Monday, May 26, 2008

The Need for Scholasticism

A new book asks, and is titled, "Does science make belief in God obsolete?" The series is comprised of 13 short essays published by the John Templeton Foundation. I read of this originally from the The Times, "Can Science and God Ever Get Along?" by Tim Hames.

The series promotes the supposition that faith and reason are inversely related subjects. Of the contributors only one contends that the relationships between faith and reason is something other than antagonistic, or at the very least divorced.

Certainly, I would rather have Christopher Hitchens crass answer, "No, but is should." Than the more dangerous excursus made by Jerome Groopman (a Harvard professor of Medicine). Groopman writes, "As a physician and researcher, I employ science to decipher human biology and treat disease. As a person of faith, I look to my religious tradition for the touchstones of a moral life."

He continues, "So, the question of obsolescence is miscast, because science and faith should exist in separate realms."

This is the folly of Christianity today.

If faith is simply another 'realm' of ones life, if it is merely another book section in Barnes and Noble, if it is only a moral hobby, than it will surely and sorely be misunderstood.

None of the religious leaders took to task the underlying supposition. That faith is not some mere and somewhat queer "feeling" that rests within someone. Though a few made overtures of how morality (and thus, perhaps God) may influence how we implement science, no one argued how reason is a necessary part of faith.

Of all the writers the most well spoken was Keith Miller, a professor at Brown University. He writes, “The categorical mistake of the atheist is to assume that God is natural and therefore within the realm of science to investigate and test. But God is not and cannot be part of nature. He is the answer to existence, not part of existence itself.”

That morality and science are distinct and separate is myth of modernity and the university. It makes for a Procrustean either/or that need not be. There is a need for Scholasticism. The Augustinian phrase, "faith seeking understanding" needs reasserted by the Church while at the same time coupled by the academe's adoptions of the phrase, "understanding seeking faith." There is a middle ground that is larger than the two margins.

So, my answer? Does science make belief in God obsolete? No, and it shouldn't.


Jimmy Cooper said...

Since we keep playing phone tag, I figured I would say hello this way. Nice post Jason. I couldn't agree more. Simply put, where is the pure faith that has no need of reason? Moreover, where is the pure reason that contains no faith presuppositions?

The Catholic Atheist said...


Was reading C.S. Lewis' "The Problem of Pain" and starts out with a fascinating quote from Paschal, "it is a remarkable fact that no canonical writer ever used Nature to prove the existence of God." The flame of faith is sparked with the steel of Revelation and the flint of reason.

I hope we talk soon, much has happened and hearing your advice would allay my lingering concerns.
Also, you must tell me of how little James Jr. is, and of course, your wife.

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Thank you!