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Welcome to The Thomas Society….

The Thomas Society started out as a campus ministry at The Ohio State University, but now it has grown into something larger. It started with the belief that dialogue in our culture has fallen into a cesspool of backbiting, attack politics, and low blow talking points. We wanted to get around that by starting a group where no topic was off limits and no discussions too risky as long as everyone understood the rules of civilized conversation.

That spirit has carried over into this blog. In it’s old incarnation, the blog had been dedicated to discussions surrounding the atheist/Christian dialogue in our culture.  Now, in it’s new form, we are moving beyond those bounds (but those will still be here) into topic ranging from politics and culture.

There is only one rule: There will be no personal attacks. Attack poor thinking. Attack lack of Clarity. Attack bad outfits. But, no personal attacks of any kind will be tolerated.


Other than that…anything is free game…….


11 Comments leave one →
  1. JefFlyingV permalink
    August 10, 2009 7:25 pm

    I haven’t read enough of your posts to get a true perspective of you, but you are similar to a Congregationalist Minister that I knew in Danbury CT during the mid 70’s.

  2. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 10, 2009 7:34 pm

    Thanks Jeff. Hope that’s a good thing. 🙂

  3. JefFlyingV permalink
    August 10, 2009 11:46 pm

    It was a good thing and I had a deep respect for the man. I have never been religious or a believer, but he gave me an interest in religion and what it could be. Take care, Jeff.

  4. August 20, 2009 12:23 am

    Hey there,

    I don’t know where else to contact you, so I’ll do it here. Hello. I’m enjoying your blog so far and hope to continue doing so. You raise some good questions and interesting points.

    ANyway, here is something that might amuse or outrage or both

  5. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 20, 2009 1:23 am

    Hello Rebecca,
    My email is Feel free to drop me a line. Thanks for stopping in!

  6. Nancy Day-Achauer permalink
    August 22, 2009 11:58 am

    Jules is a great addition! Okay, I am a bit prejudiced because she’s my friend and colleague but really, she is a great addition.

  7. thomas2026 permalink*
    August 22, 2009 12:53 pm

    She is indeed, welcome Nancy.

  8. Candide43130 permalink
    November 28, 2010 9:13 am

    I stumbled onto your website by pure accident, your award for hypocrites shares its name with my late father. But once I reviewed it, I found that you are dedicated to serve the people that I was part of thirty years ago, Ohio State students who instinctively knew that the question “Does God exist?” didn’t have the neat little answer that the people who tried to pass agnosticism and the second hand opinions of people who studied great sciences but not theology off as conclusive proof that atheism was irrefutable fact.
    Please tell me more about the origin of the Attie award. I presume that it might be named for one of the noted scientists whose names I discovered in my research but I’d love to know for sure.

  9. Jonathan Weyer permalink*
    November 29, 2010 9:04 pm

    Er, well, if only the Attie awards had such a distinguished history. Attie is short for “Attack Dogs”. If you go into the my experience at the Creation Museum, you will get the general idea. Basically, they had attack dogs on patrol when I visited with the atheist. So, the Attie awards to all those who commit idiocy on the part of the atheist/christian debate.

  10. February 25, 2012 6:32 pm

    II apologize in advance for the length of this post, but in it I have reduced the Catholic Church to one page of essentials. Thank you for your work.

    The Pocket Theologian
    An Invitation to Consider Coming to
    or Coming Back to
    The Roman Catholic Church.

    Why believe in God?
    Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274) was a theologian and philosopher. Two of his works, the Summa Theologiae and the Summa Contra Gentiles, are the finest examples of his writings on Christian philosophy. His five ways of knowing that God exists are the Existence of Motion, Causation of Things by Other Things, Contingent versus Necessary Beings, Degrees of Perfection and the Design of the Universe and Objects.

    First Way: The Argument from Motion
    Aquinas studied the works of the Greek philosopher, Aristotle. In his own way, he presaged Newton’s laws. He concluded that nothing can move itself; an object in motion (e.g. the planets, a rolling stone) is put in motion by some other object or force. If every object in motion has had a mover, then the first object in motion needed a mover. Thus, ultimately, there must have been an unmoved mover who first put things in motion.

    Second Way: Causation of Existence
    Aquinas observed that no object creates itself. There cannot be an endless string of objects causing other objects to exist. Thus, ultimately, there must have been an uncaused first cause who began the chain of existence for all things. This seems, of course, to be a variation of the unmoved mover argument above.

    Third Way: Contingent and Necessary Objects
    This Way defines two types of objects in the universe: contingent beings and necessary beings. A contingent being is an object that cannot exist without a necessary being causing its existence. Contingent beings are caused. Not every being can be contingent. There must exist a being which is necessary to cause contingent beings. This seems, of course, to be a variation of the unmoved mover argument above.

    Fourth Way: The Argument from Degrees and Perfection
    One may say that of two marble sculptures one is more beautiful than the other. So, for these two objects, one has a greater degree of beauty than the next. Thus, for any given quality (e.g. goodness, beauty, knowledge) there must be a perfect standard by which all such qualities are measured. These perfections are contained in God. {This seems to beg a series of questions, and to be somewhat weaker than the rest.}

    Fifth Way: The Argument from the Design of the Universe and the Objects in it. {I have undertaken to update this argument a bit.} There are many aspects of the universe that argue towards its creation by a power and an intellect far beyond anything we can imagine. The atomic elements as listed in the Periodic Table of Elements {of which, of course, Aquinas had no knowledge} appear to be the substance of all things. While atoms appear also to be made up of many subatomic particles of various kinds, they still seem to be practically, if not actually, unvarying, no matter when or where we consider them in the universe. Yet, this relatively small table of unvarying elements can combine into all of the vast number of phenomena we see in the universe. It is staggering that literally every physical thing is made of them, from the intricacies of our own bodies to the immensity of the galaxies upon galaxies. Just how many atoms are there? Apart from the causation arguments above, the ability to “make” a universe of this size and in this qualitative way bespeaks a mind and a power so much beyond ours that we must acknowledge it as Lord of our existence.

    In another way, while the atoms are dynamic and filled with energy, the universe appears to be slowly but definitely winding down. From this we see that it likely began at a point in time. Thus the universe argues in two ways for the existence of God, namely, that there must be a creator that gave the elements their start in time and that the nature of this creator is so much more immense and clever than we that the “prime mover”, whether perfect of not, certainly warrants our deference as the “Alpha” of the pack.

    Why Jesus?
    It is not specious to say we should believe in Jesus because Jesus says so. However, it is more complex than that.
    First we need to believe that Jesus existed. We are faced with the fundamental question of history: what happened and how do we know? Historical questions are answered from historical evidence. While we are familiar with the evidence being collected into “The Bible”, it was not always so. The letters of the apostles in the New Testament are each separate pieces of historical evidence of the existence of the writer and of what the writer knew of Jesus. They tell very credibly that Jesus existed and what He did during His life.

    Also, there are many {hundreds, in the opinions of many Christian theologians} prophetic comments in the Old Testament that indicate that a Messiah would be sent, what he would be like, what he would do and what would happen to him. Careful study shows that they have been very well fulfilled by the life of Jesus. On this basis, we are able to invest in the person of Jesus. Then we can take heed of what He said. He said he was the Messiah. He said that He and the Father are one. He said that he had all power on Heaven and on earth.

    Finally, we compare Him to other religion-founders. He is unlike any other human leaders. He is emotionally stable and single-minded in knowing and following the Father’s will. He raised no army, killed no innocents, kept no harem, conquered no peoples, built no empire, amassed no money. He did not advance himself but trusted the Father in all things. The historical evidence we have tells us that he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven before the eyes of his apostles. In history, he was foretold; in life he was clearly the fulfillment of the foretellings; in humanity, he was a model of moral perfection.

    Why the Catholic Church?
    Jesus founded a Church. He appointed a person to be the authority over it. In any organization, unworthy people weasel their way into various positions of leadership, and it has happened in His church in many times and many places. Anticipating these failings must have been the source of much of Jesus’ Agony in the Garden. Despite these failings, it appears to be Jesus’ intention to use the vehicle of a Church to guide the people of the earth, and to call mankind to the fundamental relationship with Him.

    A note about the Papacy: Jesus established a Church and a leader of that Church. Many human failures within and outside of the Church have splintered it. We rejoice that Christianity is still devoted to the Gospel Jesus gave us. However, the broken church is now a babel of chaotic doctrinal disputes which weakens its effectiveness and pains Jesus tremendously. Those who have broken from that authority structure need to consider whether they are in keeping with one of the major principles that Jesus put into place.
    Following Jesus
    Jesus’ moral expectations of us are set out in various principles. They are not like human statutes, enforced in legalistic ways. They are lived out in personal faithful commitment to God and loving communion with Him. There is no one scientific list. All are avenues of insight into God’s expectations of us. We meditate on each as a value in a mosaic of values; we master each one in itself as well as in balance with the others.

    The Seven Sacraments
    Baptism; Confession; Eucharist [Communion]; Confirmation; Matrimony;
    Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick

    The Ten Commandments
    Worship only the One True God.
    Keep the Lord’s Day Holy, i.e., especially focused on Him.
    Call upon, and use, the Lord’s name seriously.
    Honor all Fathers and Mothers, especially your own.
    Do not kill or desire to kill; a fair, just and charitable balance of all factors in human relationships always works away from killing.
    Do not commit adultery; respect the sanctity of every marriage, past, present, future; actual or potential.
    Do not steal; [there must be a fair, just balance in all commercial transactions].
    Do not lie about any other person; Employ truth above all else, but governed by charity in the circumstances; certain truths sometimes must wait their time.
    Don’t covet another’s wife; replace such notions with a respect for the sacramentality of all marriage.
    Don’t covet other’s wealth; counter such a temptation by poverty of spirit, and work for justice, for others and yourself. The wealthy man is the one who needs nothing more.

    The Beatitudes
    Be poor in spirit, satisfied with the fulfillment of basic needs.
    Mourn, that is, be saddened by any lack of virtue seen in any human actions.
    Be Meek, which means be a person who never does violence to any virtue at any level of personal negotiations.
    Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness. Dream and work for virtue.
    Be Merciful, forgiving of another’s transgressions when they give the slightest indication of understanding their offense, or in order to give rise in that person such understanding. Note that this is not the same as redefining the unacceptable as acceptable.
    Be Pure in Heart, aligning all motives to God’s will, as we are able to discern it in our relationships and circumstances.
    Be Peacemakers, winning all away from violence without shying from the pursuit of justice.
    If Persecuted for Righteousness, you are bringing Jesus to the attention of your attackers and the world. Make sure you should not be persecuted.
    If falsely reviled for Jesus’ sake, you are faced with the most teachable moment.

    Theological Virtues
    Faith is a solid expectation that the Gospel is true for me and for the world at all times.
    Hope is the nature of faithful expectations in adversity.
    Charity is wishing for another the fullest possession of God, and leading them to it.

    Cardinal/Moral Virtues
    Fortitude is solid adherence to the Gospel in good or bad times.
    Justice is a fair balance of the benefits and sacrifices in the circumstances of any and all human relationships.
    Prudence is the proper selection of the earlier actions around a foreseeable action to cause the protection of virtue.
    Temperance is an ability to be fulfilled with only a modest amount of a good thing.

    Corporal Works of Mercy
    Feed the Hungry
    Give Drink to the Thirsty
    Clothe the Naked
    Bury the Dead
    Visit the Sick
    Visit the Imprisoned
    Care for Widows & Orphans

    Spiritual Works of Mercy
    Console the Afflicted
    Instruct the Ignorant
    Admonish the Sinner
    Pray for the Living & Dead
    Counsel the Doubtful
    Bear Wrong Patiently

    Fruits of the Spirit
    Charity or Love; is wishing every other person the fullest possession of what is truly good for them, and leading them to it. A relationship with God is, of course, the best thing there is.
    Joy: is a quiet happiness arising from faith in the Gospel.
    Peace: is satisfaction with the life that we work out as we follow our duties to the Gospel, encouraged overall by our destiny after death.
    Patience: is faithfully enduring the frustration of our efforts to achieve our personal goals and desires.
    Kindness: is prudently balancing the elements of every situation towards the healing and growth of another.
    Goodness: is fullness of proper being.
    [To answer Pilate’s question: Truth is the conformity of the mind with reality. It is found by the mind that desires truth more than anything else. The problem is that there are billion truths. The trick is to get them in the right order, priority and relationship.]
    Generosity: is providing from my surplus to the needs of another in a balanced way.
    Gentleness: never will gratuitously hurt another in any circumstance.
    Faithfulness: is consistently living one’s own life by the Gospel in all circumstances.
    Modesty: is being aware that one’s successes are not solely one’s own and that every conceivable thing belongs to God.
    Self-control: is restraining one’s actions according to the Gospel in all events.
    Chastity: is, at all times in life, orienting all sexuality towards only a relationship between spouses in sacramental marriage.

    Gifts of the Holy Spirit
    Wisdom: is faithful knowledge about the subtleties of life: the truth about the truth
    Understanding: is focused on the interaction of the truths of a situation.
    Counsel: is advice to another on how to follow the Gospel.
    Fortitude: see Cardinal Virtues, above.
    Knowledge: is factual awareness of any subject.
    Piety: is a constant orientation to one’s relationship with God.
    Fear of the Lord: is the acknowledgement that God is God, that he is almighty and that he will deal justly with us.
    [Integrity: is the trait of a person formed by of all aspects of holiness properly balanced and related.]

    Copyright: 2007, Tom Atzberger
    Columbus, Ohio


  1. Faith and doubt. « Jules’ Wandering Weblog

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