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02 Dec 2016 Articles Comments (1)

What happens when an atheist encounters Christ? This poet found out for herself

"Until two years ago, I was a really committed atheist and I really hated the Catholic Church," said poet Sally Read, as she explained how all that dramatically…

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03 Feb 2016 Q&A Comments (1)

Does "the Black Pope" wield the true power in the Vatican?

Full Question I heard that the Vatican is run by an individual called "the black pope," who holds all the real power. What do you say to th…

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02 Oct 2015 News USA No comments

A tale of two papal meetings

During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis waded into the US culture wars with two private visits. But how Church officials managed the narrative of…

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31 Jul 2016 News No comments

‘Go out into the world,’ Pope tells priests at St John Paul II shrine

Francis celebrated Mass at a shrine dedicated to his Polish predecessor Catholic priests and nuns must renounce their personal interests and create a church th…

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27 Apr 2016 News No comments

Cardinal Ortega, who played key role in US-Cuba diplomatic thaw, retires

Cardinal Jaime Ortega was named Archbishop of Havana in 1981 and oversaw three papal trips to Communist Cuba Cardinal Jaime Ortega, who oversaw a warming of re…

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15 Sep 2015 Americas News No comments

Pope Francis’ impact on Cuba, and its Church, is already being felt

As the countdown to Pope Francis’ maiden voyage to the United States winds on, it may be easy for Americans to forget that before he touches down in Washington …

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19 Sep 2015 News Vatican No comments

Every homeless child is ‘a cry rising up to God’, says Francis

Pope says he's troubled by 'the increasing number of young girls and women forced to earn a living on the street' It’s a disgrace that children live on the s…

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20 May 2016 Articles Comments (1)

Pope Francis’s Commission on Women Deacons: 12 Things to Know and Share

Pope Francis has agreed to create a commission to study the possibility of women deacons. Here are 12 things to know and share. 1. What happened? On…

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05 Sep 2014 Vatican Comments (1)

Holy See calls for action in Iraq, and UN sends a mission

Vatican City, Sep 5, 2014 / 12:03 am.- The Holy See on Monday urged the UN to provide humanitarian aid to Iraq during a special session of the Human Rights Coun…

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Religion is irrational, right?

Full Question

There’s no way you’re going to get me to buy Christianity. I’m a rationalist. Religion is irrational because it claims there’s a reality beyond reason. It’s based on blind faith.


You may call yourself a rationalist, but that doesn’t make the positions you espouse reasonable. In fact, for all their talk about reason and all their railing against blind faith, rationalists are often among the most irrational people.

Christianity claims there are truths which are beyond the power of reason to demonstrate, but that doesn’t mean it’s irrational. There’s a difference between what is irrational (against reason) and what is suprarational (above reason).

Consider this. Quantum physics is above the reasoning abilities of most four-year-olds. Does this make it, even for a four year old, irrational? No.

Or think about this. To know everything there is to know about modern science is beyond the capabilities of any one human being. This is why we have specialists. Yet, we don’t say that, because the totality of scientific knowledge is beyond the powers of one person to know, science is irrational.

In other words, the fact that a person is limited in what he can know doesn’t mean there isn’t something beyond that. If we move from an individual to the human race as a whole, we can say that the fact that there may be limits upon what man, as a finite creature can know, doesn’t mean there aren’t thing beyond what he can know.

Christianity claims to have a message from beyond man’s intellectual horizon. It claims God (whose existence, by the way, is knowable even with our finite reasoning abilities) has revealed things which are beyond reason, but which don’t conflict with it. It also claims that reality as we know it gives evidence, though not proof, that transcendental truths exist. Whether this is so or not, it’s not an irrational position.

From the Christian perspective, the rationalist is like a man with a road map who, having found the map reliable in what is pictured, somehow concludes from this that only what is pictured is real. The rationalist thinks roads which go off the map go nowhere, but it’s really rationalism with its blind faith that’s a dead end.

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