A twelve year old child prodigy who taught herself how to paint and is also picking up piano quickly has aided in the conversion of her mother who was an atheist. The girl claims to have had visions of Christ and Heaven and painted them with such great detail that they began to make her mother think: Where did these images come from and how did her daughter get such a detailed image from her imagination?
This is an interesting story considering atheists love to claim that people are born atheists and that in order for one to believe in God, one must be indoctrinated. This brings doubt to this claim because this young girl came from an atheist background with no knowledge or exposure to religious belief. Was this the VMAT2 gene working or was it God who was really giving this young girl these images to paint?
In any event, the mother left atheism behind.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said he will not be much in the public square but excepts of a letter he sent an atheist has reached the media. “He’s back!” – say some newspapers.
The letter was written in response to mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi’s book, “Dear Pope, I write to you” where he presents scientism as the only position all people should adhere to and critique’s Pope Benedict XVI’s papacy and writings. In the letter, Pope Emeritus responds to his handling of the sex abuse scandals and even pokes fun at Dawkins and some of his ideas calling them “science fiction.”
Regarding the sex abuse claims, Pope Emeritus wrote:
“I have never tried to hide these things. That the power of evil penetrate to such an extent in the inner world of faith is for us a suffering which, on the one hand, we have to endure, while, on the other, we must at the same time, do everything possible to ensure that such cases do not repeated.”
Benedict XVI then mocks the strange ideas regarding evolution that Dawkins and other atheists propagate:
“There is, moreover, science fiction in a big way just even within the theory of evolution. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a classic example of science fiction. The great Jacques Monod wrote the sentences that he has inserted in his work certainly just as science fiction. I quote: “The emergence of tetrapod vertebrates … draws its origin from the fact that a primitive fish” chose “to go and explore the land, on which, however, was unable to move except jumping clumsily and thus creating, as a result of a modification of behavior, the selective pressure due to which would have developed the sturdy limbs of tetrapods. Among the descendants of this bold explorer, Magellan of this evolution, some can run at a speed of over 70 miles per hour.”
Pope Emeritus proceeds to own the atheist by saying that his ‘religion of mathematics/science’ does not answer or explain the human realities of “freedom, love and evil.” He writes:
“I’m amazed that with just one stroke you eliminate freedom, which has existed and is the fundamental principle of the modern era.”
“Whatever neurobiology says or doesn’t say about freedom, this is present as a decisive reality in the actual unfolding of our history, and it must be taken into consideration.”
Benedict XVI then in his known humility acknowledge that he was a bit harsh in his criticism and ended the letter by saying that “frankness is part of dialogue.”
Benedict XVI explains why frankness is necessary. We have to be direct with atheists and even mock their ideas showing how they are ridiculous.
Pope Emeritus mocks how Dawkin’s ideas make no sense and are a stretch of the imaginary. Atheists often use science and stretch is to the point that it makes no sense. As he noted, Pope Emeritus told this atheist how relying on nature as the cause of the universe really does not disqualify God nor does it really answer anything. It becomes a “nature of gaps” fallacy.
I am glad Pope Benedict XVI is still active. I relate to him a lot in that he loves academia, reading and loves to refute literature just like I like to do on my blogs and offline.
Ill. mo Odifreddi Mr. Professor, (…) I would like to thank you for trying to the last detail to compare with my book, and so with my faith, just that is mostly what I meant in my address to the Roman Curia on the occasion of Christmas 2009. I have to thank for the way he treated loyal my text, seeking earnestly to do it justice.
My opinion about your book as a whole, however, is in itself rather mixed. I read some parts with enjoyment and profit. In other parts, however, I marveled at a certain aggressiveness and dell’avventatezza argument. (…)
Several times, she pointed out to me that theology would be science fiction. In this respect, I’m surprised that you, however, feel my book worthy of discussion as follows. Let me suggest on this issue four points:
1. It is fair to say that “science” in the strictest sense of the word it is just math, while I learned from you that even here yet distinction should be made between arithmetic and geometry. In all the scientific specific subjects each time has its own form, according to the particularity of its object. It is essential that you apply a verifiable method, excludes arbitrariness and ensure rationality in their different ways.
2. She should at least recognize that, in history and in that of philosophy, theology has produced lasting results.
3. An important function of theology is to keep religion tied to reason and reason to religion. Both functions are of paramount importance for humanity. In my dialogue with Habermas have shown that there are pathologies of religion and – no less dangerous – pathologies of reason. They both need each other, and keep them constantly connected is an important task of theology.
4. Science fiction exists, moreover, in the context of many sciences. What She exposes the theories about the beginning and the end of the world in Heisenberg, Schrödinger etc.., The designerei as science fiction in the best sense: they are visions and anticipations, to arrive at a true knowledge, but are, in fact, only imaginations with we try to get closer to reality. There is, moreover, science fiction in a big way just even within the theory of evolution. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a classic example of science fiction. The great Jacques Monod wrote the sentences that he has inserted in his work certainly just as science fiction. I quote: “The emergence of tetrapod vertebrates … draws its origin from the fact that a primitive fish” chose “to go and explore the land, on which, however, was unable to move except jumping clumsily and thus creating, as a result of a modification of behavior, the selective pressure due to which would have developed the sturdy limbs of tetrapods. Among the descendants of this bold explorer, Magellan of this evolution, some can run at a speed of over 70 miles per hour … ” (Quoted according to the Italian edition of The Chance and Necessity, Milan 2001, p. 117 ff.).
In the issues discussed so far it is a serious dialogue, for which I – as I have said repeatedly – I am grateful. The situation is different in the chapter on the priest and Catholic morality, and by still another in the chapters on Jesus As for what you say moral abuse of minors by priests, I can – as you know – just take note with deep concern . I have never tried to hide these things. That the power of evil penetrate to such an extent in the inner world of faith is for us a suffering which, on the one hand, we have to endure, while, on the other, we must at the same time, do everything possible to ensure that such cases do not repeated. Nor is it reassuring to know that, according to the research of sociologists, the percentage of priests are guilty of these crimes is not higher than that found in other similar professions. In any case, you should not submit this deviation ostentatiously as if it were a specific filth of Catholicism.
If you do not remain silent about evil in the Church, we must not, however, silenced even by the great shining path of goodness and purity, that the Christian faith has traced through the centuries. You have to remember the great figures and even that faith has produced – by Benedict of Nursia and his sister Scholastica, Francis and Clare of Assisi, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, the great saints of charity as Vincent de Paul and Camillo de Lellis to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the great and noble figures of the nineteenth century Turin. It is also true today that faith leads many people to selfless love, in service to others, sincerity and justice. (…)
What you say about Jesus is not worthy of his rank science. If you question arises as to whether Jesus, after all, we did not know anything about Him, as a historical figure, nothing ascertainable, then I can only invite so decided to become a bit ‘more competent from a historical point of view. I recommend this especially for the four volumes that Martin Hengel (exegete from the Protestant Theological Faculty of Tübingen) published together with Mary Schwemer: it is an excellent example of historical accuracy and very broad historical information. In the face of this, what you say about Jesus is talking reckless that should not be repeated. Exegesis that have been written too many things of lack of seriousness is, unfortunately, an indisputable fact. The American seminary of Jesus you cite the pages 105 ff. only confirms again what Albert Schweitzer had noticed about the Leben-Jesu-Forschung (Research on the life of Jesus) and that is that the so-called “historical Jesus” is mostly reflects ideas of the authors. These forms of botched historical work, however, have no influence on the importance of serious historical research, which has led us to true knowledge and confident about the announcement and the figure of Jesus
(…) I also have forcefully rejected his claim (p. 126) that I presented the historical-critical exegesis as a tool of the Antichrist. Treating the story of Jesus’ temptations, I have only taken Soloviev’s thesis, according to which the historical-critical exegesis can also be used by the antichrist – which is an indisputable fact. At the same time, however, always – and in particular in the preface to the first volume of my book on Jesus of Nazareth – I explained clearly that the historical-critical exegesis is necessary for a faith that does not propose myths with historical images, but calls for a genuine historicity and therefore must present the historical reality of his claims in a scientific manner. For this is not even correct that you tell me that I would be interested only in the meta: quite the contrary, all my efforts are aimed to show that the Jesus described in the Gospels is also the real historical Jesus, that it is story really happened. (…)
With the 19 chapter of your book back to the positive aspects of your dialogue with my thinking. (…) Even if your interpretation of John 1,1 is very far from what the evangelist meant, however, there is a convergence that is important. If you, however, wants to replace God with “Nature”, the question remains, who or what is this nature. Nowhere She defines it thus appears as a deity and irrational which explains nothing. But I want to especially note further that in His religion of mathematics three basic themes of human existence are not considered: freedom, love and evil. I’m surprised that you just nod with a liquid that while freedom was and is the core value of modern times. Love, in his book, does not appear on the evil and also there is no information. Whatever the neurobiology say or do not say about freedom in the real drama of our history as it is actually crucial and must be taken into account. But His religion mathematics knows any information over evil. A religion that ignores these fundamental questions is empty.
Ill. mo Mr. Professor, my criticism of your book in part is tough. But the dialogue is part frankness, and only then can grow knowledge. She was very frank and so I accept that it is. In any case, however, I rate very positively the fact that you, through His deal with my Introduction to Christianity, he sought a dialogue so open with the faith of the Catholic Church and that, despite all the odds, the central part, not missing altogether convergences.
With cordial greetings and every good wish for your work.