Reasons to Believe – Scott Hahn

On faith and reason:

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to contemplation of truth. Faith and reason are indeed interdependent.  “I believe that I may understand” – St. Augustine.

Even scientists must trust that empirical reality is indeed perceptible and measurable, and that the laws of cause and effect will apply universally. Nearly all scientific knowledge proceeded from tacit assumptions and relied upon trust in a community of colleagues, in regulations, and in some authority.

Revelation serves to correct and perfect what we might discover from reason.

Yet no demonstration can force the intellect or the will to take the next step: the act of faith. The ways lead us to rational belief about God’s existence and attributes. But Christ’s divinity remains another sort of thing – it is a matter of faith. Demonstrations are merely invitations to believe and not formal reasons for assenting to faith: “The mind changed against the will is of the same opinion still.” – Benjamin Franklin.

On the laws of God:

The laws of God, like the law of gravity, do not depend upon how I feel about them. They are inexorable (impossible to prevent) and God has willed them to be knowable, even in the absence of strong emotion or apparent miracles.

On atheism:

People want their way, and atheism is the price they pay for insisting on having their way.

If God doesn’t exist, then everything is permitted.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

If human beings had really tried to invent a god, we would never have invented the God of Christianity. He’s just too terrifying. Our God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-holy, and omnipresent. There’s no place to run and hide from Him, no place where we might secretly indulge a favorite vice.

On the problem of evil:

Denying God’s existence in order to solve the problem of evil is like burning your house down in order to get rid of termites, or cutting off your head to stop a nosebleed. People who allow evil to drive them to atheism suddenly have no standard by which to judge something evil.

On the Mass:

The Mass is saturated with the Bible. The Bible is saturated with the Mass. The Mass is the Church’s fulfillment of an explicit command of Jesus Christ.

If we only had one preparation for the work of apologetics, it would be this: full, conscious, and active participation in the Holy Mass. The Mass is where the natural world – of wheat, wine, and water – meets the supernatural, and where they coexist in one kingdom, with the angels crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy!” before the consecrated elements. The Mass is where the Bible dwells in its natural and supernatural habitat. For the Mass is the culmination of the Bible’s prophecy. The Bible is about the Mass, and the Bible suffuses the Mass.

On Baptism:

If God welcomed newborns into Israel by means of ritual circumcision for two thousand years, why would He suddenly close the kingdom to babies because they could not understand ritual baptism?

On the covenant:

The covenant is the key to understanding the entire Bible – which itself is divided into the Old Covenant and the New Covenant (covenant is usually translated into testament in English).

On King David:

David establishes the only lasting royal house in the Old Testament, and the longest running dynasty in the ancient world. The Davidic monarchy was founded upon a divine covenant.  Since Jesus is the son of David, He is the legal heir to David’s covenant and throne. Jesus transformed their expectation of a national, earthly kingdom to the realization of a kingdom that is international, universal, catholic  – a kingdom that is manifest on earth, but essentially heavenly. Only after the Apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit did they become true witnesses. They reversed the effects of the exile and dispersion of the tribes. The king is now enthroned in Heaven, but His ministers are active on earth. The Church exists in two states, but it is one Church. It is one kingdom. When we celebrate the Eucharist: the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven – and God and His angels lift us up to divine life.

On justification:

Council of Trent declared justification as “a transference from the state in which man is born a son of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoption of the sons of God.”

On conversion and apologetics:

All our reasons come down to one – we are God’s children now. Divine filiation – our family relationship with God – is a key that unlocks so many of the mysteries and enigmas of Scripture – and opens the door to a more positive and effective apologetics. Once we see ourselves as God’s children, the other mysteries fall into place. Baptism? It is birth into the family. The Mass? It is our family meal, our holy sacrifice at the altar of our true home. The saints? They are our siblings.  Mary? She is our mother.  The pope?  As God’s vicar, he is our holy father.  The kingdom?  It is ours because it belongs to the sons of God. The Church? It is our home, because it is the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of heaven belongs to children like us!

 

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