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The MOST Theological Collection: Catholic Apologetics Today: Answers to Modern Critics

"Chapter 1: For Openers"


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How do some people come to have faith? Do they just decide to believe without any reason for believing, as if they took a leap and jumped up onto a cloud? If so, then their faith would have as solid a foundation as a cloud! That method is not for a rational person. It is for such unreasonable and unreasoning ones as Kierkegaard, the Danish Existentialist, who says faith is precisely a leap;1 or Bultmann, grandfather of Form Criticism, who thinks it even sinful to want to have any basis for faith. Rather, says Bultmann, the man of faith, "has nothing in his hand on which to base his faith. He is suspended in mid-air."2

The Catholic Church does not ask for or even permit such unreasonable thinking. Vatican Council I, quoting Romans 12:1, taught that our faith should be a "reasonable service of God," not an irrational leap.3 The First Epistle of St. Peter says the same. "Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks of you a reason for the hope that is in you."(1 Peter 3:15).

So we are going to start out on a search. There will be two stages: first reason, then faith. That is, before anyone can or should believe, he should go through a process of discovery based on reason, not on faith. We will face all problems squarely, including the fact that some today deny God, deny miracles, and even-believe it or not-deny the very possibility of writing any reliable history. Only after these necessary preliminaries will we look for the rational foundations for faith.

After this basic work, we will consider the claims of other religions including Protestantism, Judaism, and non-Christian religions.

Finally, in the appendices, we will answer objections about specific teachings of the Church.


1 Cf. Francis J. Lescoe, Existentialism With or Without God, Alba House, N.Y. 1974, pp. 25-76, esp. 55-62.
2 In KM 19 & 211.
3 DS 3009.

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