Monday, 6/ 29, 15
On this feast of Peter and Paul please pardon me for reminiscing about two young Korean men named Peter and Paul. They celebrated their feast day together sixty-one years ago by giving a party. They were inviting guests to the new house they had built for themselves.; and I, as a 26 year old priest, was there because I had helped them in hauling stones up from the river and in slapping the mud walls together.
Of the thirty of us priests ordained together in 1952, the only other one still alive is Father Frank Mannion; and Frank happened to be visiting me that 29th of June in 1954. We joined twenty other Catholic guests, squatting against the walls in that eight by eight room; and we played a game in which each called out the next Korean number in succession while clapping his or her hands. The tricky thing was that if it was your turn when we came to seven, instead of their word for seven, you had to call out “bope!” And, instead of seventeen and twenty-sevn, you called out, “Bope, bope!”
Frank got it wrong three times, and everyone gleefully told him the penalty was that he had to sing a song. That got me worried, because Frank, a studious man, never would sing with us priests when we were partying. But I needn’t have worried.
Frank was in seventh heaven squatting in that corner. It was the kind of missionary life he had dreamed of. He sang, “There are some folks who say that I’m a dreamer; and I’ve no doubt there’s truth in what they say; but sure a body’s bound to be a dreamer, when all the things he loves are far away.”
Reasons to Believe in Jesus
Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.
Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)
Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)
And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )
Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.
From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.
If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.
by David Roemer
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