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Science and Fundamental Theology

December 1, 2006

In what is tritely labeled as a scientific, post-scientific and technological age, our present time calls for a critical and, hopefully, fruitful relationship with science in its various modes. Throughout the history of the Church, some of the greatest theologians–from the Church Fathers to the Ressourcement thinkers and all in between–engaged the prevailing ideas and methods of their day. Whether it was Augustine working with Neo-platonic cosmology and Roman politics, Boethius with Aristotelian logic, Thomas Aquinas with Aristotelian physics and metaphysics, Pope John Paul II with modern political systems and ethical theory, or Pope Benedict XVI with technology and ideological atheism (to name only a few seminal thinkers), our brightest Christian minds have dialogued with the most important and/or present trends in their societies. Today, the natural sciences have overwhelmingly convinced most circles in academia and in greater society of the legitimacy of their ascendancy. I am convinced that our theologians’ responsibility is to extend fundamental theology to those branches of science that come to bear most heavily on the question of man and his place in nature.

Now, I am no theologian, let alone a bright Christian mind, but I would like to occasionally post on certain issues pertaining to science that may enlighten theology and its allies. Science is no enemy to theology, as the past two popes have reminded us. However, theology does not trump science either. Theology and science are not in the business of one-upmanship despite what evolution-phobic Catholics or atheistic scientists may tell us. That said, I am insistent that Catholic theology give science its opportunity to speak. If we really believe that faith and reason do not conflict, and that truth does not contradict Truth, then we Catholics do not need to listen with trepidation to science’s findings provided these findings are distinguished (but not necessarily divorced) from whichever ideology that particular scientist may embrace (compare and contrast Jaki and Dawkins).

That said, be expecting the occasional post on science.

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