As we continue to dig into Pascal's "Pensees" we come to another reality in our existence , our Alienation, our feelings of being lost in, or lost to the cosmos.
As our science has improved, Mother Nature looked less like a mother and more like a machine, but Kreeft in "Christianity for Modern Pagans" and Pascal in the "Pensees" do not lay the blame for alienation on modern science, as modern science was birthed from Christians seeking the creativity of God. He lays the blame on modern philosophers.
Kreeft lays the blame on Bacon, Locke, and Hobbs, not Galileo, Copernicus of Newton.
"Science no more proves that nature is not a mother but only matter, than an x-ray proves that a women is not a mother but just a bag of bones," writes Kreeft.
It amazes me from the mind a heart of a 17th century man who loved science and math comes this fantastic statement. Pascal writes:
"Nature is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. In short it is the greatest perceptible mark of God's omnipotence that our imgination should lose itself in that thought."
Science has eradicated Christians from it's foundations, and Christians have eradicated science for fear it will challenge truth. Both are failures of the third kind.
What scientist does not marvel at his work and discoveries? To what does he marvel? That by a great cosmic mishap he has a thinking and feeling mind? To what or whom does he marvel at the distance of a star or the love of his child?
What Christian can marvel at God without marveling at his workmanship? Does not the God of the universe beg us to "seek"? As we dig into the wonders of stars or the cells do we not come face to face with infinite wisdom and the creator? Without the study of science to what of God do we marvel as it is all built on His principles?
Francis Schaeffer would take this God awful division all they way back to Thomas Aquinas and argue that it was in the 13th century that we opted to indulge in the Fact/Value split. That somehow our values were personal and unique and could not be placed in the facts category.
I am currently reading Richard Dawkins', "The God Delusion". Dawkins states that the cosmos gives us the sense of design. Well, I must differ as it is clearly an incredible, unbelievable, amazing, intricate design. To use Dawkins' argument, neither he nor I have enough proof to firmly say what is, so we chose our place of belief.
Pascal continues in his "Pensees":
"Our sense can perceive nothing extreme; too much noise deafens us, to much light dazzles; when we are too far or too close we cannot see properly; an argument is obscured by being too long or too short; too much truth bewilders us..In a word, extremes are as if they did not exist for us, nor we for them, they escape us, or we escape them."
Does Pascal mean we should not pursue our understanding of extremes? No. He simply identifies some of our major human limitations.
As Kreetf writes, "The typical modern, in a hurry to be off and running with his science, forgets his philosophical perspective."
Here's my call to fellow Christians:
We believe the Bible is God's revelation, but can you tell someone how it came together or do you just understand it as a great mystery? While we posses some of the oldest texts known outside of Homer and ancient Egypt, do you have any concept of the actions of man that brought it together? I have no issue with belief in God's guidance, but do you know cherish and love the great Popes, bishops and Cardinals that assembled our New Testament? Do you marvel at the ancient history and splendor of the first known text in the Bible, the Book of Job?
Do you find it as interesting as I do, that the first known written Biblical text, Job, it has God delighting in and making known to Job the wonder of His creation?
In Christendom we are more responsible for the value/fact split than anyone. Most in the faith believe doing the Lord's work is the ultimate of being a pastor or youth pastor, or missionary. But we've missed it, as doing the Lord's work also includes seeking and serving in science, education, engineering, and beyond.
In Christian schools we do not teach the counter arguments for fear, I would argue. We should spend more time on the counter arguments as with study they reveal their own limitations. A read of Darwins' "Origins" and a study evolution reveals it's extreme limitations as truth. But without study you cannot speak of the debunked drawings, the poor evidence, and the latest from Paleontologist that told Evolutionist just five years ago that at this point they did not believe any "missing link" bones are ever going to be found.
But we drive ourselves and our children from study of counter arguments to history books that are as tainted as the ones we fear in public schools.
We must regain control and remove the fact/value split that is making our minds weak and our hearts dull. Just believe or just accept should be unacceptable on both sides of the split.
There is so much to learn. The Big Bang Theory was born in 1929 at the study of Hubble. There is much more to know, to learn, to study, to ask. If Christians refuse to embark on the study, how should we know what Truths there are in the details or how hey may support rather than oppose revelation.
Instead of encouraging our children to be professional clergy we should push them down the paths of science. There's more opportunity to learn there, and a greater opportunity to share faith. We must not accept a value/fact divide.
With study comes more questions than answers. I am challenged with every book I read, every lecture I hear, and every course I take. The process has taken me through extreme belief and extreme doubt. But when I measure facts and value in whole I do not feel lost in the cosmos.
I delight in the cosmos. As God sarcastically questions Job in our old text:
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
7 while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
Remember we were first called to be fruitful and multiply and subdue all the earth. Second we were called to make disciples of all men. Neither mandate negates the other, nor rises above the other.