10 Phrases of Nobel Winning Scientists that Think that Faith and Science are Compatible

The other day I had the opportunity of speaking to a group of Italian youth. I asked how many of them believe in God or not. One responded saying, “I don’t believe in religion; rather, I believe in science.” I love this response because it is a typical, yet fertile starting point for speaking about the faith, religion and God.

“I believe in science.” I couldn’t put it better myself. The attitude of belief and science not only are not opposed, rather, they go hand and hand. Why? Because science often leads us to believe and accept as certain many truths that often seem to be everything but certain or evident according to our senses. Take a look at the table that your computer is resting upon. It looks pretty solid, correct? In reality, it is more like a cloud of united particles that is mostly empty.

What do you trust? A question of where to place our faith

Readings for Today

This weekend’s homilies were given at Our Lady of Lourdes, Saint Louis, MO, at the 5pm Mass on June 9, 2016, and at the 9 and 11am Masses on June 10, 2016.

In what do you trust? Science? Wealth? Politics? Only yourself? Or is it that you do the will of God and seek primary relationship with Jesus? This weekend’s readings challenge us to seek to do the will of God, to place primary trust in Jesus, and to live as he wishes. It it not to suggest that science is bad, for I want my doctor to know good science.  It is not that wonderful things cannot be done with someone who is generous with their wealth. It is not that people should not work to make political change.  But if we are seeking peace and fulfillment, happiness and salvation, it is first found when we follow Jesus. Only then do we find the peace that surpasses understanding.

Evidence for God from Science

CredibleCatholic.com is a website dedicated to providing convincing explanations on a whole host of common challenging questions to the faith.  In today’s module, there is evidence from science to provide support for the existence of God.

There’s No Conflict: Homily for Friday, November 17, 2017

Readings for Today

Talk to just about anyone these days about science and religion, and you at likely to hear they are not compatible.  The argument often is reduced to something where science is about facts, where religion is about fairy tales. Science deals with what is true, religion deals with something else.  Yet, even a brief consideration of the foundations of science illustrates the primary role the quest for God has had in science.

Most do not realize the Big Bang was first proposed by a Jesuit priest, Fr. Pierre Lamaitres.  Most forget the beginning of genetic studies can be tied to the Augustinian monk, Gregor Mendel.  One of the preeminent paleontologists of the twentieth century was a priest, Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. St. Albert the Great was a very knowledgeable botanist.  Dr. Francis Collins, head of the human genome project and director of the National Institute of Health, is a Christian. And so, both science and religion are a quest for the Truth, which for us, is the person Jesus Christ.

Power: Fleeting or Lasting: Homily for Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Readings for today

Today is the patronal feast of my Dominican province.  It is the feast of Saint Albert the Great.  Probably best known as the teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas, he himself was a brilliant thinker. His skill was recognized as a botanist, a theologian, a bishop, and a loyal friend.  His overall desire was to be a good Dominican, and preaching was a tremendous gift of his.

Today’s readings remind us of the importance of appropriate power. Imagine the consequences for us if Saint Albert the Great became jealous of his brilliant student, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Imagine how different his example would have been had he said “no” to the Church. Clinging to power for its own sake leads to weakness.  Accepting God’s power leads to the type of power that lasts forever.

Science: Homily for Memorial of Saint Paul Miki, February 6, 2017

To listen to today’s homily, click the links above.

Readings for today

When science and religion are discussed today, they are often seen as polar opposites.  From the snarky side that sometimes is science, it can be the case that religion is seen as unnecessary.  Some expressions of religion believe the only purpose of science is to undermine religion.  That is really odd, since so many scientific discoveries were made by people of faith.

Most know about the Big Bang Theory, but not many are aware that it was first proposed by a Jesuit priest, also a physicist, Fr. Georges Lamaitre, who called it the Cosmic Egg.  Our understanding of genetics comes from an Augustinian Monk, Fr. Gregor Mendel.  Copernicus was a man of faith.  The Vatican has an academy of the sciences.

So it is not surprising that the first reading, which speaks of creation, and the gospel which speaks of meaning are together in Scripture.  We believe, as Catholics, that both science and faith are about the quest and search for the truth.  Both the study of the natural world and the quest for faith are important ways we learn about God and the world.

While science can tell us what happens, science is simply not equipped to tell us why something happened, or what it means, or what its purpose is.  So the next time you hear someone say science and religion do not go together, remind them that both science and religion are meant to seek the truth, together.

EdWeek: Test Data, Asian and Pacific Islander Inclusion and

OECD: U.S. Efforts Haven’t Helped Low Performers on Global Math, Reading Tests

After more than a decade of heavy investment in closing achievement gaps and bringing all students to proficiency in reading and mathematics, the United States has fewer low-performing students on the Program for International Student Assessment—but only in science.

In math and reading, by contrast, there were no changes at all in the share of low-performing students on the PISA between 2003 and 2012 , according to a new analysis by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. America was flat during that period, remaining a little worse than the international average in the share of students who performed below minimum proficiency in all three subjects.

Read more at: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/inside-school-research/2016/02/OECD_American_efforts_low_performers.html

In Efforts to Boost Teacher Diversity, Asians and Pacific Islanders Seek Inclusion

Sarah Ha didn’t have any Asian-American teachers growing up.

Ha was born in the United States but moved to South Korea when she was six years old; she and her little sister were left there for two years while their parents established a life in the United States. Enveloped by Korean culture, Ha all but forgot the English she had grown up learning.

When she returned to Worcester, Mass., Ha found herself isolated and bullied, an English-language learner with no Asian peers, teachers, or subject matter in school.

Read more at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/27/in-efforts-to-boost-teacher-diversity-asians.html

Teacher Shortages Put Pressure on Governors, Legislators

There’s heated debate nationally over whether K-12 teachers really are in short supply and—if so—what’s caused the shortage and how widespread it is.

But in a number of states with dwindling supplies of new teachers, overcrowded classrooms, months-long substitute assignments, and droves of teachers quitting midyear, activists on both sides of the issue are seizing the opportunity to push their policy agendas.

Those divisions are on stark display in places like Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington, where policymakers, including governors and legislators, are floating a variety of approaches to address the challenge of recruiting and retaining teachers.

Read more at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/02/10/teacher-shortages-put-pressure-on-governors-legislators.html

Homily for Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Readings for Today

If there is a challenge for the faith with those of us who live in the western world, in the United States, it is that we more readily believe that everything in our faith depends upon us, on what we do. We really believe, I think, that we can earn our salvation if we work hard enough at it.

Those Europeans who first came to the New World were those who took matters into their own hands, leaving the familiar to set out for a strange land where they could worship in freedom. The push west by early American settlers was indicative of this rugged individualism. Just as those who first came to the New World from Europe did, they too took matters into their own hands and relied on themselves.

We can reduce our faith to this, however. As important as it may be to do good works, we can so emphasize the doing of good works that we ignore the trust necessary in the life of faith. Perhaps this is because there can be an immediate reward when we help others. Perhaps because we feel proud when we focus upon what we can do. Perhaps it is because we do not like to feel vulnerable, and so we do not let others do anything for us.

But when it comes to our faith, it begins when we recognize the power of God, the love of God, and it requires us to be vulnerable enough to recognize our need for a savior. Consider our God. Our God, so far beyond us, humbles Himself to become a human being, to show us just how much we are loved. The infinite God takes on human flesh, as a fragile, vulnerable baby.

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Homily for Sunday, August 24, 2014

Readings for Today

In theological studies, the issue of the person of Jesus has gathered a lot of attention.  The name of studying what it means to be the Christ is called Christology.  From the earliest days of the Church, the question of what it means to be the Christ, and who the person of Jesus is, and how the divinity and humanity interact in the one person of Jesus has been a question gathering a lot of debate.  And understandably, when trying to understand the Incarnation, it is understandable this type of study is difficult indeed.

Most of the time, either the humanity or divinity of Jesus gets too much emphasis.  We can try to make Jesus out to be basically a slightly better version of a human being, or, we can try to make Jesus so divine as to eliminate his being human in any meaningful way.  How is it then, that we seek to understand Jesus, and how would we answer the question Jesus poses to the disciples today?  Who do we say that Jesus is?

The answer to this question is not at all easy.  The long list of wrong answers provides proof.  It is very difficult to understand how divine and human natures can co-exist in one person.  There were those who said that the humanity of Jesus was a façade, or that Jesus only appeared to be human.  Some who believe this describe Jesus as really laughing above the cross during the crucifixion since he was not really on the cross.  Others saw Jesus as a human who was “adopted” by God as his son, and was not really truly divine.

Today we struggle, I think, with the same problems.  Because the answer to the question not only applies to Jesus, but says something about how we understand what it means to be human.  Are humans essentially good, or basically completely (or almost completely) flawed?  And since we believe Jesus was like us in all things but sin, what effect does sin have on human beings?

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Homily for Thursday, July 3, 2014

Readings for Today

We live in a time where science is seen as the ultimate arbiter. Increasingly by some, science is seen as infallible. Simply mention that scientists believe, and whatever follows is accepted by some as the ultimate truth. There are those who believe that science is incapable of error, unaffected by bias, and immune from ulterior motives.  In the minds of some, all we need in order to be intelligent human beings is science.

If those who believed only in science stopped here, that we might simply say that we disagree with them.  But increasingly, it is not enough to simply make science the ultimate answer for every human question. Rather, increasingly, those who see science is the only mechanism for solving ultimate problems in the world, also believe that part of this quest is to ridicule those who maintain that some things can only be known by faith.

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