Friday, July 21, 2006

Do You Know What An Apologist Does --- No. 13, Part 1

An Apologist Doesn't Apologize for the Church's Actions.

An Apologist Defends the Faith of the Catholic Church and its Interpretation of Holy Scripture!

Would You Like to Become a Good Apologist?

John Martignoni at the Bible Christian Society is an apologist and has a free newsletter that gives instructions on how to be a better apologist when you feel called upon to defend the Church when you hear someone say or write something that is incorrect.

John's instruction system makes a lot of sense. He prints a question that he has received; then he explains how a question like that should be handled; and then then he gives his answer. If you would like to be better able to speak confidently about your Catholic faith, why not visit John's web site and subscribe to his newsletter. He also has audio tapes that he will send you for free (he will accept a free will offering, though).

Here is an example of the information he sent in today's newsletter:

General Comments

Bet you thought I wasn't going to make it this week, didn't you? Well, it was close, but I'm sneaking in under the wire.

Had a wonderful time at my 30-yr. high school reunion, which would tell you all how old I am if it weren't for the fact that I was a boy genius and I graduated high school before I was a teenager. (And if you believe that...)

Introduction Issue No. 13, Part 1

This is another departure from the norm for these newsletters. This is the beginnings of a talk I'm working on which covers a number of issues...abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research and so forth. It's really aimed at giving folks ammunition for talking to atheists and those who would be described as leaning to the "left" on these various moral issues. I use the Holocaust as a jumping off point because it is pretty much universally recognized as being morally reprehensible (skinheads and Islamic fundamentalists notwithstanding). This is essentially another foray into natural apologetics.

This is Part 1, I will conclude with Part 2 next week. At the end of this one, I say some things which might sound "harsh" to some, but I say them simply to emphasize a read it with that in mind.


Was Hitler Right? (Or: Why Atheists Have No Rights); Part 1

I want to start off by asking the question: Why do we, as human beings, have value? Now, this newsletter is sent to a group of folks that is predominantly Catholic Christian. And the rest of the group is made up of non-Catholic Christians (as far as I am aware). So, in a group like this, many of you may already know the answer to that question. But, how does the “world” answer the question of, “Why do we as human beings, have value?” And what is the prevailing answer to that question here in the United States?

Why do we, as human beings, have value? Or, do we have value? All of you have heard about the mass extermination of the Jews that the Nazis carried out in the 30's and 40's that we now refer to as the Holocaust. Would you believe me, then, if I said that not a single human being died in the concentration camps? Not one single human being died in the concentration camps!

How can I say that? I can say that because by German law that existed at the time, Jews were legally considered “not fully human.” They were classified as a “sub-human” species. Legally speaking, they were “non-persons.” One group of people passed laws that said another group of people were not really human beings. So, I say again, no human beings died in the concentration camps. Am I right or am I wrong?

I can just see some of you shaking your heads to tell me that I’m wrong. So, okay, let’s say they were human beings. So what? Why should we care? What value are they to us? Again, the question I am trying to get at here is, how is it that our lives have value? How do we determine whether or not any given human life has value?

Do we have value only if we can be productive, if we have a job, or if we serve some useful purpose? Do we have value only if someone else thinks we have value? Do we have value only if we have an IQ of 100 or higher? Do we have value only if someone else loves us? Do we have value only if our “quality of life” meets some arbitrary standard set by others?

Well, I maintain, and I think most of you will agree with me, that we have value simply because we are alive...that human life has inherent value. In other words, simply because it is human life, it has value. But, what is my basis for saying that? It is this: we have value as human beings because God gives us value...He gives us value by His love for us.

We don’t have value because we are productive. We don’t have value because we are useful. We don’t have value because someone else thinks we have value. We don’t have value because we have an IQ of 100 or higher. We don’t have value because another human being loves us. We don’t have value because we have some arbitrary level of “quality of life.” We have value, because God loves us. Any other line of reasoning leaves an opening for someone, somewhere, at some point in time, to declare somebody else as having no value...which is exactly what happened to the Jews in Europe 70 years ago.

This is why people who do not believe in God cannot offer any objective reason for saying that they themselves have value as human beings. Without God, everything becomes subjective...merely one person’s opinion versus another person’s opinion...and the strongest person’s opinon prevails. Without God, might, in essence, makes right. I’ve talked to atheists before and I’ve asked them if what Hitler did to the Jews was wrong. And they answered that of course it was! Then I asked them, why? Why was it wrong for Hitler to kill six million Jews? Essentially, all they could answer me with was, “Well, it just was.”

All they had to back their viewpoint was their own subjective opinion. They could not give me one objective reason, for why the Holocaust was wrong. And I have asked that question of some folks who have described themselves as “liberals.” What answer did I get? None. Even though I’ve asked the question several times, I have never had a self-described “liberal” even attempt to provide me with an answer. I believe they recognize that if they give me an answer to my question, it can and will be used against them to show that they are moral hypocrites in their support of abortion and stem cell research and euthanasia and so on.

Without God, you can’t make the case that the Holocaust was wrong. In fact, without God, you can’t make the case that any killing is wrong. Without God, you can’t make the case that the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were wrong. After all, without God, we are just animals, and no one says that one animal killing another animal is morally wrong.

Hitler was wrong if, and only if, God exists. If God does not exist, then might makes right and Hitler was the mightiest in Germany at the time, so he had every right to do what he did. This causes problems for any self-proclaimed atheists (and those who side with them) who wish to remove God from everything.

Hitler being wrong only if God exists leads us directly to the reason for "Why Atheists Have No Rights.” If there is no God, then Hitler wasn’t wrong not only because the Jews' lives had no inherent value, but because the Jews had no rights - no right to life, no right to liberty, no right to property, no right to freedom from persecution, no right to anything. In fact, if there is no God, then no one has any rights. Ask an atheist if they have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When they say yes - and they will say yes - ask them how this is so. Point them to the Declaration of Independence, which says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

They only have rights, under our system of law, because our system of law is built around the belief that the Creator has endowed them with these rights. And when were they endowed with these rights? At the moment of their creation. Which is when? When they were born? Don’t think so. When they first came into existence...when mommy’s egg cell met daddy’s sperm cell. I’ll get into that more in the next newsletter. But, suffice it to say, that atheists have a problem when it comes to unalienable rights because of the fact that they don’t believe in the God Who has supposedly given them their unalienable rights. Without a God Who endows us with rights, any attempt to say we inherently have rights as human beings is merely based on one’s subjective opinion.

So, I advocate that those who wish to take God out of our school’s, out of our legal system, out of the public square, should be given their wish. After all, if choice is one of their gods, and it is, then let’s give them their choice. When it comes to atheists, every one needs to act as if God doesn’t exist. As a result, they should have no rights under our system of law, after all, there is no Creator to endow them with those rights. So, I say we should throw them all in jail (without a trial, of course); or perhaps make them work for the public good at minimum wage for their entire lives; or maybe make them work as pooper scoopers in the public parks where folks walk their dogs; or some such thing.

And, furthermore, I say they should have no access to legal counsel nor to our court system nor to any other means of legal redress. After all, the legal system is founded on the belief in a Creator who endows us with our unalienable rights. They don’t believe in that Creator, so why should they be upset to not have access to a legal system founded on such a belief?

One last thing, if you ever want to drive home the point of all of this with someone who claims to be an atheist, after asking them if Hitler was right and going through all of what we talked about above regarding the Declaration, ask them to give you a reason for why it would be wrong for you to kill them. Just look them straight in the eye and say, “Can you give me an objective moral reason for why it would be wrong for me to shoot you where you stand?” You might startle them. But, no matter what they say, simply reply, “Well, that’s just your opinion. I don’t believe that. Give me an objective moral reason, not simply your opinion.” Again, without the existence of God, all they can give you is their opinion. Tell them you believe in Darwin’s survival of the fittest and that you don’t believe they are very fit and therefore you place no value on their lives whatsoever. “So, why would it be wrong to kill you?” There is no objective moral reason t hey can give you, unless they admit to the existence of God.

In Conclusion

One last thing, please remember to let folks know about us and about our free tapes and CDs at By the way, we have 3 new talks at the website: 1) Which Came First, the Church or the Bible? 2) Debate: Sola Fide (Are we saved by Faith Alone? 3) Two-Minute Apologetics. Check them out if you haven't already!

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Previous Issues

Issue No. 12a and 12b Why are our commandments different than the protestant version?

I've been searching for a spiritual home for 15 yrs. I am questioning where I belong and re-thinking Catholicism. I went to mass a few weeks ago, and I can't help but feel like there is no heartfelt participation by the congregation. I have seen and felt the enthusiasm in my bible church and feel like this is something I would have to give up to come back to Catholicism.

Issue No. 11 I just read one of your newsletters about salvation, and you said that it doesn't say in the Bible that public confession has to be made to be saved. That we are saved by baptism. That is not the truth. It is belief in Christ, and confessing him before others that we are saved by. The Holy Spirit will only come to those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Issue No. 10b I am a Deacon in the Archdiocese of _____. Admittedly my strong suit is not in prophesy. I found your lecture on the "Rapture" very insightful. However I am getting some flack over the concept of "one resurection". My opponents cite Revelation 20 pointing out that it says "first resurection" which implies more than one. Plus "the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over". Please advise.

Issue 10a I began taking a Catholic Bible Study course a few weeks ago...The teacher has degrees in Divinity and Theology...He says that the Bible cannot be taken "literally"...I understand that, am open to that and believe that...however, I was of the mind that the New Testament was true as written...he used the miracle of the loaves and fishes to challenge us as to whether we thought this "actually" happened or...if the five thousand men listening to Jesus preach were moved to share the food that they had been hoarding...I left there (and my small group of 5 others) feeling upset, confused,and a bit sad...we began to question whether the water became wine at Cana and if all other miracles can be dismissed as well...what are your thoughts on this and what should we do at our next class?

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