A New Atheist and a Fundamentalist Walk into a Bar

January 8, 4042 (the future)

A so-called new atheist and a fundamentalist walk into a bar discussing a passage from the fundamentalist’s new Bible on “Richard Dawkins, the one and only true Messiah, who lived about 2000 years ago (at the dawn of the 20th century)”.

Richard Dawkins, the Enlightened One sent by God, had been severely persecuted during his lifetime by “the unenlightened peoples of the world”, but eventually his Spirit lived on. The story of his life had been written down by some of his later followers. None of them, however, had known Dawkins personally. They were all dependent on what eye witnesses had told them. No accounts by Dawkins himself or his immediate followers, the first Dawkinsians, were known.

Richard Dawkins Cult

Fundamentalist Dawkinsian: “It says here that he navigated many dangerous waters in his lifetime. So he was a skipper. This Book comes from God, so I know this claim to be true!”

New Atheist: “Archaeological research reveals that the very first manuscripts of your so-called Holy Book originated in the middle of the desert, among a group of so-called second generation followers of Richard Dawkins. Today researchers generally assume that the movement around Dawkins and the supposed Dawkins himself barely saw any waters at all. So that claim about “navigating many dangerous waters” and Dawkins being a skipper is just bollocks! Moreover, many elements of the stories around Dawkins are present in stories about famous figures of the time as well, like that Moses guy. Some of those celebrities are even completely fictional characters, like Bart Simpson. The story about Richard Dawkins seems assembled from other stories. So if Richard Dawkins ever existed at all remains to be seen!”

Fundamentalist Dawkinsian: “God’s Holy Book contains the true knowledge and science, He can’t be lying. It would be against God’s very own nature to deceive us! You’re an arrogant sinner not to accept the divine truth!”

New Atheist: “Go on then, you idiotic arrogant Dawkinstard, trust those ridiculous revelations! I’ll go with real scientific evidence, though!”

Richard Dawkins The Atheist Evangelist.jpg

In comes a Dawkinsian Biblical scholar.

Dawkinsian Biblical Scholar: “Hey you guys, 2000 years ago that expression in that context meant that Dawkins encountered many complicated situations during his lifetime. So it is a metaphorical way to express something about a historical experience. Your whole discussion about whether or not Dawkins was a skipper is off-topic. That’s what the science of historical critical research tells us. The writers used the idiom of their time and the stories people already knew.”

Fundamentalist Dawkinsian: “You’re not a true believer, you sinful corrupted traitor! You’re heir to the Catholidical Church of Dawkins, which is the Church of the Devil!”

New Atheist: “You’re a rationalizing apologist, stupid enough to waste your time on fairy tale nonsense. No one read the Bible that way at the time!”

In comes an atheist Biblical scholar.

Atheist Biblical scholar: “I must say my colleague, the Dawkinsian Biblical scholar, is right. He presents the scholarly consensus.”

Fundamentalist Dawkinsian: “You’re a sinner too, you arrogant know-it-all!”

New Atheist: “Well you’re kind of an arrogant prick to claim the truth, you corrupted pseudo-scientist! Of course you defend the scholarly consensus, your career depends on it!”

Ban AtheismAfter which the fundamentalist Dawkinsian and the new atheistBan Religion continued their mimetic battle. It gave meaning to their lives as it provided them with a sense of superiority over their “stupid, stubborn and evil enemies”. However, as mimetic doubles they eventually became each other’s idiots, hurling similar insults back and forth. It seems every human being becomes that idiot from time to time. They accused each other of being the source of many evils in the world, and therefore saw themselves justified to promote politics that would eliminate the other’s world view.

The Dawkinsian and atheist Biblical scholar, on the other hand, went for a beer together. Or so the story goes…

Mimetic Doubles Fundamentalism and New Atheism

 

 

Slavoj Zizek on Atheism & Christianity

It is no secret that atheist philosopher, Slavoj Zizek, relies quite heavily on René Girard’s assessment of Christianity.

Slavoj Zizek refers to René Girard‘s work in the book God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse and concludes that Christianity, revealing the innocence of erstwhile sacrificial victims, “[undermines] the efficiency of the entire sacrificial mechanism of scapegoating: sacrifices (even of the magnitude of a holocaust) become hypocritical, inoperative, fake…” As this sacrificial mechanism is the cornerstone of religious behavior, Christianity thus indeed is “the religion of the end of religion” (atheist historian Marcel Gauchet). Zizek, still in the aforementioned essay, also briefly explains how Christianity potentially brings to an end the ever-present sacrificial temptation: “Following René Girard, Dupuy demonstrates how Christianity stages the same sacrificial process [of archaic religion], but with a crucially different cognitive spin: the story is not told by the collective which stages the sacrifice, but by the victim, from the standpoint of the victim whose full innocence is thereby asserted. (The first step towards this reversal can be discerned already in the book of Job, where the story is told from the standpoint of the innocent victim of divine wrath.)” This assessment of Christianity could also help to understand Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s call for a “religionless Christianity” (or maybe we should speak of a Christianity transforming religion rather than destroying it – click here for more).

In other words, Christianity is – in a profound sense – one of the main sources of secularization. Secular societies are challenged to build a world without “sacred sacrifices”. As Zizek notes, “the sacred sacrifice to the gods is the same as an act of murder – what makes it sacred is that it limits/contains violence, including murder, in everyday life.” Precisely because a secular society, heir to the dismantlement of “the archaic sacred” by Christianity, no longer possesses the traditional religious means to contain violence, it has to find other ways to deal with violence, or else destroy itself. Zizek quotes Jean-Pierre Dupuy in this regard: “Concerning Christianity, it is not a morality but an epistemology: it says the truth about the sacred, and thereby deprives it of its creative power, for better or for worse.” And Zizek continues: “Therein resides the world-historical rupture introduced by Christianity: now we know [the truth about the sacred], and can no longer pretend that we don’t. And, as we have already seen, the impact of this knowledge is not only liberating, but deeply ambiguous: it also deprives society of the stabilizing role of scapegoating and thus opens up the space for violence not contained by any mythic limit.”

(Quotes from Zizek in Slavoj Zizek & Boris Gunjevic, God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse [Essay] Christianity Against the Sacred, Seven Stories Press, New York, 2012, pp. 63-64).

Zizek’s understanding of Christianity, in line with Christians like Girard, Chesterton and Bonhoeffer (see below), allows him to criticize the “religious atheism” of people like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and the like. For instance in the clip below:

Chesterton‘s reading of those famous ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani?’ (‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’) is that only in Christianity, and for him this is crucial, God himself becomes for a moment an atheist. And this is so tremendously important for me.

I think far from this fashionable idea that the Christian era is over, you know, all of this Aquarius bullshit, and we are entering a new era… Yes, we are, but I don’t like this new era, neo-paganism and so on… I think that today precisely we should stick to this tremendous explosive impact, we are still not ready to confront it, of what Christianity is truly telling us.

This is why I like to say paradoxically that to be an atheist, but don’t be afraid, not in the Richard Dawkins – Christopher Hitchens sense, but this authentic atheism in the sense of experiencing the radical absence of any transcendent guarantee (and in this sense, for me, Stalinists, communists, Darwinists are not atheists… no, they always have some higher figure of necessity and so on…), you have to go through Christianity.

My formula is not just that I try to give some atheist reading of Christianity, how God is really meant, that’s bullshit, but that only through the Christian experience can you reach the abyss of what I call atheism, which, again, is something much more radical than all the bullshit of Richard Dawkins and so on.”

 

Zizek also explains how Christianity destroys every possible “scapegoat” people can use to escape their own freedom and responsibility. There is no “karma”, no “natural necessity”, etc. that justifies and explains why people are and behave as they do:

“The only way really to be an atheist is through Christianity. Christianity is much more atheist than the usual atheism, which can claim there is no God and so on, but nonetheless it retains a certain trust into the Big Other. This Big Other can be called natural necessity, evolution, or whatever. We humans are nonetheless reduced to a position within the harmonious whole of evolution, whatever, but the difficult thing to accept is again that there is no Big Other, no point of reference which guarantees meaning.”

 

Compare all this with the following quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (from Widerstand und Ergebung):

“Und wir können nicht redlich sein, ohne zu erkennen, daß wir in der Welt leben müssen — ,’etsi deus non daretur’. Und eben dies erkennen wir – vor Gott! Gott selbst zwingt uns zu dieser Erkenntnis. So führt uns unser Mündigwerden zu einer wahrhaftigeren Erkenntnis unsrer Lage vor Gott. Gott gibt uns zu wissen, daß wir leben müssen als solche, die mit dem Leben ohne Gott fertig werden. Der Gott, der mit uns ist, ist der Gott, der uns verläßt (Markus 15, 34)! Der Gott, der uns in der Welt leben läßt ohne die Arbeitshypothese Gott, ist der Gott, vor dem wir dauernd stehen. Vor und mit Gott leben wir ohne Gott. Gott läßt sich aus der Welt herausdrängen ans Kreuz, Gott ist ohnmächtig und schwach in der Welt und gerade und nur so ist er bei uns und hilft uns. Es ist Matthäus 8,17 ganz deutlich, daß Christus nicht hilft kraft seiner Allmacht, sondern kraft seiner Schwachheit, seines Leidens!

Hier liegt der entscheidende Unterschied zu allen Religionen. Die Religiosität des Menschen weist ihn in seiner Not an die Macht Gottes in der Welt, Gott ist der deus ex machina. Die Bibel weist den Menschen an die Ohnmacht und das Leiden Gottes; nur der leidende Gott kann helfen. Insofern kann man sagen, daß die beschriebene Entwicklung zur Mündigkeit der Welt, durch die mit einer falschen Gottesvorstellung aufgeräumt wird, den Blick frei macht für den Gott der Bibel, der durch seine Ohnmacht in der Welt Macht und Raum gewinnt. Hier wird wohl die ‘weltliche Interpretation’ einzusetzen haben.”

 

Confirmation Bias in Atheism

A most interesting article appeared in a special edition of EOS, a science magazine in Dutch. It was about the quest for the historical Jesus. For those familiar with the material it was not a very revealing article. Nonetheless, it provided a kind of summary, albeit sometimes in a tendentious manner (click here for a better article on the subject from skepp). Take, for instance, this statement at the end of the article: “The scepticism of Christian researchers turns out to be quite a bit more flexible than the scepticism of atheist researchers.” This is a poor statement because it is made without any arguments. The article itself even provides some counterarguments. Let’s have a closer look.

A Marginal Jew Volume 1 (John Meier)First of all, the information contained in the article primarily comes from Christian researchers, and some of them are briefly mentioned. John P. Meier is quoted with this claim: “Jesus was a marginal Jew leading a marginal movement in a marginal province of a vast Roman empire.” Whoever is familiar with research on the historical Jesus knows that John Meier, a Catholic priest, has written the contemporary standard for historical Jesus studies. Meier’s four part magnum opus, entitled A Marginal Jew – Rethinking the Historical Jesus, is an instant classic. The first volume appeared November first, 1991. The fourth and final volume appeared 18 years later, May 26th 2009, completing the series with a total of 3102 pages.

Jona Lendering, a well-known Dutch historian who also writes columns as a “mild atheist”, claims that “the most important book any historian of antiquity should read is, actually, John P. Meier’s brilliant series A Marginal Jew – Rethinking the Historical Jesus. Better still, the quest for the historical Jesus is the most innovative and methodically most advanced specialism in ancient history. A Marginal Jew simply is the best book in the best developed research on ancient history.” (click here for pdf of “De joodse Jezus”).

Martin Luther King quote on science and religionIt is strange that Marc Meuleman, author of the article on the historical Jesus in EOS magazine, makes a statement about the supposed confirmation bias of Christian researchers while he simultaneously refers to websites like The Jesus Puzzle and a podcast like The Bible Geek. These atheist sources deny that Jesus ever existed. Some people all too easily accept and believe conspiracy theories. Meuleman correctly mentions that this claim is not the scientific consensus. Christian and atheist historians alike, concerned with research on the historical Jesus, agree on the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth and certain facts about his life.

In short, Marc Meuleman gives evidence for all too flexible and exaggerated scepticism by atheist researchers regarding the historical Jesus in his article, while he does not give any evidence to support his claim on the so-called lack of scepticism by Christian researchers. On the contrary, by mentioning John Meier he gives an example of a Christian researcher who meticulously distinguishes what can be said “as a historian” and what can be said “as a believer or non-believer (interpreting from different ideological backgrounds)” on the figure of Jesus.

quote Martin Luther King on scienceAtheists with a strong emotional aversion towards the Christian faith, apparently suffer from a confirmation bias regarding ancient history similar to the confirmation bias of certain Christian fundamentalists regarding the theory of evolution. Seen from their respective scientific specialisms, the claim that Jesus never existed is as stupid as the claim that evolution never happened. Richard Dawkins used to make the former claim (click here), followed later on by a statement that “it doesn’t really matter whether or not Jesus existed.” Well, maybe it doesn’t matter to someone who is not interested in scientific research, although Dawkins claims to foster “science and rationality”. And now we’re at it, how “rational” is Dawkins if he continuously minimizes “positive” examples of faith and religion in order to confirm his conviction that faith and religion are, in most cases, a “bad, delusional thing”? Confirmation bias, anyone? For instance, Dawkins claims that Martin Luther King’s leadership of the civil rights movement did not arise from King’s Christian beliefs. Maybe he should read King’s work first before making such statements. That’s what a scientist should do…

confirmation biasPerhaps Marc Meuleman’s statement on Christian researchers in his article can be understood by taking into account the influence of the anti-theistic “new atheism” of people like Richard Dawkins on the minds of the average atheist. Many atheists hold a confirmation bias on the supposedly ever present confirmation bias of “believers”. That’s why Marc Meuleman fails to see that he somewhat contradicts himself in his article. Atheists often ask for the author of an article to judge whether or not they will read the article, or whether or not they can trust its “objectivity”. Actually, a scientific mindset should focus on “what is being said” and judge by rational and scientific criteria, and not judge on the basis of a preliminary argument from authority. Everyone who reads John Meier’s work on the historical Jesus can judge this work by rational and scientific criteria and will most likely agree with Jona Lendering’s appraisal of it.

Anyway, whether we’re believers or atheists, we’re all human 🙂 and we often judge something by looking at others first – “Who said what?” Yep, we’re mimetic creatures, imitating the ones we’ve (again mimetically) learned to trust, even if this clouds our judgment…

Atheism and Ethics

A WORLD WITHOUT RELIGION?

 The question is whether an atheist world would be a better world.

Religionless Christianity (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)Slavoj Zizek, atheist philosopher, refers to René Girard’s analysis of Christianity in God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse and concludes that Christianity, revealing the innocence of erstwhile sacrificial victims, “[undermines] the efficiency of the entire sacrificial mechanism of scapegoating: sacrifices (even of the magnitude of a holocaust) become hypocritical, inoperative, fake…” As this sacrificial mechanism is the cornerstone of religious behavior, Christianity thus indeed is “the religion of the end of religion” (atheist historian Marcel Gauchet). Zizek, still in the aforementioned essay, also briefly explains how Christianity potentially brings to an end the ever- present sacrificial temptation: “Following René Girard, Dupuy demonstrates how Christianity stages the same sacrificial process [of archaic religion], but with a crucially different cognitive spin: the story is not told by the collective which stages the sacrifice, but by the victim, from the standpoint of the victim whose full innocence is thereby asserted. (The first step towards this reversal can be discerned already in the book of Job, where the story is told from the standpoint of the innocent victim of divine wrath.)” This assessment of Christianity could also help to understand Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s call for a “religionless Christianity” (or maybe we should speak of a Christianity transforming religion rather than destroying it – click here for more).

In other words, Christianity is – in a profound sense – one of the main sources of secularization. Secular societies are challenged to build a world without “sacred sacrifices”. As Zizek notes, “the sacred sacrifice to the gods is the same as an act of murder – what makes it sacred is that it limits/contains violence, including murder, in everyday life.” Precisely because a secular society, heir to the dismantlement of “the archaic sacred” by Christianity, no longer possesses the traditional religious means to contain violence, it has to find other ways to deal with violence, or else destroy itself. Zizek quotes Jean-Pierre Dupuy in this regard: “Concerning Christianity, it is not a morality but an epistemology: it says the truth about the sacred, and thereby deprives it of its creative power, for better or for worse.” And Zizek continues: “Therein resides the world-historical rupture introduced by Christianity: now we know [the truth about the sacred], and can no longer pretend that we don’t. And, as we have already seen, the impact of this knowledge is not only liberating, but deeply ambiguous: it also deprives society of the stabilizing role of scapegoating and thus opens up the space for violence not contained by any mythic limit.”

(Quotes from Zizek in Slavoj Zizek & Boris Gunjevic, God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse [Essay] Christianity Against the Sacred, Seven Stories Press, New York, 2012, p. 63-64).

With these thoughts in mind, we can frame the question about the atheist world in another way. Can our world survive its own potential for violence without religion, without the traditional sacrificial mechanisms that try to limit violence?

 NEW ATHEIST RELIGION & AMORAL ATHEISM

four horsemen of new atheismAs it happens, we seem to regenerate the religious impulse. To this day we keep looking for scapegoats to be cast out of society in order to purify ourselves from the evils in our midst. It’s part of the way we build ‘the City of Man’. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, two well-known spokesmen of the so-called ‘New Atheism’, clearly consider religion as one of the main sources of evil in the world. Hence, in their views, we would be better off without religion. But, precisely because of their tendency to blame theistic religion for “much of the evil in the world” and their attempts to expel or even sacrifice it, they create a new sacrificial religion, albeit an atheist one. How long before believers – without whom their theistic religion would not exist – no longer have the right to voice their views in the public sphere if the new atheists had their way?

The demonization of theistic religion by the new atheists is their way of suggesting the moral superiority of atheism. Their reasoning, however, is flawed and incomplete. Take, for instance, this challenge by Christopher Hitchens:

“Name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever. And here is my second challenge. Can anyone think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of religious faith?”

Some people, thinking of the atrocities committed by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, try to make this a more balanced rhetorical statement by adding a question: Can anyone think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of atheism?

The new atheists already have their response to those who think that the crimes of Stalin et al. had anything to do with atheism. Richard Dawkins:

“What I do think is that there is some logical connection between believing in God and doing some, sometimes, evil things, but there’s no logical connection between them [Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot] being atheists and doing evil things. It’s just incidentally true that, say, Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin happened to be atheists, but that wasn’t what drove them. What drove them was a political ideology. It had nothing to do with atheism.”

Another atheist puts it this way:

“While Stalin and Mao were atheists, they did not perpetrate their atrocities because of their atheism. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in god. One cannot commit a crime in the name of ‘there is no god’. On the other hand, one can commit a crime in the name of ‘god’.”

This statement also implies that nothing good can be done in the name of atheism. Atheists can do good things like believers can do good things. The difference is that believers can do good things “in the name of god”. Atheists can do bad things like believers can do bad things. The difference is that believers can do bad things “in the name of god”. But, just like crimes cannot be done in the name of “there is no god”, good deeds cannot be done in the name of “there is no god”. Atheism is not immoral, neither is it moral. Atheism is amoral – it literally has no moral implications.

Therefore, it is not guaranteed that an atheist world would be a better world. It all depends on the ethics that will be developed in such a world. Moreover, theists and atheists alike can only believe that one ethical decision or even system is better than another. They can never prove this. Science observes and describes facts, it doesn’t morally judge them – we cannot move from what is to what ought. We’ve already seen the ethics of Stalin’s political ideology, to name but one example, and it’s highly questionable whether that was a good thing…  And if we would put some of the new atheist ideas into practice, we would regenerate a sacrificial system of potentially apocalyptic proportions. Sam Harris, for instance:

“Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them. This may seem an extraordinary claim, but it merely enunciates an ordinary fact about the world in which we live. Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense. This is what the United States attempted in Afghanistan, and it is what we and other Western powers are bound to attempt, at an even greater cost to ourselves and to innocents abroad, elsewhere in the Muslim world. We will continue to spill blood in what is, at bottom, a war of ideas.

sam harris condones murder (cartoon by blamethe1st)

Seen from the perspective of René Girard’s mimetic theory, these ideas of new atheists mirror the ideas of some of their fundamentalist counterparts (for more on this, click here to read and watch Religulous Atheism). The tiny proportion of theistic fundamentalists that take part in acts of violence justify their violence in a similar way. They think it is ethical to kill certain people in order to cleanse the world of evil. New atheists and theistic fundamentalists become mimetic (i.e. imitative) doubles – imitating each other’s ways of scapegoating. However, as a wise man once said, “Satan cannot cast out Satan”. We cannot destroy (the possibility of) violence by using violence. We cannot destroy fear if our politics of security justify themselves by constantly referring to the things we should be afraid of. We cannot destroy evil by using evil.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on blindness to evil

In the end we’ll have to imagine a new peace, but not the (theist and atheist religious) peace of “this world”, which is based on sacrifice. It might be the peace this man speaks of:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Peace I leave with you

Questions for Stephen Hawking

In 2010, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking made a statement in his book The Grand Design (co-written by Leonard Mlodinow), which raised quite a few eyebrows:

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.”

Of course Richard Dawkins was among the first to welcome this statement, proving once again that his emotionally driven campaign against religion sometimes gets in the way of more rational judgments. Despite the overwhelming availability of objections, I’m still confronted with this issue from time to time, and with some misconceptions surrounding it. So I decided to summarize what I consider the main problems with Hawking’s statement, problems which someone like Dawkins doesn’t seem to consider.

Hawking’s statement implies that we don’t need anything else than a scientific explanation to present our world ‘as it is’. Moreover, it implies that a scientific explanation is the only valuable explanation, the only ‘true’ explanation so to speak.

Problems:

1. The claim that reality is presented ‘as it is’ only in a scientific explanation can never be proven.

2. If we can never prove that science presents the world ‘as it is’, then the statement that ‘we don’t need God to explain the universe as it is’, cannot be proven either.

Hawking seems to forget that his variation of scientism concerning the origin of our universe is a philosophical position and not a scientific one. One can believe that science eventually reveals the complete and true nature of reality, but this metaphysical claim can never be proven. Moreover:

Scientism, in the strong sense, is the self-annihilating view that only scientific claims are meaningful, which is not a scientific claim and hence, if true, not meaningful. Thus, scientism is either false or meaningless. The Skeptic’s Dictionary.

Maybe an analogy can broaden the discussion.

Applied to the phenomenon of sex, the implicit principle of scientism used by Stephen Hawking might raise the following questions:

1. Does a scientific explanation of sex present you sex ‘as it is’?

2. If so, why don’t we experience the same thrill of sexual intercourse during biology class?

3. Can it be proven that the only ‘real’ and ‘true’ goal of sexual intercourse is the one that’s scientifically revealed by biology?

4. Actually, we know that some things cannot be proven scientifically (e.g. the statement that science eventually tells you all there is to know). Doesn’t this fact show that there’s more to know than science can reveal? Applied to the phenomenon of sex: isn’t there anything more to ‘know’ about sex than what a scientific description can teach us – or any other description for that matter? Isn’t reality ‘as it is’ far more than what we can say about it, scientifically or otherwise? A mystery which transcends us, anywhere, anytime?

No explanation, scientific or otherwise, can ever resolve the mysterious fact “that there is something rather than nothing”, or “that there is something which came to be in such and such a way”.

AN AFTERTHOUGHT

I can imagine not needing God to practice science… I don’t need God to explain or describe the world (and its origin) scientifically. It’s like I don’t need my brothers to work at school, or to go to bed, or to enjoy a song one of them recorded, or to tie my shoelaces, or to breathe… But if I wanted to love them – specifically them -, I’d need them. By the way, I do, you guys… And if I desired life for a child who died at a very young age, because I experience this as something unjust, I couldn’t count on myself or any other human being to fulfill this desire. I’d need something or someone beyond our human capacities. Well, all I’ve got is a bag of hope, with some other matters of the heart

For more on the relationship between “faith” and “modern science” as distinguishable spheres, I recommend some articles by Joseph R. Laracy, mainly focusing on Georges Lemaître, a well-known astrophysicist and a Catholic priest who formulated the Big Bang hypothesis. Lemaître refused to mix “matters of science” with “matters of faith” and claimed he could not say anything about “God as creator (or not)” from a scientific point of view.

TO READ THE ARTICLES BY JOSEPH R. LARACY, CLICK THE FOLLOWING:

Priestly Contributions to Modern Science: The Case of Monsignor Georges Lemaître (pdf) 

Christianity and Science: Confronting Challenges to Faith and Reason in the Histrory of Philosophy and Theology

The Faith and Reason of Father Georges Lemaître