Poor Galileo, sent to the woodshed by the Church for showing that the earth revolved around the sun. That 17th century dust-up has ever since been offered by atheists as evidence that religion and science have no place together — if religion has a place at all.
Along with the phenomenon of the “new atheists,” British scientist Richard Dawkins among them, many people of faith have heard friends or family members contend that religious faith is not intellectual and therefore is not worth taking seriously.
Professor Brad Gregory will tackle the topic head-on during his talk, “Science vs. Religion? The Compatibility of Catholicism and the Natural Sciences” on Thursday, Sept. 12 at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood.
The talk is part of Archbishop Charles Chaput’s Year of Faith Lecture Series. New York Times columnist and author Ross Douthat will speak about religion in America on Sept. 19 and Archbishop Chaput will conclude the series on Oct. 1. All talks begin at 7 p.m., and the cost for each is $5 per person. (Register for the lecture here.)
“The split of faith and science is a fruit of what happened in the (Protestant) Reformation,” said lecture series organizer Meghan Cokeley, director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for the New Evangelization. “This split between the natural world and faith (has grown), whereas Catholicism has always seen these as deeply integrated.”
Gregory is well suited for the topic, Cokeley believes. He is a former professor at Stanford University, current professor of early modern European history at Notre Dame University and author of “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.”
Explaining the link between science and religion has made Gregory a critic of those who deny the intelligibility of religious faith. (See his article outlining the “insights and oversights of the new atheism,” and watch a video of Gregory with Father Robert Barron on Catholicism and the new evangelization.)
“He has taken on the new atheism in powerful ways,” Cokeley said. “The new atheists have been unintelligent in their accusations of religion. They don’t treat religion in an intelligent way and they’ve never even read anything in theology.”
In a promotional flyer for the lecture, Cokeley invites people interested in attending the lecture to bring along friends who “identify themselves as atheist or agnostic and challenge them to put their conceptions of God and the Church to the test. (It is) an excellent opportunity to evangelize and be evangelized!”
The new evangelization is the theme of Archbishop Chaput’s Oct. 1 lecture, and is the focus of Cokeley’s office, newly created July 1 to specifically promote the movement among Catholics and all residents in the Archdiocese.
Cokeley has found that generally, people are responding positively to the Catholic Church’s call for reinvigorating the practice of faith through the new evangelization. While the majority of Catholics “are not familiar with what it is or have not heard about it,” a smaller number have told her it “has been a long time coming. This is what we are about,” she said.
Register for the lecture and learn more about the Year of Faith Lecture Series here.
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Greetings Mark. Sorry for my delayed response but there is an ongoing family medical crisis. This entry helps take my mind of things for a bit. Your point regarding humanity’s suffering is well taken and something everyone has questioned. Creation, however, by its’ very nature is imperfect. It can not be perfect because it is “stuff” and not spirit. “Why this type of universe and not another?” I don’t have an answer for that. I can not deny, however, that nothing by its’ very nature has to exist and yet it does. “Why?”
Also there is a very long, distinguished list of scientists who saw no contradiction between faith and scientific reason and were believers: Galileo (despite his troubles with Inquisition), Copernicus, Pasteur, and so forth. Even Einstein and Salk were Deists. (Do a goggle search of believing scientists which includes many non-Catholics)
I sense your passion and desire to make the world a better place. Go for it! Perhaps consider a scientific field. God will speak to you when you least expect it. Peace.
The fact that faith exists doesn’t negate the reality of science. If the world was really created randomly, I certainly wouldn’t expect to find a universe with rational laws rather than random occurrences. To my mind it is only because there is a rational creator that there are rational laws that govern the universe and which can be discerned through our senses and through use of the scientific method. And our awareness of the creator and our thanks to Him for the goodness of this world does not in any way decrease the importance of understanding this world and doing our best to make it a better place both materially through the use of science and morally through the use of faith and reason. We need both working together, not one or the other.
The most consistent connection between science and religion has been the ongoing debunk of religion. Faith is a poor shield against rigorous testing, well researched history, real archeology and honesty.
Greetings Mr. Moore: Faith by its’ nature can not be proved or disproved by rigorous testing. Although complimentary, these are two different realities being studied. The modes of verification don’t fit interchangeably. The question is: do these contradict each other. The answer is “no”.
There are two basic modes of being: essence and existence. Essence is what something ‘is’: be it a chair, fish, rock, or human. Yet nothing by its essence requires it to exist yet it does. This is where religion comes in. Nothing has to exist and yet it does. Why?
I respectfully suggest science and religion display two sides of the same Reality with greater depth, nuance, and beauty in each succeeding generation. Each with its own set of time tested, non-contradictory methodologies.
And I would offer that if believers went for faith based medicine en mass there would be a lot fewer believers very quickly. Next time someone starts to take you to the hospital just tell them you want the faith medicine. Tell them to stop right there and pray for you.
Faith was applied to small pox and a host of other diseases for centuries and all the prayer that was poured on those diseases did nothing to slow them down. When science discovered the germ theory (no thanks to God or Jesus) we soon began to cure small pox, cholera, diphtheria and a host of other diseases. We began to cure diseases like priests had pretended they could all along.
Doctors and nurses using science cure people of life threatening diseases as a matter of course by the millions.
Eliminate faith from the earth and life will get better and better as new discoveries are made. Drop science and go with faith and there will be a holocaust as there has never been seen on this planet in all of history. People will die by the billions of starvation and disease and prayers will do nothing to slow it down.
By promoting faith particularly to the young you are crippling the next generation. You are slowing forward progress. You are wasting their time on nonsense. Promote science and you will prepare them for the less religious world they will be living in.