October 24, 2016

Editor’s note: Jimmy Akin’s new book A Daily Defense comprises 365 one-page defenses (plus one for leap year) of typical challenges to the Catholic Faith. These daily doses of apologetics are designed to arm the reader with short-form answers and tips for delving deeper into any particular subject. Through the end of the year, the Catholic Answers blog will run occasional excerpts.

Religion and War


“Religion is inherently violent, producing countless wars.”


This claim does not withstand scrutiny.

War is not unique to humanity. Other species—including ants, bees, and chimpanzees—wage war, understood as the organized, collective use of...

The Baptism of Christ, Joachim Patinir (c. 1480-1524)
October 20, 2016

Christians have always known that the four canonical Gospels describe the same major events in Christ’s life but in different ways. For example, consider what God says at Jesus’ baptism. In Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22, God says, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” But in Matthew 3:17 God says, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” So which is it? Did God say, “You are my beloved son” or “This is my beloved son?”

The apocryphal second-century Gospel of the Ebionites proposed a novel answer to this question. In this account, written more than a century after the events it purports to describe, the Father speaks three times—presumably to account for what Matthew, Mark, and Luke record. But this seems implausible given that none of the canonical...

Peter Walks on Water by Philipp Otto Runge, 1806
October 19, 2016

Let’s say you’re talking to a skeptic, and he makes the claim, “Jesus never said he was God. That’s something his disciples later ascribed to him—like it was to the Buddha.” What would your response be? I bet you would turn to Jesus’ “I Am” statement in John 8:58 and say, “You see, Jesus ascribes the divine name, ‘I Am,’ to himself, and we know he was using it for himself because the Jews immediately attempted to kill him, thinking he was blaspheming.”

This, of course, would be a correct response. Unfortunately, some skeptics do not accept John’s accounts of Jesus’ divine claims. One such skeptic, Bart Ehrman—a popular New Testament textual critic who was once a Fundamentalist Christian and is now an agnostic—says:

If Jesus went around Galilee...

Members of the Little Sisters of the Poor speak in front of the Supreme Court.
October 18, 2016

It is a remarkable fact of history that Jesus and his apostles, as well as a good number of early Christians, found themselves running afoul of the temporal authorities. In his epistle to Timothy, St. Paul says that he is “suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal” (2 Tim. 2-9) on account of the Gospel. So serious were the crimes of which they were convicted that nearly all of them were put to death.

We do well to meditate on this fact. Why did the political authorities persecute Jesus and his apostles? Were the new Christians attempting to gain political power? Were they promoting insurrections or a new political system with new leadership?

Political power unimportant

Quite the contrary. Every time political power was offered to our...

The Last Judgment by Stefan Lochner, 1435
October 14, 2016

Some 1,600 years ago, St. Augustine wrote:

In that one [Adam], as the apostles says, all have sinned. Let, then, the damnable source be rebuked, that from the mortification of rebuke may spring the will of regeneration—if, indeed, he who is rebuked is a child of promise,—in order that, by the noise of the rebuke sounding and lashing from without. . . . God may by his hidden inspiration work in him from within to will also. If, however, being already regenerate and justified, he relapses of his own will into an evil life, assuredly he cannot say, “I have not received,” because of his own free choice to evil he has lost the grace of God that he had received (On Rebuke and Grace, ch. 9).

The word if is the most important little...

October 13, 2016

Our focus in the last three “Why I’m Catholic” blog posts has been on whether or not the New Testament presents us with a Christianity in which the Bible functions as the only real authority, all other authorities, when you get down to it, being merely advisory.

So far, from my reading of the writings of the apostles, I don’t see a hint of this. I see no evidence that Paul and John and Peter and the others had it in their minds that when they had passed from the scene Christianity would become “Bible only” Christianity—believers gathered around the Scripture, reading and discussing, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and, ultimately, deciding for themselves what the true teachings of the Christian Faith are.

I don’t see sola scriptura in the New...

Decoding the Bible's Most Mysterious Book
Absolute Relativism: The New Dictatorship And What To Do About It
In his best-selling booklet Absolute Relativism: The New Dictatorship And What To Do About It, Chris Stefanick tackles all the tough qu...