By Richard Bruce BA, MA, and PhC in Economics
Former Instructor St. John's University, New York City
New Evidence for God, Christ, and the Catholic Church
I have found several new lines of evidence to support the faith. These are my ideas, the ideas of an intelligent layman, but a layman none the less. You can find the more traditional Catholic apologetics at This Rock
Magazines sites. These are my original "proofs", which you are encouraged to attack and debunk. This is your chance to play Amazing Randi, or simply be a skeptical inquirer. Professors, experts, and many web surfers have looked at them and some have been impressed.
This essay is Biblical typology
. The stories of Old Testament figures often foreshadow New Testament figures. For example, Judah suggested selling Joseph into slavery, Judas sold Jesus to the temple priests. I believe this typology provides powerful evidence for the truth of the Christian faith or at least a good reason to take Christianity seriously and search further while praying harder, but do not take my word for it. Check it out. This may provide evidence for skeptics who want to see something for themselves, not just take someone's word that a miracle happened. This was formerly my most popular miracle page, it got thousands of page hits a year for many years.
Here are comments and reactions to the miracle of the names, some from professors (who were impressed), some from editors (who were not impressed), also graduate students, ordinary people, and you the web surfing public.
Even if you are not that interested in my argument, you might find it interesting how various people and institutions react to claims of the miraculous. Contrary to what they say, the non-believers do not devote much time to debunking miraculous claims.
Here is a couple of much shorter essays on symbolism and patterns concerning the Last Supper and the suppers with the resurrected Jesus, and the similarities between the Crucifixion and the death of John the Baptist.
Catholic Church Miracles
The Catholic Church a number of characteristics that I argue are so abnormal that they point to the supernatural nature of the Church. Yes, I am aware that the Catholic Church is a human and a divine institution and has had many failings. But the characteristics discussed below point to the divine element in the Church.
The Catholic Church is Miraculous
Here is a rather different attempt to provide evidence for God.
I argue that it is a law of nature that no centrally organized religion can long hold the allegiance of the majority of even two independent states because the political authorities will not tolerate it. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church goes beyond what is naturally possible and holds the allegiance of the majority of not two but dozens of countries for centuries on end. So the Catholic Church is supernatural.
The Popes are also Miraculous
Bishops commit heresy, sometimes large groups of bishops, but the world can not seem to crack even one pope. I believe this is miraculous. Check out the miracle of the popes.
The Catholic Church's Miraculous Respect for Women
Outside the Catholic Church the greatest heroes are men, but in the Catholic Church women are among the preeminent heroes.
The Water Miracles at Lourdes and Fatima
At Lourdes, a fountain miraculously appeared. At Fatima, the people were drenched and the ground muddy before the Miracle of the Sun but dry afterward. I am impressed by the water miracles of Lourdes and Fatima
Reconciling the Nativity Stories and Genealogies of Matthew and Luke
Opponents of the faith frequently point to what they think are contradictions in the Bible. High on their list are the supposed contradictions between the nativity narratives and genealogies of Matthew and Luke. The nativity narratives and genealogies can be reconciled if we assume that
Matthew is writing to Christians who converted from Judaism, while Luke was writing to a Roman official. These are common assumptions, though there are people who disagree with them. But if we make these common assumptions we can see that both writers carefully select what to say and leave out given their audience. Many people see these differences as contradictions. I have written web pages to reconcile the two nativity stories
and the genealogies.
The evidence above involves the Bible and the Catholic Church, which are by their nature religious. It is far more controversial to point to evidence in science and nature, which is what this essay does.
This essay has two objectives. My objective is either to provide evidence for the existence of God or to stimulate people to find a natural explanation for the phenomena. I consider this a win/win situation because in either case useful knowledge will be found.
I myself have discovered what I believe is a partial natural explanation. But while I think this partial explanation is good I doubt it completely explains the phenomena. So without further ado, here is the link to a controversial line of evidence.
Local Miracle Stories from My Friends
Here is the first news article I published in the local secular newspaper. It was on local miracle stories
Not quite local, this one happened about thirty miles away, raising the dead.
I have talked to four people, three close friends who claim that they heard people speaking in tongues they knew, but the speaker did not. This is the first of what may be a series of pages on local miracles in my town.
Not exactly a local miracle but a local friend told me this. Just as Pocahontas is amazed at the spiritual ignorance of John Smith so natives are often surprised at the ignorance of the missionaries, but the witch doctors and shamans were also amazed at the spiritual power of the missionaries. The missionaries were ignorant of the spirits but the spirits were not ignorant of the missionaries. Recognizing the power of the missionaries the shaman was often first to convert.
Science and Religion
This web site has several essays on science and religion that has some relevance to the miracles pages. The science and religion index page is here.
Of particular relevance is this page on the complimentary relationship between science and miracles. You could not recognize that a miracle is a miracle without scientific knowledge. Miracles are to science as ink is to paper. Miracles do not contradict science, they contrast with science, because contrast is necessary for communication, and miracles are acts of communication.
I also have an essay on methodological materialism. I argue that methodological materialism can be a useful neutral ground on which scientists with many different metaphysical commitments can work together. Religious people should not be offended by the special role of materialism in science because part of the reason we conduct science as if we are atheists is because it is so irrational to be an atheist.
Education and Religion
Educated people are less likely to say they believe, and less likely to say that religion is important to their lives, but more likely to say they attended religious services in the last seven days. If we measure words the educated are more religious, but if we measure action they are at least a little more religious. For a more extensive discussion of the relationship between education and religion,
Other Religious Statistics
Atheists frequently see their views as the wave of the future, but in the last few decades the percentage of the world's population that is religious has been expanding, but what does the future hold. I have essays on the future of atheism
, and Christianity
. This web site's most popular page is a summary of world religious statistics
Here is a page on what, if anything, religious statistics mean to the person searching for metaphysical truth.
There is wide spread concern that religion conflicts with freedom and democracy. This is sometimes used as an argument against Christianity in spite of the fact that every single country given the highest possible rating for freedom and democracy by Freedom House was a traditionally Christian country. Read more in my essay that uses Freedom House data to objectively examine the relationship between freedom and religion.
Literature and Religion
The Catholic Church has long been proud of its literary converts.
Here is a list.
True, it does not prove the Catholic Church is the true Church, but it does show that it is a live intellectual option. It should not be relegated to the same category as tribal religions just yet.
It might be noted that scientists specialize. As the standard joke in academia goes, the objective is to know more and more about less and less until you know everything about nothing. Of course, religion is almost always outside of their narrow area of specialization. Writers are more likely to be generalists.
My Religious Debates on Reddit
I have made a huge number of comment posts on two subreddits, Debate Religion, and Debate a Christian. You can easily find these by going to Reddit user page.
My Reddit username is richleebruce, the same as this website. My YouTube channel is also richleebruce. On the Internet, if you see richleebruce, it is almost always me.
You can read my posts on Reddit and on the more recent discussions vote me up or down and make comments.
However,religious people should be warned these religious debate subreddits tend to be toxic and anti-religious. This warning is particularly important for those who are young, or not firmly established in their faith. If you do want to check these debate sites out on Reddit, I suggest you do it by following the discussions I am involved in, or someone else who is defending your faith. I find that my fellow Catholics do an excellent job of explaining and defending the faith on Reddit.
Ok, now that you have been warned, this is the link to my user page.
My Conversion Story
The following links are to pages on my conversion that have apologetic value without being miracles in the same sense as the above.
If the essay on Old and New Testament names appeals to you, you might also like this one on number theory and the number of the beast, 666. Like the names essay this impressed several professors and other experts, but it impressed them more on the level of mathematics than religion. There was talk that it might be included in an academic book on number theory, but appears that it was just talk.
This short essay on my conversion to the Catholic Church through Bible study was published in Catholic Digest, probably the most read Catholic periodical in the English language. The essay recounts how I studied the New Testament line by line comparing Evangelical Christianity and the Catholic Church.
I have three degrees in Economics from the University of California. I received a master's and a PhC, which means I passed the course work and orals on a PhD, but the dissertation was not completed or accepted. I taught full time seven semesters at St. John's University, in Queens, New York City, at the College of Business Administration.
A couple of professors at UC Davis suggested I should TA for the religious studies department. I have a fairly strong knowledge of religion as suggested by the test score on all religions.
Tell me what you think. Here is my