Tuesday, March 5, 2013

For Max: Why I Believe in God

I have a 13 year old son who is smart as a whip and loves science.

I am 41 years old--not too bright--and love my faith.

Unfortunatly, my son does not think that faith and science can work together. He does not believe in a creator. We have had some really good conversations about the origins of the universe and mankind. Max is very soft spoken and his arguments are very well thought out. Honestly, I never thought I would ever have that intelectual of a conversation with a thirteen year old boy. Evidently, Max has also had these conversations with his Aunt Maggie on Facebook. I once caught the tail end of one of these conversations when he forgot to log off and he ended the converstation by asking her, "Why do you believe i God?"

Max, I've thought long and hard and I've decided to do my best to answer the questions that you posed to Maggie for myself--why do I believe in God? I think the answer comes under four categories----1) Faith 2) Hope 3) Love 4) Science

Faith--I realize how ignorant it sounds by answering why i believe in God as being "faith" but there is some rational to it. How does someone believe in the unseen without faith? I think I've been blessed by being given the gift of faith from God. I can't think of a time when I've ever doubted His exhistance. I realize this isn't something that will help someone without this gift of faith but I just ask that you open up your heart to the possibilty. I pray every day for God to soften your heart. I pray for the intercessiosn of St. Joseph, St. Monica and St. Thomas to help you find your faith. Don't grow up to fast, Max---be child like in your faith.

Hope--I believe in hope. I believe there is something bigger and better than this life on Earth I believe in a Heaven that is filled with God's love. I don't see the joy in a world where we are all like Sisyphus--the Greek mythological characher who was cursed by the gods to push a boulder up a moutain only to have it roll back down once he got to the top and have to go back down and roll it back up. I can't beleive in a world where all we are here for is to exhist--to wake up, go to work, eat, sleep, poop and reproduce. If that was only only reason to exhist then we wouldn't be the people we are. We wouldn't care about our neighbor. We would only care about ourselves. Now, some may say that that is what the world is coming to but I disagree. I agree with the Baltimore Cathechism that says we were made to know, love and serve God in this world and in the next. Because when we know God, when we love God and when we serve God we do everything to be pleasing to Him---and that is taking care of our neighbors. Take care of our neighbors makes us better people and gives us a true reason for survival.

Love---You told me yesterday that you loved me and commented about how much I love you. Max, if it weren't for God I wouldn't love you like I do. God is love and the love I show for you is a reflection of the love that God has for you. I never realized how intense God's love is until I had Emma, you and Molly. A Father's love is intense. It is hot and it is passionate. My love for you is more than just chemicals and endorphins, Max. My love for you is supernatural and can only come from a Supreme Being. And here is the deal----the love I have for you is just a fraction of the love that He has for you. He loves you so much that He sacrificed His own son for you.

Science--I find it ironic that you find science to be your big hold up when it comes to your faith because I find science to be one of the big supporters of my faith. I can't believe that everything came from nothing. Something/someone had to create it. There had to be someone to be that first push. There had to be a watch maker. Espeically when you look at how vast the universe is or how intricat an atom is or a DNA strand. There is too much orgainization in the universe for it to be all completely random as some would have you to believe. I believe that science is the study of God because it is the study of God's creation. But, science can never prove nor disprove God because science is the study of the natural world and God is supernatural. He is beyond this world.

I admire your tenacity Max but a good scientist never stops asking questions so I ask you, don't settle on the anwer that you have found in a science book. Keep asking questions. Think outside of the box. And trust me, there is nothing more outside of the box thinking than when you get to theology. Theology is the study of God. Thomas Aquinas called theology the "super science." And if you think that astronomy or string theory can blow your mind---try figuring God out.


  1. Good job, Jamie. You, your family and especially Max are all in my prayers.

  2. Ask your son if he recognizes any of the following names?

    Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Nicolas Copernicus, Louis Pasteur, Blaise Pascal, André-Marie Ampère, Gregor Mendel, Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, Pierre de Fermat, Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, Marin Mersenne, Alessandro Volta, Augustin-Louis Cauchy, Pierre Duhem, Jean-Baptiste Dumas, Roger Boscovich, Pierre Gassendi, and Georgius Agricola, Albertus Magnus.

    Some of them you may even recognize because their names are used in or part of some process they discovered, element or law of nature they discovered etc.

    All of these scientists were christian and Catholic and at least one of them, Albertus Magnus, is a Saint and Doctor of the Catholic Church as well as a member of the Dominican Order of Preachers.

    So there can truly exist a symbiotic and helpful relationship between science and our Catholic faith. I know that in the case of St Albert (Albertus Magnus) he was a great proponent of a good relationship between religion and science. Maybe if you and your son read about some of these scientists and any others that are out there you can help him also find his way.

    I knew about quite a few of the above scientists but I got that list from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Catholic_scientists) and while I would never consider Wikipedia the end all be all of research it would make an easy and good start for this journey.

  3. I am just finishing up my Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and what I have figured out is that Science doesn't answer the "why" only the "how". For example we (mostly) know HOW DNA replicates but we don't know WHY. Another unanswered question is WHY sexual reproduction occurs. There isn't really any benefit (God says it's for bonding as well as children).s). My confirmation saint was St. Albert the Great who is patron of scientists. It's good advice to never stop asking questions especially because what is "known" now might not be true in 20 years (like when people thought protein was the hereditary molecule).