Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
December 22, 2003
WCR Letters to the Editor
Secular motif offends
We Catholics are so busy discussing and analysing our roles as evangelizers we fail to see the small things we ourselves are doing to unravel our own efforts. Take for example, the Covenant House insert in the WCR for the week of Dec. 1.
The item was a request for charitable donations to finance programs offered by the sisters at Covenant House. The insert also included a number of free Christmas gift tags. Sadly, not one - I repeat, not one - shows the true meaning of Christmas.
The tags abound with cutesy snowmen, angel bears (as if!), penguins, reindeer and a cardinal. Two tags come close, but (in the interest of bloated tolerance?) don't quite arrive at Christ's birth as the reason for the season. One depicts an angel carrying a star on a string, the other a candy cane.
In the same issue, a well-known Catholic organization - Bosco Homes - ran an ad on page seven, wishing readers a "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays." The trim around the ad consisted of another series of secular cutesies - frolicking reindeer, a dog hugging a tree ornament, ribbon, and - joy of joys - some holly. The last item at least has some Christmas meaning, but also mostly unknown.
Catholics worry about the Lord being kicked out of schools, Christmas, the family, and any number of other areas of our culture. At the same time, in the interest of religious tolerance, we ourselves shamefacedly deny the meaning of Christmas. Inadvertently, we contribute to the rampant secularization of this sacred Christian season with "winter festival/Santa" symbolism.
Where would we be today if Jesus had sunk into today's mire of mindless, extreme tolerance? Where would we be if he succumbed to the demands he carefully avoid any references to his Father or his mission for fear it might "offend" various segments of the society of his time?
God might have other worlds, on other planets
Charles Moore's column disclaiming a belief in the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe rather surprised me (WCR, Dec. 15). Not that he doesn't believe in any such thing: as matters are, there's no way of knowing. I was rather more interested in his reasons, which seemed to speak to a little-known but common spiritual issue.
If we truly believe in the infinity of God, why should we place limits upon God? Why cannot the same God who can care and love for the 10 or so billion human souls who are or who have been on this planet be incapable of caring for other souls on other planets? How is he so limited?
Why would we insist that the history of salvation, which has occurred on this planet, be a necessary condition if God did will that intelligent life appear on other planets?
At least as Catholics, we can say that Adam and Eve had other choices: they could have kept that one commandment, and a different path would have followed, or, we might also allow, that they might have so completely rebelled against God that salvation was not possible. Intelligent life elsewhere might have had a similar test and responded differently than we have done.
This is all speculation of course. Nonetheless, the desire to fit God into our preconceptions may be that exact lack of faith which so exasperated Jesus when he was living his earthly life.
Sometimes I am left with the impression that we have to more strongly announce our faith to hide the fact that we do not really believe in God - unless, of course, he fits our image of him. In which case, it may be at least as true that we make God in our image and likeness as the other way around.
John Patrick Day
So, just how did we get here?
While Charles Moore accurately observes that evolutionists hold that belief with a "cult-like faith", he nevertheless "accept(s) that there has been an evolutionary process" (WCR, Dec. 15).
I am not necessarily arguing the case for divine creation, but as an attempt at science evolutionary theory is absolutely not supported by the evidence of the fossil record - and this record is the only hard data we have in this inquiry.
If all present life forms evolved from original accidentally generated "simple" cells (as Darwin referred to cells, and we now know cells are about as "simple" in the numbers and fine-tuned interrelations of their parts as the "simplicity" of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet), then the fossil record would contain all kinds of transition creatures as one kind or species of organism was slowly evolving into another kind or kinds.
But what we actually find, exclusively, is fully formed "finished species" - no fossils of transition creatures whatsoever. Evolutionary theory cannot explain the data, so it is a bad theory of how the data came to be here.
To the best of human knowledge the universe came into being with a Big Bang about 12 to 15 billion years ago, and our planet was formed about four to five billion years ago, and life began to form on earth perhaps two billion years ago, and we have seen no evidence of life existing anywhere other than this planet.
The Big Bang and the consequent development of the universe and life on earth may have been God's act of creation, or it may have been some other kind of intelligent design, or it may have been fluke or mindless physics. Nobody knows.
What we do know is that we are here living on this planet with multitudes of other life forms, and we have skeletal, fossil and other records of creatures who previously lived here. We want to know how this came to be.
Claiming "evolution did it!" is even less helpful to this understanding than saying God did it "miraculously," because for all we know maybe God did do it miraculously but we definitely know it couldn't have happened the way evolution theorizes.
And at least belief in God is supported by numerous other benefits to humanity whereas belief in scientifically unsupportable evolutionary theory merely paves the road toward willfully ignorant ideologizing which runs in the opposite direction from intelligent rational inquiry.