Sunday, October 26, 2008

Religion and Timeliness

Last week we went to see my Dad, who is getting chemo for Pancreatic Cancer.

I had gone to the Marytown giftshop and told the lady there (I think she is a nun, but you can't tell these days) that my Dad had cancer. She started running around and loading my arms with things, "I needed" some of them, "right away." I got him a Perpetual Mass (they say his name for people to pray for him in every mass at the chapel there, I told my Dad, "they'll be reading your name in the mass..." in homage to The Quiet Man), a couple of candles, a scapular, two prayer cards, and a bottle of holy water from Lourdes.

With my own flagging faith I didn't know if this would do any good, but I figured I didn't want to be like the man in the joke that by passed a 4x4, a boat and a helicopter because he was waiting for the Lord to save him from the flood, never realizing that the Lord sent all those things. My situation is the other way around, but if God was going to save him by Holy water or chemo, I wasn't going to ignor anything.

I also didn't know if my Dad would appreciate the gifts. He and my Mom are donating their bodies to science and neither of them care what happens to their bodies, "when they're done with them." My Mom is a vocal atheist (I don't know if that's the right term, since I think she is mad because God isn't running things the way she thinks they should be run and therefore she refuses to believe in him), so I didn't know if they would just roll their eyes at me. In fact, my Dad said that only my Mom felt that way about God and he was willing to take any and everything. I guess he agreed with my opinion about the man in the joke.

The timeliness I speak of is this, it seems strange that in order for me to really think clearly about the existance of God I need the latest books and articles. Because science is advancing rapidly on the origins of the universe, the presumed territory of religion, in order to counter the very latest arguements against God's existence, I need the very latest information.

I've found two books that might help me in this, both published in 2008. The first is Spiritual Evolution by George E. Vaillant and the second is The Big Questions in Science and Religion by Keith Ward. I haven't gotten very deep into either, but they seem to be acknowledging science and the advances being made and not dealing with the entire issue in strictly a spiritual sense.

I've been reading and listening to the "Skeptic Newsletter" and Skepticality. I know that the usual defense of faith by those skeptics who are still believers is that faith has NO basis in science and is not testable. It is therefore NOT subject to skeptisism. You can choose to believe or not believe, there can be no proof of it either way.

Douglas Adams confronted such an arguement in the first Hitchhikers' book. His result was God responding, "I never thought of that" and disappearing in a puff of logic.

I've never agreed with Adams, but I do need a better logical arguement, and more. I need a way to view God for what God means to us.

I'll let you know how the books turn out later.

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