Search This Blog

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why Catholicism is the Truth

Why Catholicism is the Truth

By Jim J. McCrea

How do we know which religion is the true one? Is there any way to arbitrate the various truth claims of the different religions of the world to determine which one is the truth? Most people would automatically say that such a thing cannot be done - that the religion that one chooses is personal - that the one chosen by oneself, is merely that which helps one best in life.

The thesis here, is that an objective philosophical method exists to determine which is the true Faith. When that method is employed, the true religion turns out to be Catholic Christianity. What is this method, and how do we employ it to reach such a conclusion?

All religions and philosophical systems can be classified as to whether they adhere to *univocity,* *equivocity,* or the *analogy of being.* Only the analogy of being is the truth and is that to which Catholic Christianity subscribes fully. Any other religion or philosophical system is in error to the degree that it follows either univocity or equivocity. For example, Hinduism follows univocity and Islam follows equivocity. These are two errors on both sides of the analogy of being.

To explain this, univocity is the principle of an exaggerated oneness between things. In Hinduism, that follows univocity, everything is manifestations of one type of "stuff" which is Brahman. Everything is collapsed into one. As a result, God and creation are one. This position is also known as *monism.*

Equivocity, on the other hand, maintains that all things in existence are unique individuals with nothing in common. Equivocity is the principle of exaggerated separation of all things from one another. The position that physical objects are unique, with nothing in common, is known as *nominalism.* For example, with nominalism, two chairs are unique individuals with nothing in common. The only thing that they have in common is the name we give them - "chair." Nominalism is the metaphysical basis of equivocity. With equivocity, God is completely transcendent to creation in a way that He has nothing in common with creation and the mind of man cannot reach Him with his understanding. Between God and creation is an unbridgeable gap. Islam subscribes to this in that God reveals primarily His will. If we obey Him, we receive eternal paradise. If we disobey Him, we receive eternal hell-fire - no questions asked. We can have no internalized knowledge of God and He does not enter into a relationship with us. In Islam, God is completely distant. Classical Protestantism also follows equivocity in that God only reveals Himself through Scripture alone and Faith alone. We cannot reason to God or have an internalized knowledge of Him (as Catholicism claims we can).

The analogy of being, on which Catholic Christianity is based, steers between univocity and equivocity. Things are neither collapsed into one, nor are they radically unique. Things have difference and sameness between them at the same time. This is the core principle of the analogy of being and is the core of what constitutes the good, the true, and the beautiful. For example, with the analogy of being, two cats are distinct individuals, but have a common reality "catness" as their essence between them. Essences are the fundamental units of intelligibility that indicate to the human intellect what type of thing that a thing is. All things in existence, although they have their distinct individualities (or *subsistences* technically speaking) are connected to each other through different levels of commonality (e.g. all animals are connected through the generic essence "animalness" which is an objectively real principle that connects all animals).

With the analogy of being, God is both *transcendent* and *immanent.* The transcendence of God means that He is totally other - that He exists in a unique individuality (in three individuals because He is a Trinity) and that none of His being is confused or melded with creation. The immanence of God, on the other hand, means that He is infinitely close to creation as conserver of its existence and as prime move of it. Furthermore, God has a commonality with creation because creation has some similarity to God. Creation mirrors God. If we can see that creation is good and beautiful we have some understanding of the goodness and beauty of God who created it. As well, we can enter into a personal relationship with God so that God can become our Father. In this, there is no remoteness with God. We are one family with God. But at the same time, we and God are not all mushed together. The Father is a distinct individual from His children, even though they live under one roof. That seems to be the only sane way to go.

Ontologically, all things, if they are to have integrity and goodness, must adhere to the analogy of being. This means that their component elements must have the right balance of sameness and difference between them. The essence of evil is the violation of this. Evil is not one thing opposed to goodness, but two things on both sides of goodness. Evil occurs when something falls into either an equivocal or a univocal disorder - when the component parts are either mushed together or unduly separated. To give a general example, pedophilia or bestiality would be wrong (on a basic level) because there is too much of a difference between the sexual partners. That is an equivocal disorder. Homosexuality is wrong for the opposite reason. There is too much of a sameness between the sexual partners because they are of the same sex. Proper conjugal union between husband and wife is right because it follows the analogy of being in that there is a proper balance between sameness and difference. A lustful embrace is wrong because it is a univocal disorder in that one is attempting to absorb the other into oneself.

Could Hinduism be nothing but cosmic lust? Could Islam be nothing but cosmic dictatorship in which an alien God arbitrarily imposes His will on man? (note that when a society subscribes to Islam, people are generally dictatorial in their relationships with each other - politically and in the family. A people behaves in the manner that they conceive their God).

The core principle of the analogy of being is that the different things within the sphere of reality have sameness and difference at the same time with respect to each other. The essence of the true, good, and beautiful is conformity to the analogy of being. In fact, a thing in its integrity must conform to the analogy of being in how its component parts relate to each other. Its component parts must have the right balance of sameness and difference with respect to each other for it to conform to goodness. For example, the organs in a proper healthy human body have a biological similarity and complementarity with respect to each other, while at the same time having their proper distinctiveness.

Everything true in the Catholic Faith conforms to the analogy of being on the supernatural level (which is the supernatural analogy of being). The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass does this. In the Mass is sameness and difference at the same time. The Mass is one and the same sacrifice as the sacrifice of Calvary, but the Mass and Calvary are physically two different actions. In the Eucharist is sameness and difference at the same time. The Eucharist is one and the same Jesus Christ, but is both our food and Jesus Christ at the same time. The Eucharist is one and the same as Jesus Christ, but has the accidents or appearances of bread and not the accidents or appearances of Jesus Christ as He exists in glory.

Jesus Christ is the supreme expression of the analogy of being (as expressed by Hans Urs von Balthasar). Jesus has sameness and difference at the same time. He is one divine person - the Word or the second person of the Trinity - but has two natures - a human and a divine. He is creature and creator in one divine person. He is the bridge between heaven and earth, rendering them both the same and different at the same time.

The Trinity is the supreme expression of the analogy of being in an absolute and primary sense. Within the Trinity is sameness and difference at the same time. There is sameness because the Trinity is one being or one God. At the same time, there is difference because the Trinity is three distinct persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity is the analogy of being that has existed from all eternity before all worlds. The Trinity is the archetype and the prime cause of the analogy of being in anything else.

The analogy of being in creation is nothing but a pattern of the analogy of being that exists in the Trinity. A woman's face would be beautiful only because the component features of her face follows the analogy of being with all the features of her face having the right balance of sameness and difference at the same time (according to a logic that is a mystery to us). Similarly, a sunset is only beautiful because the component elements of cloud, light, and color all have a proper balance of sameness and difference, conforming to the analogy of being.

The proper balance of sameness and difference in whatever is good, true, and beautiful is a copy of the proper balance of sameness and difference which is the Trinity. A certain invariable "logic" determines how the pattern of the Trinity maps onto creation in the analogy of being. But this logic is a mystery since it involves an infinite process that escapes any rationalization of man through a finite system of logical deduction. We cannot determine *a priori* how sameness and difference must mix to render something in accordance with the analogy of being. But the astute observer can recognize it when he sees it. The creative impulse of man (that goes beyond logic) can produce it (such as in art literature, music. These are good and rightly pleasing if their component parts have the right balance of sameness and difference at the same time).

The analogy of being is the secret of existence. It is *the* philosophical oracle. Evil is any deviation from the analogy of being on either side, falling into either univocity or equivocity. With univocity, the difference component is not respected in that things are made too similar in being "mushed" together. With equivocity, the sameness component is not respected in things being made unduly alike from one another or in things being unduly separated from one another. Any ugliness, unnaturalness, or unintelligibility occurs because the analogy of being is being violated with a deviation into either univocity or equivocity (often an evil thing or situation is a complex mix of univocity and equivocity). For example, in aesthetics, something "clashes" when an equivocal disorder is present. Something is "dull" when a univocal disorder is present. And something is "coordinated" when the analogy of being is followed. Anything inappropriate has violated the analogy of being (however else we may analyze it). Univocity and Equivocity are the dipolar secret names for evil. Remember, the devil has two horns.