution that religion make son society. But I also know the opposite, people who are “rationalist”, that agree with the Richard Dawkins of the world, and who are waiting for a hair trigger to do explosive battles of the brain with those who defend the Faith. The former can be seen in their natural habitat of YouTube.
Heresy 1: The Meaning of the word “God”-
In his Seven Storey mountain Thomas Merton recalled after reading a book about Medieval Philosophy, encountering the meaning of God as Ipsum esse or the sheer act of being itself. He was taken aback because he thought that God was a “noisy and dramatic” mythological being.
Again and again the characterization of God on YouTube is said to be things like the” fairy in the sky”, “invisible friend”. Or “the flying spaghetti monster”, which comes from the militant Atheist Richard Dawkins.
Almost no one with whom you would dialogue with would consider the possibility that God is one being among many and the biggest thing around, not something that can be categorized with relation to other things.
We can learn from Thomas Aquinas that God cannot be placed in any genus for he is ipsum esse the subsistent act of being itself, this distinction which lies at the very core of Christianity and Christian theology is lost on almost everyone on YouTube. Fr.Baron staes one of the best indicator of this confusion is the repetitive demand for “evidence” of God’s existence. Or scientifically viable evidence.
When said that the creator of the entire universe cannot be by definition an object within the universe is met with incomprehension.
The best methodical argument Fr.Baron says is the argument of Contingency. It runs something like this; We humans are contingent beings, by measure we had parents, we eat we drink we breathe, but those elements are themselves conditioned, caused. We cannot go on endlessly appealing to similarly conditioned thing without inevitably, coming to a reality that exist not dependently but unconditionally, through the power of its own existence.
This demonstration although clear and a pithy proof that God is ipsum esse, but is identified with matter or energy here the big bang theory comes in handy, since it indicates how time and matter themselves are radically contingent and therefore further in need of causal explanation.
Heresy 2: Biblical Interpretation-
This heresy has to do with reading the bible. Most people you are lily to have a conversation with in regards to the bible think Catholics approach it the same way Muslims approach the Koran. Namely as a text directly dictated by God, and should be interpreted in a literal manner. However this is not restricted to the fundamentalist camp.
An example is Bill Mayer film Religulous, is a good example. He spends much of the movie interrogating pretty simple people about the Genesis account of Adam ad Eve, and the story of Jonah and the whale wondering why anyone in the 21st century could possibly believe such nonsense.
To put it the way I usually put it. We have more than one way to read the bible as Catholics, we don’t just look at it and say oh he did this so do this. We do a lot of deeper things, Fr.Baron explains that the bible is not so much a book as a library, a collection of text from a wide variety of literary genres. Genesis is a religious saga, Song of Songs a love poem (the greatest ever written I might add). So if God is constitutes as one being out of many then his causality competes with ours, so the bible is His book and not ours. But the Catholic sense is Dei Verbum “The words of God expressed in human form”.
To counter we can point out that the Aneid, the Divine Comedy by Dante, Gulliver’s Travels, and Moby Dick, are bearers of profound truth indeed, though they convey it in a distinctively nonscientific or non-historical way.
We should also note that those who have seized the mass media most effectively are evangelical protestants not that I’m trying to decry them for doing so they did get on the band wagon of media sooner than Catholics did. Thus their version of Christianity is best known.
For the benefit of my readers I am going to split this topic into two parts. One reason being so I have something extra to blog about on this series, and among other reasons because I do not like a lot of words and mind numbing concepts in my blogs. I do this so you readers will not be turned off by my writing. I hope this enough to whet your truth pallet, and keep you tuned into my blog.