Saturday, September 29, 2012

Church and State


If one wants to be consistent in arguing the "Separation of Church and State," reason requires that we point out the fact that one cannot keep the Church out of the State without keeping the State out of the Church as well.  The problem is this is increasingly ignored by the Federal Government.

Christianity, in following Christ's command to “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God” (Mark 12:17) recognizes that the State has certain areas of authority granted to it for the common good and the protection of the people and that the people are required to give obedience to the authority in these matters.  However, Christians are also required to give obedience to God in matters which concern Him and the State has no authority to oppose or interfere with these commands.

Thus the state can pass laws which provide for the protection and benefit of the population.  For example, it can collect taxes (though not excessively) to make it possible to carry out its duties.  It can set traffic laws for the protection of the people.  There is nothing sacred about driving on the right or the left side of the road, but the government mandates one to avoid the danger of head-on collisions.  The government can set laws concerning military service for the defense of the nation.  There is nothing unreasonable about this as a general principle, though one can certainly judge how the state carries this out (such as a fair conscription in times of national emergency vs. an arbitrary "press gang").

However, the state does not have the authority to mandate what is to be morally acceptable. nor to force religions to participate in things that they find morally repugnant.  The state cannot justly compel Jews and Muslims to eat Pork, nor to force them to provide it for others for example.

The State Cannot Pass Laws outside its Competence or Area of Authority

In Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons, we have an exchange between Thomas Cromwell and St. Thomas More concerning King Henry VII and his Act of Supremacy declaring him the head of the Church in England.  Thomas Cromwell attempts to reason that since More does not know the state of the souls who did sign and he does know he has a duty of obedience to the King, he should therefore sign his assent to the Act.  However, St. Thomas More points out:

Some men think the Earth is round and others think it is flat.  But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round?  And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it?  No, I will not sign. (Page 133).

St. Thomas More's point is a good one.  There are some things the state does not have the authority to declare. Regardless of what the State declares, if it is contrary to what is reality, such a law is meaningless and is nothing more than the state trying to tell people what to think or to do… tyranny.

The State has No Authority to Compel Compliance with an Unjust Law

Let's take another angle.  In the (admittedly mediocre) movie CSA: Confederate States of America, one of the premises is that the victorious South, in attempting to bring the conquered North into its way of life, creates a quandary.  A reconstruction tax is to be imposed on the conquered Northerners.  However, this tax can be avoided by the purchase of a slave.  It leaves the northerners with three choices:

  1. To purchase a slave.
  2. To pay the ruinous taxes.
  3. To leave the country.

The movie shows that the intent of the law is for people to choose option #1 to remove a cultural barrier between the North and the South.  Most Northerners do choose option #1, with a minority choosing option #3.  The viewer is supposed to recognize that all three of the choices are unjust.  Slavery is wrong, and the person who recognizes it as being wrong should not be forced into ruinous taxes or exile.

Both Violations Exist in America in 2012

It is interesting that people can see the problem in the movie, but not see that a very real version is happening right now in America.  With the HHS mandate for example, employers with religious beliefs that tell them that contraception and abortifacients are morally wrong are put in the same quandary.  Failing to provide contraception/abortifacient coverage in their health care plans results in a fine which can equal $100 per employee per day.  It is estimated that the Evangelical owned "Hobby Lobby" could potentially have to pay up to $1.3 million dollars a day for refusing to comply with the HHS mandate.

In other words, the company has these options:

  1. To comply with what they believe to be immoral.
  2. To pay ruinous fines.
  3. To stop doing business in America.

Christians are not Imposing their Beliefs on Others when they Defend their own Rights

Now the examples of A Man for All Seasons and CSA bring out two important facts.  First, that a government which seeks to mandate what is morally acceptable has no authority to do so, and second, when it seeks to coerce acceptance of such a mandate, it is behaving tyrannically and exceeds its authority.

Remembering this is important where supporters of the government's policies are labeling Christians as being intolerant and imposing views on others.  The First Amendment points out:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

So the employer with religious beliefs which tells him or her that providing insurance coverage for contraception or abortifacients is wrong has the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances in regards to the interference with the free exercise of religion.  The government does not have the right to restrict these freedoms.  Religious believers have the right to object to and challenge the HHS mandate and do not impose their views on others in doing so.

Nor do we impose our views on others when we seek to instruct voters as to why certain government policies are unjust and seek to encourage the passage of laws that overturn the injustices.  Our nation was founded on this principle, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The irony is, it is the religious believers seeking to defend their rights declared in the Declaration and the Constitution are unjustly accused of violating these rights, while those who do or favor the actual violations are treated as the victims.

Our objection to the unjust Laws, Mandates and Court Rulings is not out of opposition to the democratic process, but is out of opposition to the imposition of something the government has no right to impose in the first place and has no right to coerce our compliance with unjust sanctions.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fifth Anniversary Post: Lincoln was Right

In my first post, written September 22nd, 2007, I quoted Abraham Lincoln who had written:

Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy hypocrisy.

In that post I had written about my concerns that America was in danger of passing unjust laws in which "the just who are constrained and the unjust are free."

Fast forwarding five years to today, September 22nd, 2012, it is no longer a theoretical question about the danger of passing unjust laws.  They are now passed, and the fate of the First Amendment is much more dubious than it was when I first wrote.  The propaganda of the current presidency and his supporters are in fact blaming people who are trying to defend their religious freedom for "imposing their views on others."

I find that curious.

The Catholic who believes abortion is wrong and uses his or her rights as an American citizen (freedom of speech, the right to vote etc.)  regarding this moral conviction is told he or she is "imposing views on others."  The atheist who believes abortion is a right and uses his or her rights as an American citizen to expand the legality and reach of abortion is praised for "protecting freedom."

Both the Catholic and the atheist in this case are acting according to what they believe.  But one is vilified for doing so and the other is praised.  One is harassed when speaking while the other is protected.  This is an arbitrary application of law, of media reporting calculated to favor one group and denigrate another.

I believe Lincoln was right.  America is a nation where there is a pretense of loving liberty, but no longer an actual love of liberty.  It is the alloy of hypocrisy to praise freedom when the HHS mandate is telling religious institutions that their schools and hospitals must choose between going against what they believe God commands them to do and being fined/taxed out of existence.

People of good will should think about that.  On one hand we have the the First Amendment to the Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

On the other hand, we have a government prohibiting the free exercise of religion by telling religious hospitals and schools that they must pay for insurance coverage for abortifacients and contraception – even if these hospitals and schools think it wrong and refusing to consider the petitions for the redress of grievances.

When the Church (and other denominations) speak out on this, it draws the accusation of "violating the separation of Church and State" and potential legal sanctions.

So we see again Lincoln's point.  America claims to love liberty, but is willing to set it aside when seeking to suppress someone who takes a stand and says "What America is doing is wrong here."  That is "the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more laudable beliefs than is the case" as the Oxford English Dictionary defines hypocrisy.

The sad thing is, once the principle is accepted (which at this time seems to depend somewhat on the results of the November 2012 elections and the Supreme Court challenges), it becomes easy for any future government to use this to their own ends.  It doesn't have to even be the scenario of Obama who makes the United States into a dictatorship.  A future presidency could take the premise Obama established and use it to further his or her own ends, using the force of government to silence opponents.

So with this in mind, what are we to do?  The individual Christians seems weak.  The Church is attacked in a way that seeks to silence her.  The courts seem indifferent to these violations.  The government is actively involved in promoting this violation.  Are we doomed to suffer the violation of religious freedom?

At a time like this, I am reminded of the words of St. Augustine:

God therefore does not command impossibilities; but in His command He counsels you both to do what you can for yourself, and to ask His aid in what you cannot do.

Augustine of Hippo. (1887). A Treatise on Nature and Grace (P. Holmes, Trans.). In P. Schaff (Ed.), A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series, Volume V: Saint Augustin: Anti-Pelagian Writings (P. Schaff, Ed.) (138). New York: Christian Literature Company.

We need to both pray concerning what is outside of our control, and do what God wants us to do.  We can't hide in a bunker and complain loudly about bishops being at fault because we're still under fire.  All of us who profess to be Catholics have a role to play.  It might be something like informing people on a national scale, but it also might be a matter of informing a co-worker who speaks about the so-called "war on women" how things really are.

God does have a role for each one of us to play.  We do have the free will to cooperate with God or to ignore that role He calls us for.  However, we must remember that God doesn't always use spectacular miracles to make His will known.  Sometimes he calls on the little people – like how he called a collection of tax collectors, fishermen and the like to bring His message to the whole world.

How far would those twelve men had gotten if everyone else in the Church had, instead of taking part in the mission of the Church, instead sat around and complained about how terrible these Apostles were for not getting more done?

In 2007, I don't think anyone foresaw this coming.  Now that it is here, we have to remember that all of us: Catholics, Protestants, non-Christians, non-believers – all people seeking to do right – need to make a stand against a government which is choosing to do wrong.

If we don't, the words Cardinal George uttered in 2010 will be prophetic:

"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr"

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Logic That Discredits a 'Gay Marriage' argument

In the news, there have been some cases of the media or activists taking offense when a high ranking official in the Church points out that if homosexual 'marriage' was permitted, there was no reason to deny polygamy and incestuous marriage between consenting partners.  The result is to watch the supporters of so-called 'gay marriage' hit the ceiling as they angrily deny such a claim, while accusing us of saying hateful things.  How dare they say homosexual relationships are the equivalent to incest and polygamy?

Well, they didn't make that comparison.  These were not statements of moral equivalence.  Nor were they examples of the "slippery slope" fallacy (which argues if X happens, then Y and Z must also happen). 

What the cardinal and the bishop did was to employ the logical tool of reductio ad absurdum (reduction to absurdity).  This tool shows that the consequences of taking an argument to its logical end are so absurd or offensive that the argument itself must be rejected as absurd or offensive.  (The reductio can sometimes be confused for the slippery slope, but the two are not the same)

The reductio can be broken down this way.

  1. IF a person accepts the claim that feelings of affection between people, able to give consent, are the only necessary conditions for marriage (and those who insist it is intolerance to claim that marriage between a man and a woman is the only valid form of marriage)
  2. THEN any similar feelings of affection between people able to give consent must also be granted the right to 'marry.'
  3. THUS absurd results like polygamy and incestuous marriage must also be accepted for the same grounds "gay marriage" is accepted (that is, you can't accept one and deny the other without being arbitrary).

"Sorry dear, I'm leaving you and marrying our 18 year old daughter… we love each other and it is bigoted of you to try to restrict who we can marry."

The point is NOT to say "homosexuality = incest."  The point is this argument for so-called "gay marriage" cannot exclude incestuous marriage and polygamy as well.  Since the angry reactions show us that even supporters of "gay marriage" are offended by this comparison – an indication that the consequences of taking the argument to it's logical end are absurd or offensive, it follows this argument to justify "gay marriage" is absurd (or else opponents of incestuous marriage are "incestophobic.")

Far from being a comparison of "gay marriage" and polygamy or incestuous relationships, this reductio ad absurdum points out that this argument put forward to defend "gay marriage" actually also justifies behavior that goes too far even for the supporters.  If the supporter of "gay marriage" wants to accuse us of 'homophobia' because we believe marriage should be between a man and a woman only, then the supporter of polygamy or incestuous 'marriage' can accuse the person who wants to limit marriage to two people who are not related to each other can also be accused of intolerant bigotry.

So here is the problem for those who attack the Catholic Church as "intolerant" because she defines marriage between a man and a woman only.  Because they recognize the openness to possibility of life as one of the requirements of marriage and the unity of two people as another, it is not intolerance that marriage be made up of only two people and between a man and a woman.

BUT, for anyone who claims that it is only the affection between people that is the basis of marriage – and therefore homosexual "marriage" should be allowed IS bigoted if they refuse to allow other unions which fall under this criteria.

Remember, by expressing outrage at this claim, the proponents of "gay marriage" have already demonstrated that they find the possibility of polygamy and incestuous "marriage" offensive by being outraged at what the bishop and the cardinal have said.  So their dilemma is:

  1. Either they tolerate any sort of relationship which can be justified by the reductio ad absurdum
  2. OR they must justify why they can draw the line to exclude these things and still rationally support "gay marriage."

Maybe that's why supporters are so prone to hurling ad hominems instead of explaining their position?

Monday, September 10, 2012

TFTD: Meaningless…

If a person believes in God in a meaningful way, it is reasonable to expect that this person will seek to follow the teachings of God to the best of his or her understanding and ability.

If a person believes in Christ in a meaningful way, it is reasonable to expect that this person will seek to follow the teachings of Christ to the best of his or her understanding and ability.

If a person claims to be a Catholic, in a meaningful sense, it is reasonable to expect this person to recognize that the Catholic Church was established by Christ and teaches with Christ's authority, protected from teaching error on issues necessary for salvation.


If one rejects the teaching and authority of God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Church Christ founded, such a person cannot claim to be a faithful Catholic in any meaningful sense of the term.

Once we realize this, when we look at the claims of those Catholics who deny the commands of God and Jesus Christ and/or the teachings of the Catholic Church are binding, what they claim to profess… is pretty meaningless.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

TFTD: Church Teaching NOT Up for Grabs

"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

(Luke 10:16)

I came across an opinion article from a badly misinformed writer on the conflict among Catholics during an Election year.  The annoying part of the article read:

Beyond secular politics, polarization in the church also includes tension about such things as the new Mass language, the ordination of women, the role of nuns, contraception, the nature of the priesthood and the role of laity. The very nature of the reforms of Vatican Council II is up for grabs. Inspiring leaders with vision and courage are sorely lacking.

That would be incorrect.  The nature of the reforms are not "up for grabs."  We need to recognize that the Catholic teaching is not an issue to be debated or voted on.  it is not something that would be changed if only the Church would bring in liberal bishops.  The truth is, faithful Catholics believe the Catholic faith was established by Christ with authority given to the apostles and their successors – the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him (the Magisterium).

Basically, when there is a dispute over the proper interpretation of Catholic teaching, it is the Magisterium which has the authority to determine what is in keeping with the Catholic faith and what is not.  Not some modern theologian.  Not some married couple who decide they don't want to follow the Church teaching on sexual morality.

Not even a deceased cardinal who took positions on morality which were dubious at best has the authority to change the teaching on his own say so.

What we have in America is not a case of  "Inspiring leaders with vision and courage are sorely lacking."  The Bishops who stand with the Holy Father and teach the message of the Church can indeed speak out with authority.  Those members of the Church who contradict the consistent teaching of the Church have no authority whatsoever for their position.  The ex-priest promoting priestly marriage, the liberal politician supporting abortion, the businessman who tries to distort the Catholic position on social justice, they do not.

it is important to recognize these truths.  To be authentically Catholic, one must remember that the doctrinal and moral teachings cannot be reversed and they are not mere opinions of the Pope and bishops.

Like it or not, those people who disagree with the teaching of the Catholic Church are, according to what follows from the Catholic faith, in conflict with God.  If a person accepts the authority of the Church as coming from Christ, they need to be faithful to the teaching of the Church as coming from Christ.  If one rejects that, it is pretty foolish to remain within a Church which claims it as true.

So let's stop the nonsense of the Church teaching as being "up for grabs."  Those who remain faithful to the Church teaching will be faithful to Christ, while those who deny the Church teaching will be denying Christ.  This is not political debate, but recognizing the truth God calls us to live.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Propaganda and lies: The Lie that Will Never Die

I see the usual comments following a news story about the Catholic Church – the Church is equated as being the biggest promoter of pedophilia.  It seems to be especially growing today with the American bishops taking a stand against the HHS mandate, abortion, gay "marriage" and other issues popular with one of the political parties but run counter to what the Catholic Church teaches.

In fact, it seems to be the modern version of Godwin's Law.  The modern version seems to be:

The longer an internet conversation goes on, the probability of someone invoking the Inquisition and the Abuse scandals approaches 1 – especially against someone who is defending the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

Some people may be wondering when this gross misrepresentation will die.  Most internet comments show a grossly misinformed public who believes that the Catholic Church, as a matter of official policy from the Pope down, deliberately tried to hide the abuse scandal, and a person might be thinking, that these people can't be uninformed idiots forever.

Unfortunately, they can.  History is full of gross misrepresentations about the Church.  The claim that the Church executed millions of people during the Spanish Inquisition, the claim that Pope Pius XII was pro-Nazi, the claim that the Church is anti-Science, etc.  The facts which show that these gross generalizations and so-called "common knowledge" are inaccurate can be easily be verified – but they are repeated nonetheless.

Just like these gross misrepresentations (some people actually claim over 100 million people were killed during the Spanish Inquisition– which would have been more than the population of Europe at the time), we'll hear all sorts of gross misrepresentations of how the abuse crisis was handled.

Of course in both the Inquisition and the abuse scandal, things were done that should not have been done and some bishops in the Church failed to shepherd the flock as they were obliged to do.  Catholics have no obligation to defend either the Inquisition or the way some bishops handled the Abuse scandals in their dioceses.  In fact we should not.

Rather, we do have the obligation to refute the gross misrepresentations which make it sound as if the brutality of the Renaissance era and the failure to protect the innocent children in modern times were due to a willful decision by the Catholic Church as official teaching.

These things shouldn't have been done , so nobody should try to justify wrong done.  But when someone acts as if all priests are abusers, they make the same kind of statement as "All Muslims are terrorists" or "all Hispanics are illegals" or "all Blacks are violent criminals."

Yes, some priests did abuse – and I pray we root them all out.  Yes some Muslims are terrorists.  Yes some Hispanics are illegals.  Yes some Blacks are criminals.


Not all of them are, and it would be unjust to label the whole because of individuals who do these things, or to claim that only these groups did these things.  There are atheist terrorists, Chinese illegals and white violent criminals, after all.

The attack on the Church (or the other stereotypes) is an example of the fallacy of the undistributed middle, drawing a universal conclusion from a limited group:

  1. Fr. Smith is a Priest (A is part of B).
  2. Fr. Smith is an abuser (A is part of C).
  3. Therefore priests are abusers (Therefore B is part of C).

The problem of course is that pointing out that A is related to B and C says nothing about how B is related to C.  In fact, there are several areas where the argument is flat out false, which can be shown in a Venn diagram:

Where allegation is false

If A = [Father Smith], B = [Abusers] and C = [Priests], the shaded part of B shows abusers who are not priests, while the shaded part of C shows Priests who are not abusers.  The point is, you can't argue from the fact that some priests were abusers that all of them are.  Nor could we say (if A = Bishop Smith, B = Those who cover up and C = Bishops) that the existence of some bishops who failed to report means the whole Church is guilty.

But this is the argument which is used to claim child abuse is  solely a Catholic issue and to argue that the whole Church is guilty.  I have seen countless times where some people try to argue that abuse is mainly committed by Catholic priests and that religious persecution is solely the provenance of the Catholic Church, when in fact instances of abuse within the Catholic Church is at similar rates to that of the Protestant churches and both are far less than in the Public School system.

This isn't a tu quoque argument made to excuse the Catholic Church.   Far from it – even if there had only been one case in the history of the Church, it still would have been one case too many.  Likewise, the existence of the excesses within the Inquisition is something that should sadden the faithful Catholic.  The point is, the claim that these things were exclusive to Catholicism is a lie.

Catholics need to remember never to give the impression of indicating that abuse is unimportant or sometimes not the fault of the abuser (as Fr. Groeschel regrettably did) when defending the Church from the growing myth.  Non-Catholics of good will need to realize that the rhetoric out there is grossly unjust in seeking to insinuate (or directly claim) that the sins of some priests who abused and some bishops who concealed does not indict the whole Church, nor that the Magisterium chose to make concealment an official policy, and to make that charge is as repugnant as the claim that all Blacks are violent criminals because some were arrested for violent crimes.

All people are called to seek out the truth and not to continue to repeat old charges without verifying the truth.

Monday, September 3, 2012

TFTD: Damnant quod non intellegunt (They condemn what they do not understand)


Dammant quod non intelligunt – They condemn what they do not understand.  These words of wisdom by Cicero are important to consider when witnessing the modern American political discourse.  All too often we see rhetoric which condemns a position while that condemnation demonstrates no comprehension of what they oppose.

A couple of days ago, someone posted the following comment on Facebook.

"[A]ll of us need to put a stop to the 'Republican WAR ON WOMEN'. I can NOT, I am mean [sic] I can not understand why ANY woman would be a republican."

Which made me think of a comment made by GK Chesterton:

"It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.

—G.K. Chesterton in The Catholic Church and Conversion

I think this points out the dangers of the ideology being forced on us today.  The people who cannot comprehend why we believe what we do respond by ad hominem attacks condemning those they disagree with. 

GK Chesterton wrote once, in the article, The Drift from Domesticity:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

This paradox rests on the most elementary common sense. The gate or fence did not grow there. It was not set up by somnambulists who built it in their sleep. It is highly improbable that it was put there by escaped lunatics who were for some reason loose in the street. Some person had some reason for thinking it would be a good thing for somebody. And until we know what the reason was, we really cannot judge whether the reason was reasonable. It is extremely probable that we have overlooked some whole aspect of the question, if something set up by human beings like ourselves seems to be entirely meaningless and mysterious. There are reformers who get over this difficulty by assuming that all their fathers were fools; but if that be so, we can only say that folly appears to be a hereditary disease. But the truth is that nobody has any business to destroy a social institution until he has really seen it as an historical institution. If he knows how it arose, and what purposes it was supposed to serve, he may really be able to say that they were bad purposes, that they have since become bad purposes, or that they are purposes which are no longer served. But if he simply stares at the thing as a senseless monstrosity that has somehow sprung up in his path, it is he and not the traditionalist who is suffering from an illusion.

I think it is a valid point.  I can understand why a Blue Collar Catholic or a Feminist might support the platform of the Democratic Party.  I believe their reasoning is faulty and leads them to a wrong conclusion, but I do understand the point their reasoning comes from.  I can also understand why certain Conservatives might be tempted by the Ayn Rand concept of Objectivism (a wrong turn in the concept of objective truth), even though I believe it is also wrong.  It is by understanding what they do think, I can also understand where they go wrong.

But when someone who opposes the Republican platform says, "I can not understand why ANY woman would be a republican," shouldn't such a person step back and ponder the issue before condemning it?  How do they know their knowledge contains all truth and no part of untruth?

Essentially this mindset argues that (to put it in a valid form):

  1. Everything I understand is true (All A is B)
  2. I do not understand [X] (No C is B)
  3. Therefore [X] is not true. (Therefore No C is A)

Even if the major premise is true (doubtful), that does not mean Everything that is true I understand (all [B] is [A]).  There can be gaps in the knowledge, and if there are gaps, there can be things which are true and you do not understand.  So it is foolish to think that because you do not see a reason a thing can be so, it follows that it cannot be so.

One can say, "I understand what they claim, but reject it as false."  One can say, "I do not understand, and so I need to explore more."  One can say, "I understand what is claimed and I accept it as true."  These three responses can be wise.  But to say, "I do not understand, so I think it is wrong" is not the act of wisdom, but the act of a fool.

This is one of the problems of modern thinking.  Nobody seems to recognize Socrates' maxim, The unexamined life is not worth living (Plato, Apology 38a), which is a pity  Responding to the question at his trial as to why he cannot just be quiet and stop teaching to save his life, he says:

Now this is the hardest thing to make some of you believe. For if I say that such conduct would be disobedience to the god and that therefore I cannot keep quiet, you will think I am jesting and will not believe me; [38a] and if again I say that to talk every day about virtue and the other things about which you hear me talking and examining myself and others is the greatest good to man, and that the unexamined life is not worth living, you will believe me still less.

Plato. (1966). Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 1 translated by Harold North Fowler; Introduction by W.R.M. Lamb. Medford, MA: Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd.

In other words, Socrates believed he was obligated to continue to examine himself and others as the greatest good to man, and the life which failed to do so was not worth living – not an endorsement of suicide but a commentary on the quality of life of the person who does not do so.  All of us are called to search for the truth and to absorb it into our lives. 

To refuse to accept truth and to refuse to reject error on the grounds of not understanding, is foolishness.