Choose a topic from Vol 3:


Reason proves God's existence
Primitive monotheism
Mystery of God's inner nature
Personality of God
Providence of God and the problem of evil


Immortal destiny of man
Can earth give true happiness?
Do human souls evolve?
Is transmigration possible?
Animal souls
Freedom of will
Free will and faith


Religion and God
The duty of prayer
The mysteries of religion
Can we believe in miracles?

The Religion of the Bible

Historical character of the Gospels
Canonical Books of the Bible
Original Manuscripts
Copyists' errors
Truth of the Bible
New Testament "contradictions"

The Christian Religion

Christianity alone true
Not the product of religious experience
Compared with Buddhism, Confucianism, Mahometanism, Bahaism, etc.,
Rejected by modern Jews
The demand for miracles
The necessity of faith
Difficulties not doubts
Proofs available
Dispositions of unbelievers

A Definite Christian Faith

One religion not as good as another
Changing one's religion
Catholic convictions and zeal
Religious controversy
The curse of bigotry
Towards a solution

The Problem of Reunion

Efforts at the reunion of the Churches
The Church of England as a "Bridge-Church"
Anglicans and the Greek Orthodox Church
The "Old Catholics" of Holland
Reunion Conferences
Catholic Unity
The Papacy as reunion center
Protestant hostility to Catholicism
The demands of charity

The Truth of Catholicism

Necessity of the Church
The true Church
Catholic claim absolute
A clerical hierarchy
Papal Supremacy
Temporal Power
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Catholic attitude to converts
Indefectible Apostolicity
Necessity of becoming a Catholic

The Church and the Bible

Catholic belief in the Bible
Bible-reading and private interpretation
Value of Tradition and the "Fathers"
Guidance of the Church necessary

The Dogmas of the Catholic Church

Dogmatic certainty
Credal statements
Faith and reason
The voice of science
Fate of rationalists
The dogma of the Trinity
Creation and evolution
The existence of angels
Evil spirits or devils
Man's eternal destiny
The fact of sin
Nature and work of Christ
Mary, the mother of God
Grace and salvation
The sacraments
Holy Eucharist
The Sacrifice of the Mass
Holy Communion
Marriage and divorce
Extreme Unction
Man's death and judgment
Resurrection of the body
End of the World

Moral Teachings of the Catholic Church

Catholic intolerance
The Spanish Inquisition
Prohibition of Books
Liberty of worship
Forbidden Socieities
Church attendance
The New Psychology
Deterministic philosophy
Marriage Legislation
Birth Prevention
Monastic Life
Convent Life
Legal defense of murderers
Laywers and divorce proceedings
Judges in Divorce
Professional secrecy

The Church in Her Worship

Why build churches?
Glamor of ritual
The "Lord's Prayer"
Pagan derivations
Liturgical symbolism
Use of Latin
Intercession of Mary and the Saints

The Church and Social Welfare

The Church and Education
The Social Problem
Social Duty of the Church
Catholicism and Capitalism

Freedom of will

60. If my future actions are preknown by God, they must have been predetermined, and free will is impossible.

That is not true. God does know what you will do in the future. Yet when you do it, it will be by your own free choice. Your difficulty arises from the fact that you are speaking of God as if He were conditioned by time exactly as we ourselves. He is not. We are space-time creatures, and God is outside all space-time limitations. Actions which, from our standpoint, must seem to be preknown, are not really preknown to God. For "preknown'" supposes successive knowledge, and succession supposes time. God, in reality, simply "knows" in an ever-present eternity. We are quite unable to comprehend the relationship between an eternal intelligence and successive events conditioned by time. The only experience we have is of the time-sequence. I know that talk of God as being outside time is like talking color to a man born blind. But that can't be helped. We have to talk of these things. But we must realize our limitations, and know that we cannot even state the problem except in terms which are incapable of expressing it adequately.

61. Your appeal to mystery does not answer my denial of free will.

When a problem involves the mutual relationship of two agents, only one of which is adequately within the reach of our understanding, mystery is inevitable. And categorical denials based on inadequate knowledge are themselves unreasonable.

62. What becomes of the "proof" of free will?

That stands. We know that it is a fact both by reason and revelation. And the positive evidence for free will deprives of all force those speculative difficulties which every reasonable person must expect to be present.

63. If free will obtains, it is impossible for God to know the future. He is not omniscient, and Biblical prophecies are mere superstitions.

Within the time sequence of history we have certain evidence that prophecies have been made, and that they were duly fulfilled hundreds of years later; and in such numbers and detail as to exclude any notion of mere chance. Not superstition, but reason, demands a connection between the subsequent events and what we have to term the previous knowledge of them. Meantime, men who know nothing of the conditions of eternity as related to the time in which we exist cannot reasonably declare it to be impossible for God to know the future.

64. No system of philosophy has successfully dealt with this question.

Sane philosophy admits the existence of free will. It successfully shows that there is not necessarily a contradiction where some people claim to find one, mistaking their inability to see a reconciliation for the impossibility of it. You must not ask philosophy to do what it cannot rightly be expected to do. If you regard as successful only that treatment of this question which enables a limited human mind to comprehend fully and completely how the eternal and Divine intelligence knows things which are future to space-time creatures, you are doomed to disappointment.

65. What is your official position on this subject?

That God's omniscience and man's free will are two facts known to be such, both by reason and revelation. The relationship between these two facts is necessarily a mystery; that is, the compatibility of the two facts is above reason, but not against reason. And the facts stand, despite the inability of man to solve to his full satisfaction the problem they present to the human mind.

66. Is not a man compelled to do what God knows that he will do?

No. It is a fallacy to think of knowledge of an event as the cause of that event. Thus, if I know that the sun is shining, the sun is not shining because I know it; I know it because the sun is shining. My knowledge of it does not make the sun shine. Nor does knowledge possessed even prior to the event cause the event to occur. An astronomer's knowledge that there will be an eclipse of the sun next week does not cause the eclipse. Knowledge as such is conditioned by the event: the event is not conditioned by the knowledge of it. But even that analogy cannot strictly apply to God's knowledge, for since He is outside time, there is nothing really future to His intelligence.

67. If God knows my future, it can only be because He has determined that future, and I am not free, if then God knows that I will end in hell, it's no use my trying to get to heaven.

The God who knows what your future will be, knows also that the future depends on your own choice. God has determined that your future will depend on your own conduct. His design is that "if" you try to serve Him, you will attain heaven, and that "if" you do not, you will lose your soul. Your future, therefore, has not been determined by God in any absolute sense. His very decision to endow you with free will, and commit your destiny to your own keeping excludes that. I appeal to your common sense. How do you let this problem affect you in other matters? If you were a farmer, would you say, "God knows whether I will have a crop or not. If He knows that I will have a crop, I will have it whatever I do. If He knows thatI will not have a crop,I will not have it, whatever I do. Therefore, I will do nothing. I will neither plough, nor sow seed." That is foolish, for if God knows that you are to have a crop, His knowledge includes the knowledge that you will take the means. You can apply the same thought to any other matter of ordinary experience. If God knows that you will catch a train, you will catch it; if He knows that you won't catch it, you won't. Therefore, what is the use of going to the station at all? Surely you see the absurdity! God has decreed that certain things will result from the use of certain means. Heaven will be the result of trying to serve God. Take the means, and you will attain the normal result of such means. To do anything else is to be guilty of a folly in the matter of eternal salvation of which you would not be guilty in any other matter.

68. All the same, if I am going to end in hell, I am going to end in hell.

It is a logical necessity that what you do choose to do, you choose to do. But it is not necessary that you make such a choice. You could go to hell only by committing grave sin. Now God forbids you to commit grave sin. He could not therefore compel you to commit it. Moreover, if you had to commit it, the choice to do so would not be voluntary, and, therefore, would not be sinful-and you could not go to hell at all, despite God's knowing that you would end there! The absurd is false.

69. If you believe in free will, you must hold that the will is conditioned by itself, and that means that it is not conditioned at all.

It is self-contradictory to say that a will is not conditioned at all which is conditioned by itself. To talk sense a man could begin by saying that a will cannot be conditioned by itself. Then he would have to prove that statement.

70. An act of the free will is, therefore, an uncaused act, which is impossible.

The will itself is the cause of its own elective activities, and its choice is self-caused. God Himself has given us the power of volitional activity. He does not compel us to use it in this direction or that. Determinists argue that it must be compelled in one direction or another, because in the material or physical universe they see necessary causes producing necessary effects. But it is begging of the question to suppose that there is no other kind of causality, and that the spiritual, intellectual, and moral order must conform rigidly to the material and physical order. These determinists are like children who have never attained to the use of reason, and who go only by what comes within the range of their senses. They confuse the uniformity of nature which is a peculiarity of the visible and tangible universe with the principle of causality. And I say that that is childish. In the material universe we see causes which are determined to produce given effects: and in the same circumstances the same causes will produce the same effects. But it is equally a fact of experience that intelligence and will transcend the conditions of mere matter, and that there is no absolute necessity why the law of causality must work in the same way both in the inner world of man's soul, and in the outer world of material things. Within man there is a power of self-adjustment not found elsewhere. Physical laws declare that friction will necessarily produce heat. They do not say that provocation will necessarily produce anger. For one man may choose to give way to his feelings of resentment; another man may choose not to do so. Let the determinists first prove that there is nothing in man transcending the conditions of mere matter, and then they can restrict their notion of causality to the uniformity of nature discernible in the merely material universe. But they cannot do that without ignoring obvious facts of human experience. And to ignore facts because they don't fit in with one's theories is to cease to be scientific.

71. If you believe in free will, training is just beside the point.

It is not. It is necessary precisely because human beings are endowed with free will. Irrational animals, determined by mere instinct, do not face the same problems as man at all. Magpies are not concerned with morally wrong choices made by their offspring. But human parents, concerned with the character-formation of their children, are obliged to train those children precisely because they retain freedom of will to choose virtue or vice. Children must be taught what virtue is, and must be trained to choose the morally good as opposed to the morally evil. They must be formed in mind, and will, and heart.



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