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How to Solve and Refute False Modern Philosophy

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In a recent talk, William Michael from the Classical Liberal Arts Academy shared his thoughts on a philosophy course he is taking on the history of the philosophy of religion. He expressed skepticism about the course’s premise, as he believes that philosophy and religion are distinct fields, with religion being based on divine revelation and understood through theology.

Michael emphasized that our knowledge of God comes primarily from divine revelation, which is received through faith. He argued that human attempts to figure out God’s existence or nature through philosophy alone are impossible, as we can only know about God what He chooses to reveal to us.

He also critiqued the modern philosophical approach, particularly in the works of Baruch Spinoza, who argued that God and nature are the same substance. Michael pointed out that Spinoza’s method, which mimics the geometric method of Euclid, is flawed from the outset because it relies on definitions that are not universally accepted. He believes that the error in modern philosophy often lies not in the content of the arguments but in the initial assumptions or definitions.

Michael shared his concern about the impact of modern philosophy on Catholic education and thought. He observed that many Catholics have been swayed by modern scientific and philosophical ideas that are contrary to traditional Catholic teachings. He argued that this has led to a loss of confidence and certainty among Catholics, making them vulnerable to being influenced by non-Christian ideas.

He advocated for a return to the study of classical liberal arts, particularly the art of reasoning as taught by Aristotle. Michael believes that this method of reasoning can help Catholics discern the truth and defend their faith more effectively. He encouraged Catholics to study the classical liberal arts to gain a deeper understanding of their faith and the world around them.

In conclusion, William Michael’s talk highlights the importance of grounding our understanding of religion in divine revelation and the need for a solid foundation in classical liberal arts to navigate the complexities of modern philosophy. He urges Catholics to embrace the intellectual heritage of their faith to confidently engage with and challenge contemporary philosophical ideas.


Transcript

Today is Tuesday, March 5, and this is William Michael, of the classical liberal arts academy. I’m currently in a philosophy course, studying the history of the philosophy of religion, which is sort of a paradox, I have to admit, I’ve actually raised a couple of complaints, not complaints, but just questions really, for my professor, because the whole concept of the course, which is based on a book that he wrote, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, because philosophy and religion are really two different subject areas. And the content doesn’t, doesn’t really cross over. Religion is based on divine revelation. More properly, thought of as theology. The knowledge of God can only be under understood through God’s own self disclosure, he only knows himself, and being greater than us. We can’t comprehend Him, we can’t wrap our minds around God. We can only know of him what he can communicate to us, by human means, through human language or human ideas and experiences. And so most of what we know about God is not known by any kind of observation, but is known by analogy by comparisons. St. Thomas explains this. In the Summa, we see this in our Lord’s teaching where he teaches about God, by means of comparisons in parables. The kingdom of God is like God is like, and so on. So when it comes to religion, we’re entirely dependent. For any sort of positive, certain knowledge about God, we’re entirely dependent on divine revelation. And that divine revelation needs to condescend to us to communicate to us with ideas and words that we can actually, we can actually wrap our minds around or comprehend what it means to comprehend something. So when we talk about the philosophy of religion, if if we mean a human attempt to figure out whether God exists or to figure out what God is, that’s, that’s a that’s an impossibility. That’d be like a computer, working to figure out what man is. Even with artificial intelligence, men are putting the intelligence into the computer, their computer is simply is simply what’s the word I should say, looking up, or there’s a better word for it. But it’s, it’s not on. I’m not on my mind right now. But the computer is not creating knowledge, that computer is simply retrieving that’s the word I wanted retrieving information that’s been put into it or made available to it. By superior beings, namely, humans. And we work in the same way with respect to God, if God does not give us something. We can’t understand anything beyond ourselves. So religion really depends on divine revelation and divine revelation is received by faith. Men who are reasonable and relatively just relatively virtuous, properly disposed, will receive divine revelation and even that disposition. St. Augustine said is, is brought about or sort of prepared by God’s grace. It’s called prevenient. Grace. So God helps to right LEED dispose someone, and then divine revelation is is deposited with that, rightly disposed soul, which receives it. And that reception is called faith. And the soul is completely certain that that revelation is true. Because it’s known to be revealed by God Himself. And so you can say, well, that sounds like a circular argument. And it’s It most certainly is a circular argument. We assume our conclusions when we believe. And you may say, Oh, well, that’s, you’re breaking the rules. And the problem with that, with that claim that we’re sort of acting irrationally by accepting this circular argument for the sake of religion. Is it’s not true because God is true. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s acceptable, because God is true, just like when some people say, Well, you can’t make generalizations. That’s only true and the generalizations are actually false. Many times generalizations are true. And while they, it may not be logical, perfectly or purely logical to make the generalization, nonetheless, it’s true. So, what a more careful logic teacher will explain is not that generalizations are fallacious or bad, but hasty generalizations, prejudiced, generalizations, and so on. But anyway, this this course, in the Philosophy of Religion has been interesting. I’ve been sort of annoyed at a few points. And I think my my objections are, are valid, I think my professor knows that, as well. But, uh, I’ve been introduced to some new readings, things that I had never encountered in the past. And so I’ve been challenged, to respond to them. And it’s pretty cool. To be honest, it’s pretty cool to be able to take a course like this at a great institution with a with a good professor, good classmates. And be able to get into discussions about these topics, after having 20 plus years of experience, studying and teaching classical liberal arts. Because I have insights into these different issues and controversies that I’m certain I wouldn’t have had had I studied this course when I was 21 years old. And as I go through it, I think to myself, is it really smart for us to have a students and master’s degree programs or doctoral programs when they’re in their 20s? And they have no experience? I think that I think that my experience, going back to school, for graduate studies, after having a successful and happy career, in my field, is is really helpful. It’s very insightful. Sort of serves as like a, a finishing school almost for my professional life. And, and the reason why I’m even interested in these studies and, and continuing my education at this point is because I’m looking forward to the work that I can do as a 50 year old and 60 year old, God willing, even 70 year old where I move more into the work of purely teaching and consulting, rather than doing all of the developmental and administrative grunt work that I’ve been doing for the last 20 years. I also am pursuing these studies for the benefit of my students. Because whatever honors and awards I can gather to myself, or to the academy just brings benefits to my students. It’s much better, for example, to have a recommendation letter from a Harvard alumnus. So if I can go and if I can go complete a degree at Harvard, I’d like to do so for the sake of my students. So anyway, that’s, that’s why I’m in these courses and studying. But it’s been very helpful. I’ve had I’ve had some, some really good, personally speaking, good insights and meditations on some of these studies. And if you’re not aware, I keep a private blog, where I share a lot of his stuff day by day, if you go to WCM, dot classical liberal arts.com WCM are just my initials for William C, Michael WCM. Dot, classical liberal arts.com. You find my private blog there. And if you’d like to just keep an eye on it, I share these thoughts and discussions and papers I write and so on, as I go through these courses, and as a Catholic, you might find some of this stuff interesting. But last night, my assignment was to read the ethics of Baruch or Benedict Spinoza, who was a Jewish philosopher sort of meddled with Christianity, but I don’t think he ever became a Christian. But he was a wacky whack, and ended up teaching something that resembles pantheism. Basically, saying that God and nature are the same substance, the same thing. And he’s got this whole long argument that he presents in this work called the ethics, where he shows that God and nature are indistinguishable, that they must be the same thing. Now as as we read a work like this, and I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a philosophy course in college or tried to read modern philosophy, but what you’ll often notice, if you read it is it just gets very obscure, the language gets very strange. It’s very difficult to understand sometimes. And unless you’re really well versed in philosophical language, and you know, the history of philosophy, so you can recognize certain ideas being alluded to by modern philosophers, it’s very difficult to understand, and most modern students just want nothing to do with it, and rightly so. So for some of my classmates, they just post them into discussions, that they just find this to be a bunch of gobbledygook. They can’t, they can’t make any sense out of. And I think that I think that’s part of modern philosophy. It’s sort of a it’s sophistical. It’s false, obviously. But it’s sophistical. And what it does, part of its sophistry is, is blowing smoke in the eyes of people and pretending to have some profound philosophical insights and to present them in just completely incomprehensible language. And, you know, the better, the more diligent of my classmates, the more argumentative, who want who want to get down to the, the truth or falsehood of of the different teachings. They’ll try to analyze it. And what what I’ll notice they do is what I think most most modern Christians do, is they’ll they’ll try to read the modern philosophers. And they’ll try to evaluate whether or not their statements are true or false. They’ll try to evaluate the truth or falsehood of the actual content of the teaching. So for example, if Spinoza argues that God and nature must be the same substance and he gives reasons for this, which which I’m going to talk about in a minute. They’ll try to argue whether that’s true or not. They’ll try to, you know, either pull Bible verses to contradict it or quote some other philosopher or, you know, just make an argument from examples or illustrations, they’ll, they’ll always try to object to the actual content of what these modern philosophers are writing. And I think that’s actually a trap that we have to avoid falling into. It’s a trap. The sophistry of the false philosophy is the complexity and obscurity of it. It’s like the Wizard of Oz, or the Emperor. And with a new clothes, it’s pretending to have something pretending to be something that that doesn’t actually exist. And so the way that you the way that you carry out your purpose is by just blowing smoke in everybody’s eyes. And you’ve got those people that stand there and pretend that they see it. And they Ooh, and they are and they applaud like people at a modern art show or a modern fashion show, like actually pretending like they see some truth or beauty or skill. In what is, by definition, not skillful, or beautiful. And that’s the sort of fake intellectual culture pretending to see the Emperor’s clothes when they in fact don’t exist, because he’s naked. Pretending to believe in the Wizard of Oz, after toto pulls the curtain open, when the wizard tells you pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. There are people who do that there are people who will just go along with it, because they’re hoping to get something out of it. They’re hoping to get something from the class or the professor or the philosopher or the artist, whatever it may be their boss. And so they’ll go along with it and pretend to get it or to see it, or to value it when it’s intrinsically not true or not valuable or not comprehensible. But I see this common error among my classmates to try to actually get into something of a back and forth discussion with these false philosophers. And I probably would have done the same thing when I was in my 20s. My classmates are mostly older, they’re mostly professional adults. But if I would have taken a class like this, when I was 2123 years old, as a young Christian, with no experience in the classical liberal arts, or Aristotelian philosophy, or scholastic philosophy, I probably would have done the same thing made the same mistake and got dragged into the same useless wrangling. And I think that’s the trap that most modern Christians fall into, because they, they don’t study the classical liberal arts. They don’t know, true philosophy. And they really just have no means of discerning where modern philosophy runs off the rails. And I was talking about this with my wife last night, and I gave her an illustration that I think is what was pretty good. If you if you’re on social media, there’s a meme that often gets passed around. And it will, it’s an image, and it’s got a bunch of numbers on it all different colors and stuff. But a bunch of numbers, it’s like numbers from one to 10, or some sequence of numbers. And at the top of the image, it says, Can you find the error? And then it displays these numbers. And what happens is everyone reads the question, can you find the error and they go down? And they start looking at the numbers because they just assume that the error must be in the know Numbers somewhere. But the fact is that the word error is actually misspelled. It’ll have like three Rs, E R R, R O R. And when we read it quickly as we’re scrolling through your social media feed, we know what it says, And we won’t pay attention to the detail. Well, no, it says, Can you find the error and we just immediately go down and start looking at the numbers. And then people will be posting things like I can’t find anything I don’t I think this is clickbait. There’s no problem. But the but the problem is actually, in the question, the word error is misspelled, has nothing to do with the numbers. And this is what I think happens in modern philosophy. we’re presented with some teaching, some unorthodox teaching, some heretical teaching, like the teaching of Spinoza, on God and nature. And we’re asked, you know, where’s the error and we immediately go down into the context. We immediately go down into the content, sorry, content of the philosophy as if the error is to be found in the content, but the error actually exists, right at the outset of the investigation, right at the outset of the work. Now, with Spinoza. If you haven’t, if you don’t know anything about Spinoza, no, you can, you can look it up, look up the ethics of Spinoza, you can find a free text online. But what he does is he presents his philosophy, his whole argument for this idea that God and nature are indistinguishable. And he does it in the form of a geometrical proof, he does it using the method established by Euclid. And so he starts with definitions. And then he provides some axioms. And then he introduces his ideas as propositions one by one. And it looks very impressive, it looks like wow, this this guy is is very orderly, very strict, very careful with his with his reasoning, it even is presented in this sort of quasi mathematical method. And this is all, this is all sophistry. And what most students do is they start reading his definitions, they read the axioms, they get into the propositions. He he offers proofs for his propositions. And if you start reading, it’s not long before you’re just lost in all the details. But what I what I pointed out last night, to my classmates, is that the whole entire thing is wrong. The whole entire approach the whole entire argument, the whole entire method is wrong. And this is where the error really occurs. It’s not in the content of what he says, if you’re in his content, you’re already like, washed downstream. It’s too late. You missed you missed the error. The error was in the beginning. And what I what I explained, and again, I’m sensitive to this because of how much time I’ve spent in studying Aristotle’s reasoning. The problem is that when we use the geometric method, as Euclid does, we start with definitions, we add axioms, and we get into propositions and we prove the propositions using the definitions and axioms. So the truth of the proof of the property decisions is determined by the truth of the definitions and axioms. axioms are self evident truths. So we should read an axiom. And it should be obvious that it’s true. And if we read an axiom, and we’re not sure that it’s true, we should immediately, you know, hit the red buzzer and say this, this can’t be an axiom, because it’s not self evident. And you see what happens is when you’re, when you’re a new student, you don’t have the confidence to hit that buzzer and say, I don’t think this axiom is actually self evident. It doesn’t make any sense. What you do instead, is you say, oh, man, this is way over my head. I’m stupid. So I’m just going to keep reading. And the reality is, is an axiom, the whole point of an axiom is that it’s self evident. So if it’s not self evident to you, if you can’t see the truth of it, you should not admit an axiom, you should not allow the writer to start with that axiom, because it’s not an axiom. And if he needs to prove it, that’s further proof that it’s not an axiom. And who’s the judge as to whether or not something is or is not an axiom, you are a human being is the judge of whether an axiom is true or not, not some philosopher. An axiom is supposed to be self evident. And because it’s self evident, it actually can’t be proven. There’s, there’s nothing simpler that you could appeal to, to prove an axiom, that’s what makes it an axiom. So usually, axioms are pretty obvious, like a whole is greater than any of its parts. That’s, that’s an axiom. Simply based on the definition of a whole and part, very simple, self evident, everyone can see that. But often, when we get into this wacky, modern sophistical philosophy, we’ll find things listed as axioms that are not in any way, self evident. And we should all have the confidence to hit that red buzzer, like I said, and say, I do not grant this statement to be self evident. I don’t believe it’s self evident. And therefore, I will not allow you to use it as a starting point for any proofs. That’s how reasoning works. If I grant a statement to be self evident, then it can be used as a starting point to prove some other statement. But if it’s not actually self evident, then it can’t be used because we reason from what is known to prove what is unknown. We can’t grant that something is known when in fact, it’s not known. So you can see how a system of false philosophy can be built sophistically on a false axiom, on an axiom, that’s not in fact, true or self evident. Now, I wouldn’t say that Spinoza does that. I wouldn’t say that Spinoza presents any any false axioms, but there’s another part and it’s the definitions. And so, the question is what what are definitions? What exactly are definitions and if you if you think about Euclidean geometry, definitions, another word for definitions in in philosophy is hypotheses. Definitions are not true or false, really, because we’re simply establishing the meanings of terms. Definitions are actually in in in this kind of context. Definitions are established by agreement. You Language Aristotle teaches is established by convention, that means we agree on the content of a dictionary, we accept a dictionary and agree to abide by the definitions given for the words. So there’s a there’s an assumption, when we give definitions, there’s an assumption that these definitions are acceptable to our audience to whoever we’re talking to. The definitions are assumed. And it’s supposed to be a definition is supposed to be a statement that we can all agree upon. It’s a starting point for our reasoning. So for example, if in geometry, Euclid wants to get started with this investigation of the science of magnitude at rest, which is what geometry is, he’ll start with a definition of a point he’ll say, okay, a point is that which has neither breadth nor length. That’s a point. And we’ll all read that and say, okay, granted, right, we’ll all accept that as a definition of a point. And then a line is that which has length, but no breath. And the end, or the end of a line are points. Because they have no length, and no breadth, therefore, their points, the ends of the line. So we’ll read those definitions and say, Yeah, that makes sense, what we’ll grant you those definitions. And we go on, through the definitions in Euclidean elements, and we see no problems with those definitions. They’re, they’re pretty, pretty clear, relatively obvious to everyone and acceptable. So we accept Euclides definitions, and he then is allowed to use them in his proofs, and that’s how reasoning works. But it takes for granted, it takes for granted this concession of definitions. Now, when a sophistical philosopher goes to work, one thing that he can do is present definitions that aren’t accepted. And this is what Spinoza does. Spinoza presents a list of definitions. And his definitions are rejected by his opponents. And he knows that this is why it’s it’s sophistical. He knows that his opponents would never accept his definitions. And the reason I can say that is because in his proofs, if you read through his proofs, and especially if you read the appendix of his work on ethics, he makes it very clear that his opponents do not agree with his definitions. And so the error in spinosus philosophy, or I should say, I should say, the way to disprove Spinoza, his philosophy is not to get into his actual arguments, if you like I said, if you do that you’re already lost. You’ve already lost. And this is what modern Christians do. They allow him to weave his his web and they get into the web. And then when they’re in the web, they imagine that they’re having a contest when in fact, they’ve already been defeated and overtaken by this web of sophistry because they, they granted Spinoza definitions to be used in his proofs, which ought not in fact, to be granted, which would never in fact, be granted by his actual opponents. And this is this is how this false philosophy establishes itself. Now The only reason why I am conscious or sensitive to that is because I’ve studied the art of reasoning. I’ve studied Aristotle’s Organon, and I understand the principles of the art of reasoning. And I know that what Spinoza is doing is actually not reasonable. And so I can discern that sophistry, and say, Wait a minute, no one would grant these definitions. Therefore, any proof deduced from these definitions is, in fact, not a proof. So you’re not actually proving your propositions. You’re making circular arguments that take definitions for granted, that are not actually granted. And that’s the error of spinosus philosophy. That’s how Spinoza is philosophy can be defeated and rejected, before his web of arguments and obscure language is even allowed to begin. Like I said, with that illustration of the meme, the problem is not in the numbers. The problem is in a place that no one would even think to look. And if you’re looking at the numbers you’ve already lost. And I would argue that I would argue that this is helpful, because this is what I think Catholics do. In most modern issues. We see Catholics do this, for example, when they argue with Protestants. They’ll accept Protestant definitions, which are not, in fact, definition definitions. They’ll accept, they’ll allow Protestants to use terms in certain ways or make rules that the Protestants actually bear the burden of proof. For before those things are accepted. They’ll change the meanings of terms and then present Bible verses that contain those terms. And yet, those terms have been redefined by the Protestants and the Catholics will look at those verses and say, Hmm, that actually seems to make sense. I didn’t realize the Bible teaches that. And the truth is, the Bible doesn’t teach that dummy. You just allowed your opponent to redefine the term and present a verse and commit a fallacy that’s called equivocation. Which is to use the same word with different meanings. And this is what this is what Catholics do. This is why Catholics lose religious debates, they lose philosophical debates, why they’re lost. For example, in modern science debates with with respect to evolution and things like that, you just see, Catholics, they seem like they have no footing. They seem like they’re on ice. And wherever a modern philosopher wherever a modern movement or fad or institution goes, when when Catholics try to resist it. It’s like the Catholics are on ice and they just slide and are moved about wherever. Any new idea wishes to move them. Those who propose these new ideas are often self identifying anti Catholics. They hate Catholicism, they reject Catholicism, they reject the authority of the Church. They reject Catholic philosophy. They reject tradition, reject Catholic morals, propose these new ideas. And somehow the Catholics end up saying, yeah, that’s, yeah, we think that that’s true. Yeah, we think that’s right. Yeah, that’s that’s a good idea. As if, as if they’ve actually been led by reason to that conclusion rather than they’re just being dragged around. By modern fads and movements. The New Testament talks about those who are tossed to and fro by air every wind of doctrine and when we look at this, constantly changing modern Catholicism and today, for example, on Twitter, I saw one priest rate, you know, celebrating this idea that Catholicism is responsible for modern science. Just total, ignorant craziness that the modern scientific method and the scientific revolution were somehow inspired by Catholicism. Well, if that’s true, if that’s true, then I’d like someone to explain for me, why the writings of Francis Bacon, who is the father of the scientific method, why they were included on the index of forbidden books in the Catholic Church. I’d like to know why the Catholic Church opposed Galileo, if it was, in fact leading this scientific revolution, if you go to modern scientists and ask them, Where did the Scientific Revolution begin? They’ll point to Galileo say there he was the one. And what is the characteristics of this? What is the characteristic of this scientific, the scientific revolution? Oh, it rejected church authority rejected. ancient philosophy rejected all of the truths established by tradition, throughout history, and with bacon’s Novum organum, which means the new method all overthrew all ancient philosophy and theology, and basically, hit reset on human learning. And you’ll have this explanation of the scientific revolution, which is true, it’s a revolution after all. And then you’ll have Catholics standing there who’ve imbibed all of these ideas. Saying, actually, you know, what? Our church, it was the source of the, you see how crazy how crazy it is? No, the Catholic Church was not the inspiration for the scientific revolution. In fact, the Catholic Church in history was trying to resist the scientific revolution. The Catholic Church opposed the scientists, the Catholic Church, banned the books that were being written by the philosophers responsible for these for that movement. And the Catholic Church was overwhelmed by the scientific revolution, just as it was overwhelmed by the Protestant Reformation and couldn’t do anything to stop it. Because these movements as I as I always argue, this is my personal judgment. These movements are part of a massive diabolical diabolical end times, apostasy that has consumed the modern world. And pretending that all of this stuff is friendly to Catholicism, friendly to Christianity, that there’s that there’s no there’s no problem for Christians to just hop on board. This bus is nuts. where for example, has St. Thomas gone? Where has scholasticism gone? Is that now just obsolete? What was that? Was that just a mistake? Was that true in the 13th century, but now not true anymore? Are we now are we now this kind of crazy relativist? We can just change our clothes and say, oh, yeah, everything’s the same. We just look totally different. Speak totally differently. Believe totally different things say totally different things contradict things that were said by people whose faith we claim to follow. We can’t be mindless, it’s obvious that things are not the same. And these philosophies are objectively false, demonstrably false. But when you have generations, generation 10s centuries of Catholics not studying the classical liberal arts not studying the art of reasoning because it’s no longer the method. Science is now the method. Well, how has that come about? By anti Catholic philosophers. And so we no longer study Aristotle’s Organon as the method we study Francis Bacon’s new Organon as the method and we pretend we pretend that everything’s cool. The Catholic school has its science labs, it’s got its math classrooms, the kids are studying algebra, maybe calculus, not that anyone’s actually learning it because they all get terrible grades and spend incredible amounts of time accomplishing virtually nothing. Which is why all the math and science teachers have to curve all the grades to make them even appear to be successful. And in place of this math and science curriculum, this big Colognian curriculum, a curriculum following the new method, we have removed all of the subjects of traditional Catholic education from the curriculum. We no longer study logic, we no longer study the art of grammar. We no longer study the art of rhetoric, we no longer study, moral philosophy or natural philosophy, we no longer study, classical arithmetic or classical geometry, all of the old subjects have been removed. We don’t have Sacred Scripture classes. We study algebra, and biology, American literature, English literature. And we pretend as Catholics that this is perfectly reasonable. Because we’ve been washed downstream by these false philosophies and we don’t know how we don’t know how to identify the truth or falsehood of them, because we’re looking at the content, which is just all smoke and mirrors. Because we have surrendered the actual method we surrendered the method of philosophy, which is logic. And we’re now we’re now like leaves just blowing around in the wind. We’re like men standing on ice with no footing. And so we’re all standing, standing, watching as the Emperor parades down the main street naked, all clapping and cheering and jumping up and down celebrating his beautiful new clothes pretending to see something that we don’t see at all. But what I hope to point out to other Catholics is the fact that the errors of these philosophical movements is not to be found in the content of them it actually is found at the very outset of the discussions where where you’re led to just quickly move through the preliminaries. And you mindlessly as it were, you mindlessly sign all of those agreements at the beginning thinking that it’s all just a bunch of of meaningless fine print all the usual stuff, but it’s not the usual stuff it’s actually very different stuff. And it’s just you’re just you’re you’re hurried past all that into the into the trees of the forest as it were and as soon as you’re in the trees, you’re lost in the darkness the error has already been missed and this is this is so embarrassing to see because these, these philosophies and courses are taught In Catholic colleges, and the professor’s stand there, lost in these discussions lost in these books tried to pretend that they see the errors and the mistakes. Every one is bored out of their mind, no one is convinced either way, everyone feels confused and uncertain. Because the professors themselves have fallen for the trick. The sophist snuck past them, just like everyone else, and they pretend to see even though no one sees because it’s all. It’s all smoke and mirrors. And then what happens is, this spirit of uncertainty creeps in. And the students, the Christian students are saying, well, I just don’t know, I don’t know if this is true, or I can’t tell what’s up or down. I just feel like there’s no way to know if this stuff is true or false. And you see what’s happening is that we’ve got this spirit of agnosticism, creeping into their minds, where they’re just not sure. They’re just not sure what exactly is true or false, or whether this is reasonable or not reasonable or possible or not possible. And the problem with agnosticism is when you cannot, when you cannot determine clearly and certainly that something is false. You also can’t determine clearly or certainly whether something is true. And so when you’re presented with false ideas, the falsehood of which you can’t identify. You may think, well, that doesn’t matter, because it’s just this no, the problem is, in your mind, you will become uncertain as to whether the truth that you hold is actually true or not. And this is this is what’s deadly about agnosticism. It’s not this innocent. Little Well, I don’t know, I’m not sure you know, I’m not sure. Isn’t that cute? Isn’t it cute for me to say? Well, I just don’t know. Really? I don’t know, you know? So cute. No, because you know, what, if you don’t know why a heretical idea is false. You also don’t know why an orthodox idea is true. And you need to know that an orthodox idea is certainly true. Because you need to die for it daily. You need to die for the truth every day. And if you’re not convinced, and you’ve got this smart aleck agnostic attitude that we just don’t know, we’re not sure, haha, let’s just go grab a beer and agree to disagree. You will never be able to plant your feet and live the Christian life. Because you’ll never know if what you’re thinking is really necessary or not. And you’ll always cave, you will always give in because somebody will come along, who is confident and eager to press their view to press their desire or press their will? And you’re just sitting there? uncertain. Silly. And what’s going to happen is you’re just going to yield. You’re just going to step away and say, Well, yeah, I’m, I’m not sure. So you seem to be really sure. So let me just step aside here. And here. You can, you can go you can you can have this you can take this. Because you seem to you seem to be a lot more certain than I am. And that’s what’s happened in modern society. Christians just yield. They yield to false teachers, they yield to false believers, false actors. They yield because people who are false, who are just seeking their own will or zealous, they’re zealous for their own will. Whereas the silly Christians, smiling and everything They feel like they can’t be zealous for anything. Because they’re never sure they’re never certain if What if what they think or what they want is actually right. And this is the destructive effect of this kind of modern academic agnosticism, it’s not cute. It’s not innocent. It’s not silly. It’s not friendly. It’s totally destructive. And it’s how, if you wonder how to unbelievers, just like walk in and take over institutions. This is how, because of the silliness, the intellectual silliness, of the modern Christians, because they’ve surrendered the weapons by which they brought a society under control, by which they conquered the world. They’ve allowed themselves to be convinced to lay down those weapons, and agree to fight with the weapons of their opponents. And their opponents just bashed their faces in. And the Christians are giggling as they get their faces smashed in, by these people whom they’re trying to pretend they’re friends with, who take everything from them. When David fought Goliath, Goliath stood there in armor with a sword. And what do we find? David? Do we find David’s say no, I’m not going to, I’m not going to fight you with weapons that are favorable for you. I’m going to whip you in the face with a stone with my sling. And I’ve got a weapon here. That some big giant, as impressive as he may be in the flesh, has no ability to resist. And you’ve got this awesome story of David. Crashing, crushing Goliath face with a stone from sling. Or Goliath stands there in his huge body, his incredibly heavy armor, his big long spear. And he just falls to the ground. After David basically snipes him from a distance. And you just see the shrewdness of David and compare that to the stupidity of modern Christians. But what I want you to see is the the classical liberal arts and most importantly, the art of logic, which we study in Aristotle’s Organon. This logic is the method of philosophy. It’s the it’s the weapon, that when if you look at a medieval painting, like, I encourage you to Google this, go online and google the triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas, the triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas, and you’ll find a number of different versions of a medieval painting that shows St. Thomas Aquinas seated on the throne, surrounded by all of the prophets and apostles and philosophers, and you’ll notice that he’s got some philosophers under his feet on the ground. And this, this image is called the triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas. And that triumph of Christian thought of scholastic philosophy was owed to the employment of the Aristotelian art of reasoning by the Catholic doctors of the church. That was the method by which St. Thomas Aquinas triumphed over all heretics and were giggling in a modern secular society. We’re giggling as we stand around, trying to pretend were scientists and mathematicians, getting our faces smashed in by non Christians, who have duped us into checking that method at the door. So anyway, having said all that, I hope that that’s helpful, I encourage you to take up the study of classical reasoning. You can do that with us in the classical liberal arts academy, if you’d like to just have access to all the resources and study on your own, you can do so for free. If you’d like to actually engage with the assignments and try to answer the questions and prove and develop your understanding and get some feedback, you can subscribe to the enrollment cost, which is 25 bucks a month, give me a break, it’s like nothing. But I encourage you to take up this study, because there’s not going to be as I mentioned the other day, there’s not going to be some widespread revival in Catholic circles in the Middle Ages. And this whole triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas and of Catholic thought, and that ship has sailed. But what we can enjoy, at the individual level, we can enjoy that same triumph individually in our own lives, and we need to learn to be content with that. But the only way you’re going to be able to enjoy that is if you take up the study of the classical liberal arts, because it’s the method by which the truth is established. It’s the method by which heresy heresies are disproven and understood with certainty to be false. And really, it’s it’s, it’s accessible. And I think if you’re a Catholic who appreciates my talks, the more you get into real classical studies, the more you’re going to enjoy them, because you’re going to see that you may have this general sense that something’s missing. In modern society, you have this sense, vague sense that something’s wrong, but you just don’t know what it is because you’re not familiar with what existed before. And this is the experience of folks who come into the classical liberal arts academy, they always say things like that, they say, you know, I just knew something was wrong. But I couldn’t put my finger on it. I couldn’t, I couldn’t articulate it. I couldn’t. I couldn’t identify. I just knew something’s not right, something. Something is missing in modern society. And I can tell you what it is. It’s the classical liberal arts. It’s scholastic theology, it’s classical philosophy. And I invite you to come and study with us. In the classical liberal arts academy, go to classical liberal arts.com. On the top of the page, you’ll see there’s a Getting Started tab. Under there, there’s a there’s an enrollment page that explains how to get started and how to enroll. It’s very simple, don’t don’t pretend this is some complicated thing. Follow the instructions. Get into a class like classical reasoning, one and just start reading. It takes time, but it’s not too difficult. And if you have questions, there are forums on the course pages where you can post questions you can write to me anytime, helps available, but you’re going to have to take it and read it. As St. Augustine said, whether it be the Scriptures or the philosophy of Aristotle with the Summa Theologica. You’ve got to do the work. Otherwise, you can’t complain about the consequences. So I hope that’s helpful. God bless

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