Aphorism LXXXIII

A gaggle of public intellectuals, who make the well-trod rounds of op-ed pages and of ho-hum college campuses, propose a solution for an efficient, peaceful society based upon science and rationalism alone.

But science in practice is but another imperfect human endeavor, subject both to arrogant hubris like the Tuskeegee and Guatemala experiments, and to rushed, sloppy ethics as documented regularly by government agencies. Science is extremely useful, but from science mostly comes: more science.

Rationalism in practice can either lead to a French Revolution and a Reign of Terror, or to an American Revolution with an unfulfilled promise of Liberty and Justice for All.

Catholicism recognizes the reality of sin, and the reality of forgiveness. One cannot understand human history without acknowledging sin, and one cannot change history for the better without practicing forgiveness. Science can cure disease, but it cannot cure the human heart.

The metaphor of the human heart is indeed irrational and unscientific. But the human heart nevertheless drives human history. Human history cannot be healed without the healing of the human heart.

A scientific rationalist could not say, as Lincoln did, “with malice toward none, with charity for all,” unless Jesus Christ spoke words of forgiveness almost two millennia before, embedding forgiveness into human history.

The young ISIS fanatic says from behind his mask to the Christian, “There is nothing between us but the sword.” But some day, an old ISIS fanatic will take off his mask, and put his heart where his sword used to be. This change will take place not because of science or rationalism, but because God speaks forgiveness.

© Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


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