Well, Inquisitor Generalis will sure be happy about the Motu Propio.
Yesterday, I was again, yes yet again troubled by the opinions which secularists like Ali Sina are throwing about, in haughty and pseudo-intellectual attempts to disprove the Western understanding of God. I suppose Sina has an excuse, as he was once Muslim, and thus his understanding of religion is not so based in logic and as our Roman Catholic conception of Faith and Reason. Now, others have answered their blather at other times, but I feel the only way to make the unbelievers leave us alone (and to secure our own faith) is to record why we believe what we do, and to clear up all misconceptions about Catholicism.
One of the easiest ways to criticize faith in general is to lump all religions together, ignoring the differing doctrines, and to go after all belief in God at once [the cause is usually a combination of 1. utter cluelessness about the thing they're criticizing, and 2. they believe in effect (whether or not they say so) that all religions are more or less the same, and have shared guilt for their crimes, even if some faiths are beneficial to humanity when examined alone]. This oversimplification is clearly an attempt to bend the truth. Anyone who does the math and the reading will realize that Catholicism is not remotely as violent as Islam, and that the bad done by "God" (even generalized) is far outweighed by the good. Even in unreligious Massachusetts, the disappearance of religious charities and hospitals would cause a medical emergency of unfathomable proportions. Ali Sina said the below about the revelation of religion, and the supposed unfairness of having to find the correct faith:
His messengers tell us that he has sent them to teach us to be righteous. Apart from the fact that for this mighty task he often chooses men who do not walk their own talk and themselves live less than honorable lives, which in the case of his favorite Prophet [Mohammed] was scandalous, he has made it clear that living righteously is not enough. We have to recognize him also through his messengers. Without that recognition, none of our good deeds would count. But the problem does not end there. Despite the fact that each time he sends a messenger he makes it clear, in one way or another, that this messenger is the only and exclusive way to him or that he is the last one, he surprises us by sending new massagers at the least expected moments and in the most unlikely places, often choosing the less educated and the most ignorant among the men. Then he expects us to find these new messengers with the purity of our own heart but without the use of our brain. If we fail to do so, even if we already praise him, all of our worships become null and when we die we are given a one-way ticket to hell.
To know god is a very serious business. If you make a mistake you know where you end up. So you are left on your own to find your way through this maze.
In Christianity, this was not the case. In God's plan for the salvation of man, the essential truths which had been known from Adam to Noe, which had been forgotten in time, were unmistakably presented to Abraham, a virtuous man who was told to start a religion not via conversions, but by passing it down to his descendents, who eventually numbered in the millions. And when God established the Catholic Church, it did not arrive unannounced, as Islam did, but was foretold with numerous and clear signs in the Old Testament, which our Savior Jesus Christ, later went out of his way to fulfill. In fact, these preparations produced a very large number of early believers, making imminent and far reaching efforts of conversion among the Gentiles possible.
Another clever (and expectable) infidel's trick, somewhat of a corollary to generalizations, is to equate God with man, and judge Him as an equal to us. This is done so that they may say
Religionists say that God is all loving. But it is clear that the foundation of this world is not based on love. Every day billions of creatures die for other creatures to feed on them and live. Is this how a loving god would design the universe? Every day thousands of innocent human lives are destroyed in God-made and man-made disasters. Why God does not intervene? Religionists for lack of answer to this question say: he is testing us! What an outrageous thing!
and, for comic effect,
Why he is so oblivious of the cries of the wronged ones in this world? In my country if one sees someone in danger and is able but does not intervene to help, that person could be prosecuted. If God sets foot to Canada, I will take him to the court for crime against humanity.
They must realize that, according to a "religionist's" view (they must prove that our view is illogical, not that our theology is nonsensical when God is our equal), man was created by God, and owes a heavy debt to Him for making our sustenance possible in the first place. That is why we pray before meals. Our very existence is a privelige as from God, which other men are not to take away. And God would never have made our expiration possible had we not followed his simple command, and not eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The reductionists often find fault in the belief that man's fall happened when Adam and Eve stole and devoured the fruits of that tree. They fail to realize that this was a repeat of the devil's fall- he belived the creation was greater than the Creator. Eve ate the fruits of that tree because she believed she would become as great as God if she did. Certainly our Creator was right to punish our entire race for that pride, through Original Sin. We, after all, abused God's gift of free will.
We brought death upon ourselves. As Ali Sina was quick to note, Deus Caritas est, but he forgot our other belief. God is Just. And so His designs for our end are truly merciful. We will all lose our temporary, unimportant earthly lives, but through the example we set in this life, and how greatly we love neighbor and truth, we can easily merit unfathomable happiness in Heaven. [The whole concept is sort of like 'double or nothing'- if we abuse God's second bundle of gifts, His instruction and means of salvation, we will merit Hell, and unfathomable punishment].
Sina found fault with God's "moodiness" and "pride", which he obviously misunderstands. All God ever does is state the truth about himself- he is all just and all loving. He created the entire world and all in it: whatever Ali Sina or I do for the good of man, God not only created us, but continually presses virtue and grace into our hearts, allowing us to do good works (come to think of it, He should be in the credits of every movie). OF COURSE God has a right to righteous anger when we strut around as if we were the progenitors of the public welfare. The proper model of action is the Virgin Mary, who committed no sins, and continually thanked God whenever she committed acts of faith or charity.
Sina's more silly misunderstandings (no, we believe God cannot do something which is intrinsically impossible [a rock too heavy]; sometimes he will answer prayers because we care enough to ask; God knows the future, but can alter it [in more than one appropriate ways] by Divine Intervention; he also tries to disprove that God can be a being) are not worth such lengthy refutations. He has just one more problem in store for us theists, which I'm sure we've all heard before,
It is... absurd to believe that over one billion Muslims who preferred Muhammad to Christ will go to hell.
Absurd? That is an emotion-driven conclusion in the middle of a supposedly rational argument. It is too "painful" to be true? Too "bigoted"? As he himself says on the homepage of his new website,
We endeavor to be factually correct, not politically correct.
In his righteous endeavor to eradicate Islam, he feels justified in ignoring the popular sentiment, and speaking the truth, even if he will be called a bigot. Yet he will not grant us that same freedom, and calls our view "absurd" without a theological counterargument. This is hypocrisy and elitism, which we must all expsoe for the glory of God and as a needed admonition to fellow man.