Do you find it awkward discussing the "supernatural" aspects of the Catholic faith?

I was just wondering… With all the scientific and medical discoveries in the world if it has become too difficult for Catholics to openly discuss the “supernatural” in this age. To me, it seems like this idea is restricted to the Chapel, and while preaching to the world we’ve gone down the path of sin, economics and government…

Is it right that we keep quiet about our supernatural beliefs?

I don’t know why you think the church has started dabbling in economics and government. To my knowledge, that is the secular media’s interpretation of the pope’s message.

I voted no on this poll but I realize I was answering the wrong question. I do find it awkward discussing things like Marian visitations, angels or other supernatural events with non-Catholics.
I don’t think we should “keep quiet” in the sense of keeping it secret, but I don’t think discussing the supernatural would entice others to our faith. They should be attracted to our love for God and each other, and God’s love for us as made manifest through the sacraments that are only available through the Church. Supernatural phenomena are not essential to our faith. We are not required to believe in them as Catholics.

Is it right that we keep quiet about our supernatural beliefs?

Quite the opposite! Science reveals God. God created the natural order including science. Science only reveals truth of that natural order , and since God is its creator, science not only reveals the natural order but its creator as well!

I would come at it first from a little different perspective than the idea that we should be shying away from our supernatural belief. I would first say, we have nothing to shy away from in terms of scientific discovery that would contradict our theology, then simply say that science has yet to disprove any of our supernatural beliefs.

As opposed to how the popular culture likes to portray the Church against science, the Church has actually been a major contributor to science in its early formation in terms of numerous clerics and religious making actual discoveries as well as supporting new discoveries. One might conclude that the Galileo case refutes that. To the contrary. Before Galileo’s trial, he and this theories were quire accepted by his friend the Pope and the Church in general. Furthermore, previous astronomers had theorized the same conclusion and the Church had no opposition. Galileo was persecuted for insisting he had “proved” his theory, which he had not even for the standards of evidence at that time, and for claiming he as a scientist had the right to declare statements from the bible to be in error. There are a number of sources, that detail this event in history. I believe this site also discusses this topic. Also Diane Moczars book, Seven Lies about the Catholic Church handles this myth about the Church.

As for creation theories, the theory of evolution has about as many holes in it as certain Old Testament allegories taken as literal truth. Science relies on a bit of “faith” regarding how species actually changed from one to another. Its not a simple matter of random mutations that we see that alter the characteristics within species at times. Furthermore, the Church does not claim to teach science. What science discovers about creation is completely in accord with any of her theology. Catholics do not have to prescribe to a six day creation, with Adam and Eve created in one 24 hour earth day. Therefore, even with its problems, the theory of evolution does not necessarily contradict the truth of the Church.

Another example is the Big Bang theory, which was actually hypothesized by a Catholic cleric well before any modern computers or telescopes were available. The big bang theory does not “prove” the universe just began on its own. While Steven Hawking has stated in his recent book that recent discoveries on the Big Bang theory “prove” God is not necessary to describe the beginning of the universe, he never concludes that science “proves” that God did not create the universe. He simply argues that there are ways to describe the Big Band without God, but he knows he cannot say God did not create the universe based on the science. This may sound like semantics but it is not! Contrary to the media stories on the topic, the fact is that it takes just as much faith as Believers, if not more, to conclude that the universe just exploded into existence on its own since the Big Bang theory relies on an unexplainable source for turning nothing into something. Whether you call something unexplainable or God, the fact remains the same. The science of the Big Bang cannot “prove” that God did not create the universe, and it cannot identify what that something was. It simply hypothesizes it was something unknown. Therefore it takes some faith to believe that this unknown can be known at some point as something other than God.

One last example is stem cell research. The media and popular culture has been pushing for the use of embryonic stem cell use for years. I believe those doing so have not only a scientific goal but another agenda as well. If they can find practical uses for something the Church has been very strongly against, they can show how “backwards” and irrelevant the Church is. Well, surprise , surprise. The only thing being shown irrelevant is embryonic stem cell research. It has been only adult stem cell research that has produced therapeutic treatments, dozens of them. Meawhile embryonic stem cell research has only produced one set back after another to the extent that a number research programs have have had their funding pulled so the funding providers could focus on more adult stem cell research.

As science makes greater and greater discoveries all the time, it has been absolutely unable to disprove God or the supernatural. I would argue that the more science discovers, whether its the origins of our universe of the Big Bang ,or mysteries of our world in quantum physics, the more we realize we must ultimately rest in faith. That is we have to ultimately rely on a faith in “causes” and “sources” that science cannot explain. Some non believers will simply say that those “unknowns” will eventually be discovered. Really? That sounds like a faith in something unknown to me. Lastly, science has yet to explain many miracles documented by the Church. There are miracles of cures to disease, Eucharistic miracles, and the miraculous nature of certain relics such as the Shroud of Torin, the tilma with the image of our Blessed Mother, and perhaps even the preserved bodies of the incorruptible saints. Again, it takes faith to believe that these miracles are the work of God, but it also takes faith to believe that science will find an explanation that proves it was NOT God.

We need not forgo one bit of our belief in the supernatural to be open to science. The two are from one SOURCE. Instead we should be excited and joyous at the discoveries of science since they must only point to the hand of God.

I don’t find it awkward discussing the supernatural aspects of the Faith. A faith without the supernatural would not be a faith at all. What I find awkward is that the current generation seems to have no knowledge or training at all in standard philosophy or metaphysics. Everyone speaks for practical purposes in strictly materialist terms. That makes it hard to discuss even the existence of the spiritual, the distinction between body and soul, intellect and brain, matter and spirit, or God as a spiritual being who does not occupy space or time. There is a blindness to these matters which has not always been present. Heck, Aristotle preceded Aquinas. If everything is material, there is no afterlife and religion is foolish.

The “natural” doesn’t explain itself.

As far as that goes, natural events are just as difficult to believe as anything miraculous.

Why would a virgin birth or resurrection from the dead be hard to believe but an infinitely expanding universe coming into existence from an infinitesimal spark a la Big Bang or the entire plethora of life emerging from an abiotic pool be quite unproblematic?

Perspective. Perspective. Perspective.

The fact that “I” exist and “I” don’t even know what “I” am, yet “I” am present to myself, would seem to be the most inexplicable idea possible. Everything else simply pales in comparison. Who or what could possibly and fully explain “me?”

There is a whole lot of assuming and complacency going on in the mind of anyone who denies that miracles are happening everywhere and every when.

Well actually if life after death and the existence of God are considered to be supernatural then the supernatural is most definantly a required belief. Not only for Catholics but also Jews and Muslims and basically all religions.

If it’s not the single most important factor of the catholic faith, then it’s at least the sole link that bonds all religions together.

I see two questions here. The Vatican must proclaim the supernatural aspect of the Faith. But am I always comfortable doing so? I must admit, not always. The Church can point to Our Lord, and miracles, and the lives of the saints as a proof of the supernatural. When it comes to myself, some skeptics will ask me for proof of the supernatural from my own experience. Speaking for myself, this is harder to come by.

I was limiting the definition of supernatural to what we would consider miraculous happenings here on earth. Maybe the OP meant more than that, it was hard to tell from the post.

I believe in evolution, humans have a nature to dig for answers and i think God knowing this and knowing humans have issue(well some of us) that the world and life were just “created” used the process of evolution to create so there would be a scientific answer for those who would need it

I wish you didn’t title the thread and the poll the way you did. :smiley:

I selected “no” thinking it was in relation to the thread title but I most defintately meant to select “yes” in relation to the poll question.

Sorry bout that.

Thanks for reading
Josh

Nope.

But as Richard Dawkins would put it, if a marble statue of the Virgin Mary waved at him, he would say “Whoa that was lucky” lol

So these people will reject even the supernatural as luck and chance, as a freak of nature, that’s why I believe scientific materialists have more faith in luck and chance than I do in God.

These people think we are delusional for believing in God and the supernatural, while they insist we simply got astronomically lucky to exist, now I don’t know about the majority of people, but when someone in a poker game gets a royal flush 10 times in a row, I’m not concluding chance and luck, I’m looking for the ace they have hidden up their sleves or how they rigged the deck. I think any rational person would, especially if it was prophesized.

So I would say, don’t ever let these people make you feel ashamed or delusional for your faith in God, for your faith in miracles, because they can and do often happen, 40,000 people witnessed the “miracle of the sun” in which was also prohesized, I believe only a delusional person would try and explain that away with luck and chance.

Even if Christ himself came down to these people and said “here I am, I am real, touch my side, watch me eat this piece of fish, I am real” they would walk away calling it a hallucination. I believe that this indicates to me that the non-believers are actually the delusional ones.

Thank you for reading
Josh

Thanks for posting Josh and you’ve made some excellent points. :thumbsup:

When you brought up Richard Dawkins, it made me think of all the negative stigmas and ‘taboos’ that are attached to the supernatural. To add to that, we could take into consideration the movie industry beginning with Frankenstein, return of the living dead, etc., there always tends to be a negative connotation associated with the supernatural. To me, it seems like these were merely indirect attacks against faith in general. These films made the supernatural an ‘ugly’ thing.

…now we have people like Dawkins who seem to want to stamp it out completely -even when it can’t be explained why electric impulses control thought and why animals automatically mutate to to their surroundings, etc. But that’s another topic. They remove the miraculous from everything. :rolleyes: they take beauty and make it ugly. :frowning:

It can be useful when discussing the evidence for the Christian Faith with a non-believer to ask, “Would you agree to become a Christian if you were given sufficient evidence it was true?” A surprising number of people will say, “no,” because they just don’t want to live in a life where actions have consequences, and where there is an ultimate Authority in a position to place parameters on their conduct. They would prefer to declare, “Non serviam!” If this is their position, it’s probably not a bad idea to decide if it is worthwhile to argue with them at this time, or to wait for a different point in their life when the message would be better received.

If we define the “supernatural” as that which is not part of, or contained by, the universe we know, many atheists believe in the supernatural, as many believe in the Multiverse Theory, which posits the existence of things outside our space-time continuum.

If we define the “supernatural” as that which is not part of a materialist view - that naught else exists but matter and energy - clearly we all have a belief in the supernatural, as consciousness is our first knowledge, it is the apparatus by which we know all things and make all decisions about what to believe, yet it cannot be weighed or measured or said to have any kind of materialist dimension, whatsoever.

If we define the “supernatural” as all the somewhat messy aspects of Catholic belief - bleeding statues and walking on water and the Transubstantiation of bread and wine into Flesh and Blood and archangels and the miracle of the loaves and fishes and Virgin Birth and the Star over Bethlehem and angels destroying Sodom and Gomorrah and the Resurrection and stigmata and the Ark of the Covenant and three persons in one God and exorcism of demons and Christ bringing Lazarus back to life and the darkness and the earthquake and the opening of the tombs in Jerusalem upon His death…of course I believe. What do I look like, a freaking Unitarian?

Since God exists - a Being of infinite power and knowledge, who created all things - and since we know He is beneficent, as He created us and the universe we live in (we could as easily not have done so), and as He gave us His only begotten Son to forgive us our sins - we know that this Being which transcends the universe intervenes on our behalf in ways we cannot fully understand or explain. Why does it seem unlikely that such momentous events carry an aura of the uncanny?

I believe in miracles because I have witnessed them. Why should I be ashamed of believing and professing in the truth?

:thumbsup: Beautifully said.

Thank you TEPO :slight_smile:

I also just want to quickly add, that my post was aimed toward militant and fanatic agnostic atheists like Richard Dawkins, Same Harris, Christopher Hitchens etc, the ones who attempt to mock and redicule believers. I didn’t mean for my post to come off the way it did toward all non-believers and if a non-believer reading this was offended by it, than I would like to apologise for that.

It is interesting though, because as Arizona Mike pointed out, If you ask “Would you agree to become a Christian if you were given sufficient evidence it was true?” A surprising number of people will say, “no,” because they just don’t want to live in a life where actions have consequences, and where there is an ultimate Authority in a position to place parameters on their conduct.

This is why we are convicted to the truth in our hearts and not in our heads, we surrender to our lords love and not his intellect. So id say the conversion that needs to take place for these people is not an intellectual one, but rather a change of heart.

I have found that we cannot conclusively prove that God does exist and they cannot prove that he doesn’t, but we can certainly prove the existance of God far, far beyond a resonable doubt, the evidence for God is overwhelming, and like I said ealier, if someone got a royal flush 10 times in a row, no rational person would be concluding luck and chance, they would be looking for how they rigged the deck.

The other problem when it comes to scientific materialism, is that the physical universe, reduced in any form, any physical entity does not have the reason for it’s own existance within itself, it has to expand it’s explanation outside of itself, which logically means that the only explanation for a first cause of a physical universe as we see it, has to be something non physical.

Dawkins gets to this and can only say “Nothing, is something more complicated than you or I could ever imagine.” lol last I checked, nothing was No-Thing! :smiley: But in our case, he is right, that nothing (no physical entity) is a “pure and perfect being” God, and yes he is more complicated than we could ever imagine, because he is “I Am.”

Thank you for reading
Josh

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