Faith & Reason: April 2011 Archives
The transcript for the talk on whether a scientist can be a believer that was given at a lecture hosted by the New York Encounter in January has just been released by the Crossroads Cultural Center. Faith and reason is being explored here. It is a great question to ask if a believer in Christ --or perhaps a Jew or Muslim adherent-- can be credible, true to his or her being given a certain intellectual formation. Does belief in God forfeit our true search for the Divine? Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete's portion of the discussion is the most interesting to me and it is noted below (emphasis mine). A believer sometime has to work overtime to convince him or herself that faith and science are compatible. The other day my attention was drawn to what a little girl said about Lent: her view of life and the simplicity by which we have to look everything realizing that we don't make ourselves; everything is given. Albacete answers the question of the compatibility of faith and science: The answer, I propose, is not only yes he can, but, in fact, it is faith that will sustain his or her passion for investigating nature, and prevent the process itself and its results from becoming enslaved to political, economic, and religious ideology.Let me know what you think.
In such a case, is awe, wonder, and joy at scientific discoveries possible? When I was thinking about this, a friend sent me the text of a speech given by Msgr. Luigi Giussani about the "love of being" that is remarkably appropriate to this reflection. Giussani's argument is that the truth of Christianity can be verified by a proper consideration of the evidence for it. Evidence, he says, is the correct word, even if the evidence for the Christian claim is given to us through signs. Signs are things that can be touched, seen, and experienced. The Apostles had Jesus in front of them and this presence was a sign of His victory over death, and therefore of His mysterious identity. But what about us? What happens with the passage of time? What signs are there for us as evidence of the truth of the Christian claim, of the reasonableness of the Christian claim?
The interpretation of the signs available to us engages our liberty, he says. In this drama, our liberty is a manifestation of our love for being. Without this love for being we are not truly free and we will never grasp the evidence of the signs given to us. At this point, as an example of this love for being, Giussani invokes the Magi.
Coming to Christ --that's what I am calling it when some comes into full communion with the Catholic Church (or Orthodoxy)-- is not an easy thing for some people. Family, friends, employment, fear, and second-guessing the discernment can make "converting" all the more a royal pain. Only grace can sustain one's move from one ecclesial body to another. A case in point has been those of the Anglican Communion coming to Catholic Church and now Byran Kemper, a baptized Catholic turn Presbyterian who founded the Stand True Ministries, among other things. Kemper is also the author of Social Justice Begins in the Womb (2010).
Why is Byran Kemper coming into full communion with the Catholic Church (he's reverting to the Church in which he was baptized and through whom he received the pledge of future glory)?
He mentions a few factors that cradle Catholics often dismiss as important: the Liturgy, the Seven Sacraments, church authority, pro-life theology and activity, and friendship.
In the coming weeks as we move closer to the great feast of our faith, the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and where our brothers and sisters come home to Christ, add Bryan and the others in the RCIA programs around the world who will receive the Easter Sacraments at the Easter Vigil to your prayer list. Beg the Holy Spirit for the grace of fortitude.