Forest Cathedrals

A prominent explanation of the popular “spiritual but not religious” trend goes something like this: I feel much closer to God out in the mountains or by the seashore than I ever did in a church, so I stopped going.
Since God is the greatest of artists, who filled, and continues to fill the world with wonders no human could match, why do we worship in a church where nature is merely imitated in stone and canvas? Given the choice between pillars of stone, and living pillars of a forest cathedral, shouldn’t we always pick the wonder of God’s creation over our own?

There are obvious practical answers to this. Not everyone can stand out in nature and worship God all year round. Sometimes we really do need four walls and a roof. Furthermore, as an artist, I can’t allow the argument to stand.
The refrain of the creation story is “God saw that it was good.” God’s creation is good and beautiful. The strange, backwards creatures known as humans are little images of God running around doing things that God does. If God creates good things out of nothing, the creatures that bare His image must create good things from the matter that God made. We re-purpose, rearrange, and even re-imagine God’s creation because it is in our nature.

When we gather as the people of God, His children, we do what children do; we imitate our Father. In thanksgiving for the world which God made for us to live in, we take the best of it, re-purpose it with all our skill and imagination, and offer it back to him as a house of worship. This act of offering reminds us that everything we have belongs go God. It is good for us to offer our best to God.

But, as I said in my last post, God doesn’t need art. When God became a man, he was born in a stable. Clearly, simple accommodations are not beneath him… well, they are beneath him, but everything is, so it doesn’t matter. It is we humans who need the four walls and the roof, who need to offer our work to God, and who need Truth presented and represented again and again in art. Like most offerings to God, art is also a service to our neighbor. We use the “superabundance of the human being’s inner riches” to teach and lift hearts and minds to God.

So, the “spiritual but not religious” and others may find a place that only God has touched and there bask in the beauty of creation. Such a practice can’t be bad. It is passive and open for receiving grace.

When we offer the perfect form of worship; it is fitting to do so in a building that is the best we could offer. It is fitting that the church should itself be an offering, and a expression of the Truth we seek.

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Proof for God: a Hole in the Materialist’s Canoe

By Paul Fahey                                                                                        Thursday, September 26

First, the kind of proof that I am using is a philosophical and logical proof, not a scientific proof. As an old professor of mine would say, “The nature of a thing determines the way in which it can be known.” Therefore, because God is not composed of physical and quantifiable material, He cannot be studied by science (which only studies physical and quantifiable material), and thus cannot be proved or disproved by science.

Second, this argument does not prove the Christian Trinitarian God. Rather, this argument proves that there is a being whose existence is not dependent on other beings and that all of reality is dependent on this being. Essentially, this argument simply seeks to demonstrate that it is reasonable to believe in God and that it is unreasonable to positively assert that there is nothing that transcends the material world.

As an aside, it is important to note that this is merely my retelling of a proof given by Fr. Robert Spitzer is his excellent book New Proofs for the Existence of God. Also, if there are holes in my process please point them out and I will make reparations by actually going back to the initial text (instead of going off my notes and memory).

All of reality is either made up of beings that depend on other beings for their existence (Argument 1), or there is at least one being that is not dependent on any other being for its existence (Argument 2). Because these options combined cover all possible options, one of these options has to be true, not neither and not both (this kind of argument is called a disjunctive syllogism). Therefore, if I can disprove one option than the other option is, by necessity, true.

Blue Pill or Red Pill? Can’t have both.

A dependent being is simply a being that relies on at least one other being for its existence so that without this other being the dependent being could not exist. Humans are examples of dependent beings. A man is dependent upon his cells for his existence. His cells are dependent upon molecules, which are dependent upon atoms, which are dependent upon protons, etc.

Now to disprove Argument 1 and thus proving Argument 2. If all beings are dependent on other beings for their existence (Argument 1), then this chain of dependent beings is either finite or infinite. One of these must be true in order for Argument 1 to be true.

Here is the disproof of a finite chain. If a being is dependent on only a finite number of other beings for its existence, then there would have to be a “first” being in this chain. However, if there is a first being with nothing before it on the chain, and that being must depend on other beings in order to exist, then that being cannot exist because there is nothing else on that chain for the first being to depend on. Furthermore, if that first being does not exist than anything that depends on that being must also does not exist. However, things exist. Therefore, a finite chain cannot be true.

Here is the disproof of an infinite chain. If there is an infinite chain then every being depends on an infinite number of beings for its existence. However, if a being depends on an infinite number of other beings to exist, then it cannot exist because the conditions for its existence can never be fully met because infinite can never actually be reached. However, things exist. Therefore, an infinite chain cannot be true.

So, if neither a finite nor an infinite chain are true, then, by necessity, Argument 1 is also not true. Therefore, Argument 2 must be true, and there is a being that is not dependent on any other being for its existence. Furthermore, because this being is not dependent on any other being for its existence, then this being exists by itself, through itself, and can be described as Existence Itself.

Bam!

And voilà, a hole appears in the Materialist’s canoe in under 500 words.

Paul Fahey is a husband, father, and catechist. He has a BA in Theology with minors in History, and Catholic Studies and is currently studying at the Augustine Institute for a MA in Theology. 

Heading Upstream to the Spring of Truth

by Christian Ohnimus                                                                         Wednesday, September 25

Hadley Arkes over at The Catholic Thing has volunteered a harsh rebuttal to the recent interview with Pope Francis. The Pope’s statement upon which Arkes centers his attack goes as follows: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” The Pope goes on to explain that these issues must not be pushed as a “disjointed multitude of doctrines” but as part of the wholeness of truth and within the context of the Church’s central teaching which Pope Francis explains: “The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.” That is the source spring and everything else the Church teaches is downstream of this fundamental truth. Thus, in being docile to the truth, and thereby to God, we must always lead with that central truth. Jesus died for us, unworthy sinners, so that we may be raised up in new life. He loves us and His love grants us inviolable dignity as human persons. All else, including issues such as abortion, must follow this and never preempt or eclipse it.

Arkes takes umbrage with this notion. After lamenting the tremendous loss of human life to abortion he asks, “if that issue were to be placed, as the Holy Father says, in the proper “balance” of things, what other issues would be given an offsetting, higher weight?” While the question may be meant to be rhetorical: of course no issue is of higher weight than abortion! Pope Francis provides the answer as we have already seen: The proclamation of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and our subsequent salvation.

Arkes says he is “afraid” that, despite the Pope’s affirmation of Church teaching regarding abortion, contraception, and gay “marriage”, that those who approve of such sins will know what he “really means.” He is afraid that if the Church is seen as basing its stance on abortion on religious doctrine instead of embryology then the issue will become mere “personal belief” that we cannot impose on others. In short, Arkes is afraid of what others will think but that is not a valid critique. Isaiah 41:10 tells us not to be afraid: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Pope Francis stated that, “the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.” Should we try to hide the saving love of God lest our words be distorted by others or we are seen as unscientific? Or should we let the truth speak for itself? Docility to the truth demands boldness. We must cast our fear aside and proclaim the Gospel.

While we must be vigilant in the battle against abortion we cannot oppose even the darkest evil at the expense of our greatest truth. So often so-called “pro-lifers” fail to extend the concept of inviolable human dignity to those outside the womb for the simple reason that the proclamation of Christ’s salvation for all persons becomes subordinate to opposition to abortion. The world sees and they do not forget.

Opposing the basest evil of mankind (abortion) does not make you a good person, a good Catholic or pro-life. That is the lowest rung in the ladder to something far greater. To stand on the first rung and to declare the supremacy of your position over the stinking cesspool of inhumanity inches below is to subject yourself to the judgment of the infinite span above. Pope Francis’ declaration to first seek the wholeness of truth, to live a life in accordance with Christ and to recognize and express that all human beings are loved calls us to take the next step. To transcend above the first rung, to do more than simply call a bad thing bad but to first call a good thing good. To denounce evil means nothing without a greater and more expansive embrace of the good. Unless we recognize something as good then we can call nothing bad because our opposition of evil can only be in service to the good or our efforts are in vain. We must oppose abortion, contraception and gay “marriage” but only in the service of the far greater message: Christ died for our sins out of love and each and every one of us are of infinite worth to Him.

Pope Francis seeks to introduce the God of Love to a world whose experience has been comprised mostly of pain and sorrow. Merely telling the wounded that they are sick and it’s their fault will not heal them but exposing them to the truth of God’s love can. Only then can we expect the world to change.

Christian Ohnimus is a registered nurse in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Franciscan University. He is a contributor to The Porch and The Catholic Renaissance.

Guided reflections

By Karen Mannino                                                                           Monday, September 23rd, 2013

How does art mediate between beauty and truth?

The true and the beautiful belong together, for God is the source of beauty and also the source of truth. Art, which is dedicated to the beautiful, is therefore a special path to the whole and to God.

What cannot be said in words or expressed in thought is brought to light in art. It is “a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches” (CCC 2501). In a way that closely approximates God’s creativity, inspiration and human skill are combined in the artist so as to give a valid form to something new, a previously unseen aspect of reality. Art is not an end in itself. It should uplift people, move them, improve them, and ultimately lead them to worship and thank God. (YOUCAT question 461)

This quote is speaking about art in general, but the point made must be especially true for sacred art; that is, art that is appropriate for use in a church.

What makes something Sacred Art?

What is appropriate for us to be looking at while we worship God? We wouldn’t want our surroundings to distract us from what is going on in the liturgy. We also don’t want to feel as if we were worshiping in an office. We need beauty around us to lift our hearts and minds up so that we can worship well.

Art is not for God, after all. He doesn’t need it. He created the world. Everything that can be seen exists because he spoke it into being. Art is our pathetic imitation of his creative power. It is us humans who need both the act of sub-creation, and the representation of God’s creation to lift our spirits and minds to God.

472px-Christ_Pantocrator_Deesis_mosaic_Hagia_SophiaThis is a famous byzantine mosaic. The image is known as Christ Pantocrator. This particular image is in Hagai Sofia, but this idea of Christ is repeated in many images. It is a very long tradition. The artists who created these images had very specific things to convey. These messages became part of the conventions of the genre. Everything in the image has meaning. Together, each little chip of color builds our understanding of God as a powerful being existing in a glorious world above us, majestic and perfect.

I have a modern icon of this image in my house. One thing I find interesting about the icon tradition is that icons are not painted, they are written. The act of writing an icon is as much a prayer and meditation for the artist, as it is a service to the person who will later use the icon in prayer. There is little to no self expression involved for the artist. But the writing of the icon should form the artist, rather than the other way around.

On the other hand, art as self expression is a powerful way by which people connect. Looking at an artist’s work, we see through their eyes. To see through another’s eyes is a crucial part of love. While I love the formal conventions of the ancient icon tradition, conventions in art should not be rigid rules, but guidelines that artists step outside to say important things.

When we look at Caravaggio’s “Conversion of St. Paul” we see the moment through his eyes, executed with all the skill for which he was famous. I wonder if, when it was first put up, people who came to pray objected to being faced with the back end of a horse, or the general indignity of the tangle of limbs that fills up the middle of the image. It is a guided reflection on the way Jesus inserted himself into Saul’s life and completely transformed him. It was messy, inconvenient, shocking. There wasn’t room for Jesus, so he knocked Saul down.

caravaggio

Caravaggio was not a saint. I have never heard that he had any interest in living a holy life. As far as I know, he was as much an egotist as any artist stereotype. But because he was striving for beauty, and truth, in his paintings, we can still be uplifted and transformed for the better by seeing through Caravaggio’s eyes. He was a storyteller (which may explain why I love his work SO much).

I took this picture when I visited the National Shrine Of The Immaculate Conception in D.C. I don’t know the artist, but the title says, IMG_4788“Our Lady of Hope.” The friend I was with said it was weird. But as a geeky art student (though at the time I would not have admitted to considering an art major) I was excited about the design elements being used. It’s all about the negative space. But beyond that, it’s a reflection on hope. Hope, after all, is something we can’t see. Hope is the spaces that we fill though they look empty. The sculpture is a guided reflection. It isn’t shockingly human, or showing a dramatic moment in a story, like Caravaggio’s. It is expressing a none-figurative idea using the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Style and content vary greatly. We go from symbolic representation, through very detailed realism, to abstraction. But all of these convey truth. I think they are all beautiful.

A lot of the decoration in churches I have been to in my home town is non-figurative. This avoids arguments of taste among the parishioners. Non-figurative art usually has almost no content and ends up being a pleasing configuration of shape and color. Sometimes such pieces are beautiful. But can art with no content be sacred art? Can it convey truth?

 

Karen Mannino has a BA in studio art from Aquinas College. She lives in the Northwest pursuing art, graphic design, and loan payments.

Tragedy in Philosophy

by Andrew Simmons                                                                           Friday, August 20

“I believe, on the contrary, that the natural trend of philosophy leads it into a sphere where it seems that tragedy has simply vanished—evaporated at the touch of abstract thought. This is borne out by the work of many contemporary Idealists. Because they ignore the person, offering it up to I know not what ideal truth, to what principle of pure inwardness, they are unable to grasp those tragic factors of human existence…”  -Gabriel Marcel, The Philosophy of Existentialism, p. 26-27

Saul and David by Rembrandt

Following the philosophy of Hume, modern philosophy has gone through a phase of addressing Hume’s skepticism with an assertion that the individual makes their own reality.  For Kant, the individual makes sense of reality based on categories within their mind that are then projected onto reality. The empiricist Berkeley asserted that reality ceases to be when it is unable to be perceived. This trend paved the way for Idealism to become the major definer of modern society. Despite living in a postmodern age, there is still this prevalent notion that the individual determines their own reality based on a nihilistic foundation. This is not to say that they desire nihilism, but, in their efforts to escape it, they pursue life as one of self-creation. In critique of Cartesian Dualism and Idealism, the existentialists emerged as a counter philosophy.  Alongside other Catholic existentialists such as Jacques Maritain, Gabriel Marcel sought to counteract Idealism with his assertion of the supremacy of Being. It is by pondering his emphasis on the importance of tragedy that the mystery of Being becomes better articulated.

Gabriel Marcel

Marcel continues the most prevalent theme within Catholic philosophy that experiences are the foundation of knowledge. But the modern world is continuing to undergo a merger of one serious dichotomy: the mind and body. Since the human person is split between these two components, the concept of experience is placed into question. Are there really experiences that are of the mind or body alone? It is with this question that Gabriel Marcel, a philosopher and playwright, emphasized the importance of the particular encounter with drama. In this case, tragedy is experienced by the whole human person.

When one reads Macbeth, A Doll House, or Hamlet, the observer is actively involved with both his mind and body. Yes, there is a moment in which a tragedy excites the passions in sorrow or anger, but the moment haunts the intellect with questions of reality. In Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House, Nora Helmer sacrifices everything for a husband who does not respect her as anything beyond a “doll”. When the disillusioned Nora leaves her family, audiences were conflicted as the stage-play essentially challenged a lot of what they believed about gender roles. John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, A Parable torments the reader with its emphasis on the uncertain in a priestly sexual abuse case. Macbeth still enthralls its audience with the price paid in the pursuit of power well beyond Shakespeare’s context. It is in the continuation of these stories that one encounters a common reality. The effects not only involve the mind and body, but also include a vast amount of persons throughout history. Persons of the past and future are united in a present drama.

The communication between persons is paramount for Gabriel Marcel as he sought to challenge the Idealism seen in the twentieth century. With the Idealist, reality is of the mind and is projected onto the world around it. When Descartes split the mind and body, he did significantly change how one experiences the world. The passions of the body are to be viewed as a plague onto the mind. It is the task of the mind to impose itself on the formless matter around it in order to bring about reality. What then of tragedy? With Hegel, the convergence of the Geist is inevitable (and conveniently actualized further in Hegel). For Marx, the proletariat guided utopia is an unavoidable reality. The Enlightenment itself is a litany of assured futures guided by the “enlightened” who, in their mind, truly know of freedom. Tragedy then is only delegated to the reviled bourgeoisie or Anicen Regime. But even with this tragedy, it has no universal meaning as it is delegated to what stands on the other side of the dialectic. Tragedy becomes something attached to the adversary.

It is in this alienation that tragedy inversely affects the Idealist. Hegelianism is overwhelmed by Marxism’s economic and social emphasis. Marxism then becomes Leninism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, and Maoism. Alienation begets more alienation for the sake of individualization and dialectic. In contrast, Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy called for the reader to ponder upon how Greek tragedies immersed one in the power of reality. Kierkegaard proceeded to wonder if Hegel is conscious of his personal “sickness unto death”. Gabriel Marcel then looked upon the isolation caused by ideological pursuits and, through his stage-plays, sought to reinvigorate a communication between persons. In the dialectic, persons become objectified and typified between differing categories. Persons are lost amidst the abstracts. Worse, when truth is detached from persons, matters concerning truth and reality cease to be personal and become mere things. Things can be deconstructed and broken down until it becomes mere dust. All then is left is a person without truth because he already made it into a breakable thing. Being is lost as an object. Tragedy becomes fully present in the stumbling into nothing.

Andrew Simmons is currently a senior at Aquinas College. He is working on a double major in History and Theology with a minor in Catholic Studies. In 2010, during his freshman year, he converted to Catholicism. The Catholic Church has been recovering from the event ever since.

Trads and Womenpriests – same problem, just dressed differently

By Paul Fahey                                                                                        Thursday, September 19

“One who believes may not be presumptuous; on the contrary, truth leads to humility, since believers know that, rather than ourselves possessing truth, it is truth which embraces and possesses us.” Lumen Fidei, 34.

When reading through Lumen Fidei, this quote reminded me of something one of my Theology professors used to teach – one must be docile to the Truth. Included in his explanation of this docility, he would proceed to draw on the blackboard an ass (beast of burden) being lead forward by the rope tied around its neck. “This,” he would say, pointing at the ass, “is what it means to be docile.” All men, particularly Christians (and even more particularly, theologians) must allow themselves to be led by the Truth. In a similar way, paragraph 36 of Lumen Fidei calls all theologians to docility to the Magisterium and the Pope.

…theology cannot consider the magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him as something extrinsic, a limitation of its freedom, but rather as one of its internal, constitutive dimensions, for the magisterium ensures our contact with the primordial source and thus provides the certainty of attaining to the word of Christ in all its integrity.

However, this call to humble docility toward the teaching authority of the Church, because it is She who puts us in contact with He who is Truth, is not just for theologians – it is a call meant for all believers. All Catholics are called to humbly submit their personal preferences and their ideologies to the Magisterium. This does not mean that one should never question the Church, rather that, at the end of the day, a faithful Catholic realizes that Mother knows best. Herein lies my problem with, and the rather obvious similarity between, both “traditionalists” and “progressives.”

Before I go further, I think that a definition (or at least a working definition) of these terms is needed (since language is important). By “traditionalist,” in this particular instance, I mean somebody who has a preference for the traditions and practices of a pre-Vatican II and post-Trent Church. In many ways this individual remains respectful and docile to the Church, but there are some personal preferences (whether it be boy only altar servers, detest of the vernacular, etc.) that they simply refuse to let go of and submit to Holy Mother. Likewise, a “progressive” is someone who greatly appreciates the changes made after Vatican II, and, in many ways, remains docile to the Church. However, there are some personal preferences and ideologies (think female ordination or a change in the Church’s sexual ethic) that they simply cannot let go of. Here are some examples of what I mean:

Recently I read this rather abhorrent blog post from the Catholic Gentleman titled “Masculinity and the Liturgy” (Some of the Gentleman’s gross patriarchal commentary was very gracefully responded to by Karen). This particular blog post represents an attitude of pride in face of the Church rather than docility. One area, for example, is his opposition to female altar servers, lectors, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. He says:

Now, girls can be altar servers, and boys aren’t as interested. It’s like adding girls to the football team—it saps the masculinity right out of it…In addition to altar girls, the distinctive role of the priest—who is, of course a man—has been diluted by the introduction of laypeople into the liturgy. The very fact that a woman can now distribute communion or read the Epistle immediately makes the liturgy less masculine.

Just look at her sap away the masculinity

And by “less masculine” I think he really means “not as good as it could be.” While the actual teaching authorities of the Church completely support women participating in the Liturgy, the “traditionalist” still has a real problem with it. I’m with Blessed John Paul II when he says, “Who can imagine the great advantages to pastoral care and the new beauty that the Church’s face will assume, when the feminine genius is fully involved in the various areas of her life?”

The “traditionalist” way of thinking is not terribly unlike the “progressives” who support the ordination of women (or are ordained women themselves). In the Womenpriest’s own words,

The Womenpriests, who have 145 women members worldwide, don’t let the canon law bother them. “It doesn’t have any meaning because no one really pays attention to it,” Suzanne A. Thiel, a representative of the organization and one of the ordained, told The Atlantic Wire. “I think most of us just ignore it… When people say the Womenpriests operate outside of “The Church,” she argues that it depends on your definition of the Church. “Are you looking at the Church as the Vatican, the Pope, the hierarchy, or are you looking at it as the people?” Thiel said. “We’re flourishing and the people have accepted us.” 

Clearly not concerned with Canon Law

Doesn’t Suzanne Thiel sum it up perfectly? She acts in obedience only toward the church that she has defined for herself. She simply refuses to accept all of the teachings and teachers that she disagrees with. But doesn’t that sound eerily familiar to the “traditionalist” who says, “I will accept the infallible authority of all the Ecumenical Councils…except Vatican II.” Docility does not pick and choose what is authoritative and what is not, docility seek to conform one’s self to the Truth, no matter how difficult or inconvenient.

Paul Fahey is a husband, father, and catechist. He has a BA in Theology with minors in History, and Catholic Studies and is currently studying at the Augustine Institute for a MA in Theology. 

Pieper, Language, and the Truth II

by Christian Ohnimus                                                                         Wednesday, September 18

Part 2 of 3: The Breakdown of Communication

In part 1 we discussed the dual purpose of language: to convey the truth and to communicate that truth with others. In this part we will examine how we think, how this affects our use of language and how poor thinking can lead to a breakdown in communication.

The intellectual course of the last few centuries is founded in individualism and has manifested itself in the worldviews of subjectivism, relativism and progressivism. As such, our relation to the truth and to each other has changed drastically. The ultimate end of man is a value-neutral progress because, as 17th century English intellectual Thomas Hobbes points out, we can’t seem to agree on any end of man beyond our own survival and comfort and, therefore, to pursue any collective end beyond our own individual desires is illegitimate. However, such “compromise” gives up on any objective truth as unobtainable. We will never agree on what the truth is so the best we can do is to let everyone do their own thing in peace. Let everyone follow their own truth and let’s be done with all the nastiness of conflict that comes with disagreement over the truth.

However, it is not in our nature to be value-neutral; we each have our own set of ideals which we seek to further and this manifests itself in society. Thus, in striving to neutralize the truth we merely open ourselves to new abuses. Pieper had the following to say on such neutralization of the truth, “Public discourse, the moment it becomes basically neutralized with regard to a strict standard of truth, stands by its nature ready to serve as an instrument in the hands of any ruler to pursue all kinds of power schemes.” In other words, when language ceases to represent anything of actual objective meaning it is rendered meaningless and then it, in turn, may be used to mean anything. This divorce of language from reality destroys the communicative aspect of language and makes it ripe for abuse for the sake of power. When language no longer serves to communicate reality between persons it is readily reduced to a mere tool of propaganda. This leads to violence to the truth and violation of the dignity of those human persons subject to such violence.

In the Sophist Plato criticizes the sophists for fabricating a fictitious reality. That is, they use language to convey their own “truth” divorced from objective reality. In doing so they deny participation in reality of those over whom they hold influence and, in doing so, replace the communicative aspect of language with an aspect of manipulation, of exerting power over others. The subjectivists of the modern world, though often unintentionally, fall into a similar trap. In divorcing our words from a universal reality that may be shared by all and instead treating our words as merely subjective, as a means to express our own “truth” we destroy true communication between people in favor of so-called “self-expression” – although it may be more appropriately called self-exertion; that is, we are exerting our fictitious self-reality onto other at expense of the universal truth.

From slogans to blind emotionality, from partisan simplification to autocratic terminology, fictitious realities bombard us from every corner as people chronically abuse language for some gain. Truth has become a scarce commodity as language seems to be used more today to obscure reality than to communicate it.  Such abuse is not new. The sophists of antiquity represented a powerful force but men like Socrates and Plato were receptive to the truth and their opposition to the abuse of language by the sophists and their fictitious realities lead to the founding of the Platonic Academy. The academic tradition continues today and, though troubled in its own right, still represents an opposition to the abuse of language and a refuge for the truth.

Christian Ohnimus is a registered nurse in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Franciscan University. He is a contributor to The Porch and The Catholic Renaissance.