Would an atheist / evolutionist agree with this quote?

It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth. They are also bound to adhere to the truth, once it is known, and to order their whole lives in accord with the demands of truth However, men cannot discharge these obligations in a manner in keeping with their own nature unless they enjoy immunity from external coercion as well as psychological freedom. Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed. Dignitatis Humanae - Pope Paul Vl - 12/7/65

This is a powerful statement by Pope Paul VI it covers a lot of ground as far as a world view is concerned. Got any thoughts on this one? Peace be with you,L

Assuming I’m reading this right:

  1. Each man must search for truth.
  2. Each man must live according to truth.
  3. There are those who are being coerced or otherwise prevented from being able to search for truth and they don’t have obligations 1 and 2.
  4. Religious liberty isn’t based on the whims of the individual person but on man’s nature.
  5. Unless it causes harm to others, one’s religious liberty should not be inhibited.

then I would agree to that. If I’m misunderstanding what was written please me know. I’m not sure what evolution has to do with this.

I also don’t see what evolution has to do with this topic. Catholics believe that God creates each human soul by a special direct act, but we are free to accept that the physical human form evolved through the natural biological processes God put in place. As a theistic evolutionist, who is also a devout Catholic loyal to the magisterium, I’m uncomfortable with the implication that evolutionist = atheist.

The statement contains some word choices that an atheist might object to, since they hide theist assumptions.

For example, the first sentence could be reworded:

It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings possessing reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth {phrase omitted}.

The Pope’s statement has nothing to do with evolution, and you are making an error in assuming that all people who accept evolution are also atheists. Some are; some are not.

rossum

You may be right maybe it should have been “or” instead of a “slash”.

Good analysis. I thought maybe the phrase “beings endowed with reason and free will” implied a creator doing the endowing like in the “Declaration of Independence”. I also wondered how human nature would evolve in the phrase “impelled by nature to seek the truth” if all is materialistic? I think the " those who are being coerced" in your # 3 have all the obligations they are just unable to fulfill them because they are being coerced and do not have religious freedom. Some of the basis of the statement is that people have duties or obligations as in the search for truth and duties to their creator therefore it is wrong for one person to prohibit or interfere in an attempt by another to perform those duties that is with the qualifier “provided that just public order be observed.” “People have rights because they have duties” is a quote I remember from somewhere. Peace be with you,LHJ

This is the very point where we need to examine human nature per se. We are an unique unification of the intellective rational spiritual soul and a decomposing material anatomy. Our spiritual soul does not emerge from our blood and guts.

Information source. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, paragraphs CCC 355-357; CCC 362-366; CCC 1730; Genesis 1: 26-27

Links to Catechism

usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catechism/catechism-of-the-catholic-church/

scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

"It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-"

**Good one thank you! **

357 Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, **who is not just something, but someone. **He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead. (1935, 1877)

If human beings are just the results of an advancement in evolution over other animals,if they came from nothing and are headed to oblivion why would they have more dignity than any other animal?

“Thanks for turning me into a someone” - Engelbert Humperdinck ( I hope I spelt his name right.)

We have dignity as human beings.
This is a truth that most people intuitively know regardless of their religious affiliation.
We understand why it is so, and this makes it impossible to deny, without denying the existence of God.

That wording appears to be a conscious reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience”).

(btw the document says “promulgated” by the Pope, the text may be a declaration by the Council rather than his words.)

“…] all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth.”

No they are not! For instance, a lone father living on the breadline has no time for such luxuries, his priority, his moral obligation, is to fend for himself and his children, not to run around looking for religious truths.

The document is about religious freedom, and imho it should not be trying to tell non-Catholics how to practice our faith.

Actually, moral obligation and priorities are realities, truths that one knows, seeks to know or at the very least it can be said that they should know.
One definitely learns these on the job.
Also, raising one’s kids in the faith is, I would say, the most important part of parenthood, and society should not thwart these efforts. Try raising Christian kids in Iraq.

It is in accordance with their dignity as persons-that is, beings endowed with reason and free will and therefore privileged to bear personal responsibility**-that all men should be at once impelled by nature and also bound by a moral obligation to seek the truth, especially religious truth.**

Lets break the statement down. What does it mean to be impelled by nature? Where does the moral obligation that binds us to seek the truth come from? Is there an innate desire of human beings to know the truth? Is their something written on our hearts that impels us to seek the truth? Is the truth outside us that we have too seek it? Why especially religious truth? If we are impelled by nature to seek the truth how did that evolve?
That is quite a lot to answer and we haven’t even discussed reason and free will! I am already tired and i’m going to take a nap. Peace

Our ancestors noticed the long grass rustling. It was very useful for them to know the truth of why it was rustling: the wind or a hungry tiger waiting to pounce. Knowing the truth of the world around you tends to increase your chances of surviving and having more children.

rossum

Does that mean you agree with the statement that all men should be impelled by nature to seek the truth?

A potential point of disagreement may be on the word “truth.” When I see it used by people in a religious context it often means something other than “a factual statement” or “concordant with reality.”

This is the link to Dignitatis Humanae. I should have put it in the beginning in case any one wants to read the whole thing.

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html

A little alarm goes off in my head whenever I see a post that contains the word ‘evolutionist’. Do you do those quote marky things with your fingers when you say ‘evolution’?

I would make a few changes:

Most men are impelled by their nature to seek {word omitted} truth?

rossum

I like this very much. There is no truth more important than religious truth.

There is no greater truth men desire to know for certain than whether or not there is a God.

There is nothing men fear more than death … and religious truth aims at settling the ultimate questions about what will happen to us when we die.

I am not aware of evolutionist as an insult. Is that what you mean? Is the usage in some way incorrect? I only meant it as a description of a person who believes in evolution. I myself am not convinced of evolution in what I would call in the macro form or between species. If it means change within a species that obviously occurs.

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