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Between Wasting Time and Serving God


"Science can purify religion from error and superstition; religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes." - Pope John Paul II

One of my worst habits (or possibly my best habits) is catching up on the news and my favorite blogs while I study. When I am studying my bum off or trying to type up some project, I take a few moments to give my brain a small rest every now and then. These little breaks are my only means of catching up with world events and the weather.  Recently, BadCatholic wowed me with a post on yet another “scientific” discovery that supposedly disproved God’s existence. I could not help but reply to this post with a line or two of dry humor followed by a link to this post  from a while back. In this post, I argued in favor of faith over irrelevant details and putting timelines and limits on God’s omnipotence.

I didn’t think much of it until someone commented on this post some time later. I say comment, but it was really more of a cry for help (some would even venture to say “rant”). At first, I thought it was a joke. Then, I thought, “Wow, this guy is actually serious…and attempting to demonize the post of a faithful person who simply stresses the WHY of creation rather than the HOW.” Then I felt the need to respond to this guy and sort out a few misconceptions. Alas, he beat me to the punch and posted something about me on his own blog before I even had the chance to reply (neuro final = no time).

I intended to reply to his comments and defend my good name as a Catholic and as a scientist after finishing my exam…but the more I thought about the tone of the comments and the tone of this individual’s own blog post regarding my post….the more I realized that…. 

Well said, Admiral Ackbar
Call me a creeper, but my suspicions led me to Google him. By the looks of it, I think I’m just going to save myself the time …swallow my pride….and throw in the white towel.  The comments were a trap. They were a trap designed to have me waste my time researching and clarifying…just so he can refute whatever I have to say (and whatever sources I cite)…regardless of what I have to say.  The argument was already lost even before it started. However, I am okay with this. I have already dealt with people just like him before and understand that there are people out there that just need to ruffle feathers to feel like they’ve gotten some point across. Some call them trolls. I call them "They-who-waste-my-time-for-no-reason."

 Any reply to his comments would be a waste of time in the making. Agreeing with him would probably lead to an internet high-five of some sort, followed by this guy riding off into the sunset and never visiting my blog again. The only time I’d waste here would be a three sentences-worth of typing (maximum). However, my integrity as a Catholic as well as a scientist would probably take too much of a hit. Any other reply, ranging from an outright “you’re wrong” to a lengthy and well-studied reply opposing his views would have probably wasted several days-worth of my time (at least). Time would be wasted researching everything (and citing), refuting his increasingly cranky responses…and finally I’d just ignore him and he’d eventually get tired and move on to his next victim.  As a PhD student, I’ve learned the value of triage…so I’m cutting my losses here by just opting out of the battle entirely.

Giving into challenge would be a waste of time for the sake of pride. I refuse to abandon integrity…but pride, not so much. Besides, if our conversation follows the same suit as those of others who have disagreed with him, it would certainly do more detriment to credibility (mine as well as his) than it would draw souls to God. Based on what I’ve read of this guy’s comments, his responses to comments, and how threads have quickly escalated to insults and accusations…I feel that engaging this guy in a discussion would only lead to more polarization between science and religion. One of the main purposes of this blog is to do the opposite.
One minute, SCP...
the next minute ICU. 
Call me a coward, a wimp, or any other name you can think of…but I choose my battles. There’s a difference between attempting to talk about matters of the faith and attempting to reason with obstinacy. The first may serve to enlighten and inform. The second may lead to an emergency room trip. Trust me, I made the mistake of getting into scuffle at a soccer stadium when they sat us in the middle of the wrong fan base….I know how quickly one thing can lead to the other.

The frequency and tone of the comments on my blog are very similar to the comments on other blogs before mine. Considering my schedule and refusal to resort to polemics, I will not involve myself in a debate over dinosaur fossils and conspiracy theories.  There’s no point in my scouring the internet looking for journal articles to reason with someone who refuses to listen to 99.9999% of material out there in favor of the .0001% of material that agrees with whatever he deems to be true.

I simply don’t have the time to waste and I would rather be posting about things and doing things that would help me fulfill my duties as a Catholic Christian…like spreading the good word and sharing my faith. I’d rather heal divides than create new ones. To be quite frank, this guy's previous comments and rebuttals speak for themselves….and polemics just aren’t my thing. If this guy refuses to even listen to the Pope, he definitely won’t listen to some Catholic PhD student….so I’m not going to bother.  He is entitled to his own opinions, beliefs, and conspiracy theories. I will just have to respect that and take whatever beating he’s willing to throw down on that blog of his. I’ll just chalk it up as a lesson in humility and a lesson in dealing with “one of those people.” I suppose every blog gets one or two of them.

Now, a few words of wisdom (sorry, the inner Catholic kept bugging me about sharing this):
Currently, I see in Germany, but also in the United States, a somewhat fierce debate raging between so-called “creationism” and evolutionism, presented as though they were mutually exclusive alternatives: those who believe in the Creator would not be able to conceive of evolution, and those who instead support evolution would have to exclude God. This antithesis is absurd because, on the one hand, there are so many scientific proofs in favour of evolution which appears to be a reality we can see and which enriches our knowledge of life and being as such. But on the other, the doctrine of evolution does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man? I believe this is of the utmost importance.

-Pope Benedict XVI

A Few Points to Ponder, Brought to You by the Catechism
1. Who made you? God made me.

2. Why did God make you? God made me to know him, love him and serve him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in the next.

3. To whose image and likeness did God make you? God made me to his own image and likeness.

4. Is this likeness to God in your body, or in your soul? This likeness to God is chiefly in my soul.

5. How is your soul like to God? My soul is like to God because it is a spirit, and is immortal.

6. What do you mean when you say that your soul is immortal? When I say my soul is immortal, I mean that my soul can never die.

7. Of which must you take more care, of your body or of your soul? I must take more care of my soul; for Christ has said, 'What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and suffers the loss of his own soul?' (Matt. 16:26)

8. What must you do to save your soul? To save my soul I must worship God by Faith, Hope and Charity; that is, I must believe in him, I must hope in him, and I must love him with my whole heart.

9. What is faith? Faith is a supernatural gift of God, which enables us to believe without doubting whatever God has revealed.

10. Why must you believe whatever God has revealed? I must believe whatever God has revealed because God is the very truth, and can neither deceive nor be deceived.

11. How are you to know what God has revealed? I am to know what God has revealed by the testimony, teaching, and authority of the Catholic Church.

12. Who gave the Catholic Church divine authority to teach? Jesus Christ gave the Catholic Church divine authority to teach, when he said, 'Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations'. (Matt. 28:19)

Does it really matter how old the earth is? Does it really matter when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Does it really matter if the earth revolves around the sun?

No.

God has a better idea of where we should focus our time and energy. To put it simply, we have far many more important things to worry about besides winning arguments, defending time lines, and arguing carbon14 analyses. If you don’t believe me, reread the Catechism excerpt above until it makes sense.



Pax Vobiscum




3 comments:

  1. You can't help the committed, yelling atheist so trying to do so is a waste of time. You can, however, help the agnostic who lurks to see how you respond. I've come to the conclusion on my own blog that responding with love, kindness, respect and then logic probably has the highest payoff. Like you said, the argument with the screamer was lost before it started, but there might be others silently watching who can be brought to Christ.

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  3. Mr. DeLano,

    I hate to do this, but I am removing your comments from my blog and will remove any future comments. You can say whatever you want and attack as many people or beliefs as you see fit on your own blog...but I will not tolerate any of it here.

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