Saturday, July 2, 2011

How Could God Floss His Teeth?

I've never been challenged with this question: If God exists, how does He floss His teeth?

My response, or that of any other Christian, would 'prove' that God is:
  • A figment of our imagination
  • A crutch for the feeble-minded
  • Pretty much not something 'intelligent' people take seriously

Holy Dental Hygiene, Batman!

For what it's worth, here's my response to that penetrating, if hypothetical, intellectual inquiry.1

The question assumes
  1. A very limited span of time and space
    • Dental floss was invented recently
    • It's unlikely that people in all cultures use dental floss
  2. That God follows the customs of contemporary American/western culture
    • Which seems highly parochial, at best
  3. That God has teeth
    • Which He
      • Does
      • Doesn't
Explaining item #3 involves the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And no, Catholics do not worship three gods.

God, Teeth, and a Little Serious Theology

Briefly, both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are pure spirit - God the Son, he's fully human. And fully divine.2 And no, I can't explain that: it's a mystery. Literally.

Everybody isn't American?

Speaking of "literally," someone could take expressions like "at God's right hand" as proof that Catholics do so believe that God the Father looks like Charlton Heston.

To most Americans, I suspect, documents of the Catholic Church sound - odd. Even after being translated into our language.

What can I say? For the last two millennia, the vast majority of Catholics haven't been Americans: and that goes up to 100 percent for folks who wrote the Bible. (January 25, 2010)

God Can't be Real Because - - -

If I thought that something can't be real because someone has figured out a way to make money from it - I couldn't believe that God, Saints, or the Statue of Liberty3 really exist.

Over the decades, I've run into quite a few reasons people give for not believing that God exists. Besides the basic 'because I don't want to,' that is. Some probably aren't in fashion at the moment, and one person probably wouldn't believe everything in this list.

I think you'll find some familiar assertions, though:
  • God
    • Won't do what I say
    • Doesn't validate my self-esteem
    • Hasn't changed to fit the latest intellectual fashions
    • Has followers who are
      • Ugly
      • Stupid
      • Make more money that I do
        • Or less
      • Earned fewer degrees than I did
        • Or more
  • The universe has laws which are
    • Knowable
    • Predictable

'Everybody Knows' About Those Catholics?

Saying that the Catholic Church is icky has been a perennial favorite among determinedly 'sophisticated' folks, at least during my lifetime. Again, some of these points may be out of fashion at the moment:
  • The Catholic Church
    • Isn't
      • A new idea
      • American
    • Is literally "universal"4
    • Won't let me vote about
      • Changing the Decalogue
      • Who the next local bishop will be
    • Doesn't let parishioners hire and fire priests
    • Won't say it's okay to marry
      • Someone of the same sex
      • More than one person at a time
      • My
        • Dog
        • Cat
        • Pillow5
Then, of course, there are 'well-known facts' about the Catholic Church that simply aren't true. Like variations on the theme of 'the Catholic Church preaches hate.'6

Galileo Died For Your Sins?

Then there's the deeply-rooted conviction that science and religion, faith and reason, get along about as well as mongoose and cobra, hippie and Archie Bunker.

I've written about science, religion, and being Catholic before. Fairly often.

Bottom line? Some very religious folks seem to think with their endocrine systems, and earnestly believe that Bishop Ussher was right. Me? I know about Copernicus and Mendel: and converted to Catholicism largely because I couldn't find flaws in the Holy See's logic.

At the time, I wanted to find a loophole. And that's another topic. (March 17, 2009)

Related posts:

1 That sentence has three words with more than three syllables each - which might be a meaningful factoid for someone who's into numerology, or is of the 'I use big words, therefore I am brilliant' school of thought.

2 Here's a sort of start on what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say about God:
"In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective 'perfections' of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.241"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 370)

" 'So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.'532 Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.533 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.534 Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand.535 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul 'as to one untimely born,' in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.536"
(Catechism, 659)

"The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is truly God.10 Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial, and indivisible, the Church's faith also professes the distinction of persons. When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure, it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the Spirit who reveals him."
(Catechism, 689)
  • God
  • Trinity
    • As the central mystery of the faith, 232, 234, 237, 261
    • Divine economy as the common work of the three divine persons, 257-260
    • Family as image of the Trinitarian communion, 2205
    • Filioque, 246-248, 264
    • God one and three, 202
    • "Hypostasis" or person, 252
    • Liturgy as the work of, 1077-1109
    • Definition of substance, 252
    • Prayer as communion with, 2655
    • Presence of Trinity in man, 260
    • "Theology" and "economy," 236
    • Unity of the Trinity and the unity of the Church, 813
    • Divine persons in the Trinity, 252
    • Expression of the Trinity
    • Revelation of God as Trinity
3 More-or-less kitschy Statue of Liberty merchandise isn't limited to Mattel's Barbie accessories.

4 See:
5 Some of the 'do not' parts of what Catholic Church has to say about sex and ethics are known, if not understood. See:
6 Some preachers make a career out of slogans like "Antichrist Obama."

(Reuters photo, via, used w/o permission)

These are not, in my considered opinion, typical Christians.
(June 14, 2011)

As a practicing Catholic, I'm not allowed to hate anybody. See:

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.