Monday, January 17, 2011

Shea Weighs in on Star Trek

Mark Shea points out one a scene where Star Trek give a long discourse on religion. It is the basic religion is for undeveloped societies stuff. But one line struck me. One word really. When Picard asks if this civilization, which had already discarded all ideas of the supernatural, would regress into religion based on their encounter with the Enterprise crew. He said it was "inevitable." It amazes me that that passes the laugh test with anyone. One isolated incident that can't be explained would cause a whole civilization to embrace religion? That is inevitable? Really?

I have been involved in church work for a long time. There have been many stories of miracle. Some very credible and some not so much. But people are generally very skeptical. I am not talking about the super-evolved atheist brights. Just ordinary, simple people. They tend to be very slow to believe in the supernatural. Even people who are already Christians will normally prefer to believe almost any explanation rather than accept that a miracle took place. I am not saying that we should believe any miracle story. Just that faith is an uphill battle. We struggle to believe even when we want to and many times we don't want to. So the idea that one little incident can change everyone's thinking and that that is not only possible but inevitable. That just seems so far removed from human experience. Yet people just accept it.

It seems clear to me that God has to keep intervening in human society with His grace. If He didn't we would forget about Him pretty quick. Our thinking is constantly corrupted by many things but that never leads us towards faith and humility and chastity and generosity and worship. It leads us to self-centered thinking. That is what you expect from evolution and that is what we would expect if God was not constantly intervening to point us in the right direction yet again. If you can't believe in the power of God you can infer it from the power of sin. People should be a lot worse than they are. The moral force that prevents that cannot be human because sin hits everyone.

So when atheists assert religion grew up with no true supernatural data they are assuming other people think differently than they do. That people they don't know have unsound minds that don't exist in themselves or anyone they know well. That is that they have not seriously considered the possibility that God does not exist and all previous generations just have it wrong. Pope Benedict in Introduction to Christianity said every theist has seriously considered atheism and every atheist has seriously considered theism. That fits the data so much better. So many people struggling to believe and so many people saying they believe but not living like they do. The idea that there is a clear and convincing rational argument for either side just makes so many people incomprehensible.

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