Saturday, February 15, 2014

Atheist Meme #4:Science, Beauty and Awe

 I have not done one of these in a while, so I think it's about time.  I saw this meme this morning and it caught my eye, not because of the way it displays modern day secularists complete ignorance of what religion teaches about the nature of man...

...but because of the way it displays their complete ignorance of what science tells us about human beings. Quite simply, in all my years as an engineer, doing scientific research, I have never come across a study or research paper which provides evidence for the claim that a human child is "full of wonder" or "beautiful". You will be hard pressed to even find the use of this language in your average scientific paper.

   I wish I could ask the parents of this child, which are obviously filling her head with these erroneous views, what is the unit measure for "awe" or "beauty"? How many of these does a flower have over a Monet painting? How many "wonder units" will trigger that most common of all toddlers questions..."why?"

    The mistake this meme makes is that statements such as "you are beautiful" or "I'm full of wonder" are by their very nature philosophical. Science can say very little about wonder and the capability to appreciate beauty other than perhaps explain the neurological effects these unique human  experiences have in the brain. The most we should expect from science is to explain the "how" of these experiences.

    To find  the "why", why a child is beautiful and why it is full of wonder, we need more than science, we must turn to philosophy which tells us that man is much more than a collection of its own electrochemical and mechanical parts. Philosophy points towards a greater reality, spiritual and eternal. It is this reality which orients us towards what is true and beautiful.

   Religion just provides context to these philosophical ideas.

  • Why can we say we are are filled with wonder? Because we were created for this purpose. To be attracted to truth and beauty.  
  • Why are we attracted to truth and beauty? So that we can find out our true destiny, our place in  creation. We are oriented towards that which is eternal. 
  To put it in a Catholic context:

You have formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in You - St Augustine

 This is what the true religion has to tell about us; that we are created with a deep need for truth, and we can only find this truth when we find the Creator.

 Up to now I have been focusing on the right side of the meme. Let me address the left side.

 Often secularists portray religion in a rather pessimistic (almost Calvinistic) way. They think that  religious people suffer from a horrendous case of self loathing. This is clearly evident on the list of what religion supposedly says about a young child. The problem with this view is that ignores one of the fundamental teachings of the Bible about human beings.

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness - Genesis 1:26

  We are created in the likeness of God, we reflect God's goodness and beauty, yes we are flawed and yes we make mistakes but fundamentally we are good because our creator is good. To quote the Cathechism of the Catholic Church:

1702. The divine image is present in every man. It shines forth in the communion of persons, in the likeness of the unity of the divine persons among themselves

 So you see, religion exalts the human being, but for science, humans are just another subject matter.

 I hope this presentation helps dispel the erroneous ideas this little meme is propagating.

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"

Friday, February 14, 2014

A New Take on an Old Classic

    I've always been a big fan of the rock band Guns and Roses. It was great to see them during the Superbowl half time. I think that Sweet Child of Mine is one of their most recognizable songs.

 Today I found this new take on this old classic. I'm also a big fan of New Orleans blues sounds (thanks to  James Lee Burk novels), so this song really resonates within me. I hope you like it as much as I do.

"Viva Cristo Rey!!"