Choose a topic from Vol 4:

Religion - Yes or No

Necessity of Religion
Reality of Religious Experience
Religion and life
Religious statistics
Nature of religion
Necessity of worship
Neglect of religion
Religion and history
Conversion of mankind

The Christian Church

Nature of the Church
Necessity of the Church
Visible organisation
Hierarchical constitution
Papal supremacy
Perpetuity of the Church

"This Shall Be the Sign"

Notes of identification
Unity of the Church
Holiness of the Church
Catholicity of the Church
Apostolic succession
"Roman" but not "Roman Catholic"

Dogmatic Authority of the Church

Authority in religion
Catholic Church infallible
The Pope infallible
Papal definitions
Dogmatic spirit of the Catholic Church
"Religion of the spirit"
Individual freedom
Re-stating Christianity
Athanasian Creed
Meaning of faith
Faith and reason
Faith and science
Religion and education
Religion and morals
Catholic countries backward
Universities and religion
Natural Moral Law
Christian principles of morality
Catholicism versus the world

The Power-Complex Illusion

Legislative power of the Catholic Church
Coercive power of the Catholic Church
Catholic Church and political ambitions
Divided allegiance of Catholics
Rome and totalitarianism
Aim of the Catholic Church in America
Catholic Action
Political freedom of Catholics
Catholic infiltration of civic life
Catholicism anti-democatic
Rival totalitarianisms, Rome and Moscow
Catholic attitude to Protestants
Spanish Inquisition
Church and State
Federal Union or "One World State"

Life-Or-Death Social Problems

Social reform necessary
Trade unions
Protestant Churches and Communism
Social apathy of Churches
Catholic social teaching
Family life
Primary purpose of marriage
Religion and marriage
Form of marriage
Mixed marriages
Birth control
"Catholic birth control"
Divorce and re-marriage
Catholics and civil divorce
Nullity decrees
Therapeutic abortion
Euthansia or mercy-killing

Those Exclusive Claims

Divided Christendom
Do divisions matter?
The "Only True Church" claims
Cause of sectarian bigotry
Reunion Movement
Catholic non-cooperation

Religious Liberty

Religious freedom
Catholic intolerance
Protestants and the principles of religious liberty
Rome and the "Four Freedoms"
Heresy and heretics
Religious rights of Protestants
Religious persecution
"Rome's historical record"
Protestant missionaries in Spain
In Italy
In South America
Conditions in Colombia

Are Only Catholics Saved

"Outside the Catholic Church no salvation"
Beliefs of Catholics
Salvation of Pagans
Salvation of Protestants
Why become a Catholic?
Duty of inquiry
Salvation of apostate Catholics
Test at the Last Judgment
Obstacles to conversion
Truth of Catholicism

"Religion of the spirit"

324. Professor Murdoch says that there is a religion which does not depend on the authority of an infallible institution, nor on the authority of an infallible book, but which draws its power from the conscience and inner spirit of man.

If there be such a religion, repudiating not only the authority of the Catholic Church but also belief in Holy Scripture as the inspired Word of God, it would not be the Christian religion, whatever else it might be. As for the suggestion that there is a necessary antagonism between a religion of authority and a religion of the spirit, that is nonsense. The Catholic religion is one of authority which positively demands in its practice fidelity to conscience and the copperation of the inner spirit of man, assisted by the grace of God.

325. The Professor quoted a book entitled, "Religions of Authority and the Religion of the Spiritby the great French writer Auguste Sabatier.

Rejecting the authority of the Catholic Church, he leans upon the authority of Auguste Sabatier. He has not improved things by that. Sabatier himself, a French Protestant who has drifted to Modernism, admits that his idea of religion, which ignores the authority of any Church as well as of the Bible, is not the religion Christ personally held and gave to His disciples. But then, Sabatier tells us, Christ's own Christianity was defective. It took Sabatier to distill from the crude religion of Christ the highest and purest religion man can know! But few indeed will prefer Sabatier as a substitute for Christ.

326. Professor Murdoch agrees that religions of authority may be useful and even indispensable to those who need an external authority to lean upon. But he says that it is the religion of the spirit which is essential to a nation's well-being.

If a religion of the spirit is essential to a nation's well-being, then so also is a religion of authority. The two go together. A religion of authority without religion of the spirit would be but empty externalism. A religion of the spirit without a religion of authority would result in endless aberrations, if it did not evaporate completely. Baron von Hugel has rightly pointed out in his classical work, "The Mystical Element in Religion," that religion must embrace the whole man as God made him; and that it must include the social element of Church, Sacraments and public worship; the intellectual element of dogmatic exposition; and the personal element of an interior religious spirit. To think that the last only will do is to go off to a dream-world, and a crazy one at that. But Professor Murdoch is out of his depth in these matters. He is not a theologian. He is nominally a Presbyterian layman, whose proper subject is English literature which he teaches in an Australian University, i t would certainly be fatal to lean upon his authority in matters of religion.

327. Do you deny that man can find God in his own inner experience?

A man can certainly experience an inner need for God. But that manifests a merely natural religious instinct. It does not follow that all a man's stray thoughts prompted by his religious inclinations are necessarily true.

328. Does not God sufficiently reveal Himself within us?

No. He Himself deemed it necessary to teach us from external sources by sending the Prophets of old, and eventually His own Son in the Person of Jesus Christ. People who rely only upon their own ideas and upon their own inner experiences become victims to their own ever-changing moods, however contradictory and eccentric those moods may be. Many such people end in the lunatic asylum.

328. you agree, where would be the need of any authoritative Church?

I do not agree. We need an external guide to educate us in sound objective doctrine. And it is a matter of history that Christ established the Catholic Church, intending the authoritative teachings of that Church to be the criterion of doctrinal truth. Those who will not accept the teachings of the Catholic Church find themselves bewildered and vaguely wandering in all directions.

330. I believe, not in belonging to a Church, but in seeking the truth with absolute sincerity.

I presume you believe in seeking the truth in order to find it. Now supposing you found the truth to be that you ought to belong to the Catholic Church, accepting her teachings as the very revelation of God, would you join that Church? And would your doing so mean in any way the sacrifice of absolute sincerity? Let me assure you, as one who took that step myself, that it would not.

331. People accept formal creeds only because they want to. The dogma of heaven appeals to their cupidity, whilst the dogma of hell makes the very thought of denial fill them with fear.

You are playing with a two-edged sword. I could retort that unbelievers do not want to accept Christian teachings because of their own cupidity and fear. There are people so filled with cupidity for the temporal and material pleasures of earthly life that they do not want to believe in the higher eternal and spiritual realities of heaven; and the very degradation of their choice fills them with such fear of the mere thought of judgment and hell that they deny those also. The desire to discredit religion can be every bit as strong as any desire to credit it. And of course it is easier not to believe than to believe, from the viewpoint of present moral obligations. Belief carries with it duties of self-denial of which unbelief knows nothing.

332. I am a Christian to whom spiritual experience, not any intellectual definition of it, really matters. I feel no need to formulate my beliefs into a creed.

God expects you to serve Him with all your powers, not only with heart and will, but with your mind also. A Christian must have certain convictions, and of their very nature they constitute a creed. For example, you believe in God, in the fact of sin, in Christ as your Redeemer, If you say you love Christ you must claim to know something about Him; that He did and does exist, that He is the Eternal Son of God who was born^-into this world of the Virgin Mary, that He died on the Cross and rose again from the dead, that He still exercises a great influence upon you, and that you love Him for all that He is and has done for you. All these things are elements of a creed that the mind is compelled to formulate, unless one simply ignores the demands of reason altogether. And one owes it to God not to ignore the intellect He gave us.

333. Faith in Christ does not mean faith in a creed.

It does, unless Christ be nothing and taught nothing. But you could not love a Christ like that. If you love Him you must believe something about Him; and if you believe Him to be your Supreme Lord and Master, you must believe all that He taught. But once you state what you believe about Christ and what you believe to be the doctrines He taught, you are making a credal statement. Then the important question arises as to whether you do rightly understand what a Christian should believe about Christ, what exactly Christ taught, and what He prescribed that we should do.

334. Christ is not so much concerned about our opinions in secondary matters as He is that we should be true honest men who believe in and live by the Gospel.

Christ is the God both of Truth and of Love. He cares for both. He Himself commanded His Apostles to teach all things whatsoever He had made known to them and said: "He who believes not shall be condemned." Mk.,XVI,16. When you yourself say that He wants us to be true honest men who believe and live by the Gospel, you admit the duty of knowing what the Gospel contains and of believing it. And teachings which the Catholic Church declares to be an essential part of the Gospel message cannot be dismissed as merely "opinions in secondary matters." To those teachings the words apply: "He that believeth not shall be condemned."

335. I know people whom I firmly believe to be good Christians regardless of the articles of their creed.

No one can be a Christian regardless of the articles of his creed. What if the articles of his creed include no belief in Christ or Christianity at all? You may be thinking of the good kind of life people who profess to be Christians ought to lead. But that does not justify your saying that all who live that good kind of life are Christians regardless of the creed they profess.

336. Therefore to my mind being a Christian means not a mode of of belief but a way of life.

That won't do. Being a good Christian means both a mode of belief and a way of life in keeping with one's beliefs. A man who does not live a good life may still be a Christian; but he will be a bad one. On the other hand, a man who does live a good life but does not believe in Christianity, will be a good man but not a Christian. I have a Jewish friend whose way of life is admirable. It would put many Christians to shame. Yet he would deny absolutely that he is a Christian. For Christianity does not mean merely a way of life. It means also a mode of belief.

337. I cannot think of religion as a matter of rigid convictions or dogmas instead of sincere worship of God and personal goodness.

The Catholic Church certainly would not ask you to do so. For it is not a question of convictions or dogmas instead of sincere worship and personal goodness. Both are neccessary. Dorothy Sayers, in her book "Creed or Chaos," says that "any stigma will do to beat a dogma," but that when Christ said to the woman of Samaria: "Ye worship ye know not what, "John, IV, 22. He certainly implied that it is necessary to know what one is worshipping! And unless you are worshipping nothing in particular, the very statement of what you are worshipping involves a dogma. We can never get away from that.

338. Matthew asked Jesus: "Good Master, what good shall I do, that I may inherit eternal life?"

St. Matthew who was a tax-gatherer, did not put that question to Jesus. A certain rich young, man did so.

339. Jesus did not say that He was the Second Person of the Trinity. He did not say you must be baptized. He did not say you must believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God. He did not say you must repeat something and believe something!

You cannot logically conclude from the fact that Jesus gave a particular reply to a particular question on a particular occasion that He never made any other declarations on other occasions! The Gospels themselves record elsewhere that Jesus said: "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be condemned." Mark, XVI, 16. That was certainly exacting belief in something. The very Commandments Jesus Himself quoted to the rich young man were quoted from the Bible and drew their authority from the fact that both Jesus and the young man himself accepted the Bible as the inspired Word of God!

340. What right has the Church to add to this direct answer to a direct question conditions of salvation which Jesus did not think necessary

Jesus declared far more things to be necessary for salvation than you imagine. His command to His Apostles to teach all nations all things whatsoever He had made known to them obviously implies the necessity for people taught those things to believe them. And what will you make of such words as: "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you"? Jn., VI, 54. Or, again, "If a man will not hear the Church, let him be as the heathen"? Matt.^XVIII, 17.



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