Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Read 2Corinthians 5:17-18 and Jeremiah 1:4-8.

As we try to answer the question “Who Am I?” we need to know what God wants for us. What does he think about us?

We also need to look at ourselves – our interests, abilities, weaknesses.

As we go about answering this question we also need to talk with other people. Hearing about our strengths and weaknesses from others often tells us things about ourselves that we overlook.

Try to keep everything you write positive – no jokes or putdowns.

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from Thousands attend Boulder debate on atheism and religion

Father Kevin Augustyn, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish, prefaced the debate, saying, “As Catholics, we are not afraid of intellectual debate. Faith and reason are not opposed to each other.”

Modern science, he[D’Souza] said, was “faith-based” in that it was rooted in Christian assumptions. We presume that we live in a lawful, rational universe whose external rationality is mirrored in our own minds, presumptions nourished by Christianity.

Man is placed between two distinct domains of “the way we are” and “the way we ought to behave.” – D’Souza

If atheism were correct, Hitchens argued, “we would be in precisely the same place we are now” in considering what our duties are towards others and why we are here.

Hitchens then raised the raised the questions of why Christianity should be considered superior to other religions, such as Islam.

D’Souza replied by noting the disconnect between “the way things are” and “the way they ought to be.” This can be explained by supposing a chasm between the “human level” of existence and the “divine level.” In D’Souza’s view, Islam and Judaism hold that this chasm may be closed by mankind building a “ladder” to climb to God.

Christianity, however, declares this project “wonderful but impossible” by teaching that the chasm “has to be closed from the other side” through God entering the world in the person of Jesus Christ.

Hitchens then explained that he finds it “extraordinarily objectionable” to exclude the “occupant of the womb” from the human family.

Following the debate, CNA spoke with Father Augustyn. He said it was an “excellent debate” with both speakers doing “very well” on their positions. In his view, D’Souza countered and “unmasked” some of Hitchens’ “unfair” and “selective” comparisons of religions.

“At the same time, Christopher Hitchens is a formidable opponent. He’s very witty, very sharp, he makes good points, and he brings out audience participation. I don’t think his arguments hold water, but I think he is a good debater.”

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from Philosophy for Dummies

  1. The existence of something is intelligible only if it has an explanation.
  2. The existence of the universe is thus either:
    1. unintelligible or
    2. has an explanation
  3. No rational person should accept premise (2.1) by definition of rationality
  4. A rational person should accept (2.2), that the universe has some explanation for its being.
  5. There are only three kinds of explanations:
    1. Scientific: physical conditions plus relevant laws yield the Event explained.
    2. Personal: Explanations that cite desires, beliefs, powers and intentions of some personal agent.
    3. Essential: The essence of the thing to be explained necessitates its existence or qualities (for example, if you ask why a triangle has 3 sides, I would respond that it is the essence and necessity for a triangle to have 3 sides by its definition.
  6. The explanation for the existence of the whole universe can’t be scientific because there can’t be initial physical conditions and laws independent of what is to be explained. Even the Big Bang theory fails to explain the existence of the universe because modern science cannot explain where the original Big Bang singularity came from. The universe as a sum total of all natural conditions and laws cannot be explained unless we have an Archimidean reference point outside the system.
  7. The explanation for the existence of the universe can’t be essential because the universe cannot exist necessarily. This is because, it could have been possible for the universe not to have existed (if the Big Bang had been slightly different it is possible for large-scale structures to not have existed). Thus the universe is not something the must necessarily or essentially exists.
  8. Thus a rational person should believe that the universe has a personal explanation.
  9. No personal agent but God could create the entire universe.
  10. A rational person should believe that there is a God.
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  1. What does it mean to say that distributive justice exists in a society?
  2. Describe how the story of Lazarus and the rich man is a parable of global distributive injustice today.
  3. How does omission play a role in the creation and maintenance of distributive injustice?
  4. Describe three avenues by which individuals can affect distributive justice.
  5. Find an article that points out the gap between rich and poor people in Canada. Write a brief response to the article.
  6. List some types of omissions by privileged people that can cause injustice to flourish for poor people.
  7. Research and compare government spending on military versus the needs of children.
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  1. Define the “common good.” How does it differ from simply the good of the majority?
  2. What service opportunities exist for teenagers in your community? Write a brief description of three of them.
  3. Choose a public policy decision that is being debated in your community: municipal, provincial, federal. Write about how that decision could affect people one hundred years from now.
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Focus on a public policy issue that requires wise judgement, In writing, express your opinion about the wisdom or lack of wisdom of government and corporate decisions on the issue.

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As a soloist or a small group, select a song from the Glory and Praise song book, or other Catholic hymnal, and make a recording with iMovie and/or GarageBand.

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  1. Reflect n writing on a time you chose to pay attention to your conscience versus a time you chose not to. Describe your feelings in each case.
  2. Research and write about an immoral practice other than slavery that was once considered morally right by most people.
  3. Corruption in business or government usually involves laxness of conscience. Focus on one instance of such corruption from a past scandal covered in the news. Write about how lax consciences may have played a role in the corrupt practices.
  4. Give three examples of cases in which a rule or law could be broken in good conscience.
  5. What do you think about the use of nuclear weapons today?
  6. What does the phrase “listen to your conscience” mean?
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  1. Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
  2. Parable of the Talents
  3. The Sheep and the Goats
  4. Parable of the Mustard Seed
  5. Parable of the Good Samaritan
  6. The Rich Fool
  7. the barren fig tree
  8. Parable of the Prodigal Son
  9. The Rich Man and the Beggar Lazarus
  10. the Pharisee and the tax collector

Two options for exploring these parables follow:
Option 1:
Read each parable and answer the following three questions about each parable:

  1. What has been taught by the parable?
  2. Can you think of a situation to which the parable applies today?
  3. What kind of person most needs to take this parable to heart?

Option 2:
Form a small group and select one parable from the list to produce as a short film. Try one of the following approaches

  • make up a script that closely follows the words of the gospel passage with a narrator telling what is happening.
  • make up a script that is a contemporary version of the parable or that shows the parable applied to a contemporary situation.
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