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[...] unde Deus abest, ibi quoque deest rerum suprema ratio, deest lux prima humani intellectus,
deest inconcussa regula morum, qua recte composita hominum consortio carere non potest
Petrum et Paulum, Paulus VI, 1967. (Spiderman [Source]. Caravaggio. Medusa [Source])
Films with super-heroes like "Spiderman" are popular these days. Moviegoers just love to see the Good guy beat the Bad guy. The problem is that Spiderman (or whatever the good guy is called) always has it easy. The good guy never has to face a really tough bad guy, like "Atheist-Man".
Why do we say that Spiderman has it easy? Let's look at some reasons:
2.1) The bad guy rarely has to be converted. All the good guy has to do with the bad guy is kill him, or catapult him into outer space, or something like that.
2.2) The good guy never has to forgive the bad guy. Generally, the bad guy will torture a close relative of the good guy, or often the good guy himself. While this is happening, the good guy doesn't have to forgive the bad guy from the bottom of his heart. On the contrary, generally this is the part of the script where the good guy builds up a suitable reserve of hatred, which he will later on expend when comes the time to kill the bad guy.
2.3) The bad guy is almost always alone. Generally, the good guy has a single opponent. Even if the bad guy has an army, that army has some dumb weakness, and all the good guy has to do is just find that weakness and the whole bad army blows up or something.
2.4) The crowd is always cheering for the good guy. One of the really nice advantages of being a good guy in the movies, is that the crowd always cheers for you. If the crowd is against the good guy, it is always momentary, and killing the bad guy makes the crowd snap out of its folly and cheer the good guy in the end.
2.5) The good guy is rarely forced to upbraid the crowd. The crowds that cheer the good guy are themselves virtuous. The good guy doesn't have to hurt the feelings of the crowd, he doesn't have to condemn their bad behavior.
2.6) The bad guy almost always uses simple weapons. When the bad guy wants to do something nasty, he generally uses very simple weapons. In other words, any competent mechanical engineer could defeat the bad guy's attack, given enough time and resources. Whether it's a steel cable to hold up whatever the bad guy wanted to drop into a precipice, or a reinforced concrete containment structure to absorb the electro-magnetic energy of some time-delayed bomb, or even a piece of duct-tape to prevent the bad guy from throwing a switch just before he dies, any engineer could stop the bad guy (but he wouldn't have a neat costume or ripped abdominals).
2.7) The good guy rarely merits his super-powers. Normally, the good guy has some sort of superhuman advantage. He didn't work for this advantage, but either has it by birth (e.g. he was born on another planet where everybody has X-ray vision, and where everybody can fly faster than a bullet, etc.), or got it following some unplanned incident (e.g. he was bitten by a strange spider, which gives him superhuman strength, etc.).
Somebody should send a letter to the Hollywood script-writers, giving them suggestions for a more realistic episode: "Spiderman vs. Atheist-Man"! In this episode, Spiderman would be faced with a really tough enemy: the average Quebecer. Why would this be far more difficult for Spiderman? Let's take a look:
3.1) The good guy can't kill, or harm, or even hate the bad guys. In real life, problems are far more complicated. You can't just cut down the bad guy in a hail of lead. You must love them, and convert them so they too become good guys!
3.2) The good guy has to forgive the bad guys. In real life, when the good guy is tortured to death, the good guy has to forgive the bad guys, and even pray God to forgive their sins!
3.3) The good guy is himself never fully good. In the movies, Spiderman doesn't have to repent for his past sins, or be humble because he could fall into evil anytime, or even be careful because he currently is a sinner. In the same way, the "bad guys" are never fully bad, and are even sometimes better than Spiderman in many respects!
3.4) The good guy can't be too friendly with the crowd. In the Province of Quebec, Spiderman couldn't be buddy-buddy with the crowds. Why? Because good guys have to condemn evil and try to stop it. If Spiderman sees somebody cheating on his Income Tax Return, he has to speak out. If Spiderman sees somebody throw a cigarette butt in the street, he has to tell that person that littering is bad. If Spiderman hears calumnies in a coffee-break conversation, he has to defend the absent. And of course, when the average Quebecer spews out blasphemies, Spiderman can't just laugh and order another beer!
3.5) The crowd doesn't automatically like the good guy. Spiderman in the Province of Quebec would probably be a kind of outcast, a pariah. Forget about cheering from the crowd!
3.6) The weapons used by bad guys are never simple. The basic weapon used by the bad guys is atheism. But the horrible effects of atheism can't be stopped with a silly piece of duct-tape. We are talking here about a catastrophically powerful weapon of evil. This weapon destroys the very notion of truth, the very idea that there is a difference between good and evil, the very impulse to act well. Once infected by this weapon, the average Quebecer becomes another Atheist-Man.
3.7) The bad guys vastly outnumber the good guys. In the Province of Quebec these days, most people are either outspoken atheists, or their relation to God is so theoretical and disconnected from their daily life that, practically speaking, they are atheists too. The good guy is surrounded by bad guys!
3.8) The bad guys are generally convinced that they are in fact good guys. This is one of the biggest challenges for Spiderman: Atheist-Man thinks he's a good guy! First of all, because atheism is not "binary" (zero or one, black or white, etc.), but more a question of degrees. You can be more or less of an atheist, a bit like a wooden cottage can be more or less eaten by wood rot. Secondly, many atheists go to Mass on Sundays, and are very surprised when someone shows them just how badly their lives are being chewed up by atheism. Thirdly, because (fortunately in this case), men are not only beings of reason. The horrible consequences of atheism, in the typical Quebecer, are often mitigated by the beauty and love of his children, his wife, the memory of his mother, etc. Fourthly, because atheism mostly uses lies to propagate itself and infect people. It's therefore quite normal that Atheist-Man tells lies to himself. That is part of his spiritual disease.
The main weapon that Spiderman has isn't some super-strong spider thread that he can squirt out of his wrists, with which he can catch and tie up the bad guys. Spiderman's weapon is rather the super-strong thread of truth, with which he can catch and tie up the lies of Atheist-Man.
The first series of general lies used by Atheist-Man is exposed in "A Reading List For Atheists". But Atheist-Man has a second series of lies which specifically targets the Catholic religion.
Atheist-Man (who in Quebec is often a Liberal Protestant who pretends to be a Catholic) has a whole series of lies with which he attacks the Church. Here are a few:
5.1) "Catholics who are strictly faithful to the Pope believe in an evil, bloodthirsty and sadistic God!" Atheist-Man never starts out by admitting that Catholics are also atheists, in a way. Catholics don't believe in "God", if you define "God" as an evil, bloodthirsty and sadistic Being. Atheist-Man is always quick to mention the Inquisition, the Crusades and Galileo, and then claiming all evil and hatred in the world is caused by the Catholic religion. Atheist-man never uses actual historical research to back up his assertions, but mostly silly novels. Moreover, Atheist-Man doesn't mention that Catholics believe in Jesus Christ, True Man and True God, not in the sins of some Priests (See among others FAQ #2). And to top it off, Atheist-Man never actually quotes the Gospels, because all would see Jesus healing the sick, Jesus giving food to the hungry, Jesus turning back crowds who want to stone an adulteress, Jesus forgiving the sinners while they were crucifying him, and so on.
5.2) "All beliefs are irrational!" Atheist-Man always tries to disconnect, to separate, to proclaim as totally incompatible, religious beliefs on the one hand, and Reason on the other hand. Atheist-Man never starts by examining what «belief» is, otherwise everybody would see that Atheist-Man blindly believes that faith and reason are necessarily opposed. See among others "100% of all religions are false (± 1%)".
5.3) "Since beliefs are necessarily disconnected with Reason, there is no such thing as a true belief!" Notice that Atheist-Man might be wrong, but he is far from illogical. On the contrary, granted a few assumptions, everything Atheist-Man says is logical. The problem, of course, are his few starting assumptions, which he generally keeps hidden, since their falsehood is rather easy to show. If you are untrained or a bit lazy, you probably won't notice him installing the hidden assumptions at the beginning of his thought process, so you'll have to accept as true everything he asserts from that point on.
5.4) "Since beliefs are by definition untrue, the only way we can rank them is by their usefulness!" This is the bad old philosophical error of "Pragmatism". According to this error, truth doesn't exist, so there are only beliefs, and beliefs are more or less "true" depending on their usefulness. See among others "Truth is what is useful to us now!".
5.5) "Catholics who are faithful to the Pope are not really Catholics, but Fundamentalists!" Atheist-Man likes to draw people's attention away from the fact he's an Atheist. One way he does this is to pretend he's some kind of a "moderate and free-thinking Catholic", and that real Catholics are somehow not really Catholic. See among others "The Catholic "Fundamentalist", and the Snow Shovel".
If God doesn't exist, or if Jesus Christ isn't God, or if Jesus Christ did not found the Catholic Church, then Atheist-Man is right. If not,
Here comes the Spiderman!
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