Today’s question: How do you know that God is real?

saints

Question: How do you know that God is real?

Answer: Many years ago, I decided to take some time off and devote two full years to the study of all world religions, after which I chose to be Catholic.

Then, I spent another ten years studying the faith while working in Catholic parishes; teaching, doing social work and heading up various offices and initiatives, just to see how things actually worked.

Today, I answer questions on-line and operate a Catholic website: http://www.askmeaboutgod.org.

I know God is real because he reveals himself to me in many different ways; particularly through study, worship and sacraments, through fellowship with other Christians and through occasional miracles of various kinds.

Once you come to know God it’s a fairly simple matter to pray without ceasing; staying in constant touch with the Almighty, in a very intimate, complete and powerful way.

The power of that relationship extends also to my friends and family; some of whom are not yet believers. I trust that, by the grace of God, all soon will be.

To sum it all up:

God answers my prayers.

God provides for all my needs.

God speaks to me when I need to hear from him.

God blesses me beyond measure.

God gives me hope.

For my part, I do my best to know, love and serve God,

every way I can, and to give him the thanks,

praise and worship that he is due.

Today’s question: Why do I deserve to burn in hell for eternity? If God is love, how can such a thing even be possible?


Question:
Why do I deserve to burn in hell for eternity? Please explain how I deserve to burn in hell, from a human perspective and how can I possibly follow a religion that doesn’t make sense?

Answer: The problems related to “The Human Condition” are probably due as much to “circumstance” as to the personal “guilt” of we who are alive on earth, today. That said, the problem of sin is and always has been, deadly serious!

Due to the Fall of Man (in the beginning, in the Garden of Eden) the default state of all humanity is to be born estranged from God, totally lacking the divine grace that is necessary to enter Heaven, perpetually enslaved to Satan, sin and death, having a natural attraction to sin, as well as an all too human propensity to commit sin.

The only known antidote to perpetual slavery and eternal damnation, is faith in Jesus Christ, the divine man who has demonstrated (as one of us and on our behalf) his total mastery over Satan, sin and death.

The fact that Jesus voluntarily took on flesh, became man, willingly sacrificed himself and then, rose again from the dead, in order to destroy Satan’s power over us (the power of death and hell) while asking nothing in return, except for our faithful allegiance, should be more than sufficient proof of God’s abiding love and tender mercies.

Christians typically swear faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ by being Baptized into his Holy Catholic (Universal) Church.

The Holy Sacrament of Baptism, followed by a regular program of personal prayer and study, along with a lifetime of full, faithful participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Holy Catholic Church, is the time-tested, “Jesus Approved” method of first, being justified by the grace of God and then, proceeding to live a holy life that will serve to glorify God, while preparing us to (hopefully) spend an eternity with him, in Heaven.

Asked and answered today on Yahoo!Answers. Edited for clarity and content.

Read the study Sister Jane cited: On the Psychogenesis of Homosexuality

Abstract (Summary)

The best-established facts in relation to homosexuality point to developmental-psychological, not genetic or physiological, causation. The efforts of the last few decades to find evidence to support a biological theory have made it more doubtful than ever that such evidence will be found. In contrast, many studies have shown that the most significant factor which correlates with homosexuality is “gender nonconformity” or same-sex peer isolation. Another factor closely associated with homosexuality is an imbalance in parentchild interaction, notably forms of over-influence of the opposite-sex parent in combination with a deficient relationship with the same-sex parent. The third well-established correlation is with inherent, rather than discrimination-produced, “neuroticism” or emotional instability/immaturity.

Structured around this pivotal evidence from statistical as well as clinical research, homosexuality is explained here as a character neurosis. Characteristics of this neurotic character syndrome include personality immaturity, self-victimization, and self-centeredness. This syndrome affects not only the emotional but also the moral and spiritual dimensions of the psyche and if indulged leads to generalized personality deterioration. Therapeutically, a holistic approach, simultaneously addressing the emotional, moral, and spiritual components of the psyche, offers the best opportunity for overcoming homosexuality. De-egocentrization and personality maturity, including the development of mature manhood/ womanhood, are the goals of therapy.

Download the PDF file

Report: “Pope Francis effect” may not exist after all.

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In a survey released Thursday about Americans’ views of the pope nearly a year into the papacy, the Pew Research Center found no change in the share of American adults who call themselves Catholic, or in self-reported rates of Mass attendance, when compared to pre-Francis numbers. Pew also reported no increase in the percentage of Catholics volunteering at their churches or going to confession.

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According to a new study, the more intelligent a person is, the more likely he/she would be turn away from religion.

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Study: “Most extant explanations (of a negative relation) share one central theme —the premise that religious beliefs are irrational, not anchored in science, not testable and, therefore, unappealing to intelligent people…”

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Editor’s note: All of which goes to prove the eminent practicality of Catholicism, which is based on Jesus Christ – an actual historical person – plus faith and reason – including the entirely logical premise that anyone who claims to be God and subsequently raises himself from the dead in order to prove it – most likely IS precisely who he claims to be!

Study: Divorce is much worse on children than originally thought.

Read the story

Prolonged contraceptive use could increase chances of miscarriage: study

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“As miscarriage becomes increasingly common, it is unsurprising that research is pointing to contraceptive use as one possible culprit for the problem of miscarriage today,” Arland K. Nichols, director of education and evangelization at Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews.com.

“In the fine print, producers of oral contraceptives admit that scientific evidence shows that oral contraceptives cause early abortions,” he said, “and so it appears that we have here yet another way in which oral contraceptives end nascent human life.”

One of the most famous faces of the anti-birth control movement may have been a victim of such a miscarriage. The Duggars, of TLC’s 19 Kids and Countingsay they were inspired to stop using artificial contraception after becoming pregnant while using the birth control pill, then suffering an early miscarriage.

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Best advice: Don’t start viewing pornography.

Jason King, chair of the theology department at Saint Vincent’s College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, wrote about the accessibility and damage of pornography in his latest piece at Catholic Moral Theology. King summed up the situation well when he wrote that people used to have to exert an effort to view pornography. Now you have to exert an effort to NOT view it.

Link

Maybe the Bible has it right about creation and the human species.

New research discovers that something “big” happened to the human genome, beginning some 5000 to 6000 years ago.

Most of the genetic quirks people carry today popped up within the last 5,000 years or so, researchers report online November 28 in Nature.

Link

Editor’s note: The six thousand year time frame coincides with the ancient’s world view, which dated the beginnings of human civilization to approximately six thousand years ago. This link explains how the 5th  century Catholic Church pretty much understood things to be.

Cohabiting couples regret wasting years in relationships that would have lasted only months, had they not been living together.

Drawing from research and from her own experience working with young adults, Jay argues that there is actually something internal to the practice of living together that can put a future marriage on shaky grounds.

The decision to live together is often one that couples “slide” into simply because it is economical or convenient, she says. After moving in, they feel “locked in” because of all the entanglements of living together, such as co-ownership of furniture or pets, which can in turn lead to a mentality of sliding unreflectively into marriage.

Jay cites the situation of one her clients, a 32-year-old woman she calls “Jennifer,” who lived together with her boyfriend for four years, married him, and was looking for a divorce lawyer less than a year later.

“I felt like I was on this multiyear, never-ending audition to be his wife,” Jennifer had told Jay. “We had all this furniture. We had our dogs and all the same friends. It just made it really, really difficult to break up. Then it was like we got married because we were living together once we got into our 30s.”

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Submitted by Doria2

Britain’s Royal College: Abortion doesn’t increase mental health problems. But maybe it does…

The review was released Friday by Britain’s Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It was paid for by the U.K.’s department of health.

Dr. Kate Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in a statement it was key that health care staff provide follow-up care to women vulnerable to mental health problems after they terminated their pregnancy. She was not connected to the review.

Guthrie said the group recently revised its own guidelines on abortion to highlight the need for health care workers to tell women about the “range of emotional responses” that might be experienced during and after an abortion.

Link

Editor’s note: I don’t know about the British, but abortion certainly causes mental anguish for millions, world-wide. There’s something inherently unsettling about plucking unborn babies from a woman’s belly, and brutally dismembering and killing them (not necessarily in that order.) Psychopaths excepted. 

Notre Dame survey of African American Catholics offers important insights

A new, unprecedented national survey of African American Catholics by University of Notre Dame researchers reveals several significant insights into individual religious engagement and identifies several notable demographic trends facing the church. The survey was sponsored by the National Black Catholic Congress and Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life and Office of the President.

Notre Dame social scientists Darren W. Davis and Donald B. Pope-Davis, who coauthored the report, set out to test the validity of anecdotal accounts that African American Catholics were becoming increasingly disengaged from their religion. Although the primary focus of the survey is on African American Catholics, the researchers utilized a significant comparative component with white Catholics, which resulted in several notable findings about both groups of Catholics.

The survey also is historic in that it represents the largest sample of African American Catholics ever surveyed on their faith.

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Reports now available from the “Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization” symposium


Visit the site for PDF formatted reports

Related article

Editor’s note:

These guys are bright, but they like to do things the hard way.

The reason the world needs re-evangelization is not because of a defective message. It’s because the guys who ran the post-conciliar Catholic Church lost their focus, became corrupt, and failed to faithfully live, proclaim and defend the eternal truths of the sacred deposit of faith that were entrusted to them by Jesus and the apostles.

Once the church again begins to “fly right” … toning down the corruption, re-catechizing the world, universally reaffirming the authentic Gospel of Jesus Christ, and promoting the church’s traditional work, worship, sacraments and devotions (instead of a bunch of watered down, liberal, modernist, BS) things can’t help but improve.

You may find these points mentioned in the above reports, but it will be couched in language that is so complicated and convoluted, that most people won’t be able to understand it … let alone do it.

What ever happened to the simple, direct approach?

1) Decide for yourself whether you believe in God.

2) Assuming the answer is yes, consult the only “source” who ever really knew him, in the flesh, while he still walked the earth … the only assembly or group that was ever divinely authorized to teach, sanctify, and govern in the name of Jesus Christ … the Catholic Church.

3) Begin directed prayer and study, in order to become intimately familiar with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as only the Catholic Church knows him, by taking full advantage of over 1900 years of the world’s finest theological scholarship and related philosophy (which includes, but is certainly not limited to the Bible.)

4) Become an official member of the Catholic Church (a living temple of the Holy Spirit, an adopted child of God, a citizen of Heaven, and co-heir with Jesus Christ) through the Sacrament of Baptism.

5) Embark on a lifetime of ever increasing holiness. faith, and love in Jesus Christ, through continuing prayer and study, along with full, faithful and regular participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church … “keeping it up” until the very moment God calls you home.     

The Church’s job is to facilitate points 1 through 5, for the salvation of souls and the common good of all mankind. But because of all the confusion and corruption in the post-conciliar Catholic Church, that has not been happening.

We don’t need new theology. We just need to effectively put to good use what we already have!

This Week’s Ask Alice: Free Electronic Catholic Bible Study Resources



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

*** Alice is out this week. Doug Lawrence is sitting in. ***

Bill Asks: Where can I get free or cheap Bible study resources that are both easy to use and thoroughly Catholic?

Doug Lawrence Answers: Two of my favorites are E-Sword and the Holy See’s own BIBLIA CLERUS site.

E-Sword offers a large number of various Protestant Bible translations, but it also offers the renowned, Catholic, Douay-Rheims Bible, along with various commentaries and other appropriate aids.

Simply go to the E-Sword site, 1) Download the E-Sword software engine; 2) Download the desired modules; 3) Install them on your local computer; 4) Run them.

The software is easy to use and excellent for both reading and searching, by key word, or phrase.

E-Sword accepts donations, but otherwise, it’s FREE.

Click here to visit the E-Sword site

The Holy See’s Biblia Clerus site is an on-line resource, with nothing required to download … but you may download the whole thing for free, if you like.

There, you will find the Revised Standard Version – Catholic Edition, along with many types of commentaries and study tools.

This is a very “heavy-duty” software resource that will allow you to do many, many things … including studies of various church documents and related commentaries.

Click here to visit the Holy See’s Biblia Clerus Site

Some other useful Bible Study Links:

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

Huge study definitively links abortion with increased likelihood of mental health problems

Professor Coleman’s study was based on an analysis of 22 separate projects which together analysed the experiences of 877,000 women, of whom 163,831 had had an abortion. It said: ‘Results indicate quite consistently that abortion is associated with moderate to highly increased risks of psychological problems subsequent to the procedure.

‘Overall, the results revealed that women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81 per cent increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10 per cent of the incidence of mental health problems were shown to be directly attributable to abortion.’

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Using the Bible to explode popular myths and misconceptions about salvation (and other things)

A leading, non-Catholic website has compiled several lists of biblical references dealing with the conditional aspects of the promises of God, regarding eternal salvation (and various other things).

I see no conflict with authentic Catholic beliefs and/or practices in these specific links/references … which constitute a Bible study that is both practical and informative. 

When God has gone to the trouble of putting important precepts in writing, it makes no sense for us “moderns” to assume that he has changed his “mind” about them, just because a number of years have passed, and we no longer find it convenient or politically correct to pay attention to the specifics of his written word!

This Week’s Ask Alice: The One, True Church?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Alice is on vacation this week. Doug Lawrence is “sitting in”.

Fred W. Asks: The Catholic Church claims to be the one, true church, founded by Jesus Christ, infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit. In light of the history of almost constant Catholic church corruption, especially the recent, widespread child abuse scandal, why should anyone believe that to be true?

Doug Lawrence Responds: This is a very timely question, reflecting a quite normal level of concern and dismay, not only for Catholics, but also the public, at large.

First, the good news: Jesus Christ did indeed personally found the Catholic Church. He did it very shortly after his resurrection, while he still walked the earth, in his glorified and risen body, after all power and authority had been given to him, on earth and in heaven.

Jesus endowed his universal (Catholic) Church with much of that same power and authority, for the purpose of our salvation.

Jesus never founded any other church, and he never authorized or empowered any other person or group.

So … like it or not … we’re “stuck” with the Catholic Church, until the end of time. 

We also know that Jesus had originally chosen twelve apostles, trained twelve and blessed twelve … yet he somehow ended up with only eleven.

One of them … Judas … turned out to be a “devil”. Judas accomplished most of his dirty deeds in secret, and so have our present day, abusive clergy!

If Jesus Christ, who is God, found it expedient to accept a rate of attrition/failure that’s slightly more than 8 percent, should anyone … even his church … practically expect to do much better?   

Studies point to an actual abuse rate of much less than half the 8 percent “Judas factor”. This is not to make light of the matter of clergy abuse … or any type of sinful behavior. It is simply looking at the world as it really is … a corrupt system of things that even God has (so far) not seen fit to fully restore.

Of course, those who so loudly proclaimed the “New Pentecost” of Vatican II … and who subsequently tore down virtually everything the Catholic Church had spent the last 1900 years building up … also share much of the blame, since that ridiculous attitude left the Church with virtually no defense against the liberal/modernist onslaught and all the grievous errors that sprung from it.

Such is the price of revolution, even for the Catholic Church.

Yet despite all the human corruption and malfeasance, including all the recent, post-Vatican II anomalies … the Catholic Church has done a miraculous job of preserving the authentic dogmas of the Christian faith, and it remains always available to celebrate the Mass and dispense the sacraments, in order to help sanctify the People of God, according to his grace.

Rather than attempting to make excuses … or even fix blame … the best thing any Catholic can do is learn the authentic Catholic faith … so that no lay person, teacher, politician, deacon, priest, bishop or pope … can ever again hope to get away with betraying Jesus Christ, his Church, or the faithful.

For that, a personal course of regular prayer and study, coupled with full, faithful participation in all of the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the Catholic Church is highly recommended.

There is no better way to keep the Catholic Church … and one’s own eternal soul … in good order!

Click here to see all of Alice’s other columns

On the question of universal salvation in Jesus Christ

(Click on pictures to enlarge)


The ONLY valid premise for universal salvation in Jesus Christ involves regular prayer and study … along with full, faithful, consistent participation in all the work, worship, sacraments and devotions of the universal (Catholic) church … the ONLY church that Jesus Christ ever founded, authorized, empowered, and eternally guaranteed, for that express (salvific) purpose.

Anything less constitutes gambling with one’s eternal salvation, since there is absolutely no guarantee that the mercy of God will be extended to those who knowingly reject his church, which constitutes the ONLY authentic universal sacrament of salvation, for all.

Since the all powerful, all knowing, sovereign God is our appointed judge, only he can make exceptions to this universal “rule of faith”.

What are the chances that God will make an exception, in any particular case?

Nobody really knows … but why would anyone want to take that chance?

Study: one-quarter of women who otherwise would have had abortions chose to give birth when government wouldn’t pay.

As we reported at LifeNews:

Congressman Chris Smith, a New Jersey Republican who is the lead sponsor of the bill, informed the House that a study by the Guttmacher Institute, the pro-abortion former research apparatus of Planned Parenthood, released a study noting that one-quarter of women who otherwise would have had abortions chose to give birth when taxpayer dollars were not available to pay for abortions of their children.

Smith spoke on the House floor today about what he said was growing public opinion against abortion. He also praised women who regret having terminated their pregnancies and speak out against abortions.

“For decades, a patchwork of short-term policies have prevented abortion funding in many programs authorized by Congress, but it is time for a single, government-wide permanent protection against taxpayer funding for elective abortion,” Smith said. “Abortion is lethal violence against children and exploitation of women. This legislation would establish a comprehensive policy prohibiting public funding for elective abortion in all federal programs.”

A majority of Americans object to the use of taxpayer money for funding abortion, according to numerous polls — including a survey CNN conducted in early April showing Americans oppose public funding of abortion by a margin of 61% to 35%.

The bill will also mitigate concerns about abortion funding in the various loopholes in the Obamacare national health care bill that various pro-life organizations warned about during debate on the law. The legislation did not contain language banning funding of abortions in its provisions and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would fix that problem.

Study: Pro-Life Parental Notification Laws Reduce Abortions 15%

Michael New, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Alabama, recently published a study on abortion in State Politics and Policy Quarterly demonstrating the effectiveness of pro-life laws.

The study, “Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era,” evaluated abortion data from nearly every state over a span of 21 years, from 1985 to 2005 – a longer period than nearly any other peer-reviewed study. It contributes to a substantial body of social science research which finds that parental involvement laws and public funding restrictions are effective.