God speaks in a culture without clothes

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By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio – articles – email ) | August 26, 2022

Sometimes when I watch nature shows, I get annoyed by the constant claims that “nature” did this or “nature” did that. It’s almost as if “nature” was someone’s name and had to start with a capital N. It is a measure of people’s fear of talking about God. Our modern material culture is much more comfortable, at least in the short term, with refusing to probe beyond the surface of things. It is easier to live in denial of ultimate reality.

Paradoxically, if the latest data and findings from the physical sciences spread as quickly and forcefully as the barely developed theory of evolution did about a century ago, the typical schoolboy would learn things like this:

  • As far as we can tell, the universe had a distinct beginning about 13.8 billion years ago, apparently exploding from a super-compressed core, the origin of which scientific study cannot explain. This is why we live in an ever-expanding universe.
  • Fully relying on Random interpretation of the theory of evolution (i.e. completely unguided evolution), this span is not even sufficient to explain the development of the highly complex, coherent, interdependent and successful combination of life forms that we know today. Probability statistics essentially rule it out.
  • Our planet seems to be attuned to what is called the “anthropic principle”. Unlike any other planet we have information about, planet Earth has an enormous array of environmental factors that are all extremely finely calibrated for biological life (at least as we know it) to survive and thrive. The odds of the required combination of factors occurring by chance are astronomical, even in an imaginary cosmic multiverse of thousands and thousands of different “universes”.

I’m only scratching the surface, of course. But one would think that a truly scientific culture would come up against the need to answer the question of God in the affirmative every day, instead of claiming that modern scientific study has somehow eliminated the need to resort to the Divine. to explain anything. . In any case, the philosophical arguments which so clearly suggest the existence of God are still just as strong, even if we prefer in our educational institutions to ignore them. For example, we can still easily recognize the five classic ways of understanding the existence of God that were drawn from the Western philosophical tradition and summarized by St. Thomas Aquinas.

The escape from contingency

My favorite is the contingency argument (which the bullet points listed above fit very well with). This argument begins by noting that everything we encounter in what we call the natural world depends on something else. In other words, nothing that we can observe exists completely independently. On the contrary, everything is quota on something else. It is as obvious for an oxygen molecule or for a rock as for a human person. But if that’s true, nothing could exist if there weren’t somewhere a non-contingent being that we don’t see, on whom everything else ultimately depends for existence.

Similar to the primary cause and prime mover arguments, the contingency argument proceeds to a necessary logical conclusion from our own experience and the experience of anyone who has observed or studied anything in this universe for thousands of years. ‘years. The necessary non-contingent being must, of course, be a being whose essence is existence itself, one that simply cannot not to exist, and logically the only such being: In other words, the stupendous “I am”, i.e. God.

Scientific developments, particularly in physics, over the past few generations strongly suggest (but of course cannot prove) that the universe is inexplicable without the existence of God. It speaks volumes about the materialistic biases and desires of our affluent “elites” that these scientific findings have not returned the “intellectual establishment” to an apprehension of the existence of God in the same way as the theory of God. evolution of the 19th century. was, in its very underdeveloped beginnings, used to help drive the “intellectual establishment” into denial of God.

But of course, the existence of God has always been in man’s ability to draw inspiration from his ordinary inner and outer experiences. Therefore, we invariably find that the rejection of such a fundamental view of reality is shrouded in selfish indulgence and a desire to push away all judgmental thoughts. If we turn to the highly developed (and, as it happens, divinely revealed) religious experience of ancient Israel, two almost identical psalms (numbers 14 and 53), both almost certainly composed about 2,600 years, express this idea:

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God. They are corrupt, they do abominable acts; there is no one who does good…. They have all turned away; together they became corrupt…. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who devour my people as they eat bread and do not call on the Lord?

Go further

The perspective of the Psalms shows remarkable insight into the social and spiritual factors that intertwine in how we answer the question of God. Despite some who seek truth with relatively open hearts, it is the desire for immediate gratification through the fascinating attraction of evil that makes our corrupt contemporary culture push us so hard to flee in the opposite direction. Jesus Christ, who had a deeply personal knowledge of these realities at all levels, expressed the same problem with acute psychological insight: “Those who do evil hate the light” (Jn 3:20). Worse still, the cultural dominance of a felt need to deny God places enormous obstacles in the way of those who might otherwise, as Our Lord also said, “turn around and be forgiven” (Mk 4:12 ).

The physical sciences, of course, cannot prove the existence of God. The true nature of any discipline is to use its own tools and methods. No branch of study can be used to prove conclusions about what is beyond its competence. The error, of course, comes from the assumption that the skill appropriate to a particular discipline is all there is. In earlier periods, when the study of material things was not so advanced and specialized, it was possible for an educated person to gain a clear idea of ​​what each discipline is for and how it all fit together to give us greater knowledge. of all reality. With such specialization today, too many researchers tend to elevate their own disciplines into universal tools that can provide universal explanations.

But they can’t. Once we begin to think that our own academic (or personal) concerns are all-encompassing or all-important, we become intolerably bigoted. We become increasingly hostile to those who raise issues over which our own areas of interest and study have no say. We live in a culture that depends almost absolutely – and certainly in detrimental ways – on turning a blind eye to realities that can undermine prevailing assumptions. All cultures are like this to some extent, but ours literally makes a living.

There is a radical urgency about all of this, because if more light is allowed, people will begin to see that not only the Emperor but Imperial culture itself is completely bare and chillingly exposed. Our current culture believes that material satisfaction is the essence of life, and therefore inherently temporary distractions are the only source of happiness. More than ever we have to live against the culture. The only choice left is between despair and Jesus Christ.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a doctorate. in Intellectual History from Princeton University. Co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full biography.

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