(4/19/14, Black Saturday) Those who criticize Christianity in particular and people of faith in general (including Jews) say that their alternative (God) is science. Their claim is that faith is refuted by their science, reason and objectivity and that only a personal, subjective faith is left for those who cannot stand in the boxing ring with them and hold their own.
Assuming what I will call the role of an iconic figure as the College Professor who uses science to rebut faith in God, we see in the movie God’s Not Dead, this assault on Christianity and those who believe in God.
Movie antagonist Professor Radisson is brilliantly played by my new hero (I have NEVER watched a single “Hercules” episode), Kevin Sorbo, who leads this assault by science and logic on his student, defender of the faith and heroic protagonist in this movie. I highly recommend the movie but for today I prefer to make use of Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg remarks to rebut this continuing attack on faith in the name of science.
Pope Benedict XVI’s 2006 speech at Regensburg addresses this supposed clash between personal faith and science as we consider the meaning of Good Friday and the death of Jesus Christ, and the claim by His followers of His Resurrection celebrated tomorrow as Easter Sunday, the most critical day in this most critical week of the Christian calendar.
In rebuttal, Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 speaks for the Church in defending right reason as a tool for determining objective reality and our place (and duty) in this world, because one cannot divorce from reason one’s conscience as the evaluator of the information that science and logic put before us to evaluate.
I believe the Pope is saying in his brilliant Regensburg remarks, that we must be cautious that we are indeed using “right reason” or an “informed conscience” or else the supposed attempt to use science as a replacement for faith becomes itself an exercise in subjectivity, not the use of objective reality and science.
The reality of this Holy Week – the most important part of the Christian calendar culminating in the Resurrection tomorrow, is that God gives man the ability to reason, not only the gift of grace, and hence, the ability to make a choice we were given by his death and His redeeming mankind from our sin nature.
While we celebrate that choice we have on Easter, the fact of His painful death and taking our sins onto himself in full payment of man’s bad choices is shown to us in so many ways that Faith alone is reinforced by right reason.
Seeing Heaven Is for Real last night bolsters that use of right reason, along with so many other hints and clues, from the Shroud of Turin (always worth studying but especially during Easter week) to study of the Bible, Church teaching and history, as to make the case for Christianity irrefutable in logic not only with faith.
On the subject of right reason and how we ought to behave in this earthly life, Pope Benedict at Regensburg in 2006 criticizes those who would remove the faith perspective from consideration as non-scientific:
“…it is man himself who ends up being reduced, for the specifically human questions about our origin and destiny, the questions raised by religion and ethics, then have no place within the purview of collective reason as defined by “science” and must thus be relegated to the realm of the subjective. The subject then decides, on the basis of his experiences, what he considers tenable in matters of religion, and the subjective “conscience” becomes the sole arbiter of what is ethical. In this way, though, ethics and religion lose their power to create a community and become a completely personal matter.
“This is a dangerous state of affairs for humanity, as we see from the disturbing pathologies of religion and reason which necessarily erupt when reason is so reduced that questions of religion and ethics no longer concern it.
In my view, the Pope’s critical point is this: “…the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.”
I stand with Pope Benedict and his remarks in 2006 at Regensburg, and with Christians around the world in being thankful for the sacrifice by our Lord Jesus Christ yesterday, Good Friday, and His resurrection tomorrow, Easter Sunday. Both subjective Faith and scientific right reason dictate that I do so. I pray for more people to come to this faith, both through the development and cultivation of right reason, and by prayer, that most subjective of all choices. Because in the end, we are all of us here with the gift of reason, to choose our own path, and as the Gladiator (movie) tells us, “what we do here echoes in eternity.”
Note: this article was inspired by a recent discussion by Young Americans for Freedom alumni at their private group on google. YAF was founded in 1960 and its alumni helped build the modern day conservative movement.
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