Skip to comments.Radio Replies Volume One: Immortality of the Soul
Posted on 04/27/2009 9:00:20 PM PDT by GonzoII
Yes. The body is naturally mortal; the soul by its very nature immortal.
34. What indications have you that the soul is immortal?
That the soul will, and indeed must, survive the death of the body is demonstrable from many points of view.
Firstly, its essential structure forbids dissolution by death. Death is the disintegration of parts. Only composite things can die. Yet the soul is not composite. Its power of pure immaterial thought proves its independence of matter. It is endowed with spiritual faculties, and is as spiritual as the faculties it possesses, which will enable it to live and operate when separated from the body. Not being material, it can never be destroyed or fall to pieces like matter. Nor would God endow it with a nature essentially fitted to live on just for an idle freak, and with the intention of annihilating it after all.
Secondly, every individual experiences a sense of moral obligation, and every obligation demands a sufficient sanction. If the State said, "This is the law," and I replied, "What if I do not observe it," it would be ludicrous were the State to reply, "Oh, nothing will happen. I say only that it is the law. If you break it, you break it, I suppose." That would be a joke, not a law. I know that I shall have to answer some day for my attitude towards the interior sense of moral obligation. I can go right through this life without encountering anyone capable of judging me concerning it. The real answer must be given at the judgment seat of God, and my soul will have to be there. Consequently it must survive.
Thirdly, a more universal view of human life shows us the many inequalities which offend against the sense of justice. We know that justice will be done some day, and as it is not always done in this life, it will be done in the next. This implies our presence, and therefore our living on after death.
Fourthly, every soul naturally has an insatiable natural desire for happiness, and for lasting happiness. No earthly or temporal good can satisfy this hunger. Yet this innate natural tendency cannot lack its rightful object. You might as well try to conceive the existence of the human eye, perfectly adapted to sight, yet without the possibility of light anywhere to enable it to see.
Reflection, then, upon the simple structure of the soul, upon the future administration of the sanctions attached to the moral law, upon the rectification of worldwide inequalities, and upon the teleological inclinations to a lasting and perfect good, makes it a violation of reason to deny the survival of the soul.
35. The idea of a sanction proportioned to the individual's sense of moral obligation has much less influence upon men than you religious people think.
I admit that it has much less influence than it should have, but their not thinking of it does not alter the fact.
36. It has no real bearing on morality, and if anything would have a bad influence, making men cowards.
Since there is a future life, it has a lot to do with morality. Man is endowed with reason and is bound to exercise foresight. The future as such, whether here or hereafter, is a reasonable motive for present conduct. I refrain from eating certain foods now, because reason tells me that future indigestion will result. That is reasonable conduct. I try to refrain from morally wrong conduct because it is wrong; offends God; is a personal disgrace; and will wreck my whole future existence if I persist in it, dying without repentance. All these motives are good. If the nobler motives fail to impress me in a given temptation, the thought of hell at least will tend to stop me.
You will say, "So you are afraid of hell?" I reply, "Of course I am!" Knowing that hell is a reality, any sane man will live so as to avoid going there. It is not cowardice, but ordinary prudence. If a man leaps for his life off a railway line as an express tears past the spot where he was standing, you would not go up to him, tap him on the shoulder, and say, "You coward, you jumped for your life through sheer fear of that train!" God gave us our reason that we might use it for our well-being, and it is quite reasonable to weigh both advantages and penalties attached to moral law.
Nor is this influence probably to the bad. The knowledge that retribution will follow violations of the moral law makes that law a real law. Could we say that all the penalties attached to the laws of the State are to the bad? Thousands of temptations to crime are resisted by citizens because of the thought of the future penalties. Nor does it matter much whether the penalty be future by a few weeks and in this life, or by some years, and in the next life. The principle is the same.
37. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, whether we are mortal or immortal.
That is true. But the difficulty is to make people do right because it is right, and avoid wrong because it is wrong. We have to be trained to right conduct from childhood, and that very training demands commendation or punishment. Spare the rod and spoil the child is a truism. We must take a sound psychological view of man's nature, and realize that right because it is right does not always appeal as the best thing to be done in practice. The advantage to be gained from evil conduct often seems better to many men.
38. Our code of morality must be founded upon the only life of which we have any knowledge - this one.
This life is not the only one of which we have knowledge. We can have knowledge in two ways, experimental knowledge, or knowledge based upon reason and authority. I have experimental knowledge of America for I have been in America, but I have no experimental knowledge of Africa. Yet you cannot say that I have no knowledge whatever of Africa. I certainly know that it exists. Now we have experimental knowledge of this earthly life. But we know by principles of reason and by the authority of God that we shall continue to exist when this earthly life shall have come to an end. We cannot expect to have experimental knowledge now of a state which is essentially future. The code of morality, moreover, should regulate your personal character throughout the whole of its existence, building up a moral perfection as a permanent attribute of your character as long as it shall exist. If your code is as extensive as your complete life, it cannot be limited to this brief section of it.
39. Your argument from justice weakens morality. If there were to be no rectification of things in the next life, all the more reason for men to remedy injustices in this world.
That might seem to you a reason why it would be better if there were no future life and reparation of justice. But we know that there is such a future life, and a priori possibilities cannot avail against fact. Also it is a fact that men who give up their belief in a future life are not consumed with a passion for the rectifying of injustice in this world. On the contrary, those who lead evil lives have every reason to persuade themselves that there is no future life. There are honorable exceptions of naturally good men who have not had all the data necessary for the formation of a right judgment, or who have not adverted to the force of the reasons for immortality. But they are the few. Men do not have to persuade themselves that there is a future life, but try to persuade themselves that there is no future life, just as the Christian Scientist has to persuade herself that pain and suffering do not exist.
40. Why bother about justice here, if all injustice is to be rectified and compensated in the next world?
You are forgetting your own principles. We must do right always because right is right. If we do not, we shall be punished by God precisely because the right was right and we should have done it. It belongs to God to adjust all seeming inequalities in the next world, but that in no way exempts man from his present duties. Men must acknowledge the benefits they have received from God, and discharge their obligations towards God, even as they discharge their obligations towards fellow men. This is a strict duty. Not all men will fulfill this duty in practice, and God will deal with them sooner or later, compensating those who have suffered from the injustice of their fellow men.
41. Can we say that there will be justice in another world because it is conspicuously absent in this?
Yes, because you would not advert to the absence of justice unless you had a sense of justice. The relative and inferior sense of justice possessed by men supposes an absolute justice, and that absolute justice will secure the absolute balance it demands - some day. The fact that absolute justice does not prevail in this life is indication enough that it will do so in a future life.
42. The injustices of this life demand another life, but I believe in reincarnation.
Justice does say that this life cannot be all. But your idea of re-incarnation is a mistaken notion based upon your notion that life is impossible unless on this earth. But there is no need for another life on this earth, which would involve further inequalities. There is a better life than this, afterwards and elsewhere. Reincarnation is a myth.
43. Your doctrine of immortality supposes consciousness after death. I do not believe it, otherwise the soul would be conscious under chloroform, or when the body is knocked senseless in an accident.
This fact does not invalidate the reasons given already, and is also easily explained. The soul whilst in a state of union with the body operates by using the faculties of that body. If the sense instruments are incapacitated, the soul can no longer operate adequately whilst united to the body. But once released from the body, its intelligence and will and power to love at once assert themselves. Hydrogen and oxygen unite to form a drop of water. They can operate as water only whilst united. Hydrogen is there, but it cannot operate as hydrogen until released from the union. Soul and body make one human being. And both elements must be fit to co-operate in the activities of a bodily human being. The soul cannot operate separately as a distinct unit whilst still united. But once released, it can operate independently every bit as much as hydrogen when released from its essential union with oxygen to form water.
44. Are the souls of animals also immortal?
They are not immortal. Animals are not capable of any operations which transcend the conditions of matter, and do not rise above the sensitive to the intelligible order. Also they are devoid of the moral intuition. Animal souls are therefore dependent upon matter both for their being and their operations, and cease to exist with death.
45. Why should the fact of our being born give us the right to exist forever?
It is not the mere fact of being born, but of being born with such a nature. The soul is fitted by its very nature to live on forever, for a spiritual entity cannot disintegrate and die. Why should we have been endowed with such a nature? Because He who made us chose to give us such a nature. Since we did not make ourselves we did not give ourselves our rights. They came from the One who is responsible for our being. If an artist painted an image of a girl on canvas, and the image were endowed with the power of speech, the girl might say, "What right have you to give me brown hair?" The artist would rightly reply, "Since I made you, I have the right to give you whatever colored hair I wish." God had the right to create indestructible souls if He wished. He did so. And our right to live on is vested in His will to endow us with an immortal nature.
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Rev. Dr. Leslie Rumble, M.S.C.
"I was brought up as a Protestant, probably with more inherited prejudices than most non-Catholics of these days. My parents were Anglican and taught me the Angelican faith. My 'broad-minded' protestant teachers taught me to dislike the Catholic Church intensely. I later tried Protestantism in various other forms, and it is some thirty years since, in God's providence, I became a Catholic. As for the 'open, free, sincere worship' of a Protestant Church, I tasted it, but for me it proved in the end to be not only open, but empty; it was altogether too free from God's prescriptions."
Eventually, Leslie became a priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
In 1928, Fr. Rumble began a one-hour 'Question Box' program on 2SM Sydney, N.S.W. radio on Sunday evenings that was heard all over Australia and New Zealand. For five years he answered questions on every subject imaginable that had been written to him from all over that part of the globe. His first show began with a classic introduction:
"Good evening, listeners all. For some time I have been promising to give a session dealing with questions of religion and morality, in which the listeners themselves should decide what is of interest to them. Such a session will commence next Sunday evening, and I invite you to send in any questions you wish on these subjects . . . So now I invite you, non-Catholics above all, to send in any questions you wish on religion, or morality, or the Catholic Church, and I shall explain exactly the Catholic position, and give the reasons for it. In fact I almost demand those questions. Many hard things have been said, and are still being said, about the Catholic Church, though no criminal, has been so abused, that she has a right to be heard. I do not ask that you give your name and address. A nom de plume will do. Call yourself Voltaire, Confucius, X.Y.Z., what you like, so long as you give indication enough to recognize your answer."
"By the summer of 1937, the first edition of Radio Replies was already in print in Australia, financed by Rt. Rev. Monsignor James Meany, P.P. - the director of Station 2SM of whom I am greatly indebted."
"I have often been mistaken, as most men at times. And it is precisely to make sure that I will not be mistaken in the supremely important matter of religion that I cling to a Church which cannot be mistaken, but must be right where I might be wrong. God knew that so many sincere men would make mistakes that He deliberately established an infallible Church to preserve them from error where it was most important that they should not go wrong."
Rev. Charles Mortimer Carty
I broadcast my radio program, the Catholic Radio Hour, from St. Paul, Minnesota.
I was also carrying on as a Catholic Campaigner for Christ, the Apostolate to the man in the street through the medium of my trailer and loud-speaking system. In the distribution of pamphlets and books on the Catholic Faith, Radio Replies proved the most talked of book carried in my trailer display of Catholic literature. As many of us street preachers have learned, it is not so much what you say over the microphone in answer to questions from open air listeners, but what you get into their hands to read. The questions Fr. Rumble had to answer on the other side of the planet are same the questions I had to answer before friendly and hostile audiences throughout my summer campaign."
I realized that this priest in Australia was doing exactly the same work I was doing here in St. Paul. Because of the success of his book, plus the delay in getting copies from Sydney and the prohibitive cost of the book on this side of the universe, I got in contact with him to publish a cheap American edition.
It doesn't take long for the imagination to start thinking about how much we could actually do. We began the Radio Replies Press Society Publishing Company, finished the American edition of what was to be the first volume of Radio Replies, recieved the necessary imprimatur, and Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen agreed to write a preface. About a year after the publication of the first edition in Australia, we had the American edition out and in people's hands.
The book turned into a phenomena. Letters began pouring into my office from every corner of the United States; Protestant Publishing Houses are requesting copies for distribution to Protestant Seminaries; a few Catholic Seminaries have adopted it as an official textbook - and I had still never met Dr. Rumble in person.
To keep a long story short, we finally got a chance to meet, published volumes two and three of Radio Replies, printed a set of ten booklets on subjects people most often asked about, and a few other pamphlets on subjects of interest to us.
Fr. Carty died on May 22, 1964 in Connecticut.
"Firstly, since God is the Author of all truth, nothing that is definitely true can every really contradict anything else that is definitely true. Secondly, the Catholic Church is definitely true. It therefore follows that no objection or difficulty, whether drawn from history, Scripture, science, or philosophy, can provide a valid argument against the truth of the Catholic religion."
Biographies compiled from the introductions to Radio Replies, volumes 1, 2 and 3.
Thank you for the ping ... the topic was so engrossing, I rfead it all and stayed up past my bedtime, rather than putting it away for my morning coffee and meditations. You have freepmail, btw.
Will try and read it another day.
I believe animals do have immortal souls as living creatures they do live in heaven...
Thanks for the ping!
I've heard that coffee helps MORNING meditation 98.56555% of the time! ;0)
Excellent! Thank you.