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5/13/2017 3:31 pm  #11


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

Since others have already commented on deep, spiritual and intellectual causes, a slightly unceremonious suggestion: twenty to thirty minutes jogging, bicycling, or doing other exercise every day (or as many as you can), and a multivitamin.

Our culture tends to ignore “the whole man” (to borrow an old Greek idea).

(If you're already a sort of Schwarzenegger-like figure, feel free to ignore this post.)

 

5/13/2017 3:32 pm  #12


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

As for the title, there are some arguments against sola scriptura here, here, here, and here. They won't get you from Christianity to Catholicism, but they might narrow the gap.

 

5/13/2017 8:27 pm  #13


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

DanielCC wrote:

If you don't mind me saying you seem to be giving almost exclusive emphasis on Thomas' First Way, which is neither the most basic or the most helpful of the theistic proofs. If you want - I don't mean this in any patronizing kind of way in case it comes across like that - we go into this in greater depth here on this thread, in the older one about God and Actuality, or in PM.

I am very familiar with the first two of Thomas' ways. I admit I haven't brushed up on the other ones in awhile--last time I did was a couple years back when I read The Last Superstition for the first time. 


DanielCC wrote:

Were you aware of and did you accept the Thomistic arguments for the Divine Attributes?

I am aware, and I do think that proportionate causality can provide a decent explanation. 

DanielCC wrote:

I agree but what gives you cause to suddenly think the soul is material?

Mostly suggestions in mind--spontaneous doubts. I didn't reason out these doubts; they just have been floating around and I want to get rid of them. I think intentionality and logical relations (as opposed to merely physical causal relations) between mental states are good evidence for the mind being immaterial though. 


 

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5/13/2017 8:29 pm  #14


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

John West wrote:

As for the title, there are some arguments against sola scriptura here, here, here, and here. They won't get you from Christianity to Catholicism, but they might narrow the gap.

Thank you, it's good to see that Feser has written about it. Do you know if Feser has ever recounted his conversion story from theism to Catholicism? I've read his atheism to theism conversion story but I can't recall him ever discussing his conversion to Catholicism. 

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5/13/2017 11:15 pm  #15


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

HI RomanJoe,

After reading through your post and skimming your blog I must say that you seem to be going through a dry spell that most if not all believers go through from time to time. I myself have gone through dry spells time and time again in my walk with Christ but nothing on the scale that you seem to be going through and I sincerely hope and pray that you come out of it stronger soon.

What I can tell you from my experience is that firstly you need to have someone whom you trust to regularly pray for you. For me it has been my parents. They have been faithful Catholics all their lives and whenever I ask them to pray for me they do so without hesitation. I cannot begin to specify how much of an impact someone's sincere prayer can have in your life.

Secondly, in my experience whenever I have had a dry spell it has been totally because of my own doing. Every time I have allowed the slightest bit of pride, envy or lust in my heart I have had the dry spell. Sometimes I do not even know if I have allowed something like that in my heart but when I sincerely ask God to show me what is wrong in my heart, He shows it to me. 

Thirdly, I think that doubting something is a good thing but when you doubt you do not go all the way to the beginning but you take a few steps back, wrestle with the questions, find the answers and then move on. There will always be questions that you will ask or people around you will ask that will create doubt in your mind but sometimes you use reason to counteract those questions, sometimes you use faith to counteract it or sometimes you use your own (or people you trust) experiences in life to counteract it. Let your faith and experiences in life take you forward till reason catches up and vice versa. Just trusting on reason alone to counteract everything will leave you always wanting.

I wish you the very best and hope and pray that this dark period in your soul will be transformed to a brightness that can only come through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

5/14/2017 1:26 am  #16


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

Jason wrote:

HI RomanJoe,

After reading through your post and skimming your blog I must say that you seem to be going through a dry spell that most if not all believers go through from time to time. I myself have gone through dry spells time and time again in my walk with Christ but nothing on the scale that you seem to be going through and I sincerely hope and pray that you come out of it stronger soon.

What I can tell you from my experience is that firstly you need to have someone whom you trust to regularly pray for you. For me it has been my parents. They have been faithful Catholics all their lives and whenever I ask them to pray for me they do so without hesitation. I cannot begin to specify how much of an impact someone's sincere prayer can have in your life.

Secondly, in my experience whenever I have had a dry spell it has been totally because of my own doing. Every time I have allowed the slightest bit of pride, envy or lust in my heart I have had the dry spell. Sometimes I do not even know if I have allowed something like that in my heart but when I sincerely ask God to show me what is wrong in my heart, He shows it to me.

Thirdly, I think that doubting something is a good thing but when you doubt you do not go all the way to the beginning but you take a few steps back, wrestle with the questions, find the answers and then move on. There will always be questions that you will ask or people around you will ask that will create doubt in your mind but sometimes you use reason to counteract those questions, sometimes you use faith to counteract it or sometimes you use your own (or people you trust) experiences in life to counteract it. Let your faith and experiences in life take you forward till reason catches up and vice versa. Just trusting on reason alone to counteract everything will leave you always wanting.

I wish you the very best and hope and pray that this dark period in your soul will be transformed to a brightness that can only come through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Thank you. Your own experiences resonate with me--pray for me and I'll do the same for you.

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5/14/2017 8:38 am  #17


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

Have you read William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith? Something gives me the suspicion that it might be more useful to you at this point than a specifically Catholic manual.

RomanJoe wrote:

I am very familiar with the first two of Thomas' ways. I admit I haven't brushed up on the other ones in awhile--last time I did was a couple years back when I read The Last Superstition for the first time.  

RomanJoe wrote:

I am aware, and I do think that proportionate causality can provide a decent explanation. 

For both these points, if you want a really good traditional Neo-Scholastic Natural Theology manual I'd recommend Graham Joyce's Principles of Natural Theology. He gives a good account of the Divine Attributes from what I recall.

Although as a Catholic with a direction towards the priesthood you will naturally tend to lean in the direction of Thomism, I don't think Thomas' Five Ways are the most fundamental or epidemically apparent proofs in natural theology.  I would tend to emphasize some form of PSR Cosmological Argument, even if you don't go into the minutiae of giving an exact formulation of a weak or strong PSR - after all a refusal to give an explanation for contingent beings a la the common atheist cry of 'brute fact' is tantamount to turning one's back on rationality. On an entirely different track consider the moral argument, as given in its negative formulation by Sartre, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky 'If God is Dead Everything is Permitted' (which also means nothing is inherently worth doing) - if you have a strong intuition that there are such a thing as objective values then that intuition is the basis for a theistic intimation.

Further more: lurking in the background behind all the aforementioned proofs is the uncontroversial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument - that if a perfect necessary being is even possible then it exists*. Here we could do further work analyzing the properties we stipulate as conducive to perfection ('Great-Making') and try to show by analysis that they are compossible. Even if we don't go down this route though, we should bear in mind the possibility premise - if we have good reasons to postulate God elsewhere in our metaphysics this gives us some abductive ground to consider that premise justified. 

*This holds for any necessary being on S5 logic, so if a the notion of being which is pure actuality is free from internal contradiction then it too must exist.

Last edited by DanielCC (5/14/2017 8:39 am)

 

5/14/2017 1:58 pm  #18


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

DanielCC wrote:

Have you read William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith? Something gives me the suspicion that it might be more useful to you at this point than a specifically Catholic manual.

RomanJoe wrote:

I am very familiar with the first two of Thomas' ways. I admit I haven't brushed up on the other ones in awhile--last time I did was a couple years back when I read The Last Superstition for the first time.  

RomanJoe wrote:

I am aware, and I do think that proportionate causality can provide a decent explanation. 

For both these points, if you want a really good traditional Neo-Scholastic Natural Theology manual I'd recommend Graham Joyce's Principles of Natural Theology. He gives a good account of the Divine Attributes from what I recall.

Although as a Catholic with a direction towards the priesthood you will naturally tend to lean in the direction of Thomism, I don't think Thomas' Five Ways are the most fundamental or epidemically apparent proofs in natural theology.  I would tend to emphasize some form of PSR Cosmological Argument, even if you don't go into the minutiae of giving an exact formulation of a weak or strong PSR - after all a refusal to give an explanation for contingent beings a la the common atheist cry of 'brute fact' is tantamount to turning one's back on rationality. On an entirely different track consider the moral argument, as given in its negative formulation by Sartre, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky 'If God is Dead Everything is Permitted' (which also means nothing is inherently worth doing) - if you have a strong intuition that there are such a thing as objective values then that intuition is the basis for a theistic intimation.

Further more: lurking in the background behind all the aforementioned proofs is the uncontroversial premise of the Modal Ontological Argument - that if a perfect necessary being is even possible then it exists*. Here we could do further work analyzing the properties we stipulate as conducive to perfection ('Great-Making') and try to show by analysis that they are compossible. Even if we don't go down this route though, we should bear in mind the possibility premise - if we have good reasons to postulate God elsewhere in our metaphysics this gives us some abductive ground to consider that premise justified. 

*This holds for any necessary being on S5 logic, so if a the notion of being which is pure actuality is free from internal contradiction then it too must exist.

Oh yes, I love Dr. Craig. He was the person who first go me into theology and philosophy. I have quite a few of his books and have found his arguments very helpful--especially his presentation of the Leibnizian contingency argument (though I think he might make a jump in calling God a necessary being--I don't think the premises show that God is necessary, at most, they show he's an immaterial, very powerful, sustainer of reality who may or may not be contingent). He invokes Occam's razor though, which is acceptable. I think I never gave Thomas too much attention. I've read through Feser's TLS and Aquinas, and I have read through parts of the ST and SCG before--but I haven't intensely studied Thomist thought. This is one reason why I joined this forum. You make a good point about the moral argument--I'm familiar with Craig's, what are some other good ones? 

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5/14/2017 3:12 pm  #19


Re: How to get from Christianity to Catholicism

RomanJoe wrote:

 Do you know if Feser has ever recounted his conversion story from theism to Catholicism? I've read his atheism to theism conversion story but I can't recall him ever discussing his conversion to Catholicism. 

I don't believe he has, not in a blog post or in his books anyhow. Maybe worth badgering him about it in his blog comments section, I would also be very interested to find out. Given that he was raised Catholic, it is possible that he never really had a problem rejecting Protestant forms of Christianity, but getting to Christianity in the first place, from a fledgling philosophical theism, must have been an interesting journey, spiritually as well as intellectually.
As a guess at "filling in the blanks" I would suggest William Lane Craig's work on the resurrection may have played a role, as Feser referred to it in his post on apologetics a few years back (incidentally, the first blog post of his I read), and it would make sense that he would look to Craig on Christianity after finding him useful on understanding the cosmological argument(s). But that's just a guess - see the quote below for the relevant part of the blog post.

Edward Feser wrote:

 Here, I maintain, is where the work of the most formidable scholars of the Resurrection -- of a William Lane Craig, say -- should enter the picture.  If a skeptic is convinced of the truth of naturalism, and you present him with no reason to doubt his naturalism except the defense of the Resurrection developed by a writer like Craig, then it seems to me perfectly understandable why such a skeptic would regard that defense as inconclusive at best.  However, suppose instead that the claims of natural theology, philosophical anthropology, and natural law sketched above can all be independently established.  Seen in that context, I maintain, the arguments of writers like Craig are compelling.

 

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