More junk from Dan Brown

This Friday the movie release of Dan Brown’s other poorly researched book “Angels & Demons” hits theaters. Though I am loathe to give this more attention than it needs, I think there is an obligation to correct the blatant lies this work purports as truth.

Firstly, and more concerning than any idea that a Pope would engage in sinful behavior, is the idea that there is a divorce between faith and science– that the Catholic Church is somehow hostile to science. This is simply untrue. Although with the sketchy “theories” floating around as scientific fact today, it’s not hard to see where one might get that impression. But that’s the fault of modern scientists pushing an agenda rather than seeking to truly understand the world.

The Church loves science, and there is (and can be) no hostile relation between faith and science– by which most people aim at understanding as reason. When we paint science as reasonable, we paint faith as unreasonable. Faith is a comforting fairy tale, they say, and reason is the mature real world understanding. But this is simply a false dichotomy. Faith and reason is not an either/or situation. Yes, faith is beyond that natural (i.e., faith is supernatural); but faith does not violate reason. To use a pedantic analogy: it is not unreasonable for me to believe that my car stays parked in the parking lot while I’m shopping in the store and can’t see it. Barring some abnormal occurrence like someone stealing my car or a tornado comes by and takes my car three towns over, my car will indeed still be in the parking lot even when I can’t see it. This would not be considered an unreasonable belief– in fact, most people might suggest it would be unreasonable to think otherwise.

Now, I do grant that the belief of religious faith is a bit different. But not entirely. God’s existence is something the Catholic Church has taught can be known by the light of natural reason. We did not need God to tell us that He exists. But matters of faith like the Incarnation, that God is three persons, one God are things we could not have figured out had God not revealed them to us. This kind of faith is not simply believing something exists even when I’m not looking at it, but is a kind of belief in the testimony of others alongside recognition that God is not (and cannot be) a deceiver by His very nature.

Some reading recommendations:

Pope John Paul II’s “Fides et Ratio” (“On the Relationship Between Faith & Reason”)

Answering Angels & Demons by Mark Shea (free download from Ascension Press)

Angels & Devils by Joan Carroll Cruz

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