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Author Archive: Bob Drury

Bob Drury is retired. He has been fascinated with the reasonableness of the Faith since his junior year in high school in the mid-20th century for which the religion text was entitled, "Faith and Reason". That fascination has continued throughout his education in philosophy, math and science. In his essays he hopes to share that fascination with others. Read more at his website, They Have No Wine.

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Excommunication, Controversy, and the Development of Doctrine

September 25, AD2017 4 Comments
Excommunication, Controversy, and the Development of Doctrine

Historically, theological controversy has led to the development of doctrine. This is quite apparent in the record of the ecumenical councils of the Catholic Church, but it also occurs with less celebrated questions and in modern times. Both St. Augustine and St. Anselm are quoted for their individual phrasing that belief in revelation leads to […]

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Living in the Mutable: Of Time and Eternity

August 14, AD2017 3 Comments
Living in the Mutable: Of Time and Eternity

Pope St. John Paul II begins the encyclical Fides et Ratio with the admonition “Know Yourself”. Most apparently, we are material creatures and as such are mutable. We change. Change is time. In contrast, God is immutable, eternally so. He does not change. This essay is a meditation on time, on our nature as material […]

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Plato, Miracles, and the Reality of Matter

July 17, AD2017 0 Comments
Plato, Miracles, and the Reality of Matter

Plato realized that the intelligible is immaterial by identifying a fundamental difference between the intelligible and the material. The intelligible is universal, while the material is particular. The concept of dog is universal: it applies to all dogs, whatever might be the medley of particular properties possessed by each material dog. Plato proposed that there […]

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Continuing the Reconciliation of Evolution with Revelation

June 14, AD2017 4 Comments
Continuing the Reconciliation of Evolution with Revelation

The purpose of revelation is not to confirm what man can know of material and immaterial things through his own natural capacity. The purpose is to inform man of the supernatural plan of God: “His will that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit and […]

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Athens Comes to Greet Jerusalem: Substantial Change and Material Creation

May 15, AD2017 0 Comments
Athens Comes to Greet Jerusalem: Substantial Change and Material Creation

As Catholics, we believe that God revealed himself gradually to his chosen people, the Jews, and completed this Divine revelation in the Jewish Messiah, the Christ our Lord. We believe that Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church to transmit that revelation to all people through all generations. The revelation was not only knowledge but also […]

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When We Revile Others We Are, Ironically, Also Reviling God

April 11, AD2017 2 Comments
When We Revile Others We Are, Ironically, Also Reviling God

Reviling someone, whether it is mocking, taunting, or ridiculing, is almost always a sinful act, yet one which many tend to easily forget or overlook when going to confession. People often revile, ridicule, mock, or taunt those whom they judge to be inferior due to nature or due to some advantage they think they hold […]

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Turning to God, the Creator, or Acting Out a Parable

March 12, AD2017 0 Comments
Turning to God, the Creator, or Acting Out a Parable

In the encyclical, FIDES ET RATIO (Faith and Reason) Pope St. John Paul II explains how faith and reason are the foundation for human wisdom. He begins by referencing the Greek philosophical dictum, ‘Know thyself’ and then goes on to explain how revelation builds upon and completes human wisdom. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ […]

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Working Around the Impasse in the God Debate

February 12, AD2017 4 Comments
Working Around the Impasse in the God Debate

  Almost 70 years ago a famous but now somewhat forgotten debate took place on BBC radio between Bertrand Russell and Rev. C. J. Copleston, S.J. The topic of the debate was whether or not God existed. Russell, a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and self-described atheist, argued against God’s […]

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Bayes’ Theorem and the Historical Truth of Christianity

January 10, AD2017 1 Comment
Bayes’ Theorem and the Historical Truth of Christianity

  In his book, Proving History, Bayes’ Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus, atheist activist Richard Carrier contends that reports in Christian scripture can be determined to be false by the application of Bayes’ theorem. He claims that by this method, it can be demonstrated that Jesus of Nazareth is not an historical person […]

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Probability and the Death of Herod Agrippa

December 6, AD2016 4 Comments
Probability and the Death of Herod Agrippa

In the sight of my foes. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Psalm 23:5 The Faith Advantage Nothing else compares with Sanctifying Grace, a share in the life of the Trinity. In spite of its heavenly orientation, the Grace of the Faith overflows into all human endeavor. This is most notable in […]

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Critique of a Bayesian Case Study of Herod’s Death by an Angel

November 6, AD2016 2 Comments
Critique of a Bayesian Case Study of Herod’s Death by an Angel

Raphael Lataster is a teaching fellow in the studies of religion at the University of Sydney. Lataster and Trent Horn, a Catholic apologist, debated one another on the topic Does God Exist? in May, 2016 at the University. At the 45th minute of the debate, Lataster chides Horn for failing to formulate probabilistic arguments in […]

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The Consolation of Truth

September 11, AD2016 0 Comments
The Consolation of Truth

On the day I began this essay, in the Kyrie at the beginning of Mass, the priest prayed, “In the consolation of truth, Lord have mercy”. What is the consolation of truth? Just what truth is consoling? Is it scientific truth, which consoles us through its technological implementation? The first principle of science, which I […]

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Is God Hidden?

August 11, AD2016 1 Comment
Is God Hidden?

To support his atheism, Bertrand Russell proposed the analogy of a celestial teapot. He noted that the burden of proof is not on the skeptic of the claim that there is a teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars. The burden of proof is on the proponent who claims that the teapot is there, […]

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Agnosticism Wins the Debate: ‘Does God Exist?’

July 12, AD2016 6 Comments
Agnosticism Wins the Debate: ‘Does God Exist?’

It has been the consistent teaching of the Church that the existence of God can be known through nature apart from revelation. “Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made”, Rom 1:20. It would seem […]

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Can Arithmetic Set an Atheist Free?

June 14, AD2016 24 Comments
Can Arithmetic Set an Atheist Free?

We may be wary of the truth. Rather than setting us free, we may fear it will impose an obligation. We may be reluctant to reach a conclusion as true, simply because we view its implications as onerous. Take the formation of a new individual of the species by means of biological sex as an […]

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To Acknowledge the Existence of Sin is to Claim We Understand

May 16, AD2016 4 Comments
To Acknowledge the Existence of Sin is to Claim We Understand

If an adult were to make a general examination of conscience based on a list of virtues or vices, I believe he would find himself guilty of failing in each virtue and committing each vice. Thus, the motive with which he has acted or failed to act in some instance, however minor, is the same […]

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Mutability Implies an Immutable Goal

April 20, AD2016 1 Comment
Mutability Implies an Immutable Goal

The Book of Genesis outlines material creation focused on the earth. Material creation is in stages with the final stage, the creation of man. A seventh stage, the Sabbath, is not creational. The Sabbath emphasizes the fact that material creation has ceased. The era of the Sabbath is post-creational, except for the continued spiritual creation […]

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Religious Freedom When Government Determines Conscience

March 23, AD2016 6 Comments
Religious Freedom When Government Determines Conscience

The Freedom of Moral Law Many years ago in a local branch of the Chicago Public Library, I came across Cautionary Tales for Children by Hillaire Belloc in which evil doers are punished in this life. The introduction asks and then answers, And is it true? It is not true And if it were it […]

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The Ways of God Are Not Those of Man

February 19, AD2016 1 Comment
The Ways of God Are Not Those of Man

In The Surprise by G.K. Chesterton, the author of a play sees his characters act justly and with love at his creative command, yet he wishes they could do so freely. When his wish is granted, the characters he created act unjustly and with selfishness. They mess things up grandly. The solution in the play […]

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Are Creatures Created?

January 25, AD2016 8 Comments
Are Creatures Created?

  If we were to follow Richard Dawkins as our guide, we would conclude that living creatures are not created. Opposing Arguments Differ in Defining Design The point to which Dawkins’ position is a counterpoint is the argument for God, dubbed “Intelligent Design”. Both arguments are based on mathematical probability, but reach opposite conclusions. Biology […]

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On Being Human

December 24, AD2015 0 Comments
On Being Human

Being human is the strangest being of any. We are material, alive, naturally intelligent and loving, but most wonderfully, we possess the gift of supernatural life. A being is alive if it has the potency to act for its own good or the good of another of its own kind. This potency is expressed in […]

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Why Did She Go to Sunday Mass?

November 26, AD2015 1 Comment
Why Did She Go to Sunday Mass?

I believe we often have definitive rationales for what we acknowledge as true and for what we do, even though we may have difficulty expressing them. A few years ago I had the opportunity through a parish program to chauffer a lady to and from Sunday Mass. Despite her frailty, she went to Sunday Mass […]

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Materialism Denigrates Matter

October 27, AD2015 4 Comments
Materialism Denigrates Matter

This essay proposes (1) that the perennial philosophy posits a distinction between intelligibility and matter, but also an integration, (2) that consistent with this integration, revelation exults in matter in the Incarnation, but (3) that materialism either posits a disconnect between intelligibility and matter, placing matter in abject slavery to intelligibility, or, what is worse, […]

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True Liberty and Unjust Civil Laws

September 30, AD2015 2 Comments
True Liberty and Unjust Civil Laws

The dominant progressive view of human history is that of an evolution of liberty, with the current acme of that evolution in western democracies. This appears to be analogous to the development of Catholic doctrine noted by Bl. John Henry Newman. There is this difference. The evolution of liberty in the progressive view is a […]

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