Identity — Can What We Do Diminish Who We Are?

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

This thing about identity—there’s more here than meets the eye, more here than most psychologists talk about, more here than we can understand, and what I’m going to present is more questions than answers. But I think it’s a profound point, so I’ll say it. This point that our very selfhood is by nature unstable and in question, this is […]

The Winning Strategy

St. Michael the Archangel

Editor’s Note: Dr. Kreeft’s classic essay on successfully winning the culture wars is timeless. For more information, see his book, How to Win the Culture War. To win any war, the three most necessary things to know are: (1) that you are at war, (2) who your enemy is, and (3) what weapons or strategies can defeat him. You cannot […]

Argument from Pascal’s Wager

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

Most philosophers think Pascal’s Wager is the weakest of all arguments for believing in the existence of God. Pascal thought it was the strongest. After finishing the argument in his Pensées, he wrote, “This is conclusive, and if men are capable of any truth, this is it.” That is the only time Pascal ever wrote a sentence like that, for […]

Joy

Joy is more than happiness, just as happiness is more than pleasure. Pleasure is in the body. Happiness is in the mind and feelings. Joy is deep in the heart, the spirit, the center of the self. The way to pleasure is power and prudence. The way to happiness is moral goodness. The way to joy is sanctity, loving God […]

Seven Ways Devotion to Saints makes a Difference

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

One good way of understanding my belief is to ask: What differences does it make? Devotion to saints makes at least seven important differences to Catholics. In each case, fundamentalists find Catholicism too mystical for their tastes. First, saints make a difference to our prayer. We’re not alone when we pray. We’re surrounded by saints. If there was any one […]

Seven Aspects of Mary’s Sanctity

"Madonna and Child" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Now, except on the one issue of “praying to” saints, most of the differences between us [Catholics and Fundamentalists] are matters of emphasis or sensibility rather than doctrine. But when it comes to Mary, the greatest saint, doctrine sharply divides. Fundamentalists call Mariology “Mariolatry.” Passions run higher on this than on any other issue. Yet here too there’s a difference […]

Time

Recently I was late getting a manuscript to an editor. My excuse? By far the most popular one in America: I had “no time.” Let’s examine that excuse. Why do we all seem to have no time for anything, much less for prayer? I am constantly feeling guilty about this, and I suspect most of you are too. I think […]

A Pro-Life Philosophy

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

Introduction Thank you. Does this [microphone] work? Can everybody hear me? If not, raise your hands. Whoever’s absent, please raise your hand. A Review of Logic A couple of preliminary rules. I’m a philosopher, I like to argue, so I’d like to say something about the role of argument in addressing an issue like abortion, and then something about the […]

What Difference Does Heaven Make?

Photography © by Randy Hain

Heaven’s Difference If a thing makes no difference, it is a waste of time to think about it. We should begin, then, with the question, “What difference does Heaven make to earth, to now, to our lives?” The answer to the question is only the difference between hope and despair in the end, between two totally different visions of life; […]

How the Weakness of the Cross Makes Us Strong

Photograph © by Andy Coan

“When I am weak, then I am strong”; “power made perfect in weakness.” Such verses are often cited as key to spiritual growth, but do we really understand what they are talking about? Can anyone ever understand? Yes. If we couldn’t understand it at all, God would not have told it to us. God does not waste words. It is […]