Wednesday 29 May 2013

The Rational Catholic....needed

by Vivian Forbes (1927) for Parliament’s History of the “Building of Britain”
© Palace of Westminster

Well, try seeing with someone else's glasses...I lost mine four days ago and cannot find them. As I cannot afford replacement glasses today, I am using a friend's which are far from my prescription, but I can read and type.

Which brings me to the point of debate with atheists and even fallen-away Catholics. As a former teacher of argumentation and debate, I taught my students to look at both sides and argue point by point.

This is the classical way of debating. One must understand the opponents' points of views before engaging in debate.

Most modern people do not know how to argue from reason. They have knee-jerk reactions, and very low levels of rational discourse. Logic has not been required in secondary education for two generations in the States.

Many of the huge cultural problems which will be and are facing Catholics today are owing to the lack of the ability to argue one's point from reason. We have been let down both by Catholic politicians and Catholic clergy on the moral issues of the day in this fair land of common law.

Argumentation was part of the training of and used by some of the great martyrs of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. I think especially of SS. Thomas More, Edmund Campion and Oliver Plunkett. You can read the transcripts. One may call their methods "apologetics", such as Campion's Brag.

The knew how to put forth the Catholic position and engaged those of opposing beliefs.

Doncha' think we need to teach our children and grandchildren how to engage the enemy with the question and answer method of Thomas Aquinas, for one example?

I always start by asking questions, such as "Well, what do you think of this?"

Learn how to debate before you will not be able to do so, before freedom of speech disappears in Great Britain and in America.


  1. Well, I certainly agree with your comment about (especially the younger generations) people being unable to argue from reason. It is simply not taught in schools --- or colleges --- anymore. What is perhaps even more disquieting to me is that, in this age of instant information, that they are unable to argue using facts. Most arguments begin with "I think" or "I feel" and that is the total sum of support for their position. Just yesterday a friend told me how her children ridiculed her when she informed them of a college professor who taught that it is proper to kill young children: "Oh mom, that's impossible," they all chimed. It took me only 5 seconds to give her the name and Wikipedia references to him, his teachings in his ETHICS class at Princeton, and all the other "oh that can't be" things he "ethically" support, such as sex with animals.

  2. Thanks for this. I'm going to reply on my blog with some fun with syllogisms!


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