Quoting Latin makes you sound smarter


I don’t know why I get sucked in by these click bait titles. Maybe it’s because this one was given in my old stomping grounds. The good Father shows that he has listened to debates, read some Hitchens and Harris, and is familiar with Bertrand Russell and the teapot on the other side of the sun as well as the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Then he just throws them out, calls them straw men.

He describes the description of God that Hitchens calls a monster, then he quotes the response of N.T. Wright, “I don’t believe in that God either”. He calls the New Atheist description a straw man, then he straw mans the New Atheists. He never addresses the version of God that was the primary version used since the time of Aquinas up until the Fundamentals were published around 1910. He doesn’t address the atrocities done in the name of that version. He barely gives a nod to discoveries like the size of the universe that put cracks in that version and all the variations that followed.

He quotes Aquinas, saying that you can’t compare God to a finite type of change mechanism, or even a being’s ability to change his environment, but, he says, “God who is totally actualized in his being can affect things not simply through motion or change but from bringing forth the totality of their being through creating ex nihilo.” This isn’t a physical process, acting on some pre-existing reality, God brings the whole reality into being.

That’s a nice definition of God. It’s gives us something to look for, maybe we could even figure out how to test for it. It doesn’t do anything to demonstrate God. The Four Horsemen of Atheism, along with Ayan Hirsi Ali, and many others have addressed this new description, but it can’t be found in their quick comebacks.

The description is slippery and hard to nail down, so the responses, the nails, are also hard to find. Daniel Dennet has one of the best in his talk about deepities. He mentions Karin Armstrong’s “God is the god beyond God”. The way people like Fr. Barron responds to the responses is to come up with a new way of saying the same thing. In this case, he’s going to one of the early scholarly sources and quoting the Latin, but it doesn’t matter, it’s the same statement in fancier language or a foreign language. It boils down to, “you can’t disprove my god because you can’t define it because I’m saying it is that which can’t be defined.”

Let me quote Nietzsche, then, in “On the Genealogy of Morality: A Polemic” : "Belief arises out of fear and the need that seeks “any meaning rather than no meaning at all.” ( translated from French, sorry)

People need to believe in a over powerful father who protects and punish them, and people need some explanation, and last they need to give a meaning to the universe. they create religions and gods according they one nature and picture.

People need to believe in a over powerful father
People want to believe. Because it's easier than paying attention and thinking things through for themselves. There is no need for a powerful father beyond the biological one (or the fine fella that stepped in, if you were lucky) you were dependent on in your youth.

I know for a fact that there are other way more sober ways to find one’s “mental/spiritual” place in this creation, than clinging to an illusional God and a nonexistent ‘afterlife’*.


*an afterlife that could only be akin to being trapped in a hell, more than anything else, if it were real.

Well okay, there is an afterlife, we and all we are made out of will flow right back into Earth’s biosphere, the same place that gave us birth to begin with.



On a similar note, people quote the King James version of the bible because it sounds so “cool” and authoritative, what with all the Thees, and Thous. If they heard a native speaking the same words in Aramaic or Hebrew they’d probably scream “terrorist, terrorist”.

The priest’s argument holds up in any language.

“God” to the religious is not some object that aspie atheists can investigate. It’s an emotional thing.