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Sizing Up a (Silly?) Christian Slogan and Listening to a Very Angry Man

August 10, 2010

The video at the bottom of this page is a rather angry discourse by a non-believer. Watch it with care and caution as he uses some profanity and a degree of uncharitable discourse, and unfair stereotyping  that is hard to take if you haven’t prayed prior to viewing it. He does disclaim at the beginning that “Not everyone who has religious faith is a complete idiot” but then goes on to so fundamentally attack the very notion of faith that he ends up saying we’re “complete idiots.”

I call the video to your attention however because it is valuable at times to hear and then address criticisms leveled at us. What sets this non-believer (I don’t know his name) off is the use of a common slogan among some Christians: “God said it. I believe it. And that settles it.” I’d like to assess the slogan that we have all heard and then address some of the criticisms leveled in the video about the act of believing.

God said it. I believe it. And that settles it.– Like all slogans, there is some element of truth here and yet, because it is a slogan, refinements and distinctions are necessary that are lost in the sound-bite quality of a slogan.

Let’s look at what is true about the statement.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. By faith “man freely commits his entire self to God.”  (CCC 1814) The Book of Hebrews says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1). There is an old definition of faith I memorized years ago where faith is defined as: The theological virtue by which one, through grace, adheres in the intellect to a truth revealed by God because of the authority of God who reveals rather than the evidence given.

Now what seems to unite all these definitions is that the Theological Virtue of  Faith is rooted essentially in the grace given for us to believe something on the authority of God. That is the acceptance of a truth revealed to us rests not so much on extrinsic evidence but on the fact that God has revealed it. There may be,  and most often are,  motives of credibility in regard to the truth of faith. God has given us minds and proposes himself and his truths to us in a way that respects our mind. But many of the truths of faith surpass the capacity of the mind to fully comprehend and material evidence is often not present in regards to spiritual truth. Hence the grace of faith enables us to accept the truths of faith on the authority of God revealing.

So the slogan contains an element of the truth: God said it, I believe it. This is the gift of Faith, rather simply stated, to be sure but accurate in what it says. The gift of faith does not require that God supply vast amounts of evidence and explanations that appeal to us. The Gift of Faith as Hebrews states is its own evidence for God gifts the individual to accept what He reveals by his authority.

The problem with the slogan seems to come more with the final phrase: “and that settles it.” Now in itself the phrase is not problematic if by “settle” we mean that it is enough that God has revealed something for me to believe it. But the expression “that settles it” usually carries other connotations as well that are problematic. Consider for example:

  1. “That settles it” could be interpreted as a discussion-ender with some one as in: “God said it, I believe it and I am not going to discuss this with you any further.” Hence our opponents hear an arrogance and unwillingness to discuss something and this is problematic for a Christian who ought Always be prepared to render an account for the hope that is in you. (1 Peter 3:15)
  2. “That settles it” could be interpreted as meaning, “I don’t have to think about this any more.”  Here too our opponents may interpret the phrase to refer to a blind, unthinking, marching in thoughtless lock-step kind of faith. But of course God has given us a mind and wants us to come to a deeper understanding of our faith than mere creeds or scriptural phrases may contain. St. Anselm spoke of theology as fides quaerens intellectum (faith seeking understanding). St Augustine said, crede, ut intelligas (believe that you may understand).  While faith may gift us to accept the truth of what God reveals, this is not the end of thought, but it is the beginning of it as we connect the dots of our faith and grab a deeper hold of the full meaning and implication of what is revealed. Catholicism is a smart and thoughtful religion in that we have pondered and prayed over the meaning of what God reveals for centuries. Our rich theology and tradition is testimony to a deeply thoughtful intellectual discipline and treasure. That theological tradition began with Mother Mary who, treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart(Luke 2:19). It continued with the Fathers of the Church, the great philosophers, theologians  and doctors of the Church and stretches down to this very day. The deposit of faith may be said to be “settled” but its understanding and depths continue to be sounded.
  3. “That settles it” could be interpreted as a mere dismissal of one’s opponent in a conversation. In this sense it amounts to an ad hominem argumentum (an argument directed to the person rather than to the issue). Such arguments are disrespectful of the unbeliever or the one who struggles to understand. Again quoting the text from Peter: Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Pet 3:15)

So the slogan, like any slogan needs to be properly understood. And, frankly most non-believers and those outside the Christian Tradition see the slogan as a mere rebuke and a conversation stopper. We may do well to use this slogan sparingly and carefully, if at all.

That leads to the rather angry video below where the author of it lets loose with a rather unkind description of faith. I’d like to isolate a few things he says and then carefully invite you to view it. I will list his quotes and then offer a brief response. The italics are his words, the red plain text is my response.

  1. Believing is easier than thinking. It takes time and effort to acquire knowledge whereas any fool can acquire faith instantly and effortlesslyWell, our interlocutor is wrong to divorce believing from thinking. Faith is a way of knowing, faith supplies knowledge. When God draws us to faith he imbues our mind substantial truth that summons forth a thoughtful response. Believing involves a great deal of thinking. I have spent years, decades, pondering my faith and striving to understand what God is teaching me. As regards his statement that any fool can acquire faith instantly and effortlessly, he has surely not discussed how faith is experienced with a believer. While it is true that God could just zap us with doctrine, it seldom works that way at all. Faith is something in which we must grow. Grace builds on nature and most people who have faith have it at great cost and experience it’s growth incrementally. There is nothing effortless about it at all. Most all of us who have faith have struggled to grasp it, accept it and submit to it. Often faith comes through suffering which causes us to reflect more deeply on the truer meaning of life and things. Understanding deepens in the crucible of real life with its joys and losses, it happiness and its hardship. There is nothing effortless or instant about true faith.
  2. Faith is all about lazy stuff: submission, surrender, don’t ask questions, let your moral values be handed to you on a plate like a babyWell again, there is nothing lazy about submission and surrender, it is hard work. It is much harder than just going off and doing what I please. Obedience is hard, disobedience is easy. As for not asking questions, again, I wonder where he gets this vision of faith? Christians struggle all the time to understand and often ask, “Why?” I suppose there is a stereotype out there of the unquestioning believer, but I have seldom met one. The scriptures are filled with believers who asked questions. Many of the Psalms begin with words and phrases like: why, how long O Lord, when. The disciples and apostles were asking Jesus questions all the time. Paul asked questions of God, once three times in a row (2 Cor 12:8). Most of the Scriptures are dealing with the questions of faith and the whys and wherefores of God’s ways. As for my moral values being handed to me on a plate – I wonder how he got his moral values handed to him? All of us receive what we know from others (on a plate or otherwise). Someone has influenced this man. With me it happens to be God and the Church. Not sure who it is with him but some one influenced him as to his thoughts and values. This does not make him a baby any more than it makes me one. So really his last point is moot.
  3. The expression “God said it, I believe it and that settles it” means to me “This mind is closed for business. We are not currently accepting any new ideas here” – Well as I said above, our interlocutors often interpret this slogan just as this man states and for that reason we do well to limit or end it’s use except in restricted places where fellow believers can interpret it as we intend. That said, his notion that belief closes the mind to new ideas is in need of distinctions. First it must be said that every discipline has some boundaries wherein it cannot admit certain premises. For example Science deals with the physically measurable and observable phenomena. For me to insist that science accept and include the God of the Bible in its discipline and attribute every unknown cause to the Trinity is to ask science to do what is beyond what it can do. Hence Science would rightly reject my insistence that the Trinity be accepted as a premise in a scientific conclusion. It is outside the discipline of science. Now the same is true for a believer who might, in certain circumstances indicate that a proposed idea is unacceptable. For example, the “new idea” that the only reality is the material and that the spiritual is thus unreal and non-existent is rejected by the Christian since it contains an a-priori assumption we cannot accept. So, it seems unreasonable to demand that anyone ought to be open , without stipulation, to any “new idea” by itself. That said, Christians and non-Christians generally ought to be open to discuss new ideas and I think we Christians usually are. The whole field of apologetics seeks to engage the modern world, a world full of new (or recycled) ideas (If you think you really have a new idea, go and see how the Greeks put it). It is the very purpose of evangelization to go forth into the world and engage it. The best evangelizers and missionaries make use of the culture, affirming what is good and critiquing what is problematic. There is an old Dominican saying, “Never deny, seldom affirm, always distinguish.” In a way I find his notion that we don’t accept new ideas funny since one of the critiques of the modern Church is that we have accepted far too many “new ideas” and lost our traditions.

Well then here is the video. Pray before you watch it. I invite your comments as always. If you comment PLEASE do NOT do what this man does. Do not call names, ridicule, use profanity etc. As angry as this man may make you, remember he is known by God who sustains and loves him. Perhaps we can pray that his anger at us will abate and that he might be able to receive the gift of faith. So pray, watch and, if you wish, comment. Warning, there are some profanities toward the end.

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Comments (55)

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  1. Vijaya Bodach says:

    Ouchie. But this is why I am a Catholic. So that when I don’t understand something, at least I can trust the Fathers to guide me, so that in due time I do understand. I am continually amazed at this slow transformation in myself and my family since we joined the Church. I used to think that religion was for people who were weak. Now I have joined their ranks and realize it is so much harder to be a follower of Christ than a follower of my own whim.

    By the way, I have never heard this pithy little Christian slogan, but then again, I’m in the Pacific NW (the most irreligious state in the country?).

  2. M says:

    Just another angry anti-Christian. I actually feel sorry for him as people that carry that much hate are not happy people. I would like to add that he is also a coward. Why? Simple, because if he sincerely believed what he says he would direct his tirade at a far wider audience rather than just Christianity. He wouldn’t want to offend just anybody though … would he 😉

    • Anger is a heavy burden. I remember some years ago not being able to sleep on account of it. Thank God I’ve been delivered from a lot of it. I suppose you are right, it is “safe” to excoriate Christians.

  3. candy says:

    Thank you ,for you love to christ . christ love u :0

  4. Dismas says:

    For me, ‘God said it. I believe it. and that settles it.’ immediately brings to mind Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation and the heresies of Sola Fides and Sola Scriptura (excuse my Latin if I mispell). A dangerous slogan indeed.

  5. Mark says:

    He seems most put out about the anonymous email he received (and I don’t blame him for that). I wonder if he is capable of a respectful discussion with someone who isn’t taking advantage of anonymity? (Something he also seems to be doing, and as I am in my comment! 🙂 As he says, “Peace!”… and I certainly won’t forget to pray, especially that this man read your irenic response and take the next step toward faith which is to ponder your words.

  6. matt says:

    Thanks for your post. I have recently been somewhat active on youtube (misterd418) trying to defend our faith. There are a lot of angry people out there making videos and cursing at each other, Christians and atheists alike. I think it would be great if more intelligent Christians made charitable responses to these videos. Your responses here are great; I would love to see these responses on youtube for all to see.

  7. Leonard says:

    How can you look at a world with great Universities, Hospitals even Democratic Societies all founded on Christian principles and with the hard earned contributions of Christians and make such an ignorant, ungrateful statement? Neo Pagans, Atheists and Satanists are the ones who are sadly ignorant and rude and it is understandable because they have refused the grace and redemption given to humanity by God through the passion and death of Christ. We are all born into original sin. We can all choose to be released from it or to wallow in it for a short meaningless time on Earth. God Bless Christians everywhere! Carry on. God help the rest.

  8. J M Walden says:

    I think I used to be this man not so long ago. Pride is a harsh mistress. But I see reflected in his remarks much of the behavior that kept me from God for 25 years: the arational, arrogant, anti-intellectual habits of the vast majority of those (Protestant) Christians I knew growing up. But my conversion has caused me to re-think that. Now that I have been handed the Faith, entrusted with it, burdened by it, I better understand its magnitude and why so many perfectly decent people who – though it is no slight to acknowledge it – lack the cognitive might of an Aquinas and content tthemselves with taking their faith at face value, unable to argue or artculate it in depth. Such people, myself included, may well be tempted to stoop to slogans in the face of argument. It is unfair and inaccurate to call such people idiots, or to brand them “arational, arrogant, anti-intellctual” simply because they cannot explain their theology of the cuff. I myself am certainly no Aquinas. I might barely rate with the ox he was inaccurately compared to.
    How many secular, agnostic or atheist, people can explain string theory, quantum mechanics, particle physics, or even more basic sciences with a glib and easy tongue? Probably as many as can discourse easily on the Faith, systematic or dogmatic theology. The rest tend to “take their word for it” and should not be overly stigmatized for doing so. If your average atheist is not expected to expound the intricacies of a materialist philosophy, then it is unfair to expect your average believer to have any greater grasp of their theology.
    In this light, for me at any rate, it is no more valid to say that “Science proves it!” than it is to say “God said it. I believe it. That settles it!” Both reflect a certain ignorant reductionism that does little to promote the free exchange of ideas or any account of the faith within us.
    And once again we have a conflation of the Faith as taught in ever growing understanding by the Church since the time of Christ, or just thereafter, on through the Early Church, the Fathers and Doctors, the Scholastics, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, up to today and the faith as understood and promulgated by the various, innumerable Protestant denominations. The distinction, though perhaps smacking of anti-ecumenism, is too important to ignore. When an angry materialist rants, as this man does, against “Christianity” it must be understood which arguments are to be directed where and refuted in what manner.
    The Faith is rational and complex, providing truth to those willing to seek it out. It requires study, prayer, and a certain willingness to let the ego go. Slogans, soundbites, quips, witticisms, pithy cartoons, billboards, placards, and a host of other “insta-statement” medias are simple, often funny, and thus perferred, but cannot adequately convey the Faith or any creed of any rational depth.
    Best of luck to all of us: believer and unbeliever alike.

  9. Karen LH says:

    Father,

    I think I saw the following definition in a book once (though I’ve not seen it again):

    Faith is believing something on the word of someone else—as opposed to knowledge, which is believing something on the basis of direct evidence and/or reasoning. Human faith is believing something on the word of a human being, while divine faith is believing something on the word of God. Examples of human faith would be: believing that my husband spent the day at work because he told me that he did, believing a book because I trust the author, and so on. We practice it all the time and wouldn’t be able to function as a society without it, but it’s fallible because the source is fallible: a human being may deceive or be deceived. Divine faith is believing Revelation—believing something because God said it—and hence is infallible, because God can neither deceive nor be deceived. Divine faith is still based on evidence, because you need to be convinced that the source of your information is in fact God, so it is still reasonable.

    This has always seemed like a reasonable definition to me, but since I’ve never seen it anywhere else, I’m not completely sure it’s correct. How does it sound?

    • It’s good in that it distinguishes human faith from Divine Faith. One of the things that most who reject faith fail to see is that most of the things we know are based on faith since we cannot directly verify everything we know. Using human faith is the basis of most of our knowledge. This makes the rejection of Divine Faith seem arbitrary.

  10. Grandpa Tom says:

    Good posting Msgr. Pope. The man in the video is clearly a disciple of Charles Darwin. The clue is his ridicule of the creationist belief in the 6,000 year old earth. If Dante Alighieri was alive today, and re-wrote his Divine Comedy, I believe he would place Darwin with a man’s head and a ape’s body in the Ninth Circle of Hell, together with Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Brutus, and Cassius, in the frozen lake called Cocytus. Belief in macro evolution also requires faith. Faith to believe that a 4-legged mammal such as a cow walked into the ocean and is todays whale, or that some dinosaur one day flew away as a bird. Pope Benedict XVI in his book, “In The Beginning” quotes Fancois Mauriac who said: “What this professor wants to inflict on us is far more unbelievable than what we poor Christians were ever expected to believe.” As Catholics it behooves us to know our faith so we can defend it against both the unbeliever, and the false teachings of false religions such as the Jehovah’s Witness’es and the Mormon missionaries. I have lived in Utah all my life, and have always been Catholic, an obvious minority like a Christian in an Islam country. Put on the Armor of God. Eph. 6: 11-17

    • He would seem to be a be intentionally ridulculing creationist theory and thus casting himself as an evolutionist. I should be stated however that the Catholic Crch does nto teach creationism. THough I like you have scientific reason to doubt macro-evolution as a theory. Mainly it is the lack of evidence in the fossil record.

  11. Bob Henry says:

    I’m very cautious when speaking to those of little or no faith. Anything that would trigger them to sin would make me an accomplice. We are called to worship in ‘spirit and truth’; what we say may be truthful but if the spirit is not present it shouldn’t be said.

    • Perhaps there is some truth here in the old pearls/swine motif but that would pertain only to the more advance hings of our faith not motives of credibility and the like.

  12. Kaisar says:

    I just wish he wasn’t so angry. lol.

  13. Deacon ken Arnaud says:

    Hebrew 11:1

  14. Bill Daugherty says:

    If he is capable of respectful discussion, as Mark wonders, he should be asked to prove his own proposition that there is no God. Since it is logically impossible to prove a negative proposition, and since by his own definition faith is belief in the unprovable, then he is a man of faith. Working from that common ground, we fellow believers can arrive at the truth together. Pray for this man because he is so close to the kingdom of God.

  15. Dismas says:

    I can’t help but wonder what change could be affected for this guy if every reader on this board everytime they thought of him today and in the future begged for God’s mercy and enlightenment for him?

  16. Shacoria says:

    I have to disagree with him when he says that believing is a lot harder than thinking. I think having faith can be quite difficult actually. He seems angry to me. Sad.

  17. Bill says:

    I agree with others who have commented that we all need to pray for this gentleman and his soul. I find that we best defend our Faith by demonstrating our concern for others in word as well as deed. I also agree that the phrase is best left out of our apologetic efforts.

    That said (and done), there is yet another sense of the verb “to settle.” Something is settled when it is “ordered” or assumes it’s natural place—we speak in this sense of things that “settle” to the bottom. And the things at the bottom form part of a foundation.

    The Scripture in this sense serves to settle or order our thinking and discussions about this life and the next. God is Truth, but we are free to accept or reject His Word and so the Scripture helps order our freedom. I for one at times wish I was that fool who blindly accepted on faith everything my Holy Mother Church taught me. It certainly would be easier to live the Gospel if we had less freedom in exchange for some more Christ-like natural inclinations.

    But freedom to reject the love of God is part of the plan and so we need the anchor of Scripture to settle us, order our freedom and at least point us toward the path of Salvation. However settled we may be, we still must each walk that path with eyes of faith. There’s just no other way home.

    So perhaps we ought to amend the phrase: “God said it. I believe it. That settles me.”

    Just a thought.

  18. Bob says:

    I would invite this man to look into the history of the Jesuits and science and the role that Christianity played in developing the western way of life. The slogan he talks about here is one used by Protestants to explain, however crudely their belief in the Bible and the truths it holds. I am a former Protestant and believed that slogan and said it, and to be honest with you I still believe that and say it. Catholics could do well to learn from the zeal of Protestants in some areas like evangalization. They take literally the aspect of go forth into all the nations and preach the gospel. They believe this because God said it, they believe it and that settles it. How many of us Catholics have passed out tracks at Wal Mart, Target or in neighborhoods? How many of us have been able to explain the faith in a concise and comprehensible manner to our non Catholic friends? How many of our Parishes have bus ministries to pick up kids in the projects or wherever and bring them to PSR?
    I think we have a lot to learn from Protestants and their zeal to get the gospel out there even if they do not have the eloquence of St Augustine or St. Aquinas, just as they can learn from us the whole truth of Jesus and the life God has for us.
    Just a thought.

  19. adele says:

    So the man does not have respect for people of faith? And he defends this position by name-calling and
    vilifying those that do express Faith in the Christian religion in particular. We don’t really know where else
    this man is coming from ..he gives us only his vile contempt and inaccurate facts ( such as the planet has
    been around 6000 years!? Wrong…try upward of that number in the billions..like 13 billion years) but this
    is not a man who is not interested in historical fact, or what faith really is like or why the vast majority of
    people who are alive now or in the past…had some form of faith. He obviously,as the person above commented, cannot prove a negative ( that God does not exist) so instead of making an honest attempt at ntelligently refuting Faith and Religion he spews his venom and large vocabulary of hateful words at those
    who would believe. Do we really care what this man says or thinks? Have we not really become bored to
    tears by the Dawkins and Hitchens of the atheistic left who speak from hollow ground with empty voice?
    I think I have listened for the last time to these bores…I would prefer thoughts of brilliancy that is more
    worth my time to listen and ponder…from the ancients like Augustine and Acquinas to the current wisdom
    being offered by John Paul and Benedict…from Fr Spitzer, or Groeschel, Pacwa, etc. So this nameless
    man does not believe in faith..and thinks those who do are idiots! Does this nameless man ever fly in
    an airplane? without having faith in the pilot’s ability to bring him safely to his destination? Does he ever
    cross the street even without placing faith that the stranger drving the car that is approaching the red light
    will obey the traffic signal? When he posts a letter does he not place his faith that the little stamp he put
    on the envelope will carry it to its destination..by depending upon the many hands it wll pass through
    to do their job? Does this same man not make hundreds of acts of faith all day long in his fellow man?
    If not how does this man of little faith get through his day? Is it such a leap for him that he cannot imagine
    that for most of humankind it is not idiotic to extend that kind of faith, blind as it may seem to him, in the Creator of the universe and all that is in it? I would say to this nameless man ( a true coward) if he can
    put such faith in mere man to get him safely in a plane ( think of all the people here involved from the
    designer of the aircraft, to the maintainence crew, to the pilot, etc) to his destination without knowing
    the least little bit about any of them…how can he call we who choose to make the same leap of faith in
    our Creator with far more knowledge ( something you can bet our little nameless man has spent little
    time in study or meditation about) idiots?! Who, I ask you, is the idiot here!

  20. Richard G. says:

    God doesn’t often give me the grace to cry over evil, but this video almost brought me to tears, not only for what my atheistic brother has said, but also for what some of my Christian relatives have said in response. How sad indeed that in the face of infinite love, we succumb to the very hatred that is directed against us rather than bearing it with the suffering Christ, with meekness and outpouring love! It is by the grace of God alone that I am what I am, as St. Paul put it, and I know how I could easily be in a worse spot than that man. Indeed, if that man had been given the graces given to me, surely he would have done much better than myself. We must ask the Blessed Mother to obtain the grace of conversion for ourselves and for all, especially hardened sinners, atheists, and agnostics!

    There is a distinction to be made. We believers can keep at peace with such slogans as “God said it; I believe it; that settles it,” but we cannot use such slogans when addressing those who do not believe, precisely because non-believers don’t believe in God and hence that God said anything at all. Think of all those holy Saints, the Cure of Ars, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Benedict Joseph Labre… Although they had no inclinations for philosophy or study, they penetrated, with the light of divine contemplation, these mysteries far more profoundly than any theologian. See how the Cure of Ars do not contradict the writings of St. Thomas! How amazing it is! Yet it is not surprising because both were guided by the same Truth, the same Faith. St. Thomas, for all his intellectual genius, noted that when faced with the most abstruse difficulties, he found his most profound and penetrating answers in deep prayer rather than deep study.

    And isn’t our brother, the atheist, angry precisely because we Christians fail to show thoughtful fraternal charity? Rather than thoughtlessly dropping names, such as coward or idiot, etc., or mindless slogans…why not pray? why not lead by example? Isn’t a Mother Teresa much more powerful than a seasoned debater? We need more saints. Blessed Mother, we must pray, obtain for us more saints…

  21. esiul says:

    As awful as his speech sounds and is, we do need people like him so we can speak out.
    It’s most important not to remain silent. We can not let a person like him walk all over us.
    That’s where we need to “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary use words”. That’s how I combat this type of unbeliever.

  22. monica's hope says:

    Pray for this man, and please include two of my children who have this anger as well.
    I long for their joy in Christ and their return to the Eucharist, and implore the Father’s mercy on their hearts, minds, souls and strength. Blessed be God!

  23. Howard says:

    The biggest problem with the bumper-sticker thought is it is in the wrong order. It should be, “God said it. That settles it. I believe it.” My acceptance of reality doesn’t help “settle” reality.

    Unfortunately, for too many people it’s, “I believe it. That settles it. God said it.”

  24. Howard says:

    Of course, “Roma locuta est. Causa finita est” makes a better bumper sticker! 🙂

  25. Tim V I says:

    God says to love this man…
    I believe it…
    So I do…
    That settles it!!!

  26. Tim V I says:

    BTW, I never heard that slogan either…
    The only way I could use it in the obove post was after hearing the angry man use it…
    Mysterious ways…

  27. adele says:

    To Richard G…Yes, we must pray for the conversion of sinners…and we are all sinners and have need for conversion. However we are told in Scripture to defend our Faith and to be armed with reasons for our
    Faith. So to only pray is not enough..prayer and action are two different sides of the same coin…the coin
    of evangelization! Why is this nameless man ( i called him a coward because while he is all too willing to
    speak his hate-filled ideas about those of faith he does not claim ownership of those ideas by identifying
    himself..a cowardly act) not given the graces you speak of having been given? The graces necessary to
    believe are flowing freely and given to those who will open their minds and hearts. We don’t know why
    this nameless man has closed his mind nor hardened his heart. Perhaps God has allowed this
    as a goad for us who believe to speak Truith to lie…We read of this happening in the OT in many instances.
    Does that imply that the nameless man is doing the will of the Father? I think rather it is another instance of
    God being about His work of drawing good out of evil…allowing this nameless man’s hateful diatribe to stir
    Christian consciences to speak out in Truth. You are correct to remind us to always pray for the souls of atheists and apostates. I did not introduce the term idiot into this discourse…
    but I did attempt to return it to its source. Perhaps you are right to point out that is not always the best
    Christian response to one who seems to be more in need of our love and understanding than derision.
    There is more to the nameless man’s story than he is telling…and how it is he has so much hatred in
    his heart and why he feels so heavily burdened by his feelings of contempt for faith-filled people. You
    are right about prayer being a very important part of our Christian response to one who is so weighed
    down by his feelings of hatred. For me this man embodies the evil so prevalent in our society…a society
    that proclaims to honor diversity of thought but in reality loathes that which it cannot understand or believe.

    • Richard G. says:

      The most powerful forces in the world are Saints because Christ is the most powerful force in the world. But every Saint, whether the active ones or the contemplative ones, became a Saint only through profound prayer. It follows, then, that by simply being a Saint, living as a Saint, immersed in profound prayer, giving way to a fruitful apostolic life, we become living lights reflecting Christ, who did not offer necessary reasons for Faith, but declared everything with the calm assurance of Supreme Truth, which is never ruffled, never offended, always, in a sense, amused at the arguments of Man. For the Saint knows that underneath the ruses of lofty materialistic philosophy is a soul crying for redemption; why else the complexity, the self-contradictions (a diatribe ended with the word “peace”?), the hate, the misunderstandings, the overblown reaction at a single email, containing a simple, silly slogan?

      For a great discussion on this point of action leading to contemplation and being fed by contemplation, see the work by the late Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., entitled Christian Perfection and Contemplation.

      In my experience, good examples work far more profoundly than good arguments. Even better is absolutely confident, profoundly humble, incessantly persevering prayer, especially prayer to the Blessed Mother, for God never refuses His Mother! And out of deep prayer comes deep answers to (startlingly shallow) objections, as St. Thomas Aquinas notes.

      God bless you and your work.

  28. Nora says:

    I didn’t watch it because life is too short to absorb other people’s anger, but after just reading your little description of the subject, all I can say is slogans are all kind of dumb and it’s best to avoid them. They always come across as smart-assy or flip or dismissive of the other point of view, so it’s easy to understand why non-believers find the believer’s slogans irritating. OTOH, that works both ways — “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and “We’re queer and we’re here” are both equally grating and conversation enders as far as I’m concerned.

    Catholics and mainline Protestants tend to use slogans much less than non-denom Christians, though, thankfully.

    Anyway, in light of all the Anne Rice stuff and this kind of stuff, it is good for all Christians to remind themselves that words are important — think of Jewish law and Lashon Ha-ra. The words we speak and the damage they do are considered very, very serious matters in Judaism.

  29. Prof. Dr. Graf C. W. Bartach says:

    Well, this gentleman is somehow restless. I could not judge him as an atheist, I only see him making provocative statements and I think that’s a good sign for his own (lacking) peace: He wants answers in his spiritual needs. Otherwise he couldn’t care less.

    The statement he cites is not known to me and has absolutely nothing to do with my faith as a Catholic. We are still free agents and need guidance for our path in life. Some may come as divine gifts. In my prayers to God, I have received inspirations and spiritual strength,. Where does God say to inactivate your brain? God is positive in my faith and I have the free will to believe in him. And I do. Non plus ultra.

  30. Father Joe Jenkins says:

    Patrick Condell (in the video) is one of several very vocal, and unfortunately, effective atheists on the web, today. His name is often mentioned alongside that of Professor Paul C. Myers, although Condell has little in the way of academic credentials. He thinks he is a comedian, but he is really a tragic figure. He has written a book entitled, GODLESS AND FREE. Atheists were once respectful academics largely from the concentration of humanist philosophy. Many of them were gentlemen whose ideas were relegated to erudite journals and civil debates with other scholars. Their ideas often posed little danger to simple believers, all that is, except for maybe Marx. Today’s atheists are less from the area of philosophy (as such) and more from the field of science, although it is a mechanized and godless version of the discipline. If they have anything akin to a deity, it is math and numbers. Coming along on their backs are a host of disciples who offer little in the way of credible arguments and who show little or no respect to persons. Their language is foul and they love to shock and ridicule. Knowing that Christians try to avoid bad language, they seed their remarks with all sorts of vulgarity. They have become particular fond of blasphemy against Christ, the Virgin Mother and the Eucharist. While they decry ignorance, they themselves build arguments of straw to beguile the ignorant. They ignite emotions, knowing that believers will get angry and forget themselves. You countered astutely many of the speaker’s exaggerations and deceits. There need be no conflict between the findings of science about creation and the message of salvation. Truth is complementary but each must respect the other— science, theology and philosophy. Ours is not an irrational faith but a faith seeking understanding. Because they cannot imagine an almighty God, they deem that he does not exist. They insist that God must be placed under the microscope or fit into a certain equation. In other words, God must cease being God and a mystery if they are to believe in him. That just is not going to happen. There is still so very much that we do not understand. That is what is so sad about such men. They argue that Christians are closed-minded; but they are the ones who have stopped searching. There is no room in their lives for the transcendent.

  31. Christine says:

    I am coming to this post a little late, but thought that I would comment anyways. This is the prayer that the children of Fatima were given during one of the apparitions. My husband and I pray it every day. Perhaps we all should:

    My God I believe in You,
    I adore You,
    I hope in You,
    I love you!

    I ask pardon for all those
    who do not believe in You,
    do not adore You,
    do not hope in You,
    do not love you!

    Amen.

  32. A sinner says:

    I do not know if this has been mentioned,but… Faith always follows knowing that God is. Why all the hubbub if, in their mind he does not exist. Why the anger? He is written on our hearts, and those like this soul, know it, but do not know why, for God is not deceived nor deceiving. What is, well, just, is. No fighting it, no denying it. When our lord says I am, who am. Well, there you go. As a misguided Backroo Banzi once said, Where ever you go, there you are. I would amend that and Say where ever you go, there God is. Even if it is in the 8th dimension, or your own soul.

    • A sinner says:

      I want to finish in saying there is hope for him and all who are angry at our lord and those who are His faithful.