And then I wrote… in 2014, the national Catholic newspaper Our Sunday Visitor invited me to submit a few words about science and faith… as anyone who reads these pages knows, it’s hard to shut me up on the topic! This covers familiar ground; but it does it in a way that I hope was very accessible to a popular audience...
“What do I do, if science tells me one thing but religion tells me another thing? Which do I believe?”
There’s a false assumption at the center of that question – because neither science nor religion are about in “believing” in “things”.
Our religious belief is not in a “thing,” but in a Person – indeed, Three Persons. Our faith is in the Father, Son, and Spirit as described and identified in the Creed, and in the Church that leads us to those Persons.
The words of the Creed are important precisely because they identify one very specific God: the Father outside of time and space (already present in the beginning) who deliberately chose to create time and space, and who loves this universe; Jesus who was incarnate in this universe by the Holy Spirit, born of Mary, who lived at a particular time, died in a particular way, was resurrected at a particular moment; and that same Holy Spirit now sent to us as our advocate, present in this universe in our Church.
When the Creed was written, there were plenty of other gods that some people wanted to believe in. But we Christians specifically reject the pagan nature gods. We no more believe in them than we would worship some other guy named Jesus who lived at a different time and place and had a different history than the Jesus we call Lord.
It’s tempting to turn our worship of the Creator into worshiping a nature god, one who fiddles with how things work in the natural world, like a force alongside electricity and gravity. It’s the same temptation as worshiping a version of “Jesus” who was just a nice guy that came to an unfortunate end, or a version of “Jesus” who was merely deity dressed up in a man-suit. Both the nature god and the simplified “Jesus” are easy to grasp and understand; but they are false. They’re not what Christians believe.
Just as it’s tricky to understand Jesus as both true God and true man, it’s tricky to understand how the Creator relates to Creation. That’s where science comes in.
Science is our best way of describing how the universe behaves. You might say, where faith tells us that God created the universe, science tells us how He did it. Science is important precisely because...
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