Monday, September 6, 2010

My three favorite quotes on science and religion

This was posted the other day on the BioLogos Blog, Science & the Sacred:
"Science and the Sacred" is pleased to feature essays from various guest voices in the science-and-religion dialogue. Today's entry was written by Francis Beckwith. Francis Beckwith is Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University and is a prolific scholar of jurisprudence, the theory of law. His most recent book, Politics for Christians: Statescraft as Soulcraft, clarifies the confusion many Christians feel about how their faith should shape their involvement in the public square, particularly within politics. 
The BioLogos Top-List Survey is a sociological exercise aimed at collecting lists of people’s ‘favorites’ in a variety of categories related to the mission of BioLogos, i.e. relating to the science, philosophy, and religion dialogue. 
A survey question is asked of a scholar in the area of science, philosophy, or religion, who responds with their “Top-List” and, if he or she wishes, a brief commentary on why that particular list was chosen. Each new “Top-List” survey thread will be introduced by an opening Top-List from someone who is considered an ‘expert’ to friends and regular visitors, or who holds a perspective that BioLogos is promoting. 
The “Top-Lists” are not a place for debate or argument. Instead, they are simply an opportunity to show and share what one values in one’s approach to the discourse of science, philosophy, and religion. By listing books, articles, quotations, figures, dates, events, links, etc. one can point to references and resources that may help others discover new thoughts, new people, and new ideas. 
To keep things simple, we will restrict all “Top-List” experts to the same 1,250-character limit as imposed in the comment boxes. 
This week's list was written by Francis Beckwith. 
Question 
"What are you three favorite quotes on science and faith?" 
Answer 
  1. “For when anyone in the endeavor to prove the faith brings forward reasons which are not cogent, he falls under the ridicule of the unbelievers: since they suppose that we stand upon such reasons, and that we believe on such grounds." - St. Thomas Aquinas 
  2. “It is clear from a churchman who has been elevated to a very eminent position that the Holy Spirit’s intention is to teach us how to go to Heaven, and not how the heavens go” - Galileo 
  3. “This rapid survey of the history of philosophy, then, reveals a growing separation between faith and philosophical reason. Yet closer scrutiny shows that even in the philosophical thinking of those who helped drive faith and reason further apart there are found at times precious and seminal insights which, if pursued and developed with mind and heart rightly tuned, can lead to the discovery of truth's way. Such insights are found, for instance, in penetrating analyses of perception and experience, of the imaginary and the unconscious, of personhood and intersubjectivity, of freedom and values, of time and history. The theme of death as well can become for all thinkers an incisive appeal to seek within themselves the true meaning of their own life. But this does not mean that the link between faith and reason as it now stands does not need to be carefully examined, because each without the other is impoverished and enfeebled. Deprived of what Revelation offers, reason has taken side-tracks which expose it to the danger of losing sight of its final goal. Deprived of reason, faith has stressed feeling and experience, and so run the risk of no longer being a universal proposition. It is an illusion to think that faith, tied to weak reasoning, might be more penetrating; on the contrary, faith then runs the grave risk of withering into myth or superstition. By the same token, reason which is unrelated to an adult faith is not prompted to turn its gaze to the newness and radicality of being.” - John Paul II, from Fides Et Ratio

1 comment:

donbryant said...

I don’t know where to post this relative to your posts, but I am wondering if you think Roman Catholic Thomism has kept the RC church maintain a “middle way.” I think much of the problem with Reformed thought (I am a graduate of Westminster Seminary) is its inability to escape necessary conclusions based on its “Bible says” hermeneutic. It gets locked into all kinds of commitments that to me are morally uncomfortable to say the least(and I think to them also), one of which is double predestination and the other of which is limited atonement. I am of the impression that their desire to be faithful to Scripture locks them in, even if it means believing something that is morally repugnant. Thomism offers a way between unbridled reason and fundamentalism. Its high view of reason offers a way through that “Bible only” movements do not. It seems to enable the RC church from "tipping over" as evangelical Protestant movements do after only a few generations. I commend to readers Peter Kreeft’s teachings in the Modern Scholar series (audio cds), The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Norman Geisler is about the only Protestant evangelical scholar I am aware of who attempts to bring Aquinas to the table. By the way, thanks for recommending Roger Olson's new blog, and I posted a similar comment at his site. I would like to see some more reflection on Thomism as a way through the heavy intellectual lifting required of our faith. I am not saying I am a Thomist but Kreeft makes it compelling and vital. I am reading his The Summa of the Summa.