Friday, January 26, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Before being elected President, Abraham Lincoln joined in the debate over the evil of slavery: “‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” He went on to later voice his concern over the abuse of language and the relative manner by which men selectively acknowledged humanity in others: “I should like to know if taking this old Declaration of Independence, which declares that all men are equal upon principle, and making exceptions to it, where will it stop. If one man says it does not mean a Negro, why not another say it does not mean some other man?”
Some other man? Yes. Today, society has found another, but this time, this “other” is a baby. The unborn baby! The humanity of the child in the womb is unquestionably affirmed by science. The zygote “results from fertilization of an oocyte by a sperm and is the beginning of a human being.” (The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 1) Besides, what else could the entity be? If the natural and physical source is human (the mother and father), then the result (the new life) will be human. Basic common sense. Thus, the entity in the womb who is often torn apart in an abortion is none other than a little defenseless child, the most vulnerable of all human life. What do these issues all have to do with each other, one might ask?
Sunday, January 21, 2007
God, [Aquinas] says, “is to be thought of as existing outside the realm of existents, as a cause from which pours forth everything that exists in all its variant forms”. For Aquinas, there is a serious sense in which it is true to assert that God does not exist. He would readily have agreed with Kierkegaard’s statement: “God does not exist, he is eternal.”
Or we can put it another way. There is a sense in which Aquinas holds that only God really exists. Creatures are there, right enough, but, for Aquinas, their being is derived or dependent. All that they are and do is God’s work in them. They have no reality from themselves. Creatures are temporal, finite, and caused to exist, while God is none of these things. Aquinas puts all this by saying that God’s existing does not differ from his substance, that God, and only God, exists by nature, that God is “subsistent being” while everything else “has” being — has it as given to it. [...]
Traditionally speaking, therefore, it makes sense to say both that God does not exist and that only God exists, which means we should be careful when it comes to what we mean when we declare ourselves atheists or not. And there is surely a further sense in which all Jews, Muslims, and Christians can be thought of as atheists. For they do not believe there are any gods. They believe there is a Creator of all things visible and invisible, not that there is a class of gods to which the Creator belongs. The first of the Ten Commandments tells us to have no gods. It effectively tells us to be atheists, to stop being interested in extremely powerful creatures and to focus instead on the unfathomable mystery behind and within the world that we can, to some extent, fathom. God the maker of all things cannot be a part of what He brings forth. He belongs to no category. He is not a god. There are no gods.