Dr. P.Z. Myers’ crusade against religion illustrates defects in civility, empathy and imagination. Dr. Myers, himself, seems to like being a maverick drawing personal attention. It is no secret that the Internet can quickly make celebrities out of little men. Those who “think they are smart” and the impressionable are easily awed by jargon even by third rate minds, no matter whether from a scientist, theologian or philosopher. Those attracted to such fickle flames bask in the anonymity of this technology, posting nasty remarks, pictures and videos, supposing all the time that nothing will ever be traced back to them. Dr. Myers does not seem to care if he hurts others. The fact that many take solace and offer noble witness in the cause of faith does not measure any credit, only ridicule. Like Karl Marx, he regards religion as a drug, something which retards the mind and gives false hope. No doubt he would argue that the great scientists among Christians and Jews made their contributions despite or in opposition to religious faith, and not as an expression of their devotion to God’s majesty and a desire to know the mysteries of his creation.
I know a heart surgeon who gives God the credit for his successes in the operating room. God, he says, literally stills and guides his hand. I would rather have him opening me up than a “shaky-handed” atheist doctor any day! As for imagination, a shortcoming in this regard stifles advancement in any discipline. A theologian can rigidly interpret Scripture and castigate science as a danger to faith. I even read one fundamentalist who so opposed evolution that he argued the devil planted fossils just to sow the seed of doubts and lies in our minds. No, I do not think so. God’s creation is intelligible and he has given us the reasoning powers to explore and know it. Science compliments theology, it is not its enemy. Further, one cannot hold certain postulates from science while also clinging to directly contradictory ones in religion. Such represents a faulty epistemology. The Catholic Church, through her universities and so much more, is a friend to science. God’s created order might be more surprising than we ever thought. The Christian imagination embraces mystery and knows that we have not exhausted all there is to know.
Those scientists with the greatest and most open-ended imaginations have been the ones who have given us the most staggering discoveries. Even those of us who have trouble following the math of string theory and who get headaches from chaos theory, can respect the genius that would make such leaps. Atheism and science seem more contradictory to me than science and religion. Atheism inherently represents a closed mind, a lack of imagination. It is true that not all religions can be right, but why is it that men and women of all cultures and times have had religion? Why are there so many similarities regarding sacrifice to a deity or deities? Why do cultures with little or no interaction have views about the afterlife? Why do so many want to survive the grave? Is the desire for immortality pointing to a great mystery or is it the result of a defective and dishonest gene? Could it be that we are wired for faith and worship? And if so, who or what did the wiring? What is behind the big bang? Could there be intelligence in the universe that we have not discovered with the telescope that would fit the definition of God? I am amazed that certain scientists are more willing to believe in aliens or even UFOs, but not in a God and his angels. They will argue for the BIG BANG, but refuse to inquire about what was happening prior to the singularity and explosive creative moment.
The situation about his lack of censure despite violating school rules is not logically explained because such is impossible. The sad truth is that Dr. Myers is being protected by his friends and colleagues who also have no respect for the religious sensibilities of others. If Dr. Myers wore a sheet and burned a cross while hanging a dummy of a black man (in effigy), I suspect he would have been quickly shown the door for the unpardonable crime of racism. Indeed, use of the “N” word would be enough to get him canned. But he could name-call Christians and commits an act that he knew would offend Catholics as sacrilege with no censure whatsoever. Instead of a host nailed to a Koran; I suspect he would have faced more discipline had it been a naked Barbie doll screwed to a copy of Jong’s FEAR OF FLYING. Sexism cannot be tolerated either. However, bashing religion is okay! No, this is wrong, terribly wrong. Dr. Myers desecrated what Catholics consider as the Holy of Holies and he need not worry about his job security or any punishment from the school. Note the sign of disrespect this sends to Catholic students and alumni. The university is saying that YOU do not matter. Bill Donohue is right, Catholic bashing has become the one acceptable bigotry.
What happens if this situation escalates? Will Dr. Myers take credit when churches are vandalized and tabernacles are destroyed so that hosts might be desecrated? Will he post pictures of priests and nuns beaten in the streets so that his hoodlums can steal the hosts and oils for the sick?
The host is extended to believers who want to receive Holy Communion. Missalettes make it very clear that those who are not Catholic and who are not in a state of grace are NOT INVITED to take the sacrament. Catholics believe in a “closed table” and as such, these villains in the news have taken what does not belong to them. The purpose of the Eucharist is to feed God’s people with the living presence of Christ. This Eucharist is the bread of life and the cup of salvation. We receive it in Holy Communion and we adore the host in the Monstrance. Any other use is prohibited. Those who defile the host or who receive it unworthily (including the enablers of abortion) receive not life but judgment. Desecration is not dialogue, it is terrorism.