Converging and Convincing Proof of God: Introduction
exists. It is in fact foolish to try to use these kinds of reason because they are out of place in the premises.
Though he presumably believed in God, the Massachusetts physician Duncan MacDougall was still a fool when in 1907 he tried to weigh the soul by measuring the average weight loss of tuberculosis patients who died while on a scale. (He claimed the soul weighed 21 grams.)
Dr. MacDougall confused categories. The human soul, like God, is immaterial and invisible, which is to say, it will never be sensed by our senses, whether of sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch. That does not mean it doesn't exist. It simply means that it is a reality that is discovered another way.
The exact opposite error of Dr. MacDougall is found in the modern scientist whose science he says compels him to be an atheist or agnostic. The modern scientist who refuses to believe in God because God cannot be proved by empirical science, because God not subject to the experimental method, is, at least in this regard, a fool no less than Dr. MacDougall. A fool in a different way is still a fool.
This is the error and the foolishness of a modern man. He thinks univocally, and has abandoned analogical thought. He has put materialistic blinders on his reason. So he's stuck in what various thinkers have called various names: the "iron cage" of modernity (Weber), the "immanent frame" (Taylor), "Newton's sleep" (Blake), "deafness to the divine" (Benedict XVI). All of this comes from what Pope Benedict XVI in his Regensburg Lecture identified as the "reduction of the radius of reason."
Medieval man was more clever than modern man when it came to these sorts of things. That is why, despite the common saying, no medievalist would ever have argued about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. The medieval scholastic was wise enough to know that mixing categories of the material world with categories of the spiritual world as if they were univocal things would be worse than mixing apples and oranges.
Medieval man avoided the error of the foolish Dr. MacDougall (applying empirical thought which works with material reality to invisible, spiritual reality). He also avoided the error of the foolish modern man or woman who justifies his or her disbelief because God cannot be proved by science. We have to recover that common sense that medieval man had plenty of.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of "'converging and convincing arguments (argumenta convergentia et persuadentia)' which allow us to attain certainty about the truth" that God exists, that he is a personal God, and that He is our First Cause and Final End.
The next series of articles introduced by this one and entitled "Converging and Convincing Proofs of God" will look at some of the "converging and convincing arguments" which allow us with certainty to know that God exists.
Relying on the excellent work of Aidan Nichols, O.P., A Grammar of Consent, we will draw from the insights of the "illative sense" in the thought of Blessed John Henry Newman, the movement of eros in the works of St. Gregory of Nyssa, the spiritual restlessness of St. Augustine of Hippo, the ontological insights of St. Anselm, the classic "proofs" of St. Thomas Aquinas, the mystical sensitivity of St. John of the Cross, the reasons of the heart of Blaise Pascal, the practical musings of Immanuel Kant, the sense of anxiety of self-estrangement of Søren Kierkegaard, the sense of hope Gabriel Marcel, and the refulgent joy of G. K. Chesterton.
All these insights will, when put all together, give rise to "converging and convincing arguments" that allow us with certainty to conclude by the light of reason alone that God exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. (Heb. 11:6).
Andrew M. Greenwell is an attorney licensed to practice law in Texas, practicing in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is married with three children. He maintains a blog entirely devoted to the natural law called Lex Christianorum. You can contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: existence of God, proofs of God, faith, reason, Andrew M Greenwell, Esq
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Year of Faith News
- True and False Spirituality: Beware the Friends of Job or How to Deal With Fair-weather Friends
- WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Finding God Where You Would Rather Not Look
- TUESDAY HOMILY: Holy and Unholy Ambition
- We Need a New Pentecost: Come Holy Spirit, Come With Your Fire!
- MONDAY HOMILY: I Do Believe, Help My Unbelief!
- SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - Come Holy Spirit
- Peter and John, Two Pillars and Two Paths
- FRIDAY HOMILY: Follow Me
- THURSDAY HOMILY: Father, May they Be One. Do We Pray and Work for Christian Unity?
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?