external image apologetics.jpg


St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest medieval philosopher. He tried to show the harmony between faith and reason, and between Christianity and philosophy. Aquinas's views have been very influential, especially in Catholic thought.
Aquinas gave five classic "proofs" for the existence of God. These are on a class handout, which in turn is taken from his massive Summa Theologica (Part 1, Question 2, Article 3). The class handout also includes a whimsical "Five proofs for the existence of Santa Clause" -- which I'll use in class to make some points about Aquinas's arguments.
These computerized exercise materials are copyrighted (c) 2002 by Harry J. Gensler; but they may be distributed freely.

Aquinas's Proofs 1 to 3
1 - FIRST MOVER: Some things are in motion, anything moved is moved by another, and there can't be an infinite series of movers. So there must be a first mover (a mover that isn't itself moved by another). This is God.
2 - FIRST CAUSE: Some things are caused, anything caused is caused by another, and there can't be an infinite series of causes. So there must be a first cause (a cause that isn't itself caused by another). This is God.
3 - NECESSARY BEING: Every contingent being at some time fails to exist. So if everything were contingent, then at some time there would have been nothing -- and so there would be nothing now -- which is clearly false. So not everything is contingent. So there is a necessary being. This is God.

Aquinas's Proofs 4 and 5
4 - GREATEST BEING: Some things are greater than others. Whatever is great to any degree gets its greatness from that which is the greatest. So there is a greatest being, which is the source of all greatness. This is God.
5 - INTELLIGENT DESIGNER: Many things in the world that lack intelligence act for an end. Whatever acts for an end must be directed by an intelligent being. So the world must have an intelligent designer. This is God.



Good Advice on How to Explain the Faith

In having such frequent recourse to prayer, John of God practiced what he preached. Beginning a homily on Pentecost Sunday, calling the congregation to listen attentively, he said, “the things of heaven are so lofty and so profound, so far above human understanding, that to be able to speak of them, the speaker himself must have come down from heaven.” He knew, firsthand, the need to be illumined by faith before taking on the work of God. A young priest asked him how to preach, to which he replied: “What can I say to you except tell you to love our Lord deeply? Love him with all your heart…” This truth is only made real through prayer. In his letter to a priest on how to prepare for Mass, he said to place himself with the seraphim burning before the throne of God, and to handle Our Lord with the care of his Blessed Mother. This fire must make its way to the heart of the priest, fueling his zeal for souls, and desire for God’s glory.

Joseph Pierce: The “apologetics of beauty” is one of the three ways of defending the Catholic faith and winning converts. The other two ways are the “apologetics of goodness” and the “apologetics of truth”, each expressing what the ancients called the good, the true and the beautiful, and which Christians should see as a reflection of the triune nature of the Trinity.
The apologetics of goodness is the defending of the Faith and the winning of converts through a life of sanctity and virtue. It is the winning of people to Christ and His Church by becoming a saint.
The apologetics of truth is the defending of the Faith and the winning of converts through the use of Reason. The apologetics of truth is fought on the battlefields of theology and philosophy.
The apologetics of beauty is winning people to Christ and His Church through the showing forth of the beauty of God’s Creation, very often through works of sub-creation, such as literature, the visual arts, music and architecture.
In the hedonistic and relativistic age in which we live, the apologetics of beauty can often be the most effective means of winning converts to the Faith. Hedonism hates sanctity and virtue and despises the example of the saints. Relativism shuns objective reason, relegating rational discourse to the level of subjective perception and subjecting truth to mere opinion. Hedonism is not responsive to the apologetics of goodness but can still be attracted by the power of beauty. Relativism is not responsive to the apologetics of truth but can still be engaged by epiphanies of beauty.

1) The Bible Christian Society

http://www.biblechristiansociety.com/

2) Catholic Answers

http://www.catholic.com/

3) Catholic Biblical Apologetics

http://www.catholicapologetics.org/

4) Catholic Apologetics Info.

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/

5) The Bellarmine Report

http://www.catholicapologetics.info/

6) Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology

http://www.salvationhistory.com/

7) Father Most Theological Collection

8) The Didache

9) Defendingthebride.com

10) An Excellent book, Flawed Expectations:

http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/catechism/flawed-expectations/fe-home-page.htm

11) Fisheaters