In my quest to answer my mother's question, "Is the Human population growing beyond it limits?", I came across your articles about this topic. My initial instinct was to answer her question with a resounding YES! And discount your arguments due to my choice to persue Ph.D. from UNC Chapel Hill in environmental management. But after listening to her rebuttals and reading your articles I came to develop a much larger and more profane question " Do the teachings of science and religion coincide to answer whether or not there is some basic moral law or code, and if so, why then is science so denounced by the catholic church?".
I was raised in a catholic home and continue to practice my catholic upbringing despite discrepancies between the two teachings with which I live my life by- God and Science. I only call the differences between the two discrepancies, because I believe that they appear different because neither one is fully understood and therefore unresolved differences remain between the two, but a common explanation is the bases for both. While theologians strive to teach and better comprehend God's intentions for his people, scientists try to unravel and explain some of the mystery's of our existence, and the part we play in the greater scheme of things. In fact it is science that both reassures us that we have some control over our destiny and at the same time reminds us that we are only a small part of a much grander realm. Religion helps explain this grander realm which we are part of and hopefully will someday come to fully know and understand.
It is of course true that many people deny the existence of God and religion because as some scientists would put it, in particular Carl Sagan,"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, but I know nothing that would lead me to believe this and that this is nothing more then wishful thinking." While I don't agree with Dr. Sagan's public statements, his contributions as far as to our understanding of the Cosmo and our place on earth are enormous. Therefore, if he has taken reason and intelligence so literally that he can not see a greater existence or being, or even a more discourse thought, perhaps in order for Dr. Seagn to accomplish his work God choose to give him such a rational mind that he could better explain the Cosmo and in turn give us better insight into God's wonder's, but as a result knew that Carl Sagan would never be able to recognize God until confronted by him after death. To take the quote from Jesus in Mark 10:21, "There is still one more thing you need to do ...," is it not conceivable that the one more thing we all must do is reconcile what it is that God put us on this earth for and exploit his gifts to the fullest. So, even if it is contented that what people are doing is not God's devine work, if they still discover it and remain true to their gifts does that make them any less worthy of heaven. If they follow the moral law, and yet don't profess it as God's doing, does that make them lesser or unworthy of God's love and forgiveness.
I don't believe God created us so that we would worship him, he placed us here to discover our souls and learn how to be in his divine likeness. I believe that everybody represents some part of God and that it then becomes incumbanant upon the individual to nourish and love that part. So, why then if science enables us to recognize God's gifts and helps answer questions that inspire the soul, does it appear that the Catholic Church wants all people to embrace its way of thinking and outlook on how life should be lived and judged. I personally have never tried to convert a person over to my to my religion, and yet I feel as though I have met some of the most caring, giving non-Catholic people as I will ever meet. They struggle to find ways to improve the environment which always somehow seems to inspire us to think of different representations of God, but in my mind God still the same. Conversely it seems that the intolerance of the church for different view points is more detrimental then what these people call God and how they try knowingly or unknowingly to preserve his gifts. Therefore, my question is this, "Is the recognition and living of the Moral Law superceded by the recognition that is precisely God's codes and laws in which we must follow, and more to the point is this the Catholic Church's teachings or God's?". I really appreciate your time and look forward to a response.
Mark J. Huff
Thanks for the e-mail with your reflections and questions. A lot of thought & sincere concern went into it. You will have to explain the final question a bit more for me ("Is the recognition and living of the Moral Law superceded by the recognition that is precisely God's codes and laws in which we must follow, and more to the point is this the Catholic Church's teachings or God's?".) The moral law is summed up in the two great commandments (Love of God & Love of Neighbor). The second part can be known naturally by all people but is often obscured by self-indulgence, rationalization, etc.. It seems that seeking Someone greater than our own selves is also common to all (even Stephen Hawkings, in spite of the somewhat bitter joke his ex-wife made). You indicate that search in your letter.
About the question:
I would say that is not the right to put it since none of us is "worthy" of forgiveness. God forgives us because of who he is. We do not deserve it. A deep reflection on the inner moral law teaches us that. That is why I spoke about a certain trembling at the end of my article--and in other places on the website.
God bless. & greetings to your mom. Sounds like a wise person.
Fr. Phil Bloom
P.S. Why do you say science is denounced by the Catholic Church? Even in the Galileo case it was not science itself that was the issue. The problem, as Phillip Johnson illustrates in Reason in the Balance, is when "science" becomes identified with naturalism. It's like going into a store to buy an apple and being told you have to purchase the whole produce section in order to get it.