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

Providence of God and the problem of evil

14. If God's providence rules all things, is it not an insult to Him to put lightning conductors on Churches?

No. It would be an insult and a sin of presumption to expect God to do immediately those things which we ourselves are capable of doing with such powers as He has bestowed upon us. He does not give us our natural intelligence for nothing, but expects us to use it. We are expected always to do all that we are capable of doing, and then we ask God to supply for our incapacity in things beyond our ability.

15. Face the dilemma. God could either prevent evils or not. If He can but will not, He is not good; if He cannot, He is not all powerful.

That dilemma is invalid. If a dilemma is to be valid, the disjunction must be complete, exhausting all possibilities. There must be no room for the reply, "Datur tertium"-there is a third possibility. Your dilemma fails, if evil and pain and suffering be useful. What if the evils we see in this world are the necessary condition of a higher good? What if, still more, they be indispensable to the progress of man and the realization of his destiny-if some day they are to be compensated by an eternity of happiness? In any case, for a dilemma to be valid, the inference from each alternative in itself must be certain and indisputable. Neither of your alternatives is even reasonable.

16. Do you say that even God cannot prevent these evils?

Absolutely speaking, God could annihilate the whole of creation, and then, of course, there would be no problem of evils in the universe. But granted that God wants this type of world, then pain and suffering are a necessary condition; and it was certainly better to permit them than not to create a universe in which it was possible for them to occur.As it is, your very terms involve a contradiction. In practice, the assertion that if God cannot remove all pain He is not all powerful means, where physical pain is concerned, that if God cannot have sensitive beings without their being sensitive, He is not all powerful! For, granted the power of sensation, our sensations will be pleasant and unpleasant even with the variations of the weather! Where moral evil is concerned, your assertion means, "If God cannot have free and morally responsible beings who are not really free and morally responsible, He is not all powerful." For granted freedom of will, moral evil is a necessary possibility.

17. Since you cannot appeal to sin, free will, and a future life in the case of animals, why do they have to suffer pain?

I would have to be God to give you a completely satisfactory answer to that question. To a certain extent, therefore, the problem must be left amongst the thousand and one mysteries which defy human solution. However, I can suggest certain points which may help to some understanding of the problem.Firstly, it is better to be a vegetable than a mineral. A vegetable at least has life and growth, and is admittedly a more perfect thing than a stone.Secondly, it is better to be a dog than a dandelion. The dog is not only living; it has sensitive life, and is able to enjoy many pleasant sensations denied to dandelions. But the price of additional sensitive perfection is pain. If a being is endowed with the power of sensation, it will endure sensations both pleasant and painful. And as even God could not create a sensitive being which would have no sensations, He must have seen that the pleasant ones would compensate for the painful ones. If you concentrate on the capacity for pain, and forget the capacity for pleasure, you might think it better not to have created such beings, and that life is not worth living for them. But no animal feels that. If a cat eats a mouse, the very protests of the mouse show how it likes being alive. You yourself would pity the mouse for being deprived of its life rather than the cat for the misery of being fed and compelled to live longer.

18. But there are individual cases where the compensations seem entirely inadequate.

There are, and they necessarily baffle us. But even so, we must beware of reading human attributes into the merely animal world, interpreting the sufferings of animals in terms of our own experiences. It would be a grave error to think that animals suffer in the way we do: for they lack our power of reflex thought. Then, too, we must not endow them with personal moral rights which they do not possess.

19. That doesn't alter the fact that animals suffer.

Iagree. We cannot do more than appeal to the greater good. And it is a question of the general good as opposed to the individual good. The sum-total of pleasure in the animal world more than compensates for the sum-total of unavoidable pain. There is also the good of man to be considered. There is no violation of reason in the thought that God should permit physical pain, which does not involve moral evil, in order to procure the good of a higher order. Granted that God wished to create just such a universe as this, the unpleasant sensations of sensitive beings are absolutely necessary for the universal good. If all physical pain were eliminated, inferior beings would no longer be the means of existence to superior beings.Many beautiful fauna would never exist. Also, if animals did not live on animals, they would multiply beyond all proportion, and then earth would be littered with rotting carcasses. The general good presupposes such physical evils in such a world as this.

20. It seems to me that you folk who believe in God are the most forebearing folk in the world,

I suppose you feel that if you believed in God you would tell Him what to do. But only one who does not believe in God can think like that. Did you believe in God you would realize that He is not subject to you, but that you are subject to Him. He is not answerable to us for His conduct. We are answerable to Him for ours. Meantime, it is because we believe in God that we have a solution for the troubles of this life which makes them bearable, however serious they may seem. Dissatisfaction is proper to those who do not believe in God. Their rejection of God does not diminish their trials. It merely deprives them of the consolation which good Christians experience in the midst of them.

21. You should not seek your God's forgiveness; He should seek yours.

Such a remark illustrates a great truth. As men cease to believe in and esteem God, they begin to believe in and esteem themselves. They lose the sense of sin, and become more and more unconscious of their moral failings. Thus, it is quite common for unbelievers to assert that they do not believe in religion, and at once to catalog their own virtues. Almost instinctively they add. "I don't pray, but I'm as good as those who do. I live a good clean life, owe no man anything, help my fellow men, etc." Conscious of their rectitude they feel that they deserve only the best; and naturally they resent misfortune. They smart under suffering and trial with a sense of injured innocence. And they cry out that, if there be a God, He is greatly to be blamed. Conscious only of their own virtue, they do not dream that they need any forgiveness. But believing their sufferings undeserved, they talk of God begging their pardon.On the other hand, the more one believes in and esteems God, the less he believes in and esteems himself. Any good that is in him he attributes to God; and he is keenly conscious of his own shortcomings as being his own work. Aware of his sins, he is not astonished that suffering and trial should be his lot. Instead of thinking that he deserves only the best, he knows that he deserves only the worst. He therefore asks God to forgive him his sins: and is grateful to God for treating him so much more gently than justice would demand.

22. Where you define pain as something negative, millions of tortured creatures give the strongest evidence that it is something decidedly positive.

The fact that creatures positively experience pain does not alter the fact that evil as such is not a positive entity owing its creation to God.

23. Do you believe literally in God as Creator of all things, visible and invisible?

Yes. But remember that things, whether visible or invisible, are things insofar as they have positive being. Now try to follow carefully this treatment of the subject.Evil, as such, whether physical or moral, is not a positive entity, but is a privation of due perfection. God has created every positive entity, but He does not directly produce those privations of perfection which are called evils.Take the physical evil of a decayed tooth. God is the cause of all the positive being involved. That part of the tooth which is not yet decayed, but which is still good, owes its existence to God. The existent nerves owe their being to God, and are good nerves. Their perfectly good registrations letting us know that the tooth is out of order are due to God's causality. But the real evil is the absence of healthy tooth and of right order in the nerves. Even the germs which consumed the tooth are quite good germs so far as their being goes. Even the process of consuming the tooth was excellent as a process.But the evil element is reduced to absence of order and absence of healthy tooth; and absences of perfection are not caused by any positive action of God. God permits them, if you wish, insofar as He does not choose to prevent corrosive processes, or to produce good tooth as fast as it is eaten away.In all this I do not deny that pain is a positive experience. Owing to the absence of healthy tooth, there is quite a positive vibration of the exposed nerve giving positively painful registrations. But the positive action is a good activity; the evil is merely lack of due order. And whilst God is the Creator of all positive entity, He is not the Creator of a lack of what should be there.The same principle applies to moral evil. The will, and the action by which I choose are good in themselves. The evil is the lack of moral rectitude-again an absence of something which should normally be there. And God does not cause the absence of what should be present.Why He permits the nonexistence or the privation of due order in created things is another question. We are dealing with the causality of God. God is not the cause of evil as such.

24. How can you admit that evil is positively experienced by us, yet deny its very existence?

I do not admit that we positively experience evil. We positively experience good registrations telling us that perfection is wanting. The registrations are positive, but they tell us of an absence of perfection. Positive entities alone really exist -good thus far-which lack the full measure of goodness which they ought to have. The evil is the privation or limitation of entity, not an entity itself.

25. Why did not God create a different type of world, and not this one?

That question is not yours to ask. God would not be God if He had to depend on the future approval of your judgment before He dared to act. If you reply, "Then I don't believe there is a God," you violate reason. And you will find the universe a much greater problem without God than any I have to face. If you say, "God does exist, but He is not good, or not entirely good," you contradict yourself, for once you introduce any limitation of perfection in God, then He is no longer God at all. The only reasonable position is to say, "God is a fact. Suffering is a fact. I do not fully comprehend why God should have permitted suffering, nor how He adjusts compensations which seem to me to be required if justice is to prevail. But that I do not fully comprehend these things does not surprise me, since there are thousands of lesser problems than this which I have failed to solve. Therefore, I can only conclude that, if I do not understand things, I do not understand them. But I am not going to deny what is certain, and maintain that my finite intelligence ought to be able to comprehend everything-a comprehension the possibility of which experience absolutely denies."

26. These difficulties have caused thousands of men to abandon religion.

Their own dispositions have caused men to abandon religion. Some men have made this problem the excuse even as other men have advanced other excuses. But any man who would neglect those religious and moral obligations which he can clearly understand merely because he cannot understand mysteries which he cannot be expected to understand is as foolish, and more so, than a man who would rather sit in darkness than switch on the electric light on the score that he doesn't understand just what electricity is!



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