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March 28, 2013
Connecting the mundane to the magnificent
Theology's impact in the affairs of men is always important (and sometimes even acknowledged, at least during sacred holiday seasons).
Decades ago a brilliant theologian connected much of the mundane to the magnificant. He also linked science to society, giving warnings to both.
In Christian theologian Bernard Lonergan's classic work, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, first published in 1957, one of his very last statements in the book is a pertinent, cautionary message for our times. Dr. Lonergan writes:
"[O]nce an empirical human science is developed sufficiently to be relevant to practical applications, there arises the supreme danger that the scientist will despair of human intelligence and reasonableness and will ambition the role of consultant in the policy-making of the ever more paternalistic state. Then it is that the theologian needs the alliance of fully enlightened scientists. For the drift to totalitarianism can be stopped only in the measure that human scientists work out intelligent and reasonable solutions to human problems and theologians succeed in convincing hardheaded practical men, on the one hand, that by God's grace intelligent and reasonable solutions can work and, on the other hand, that the desertion of reasonable and intelligent solutions for 'realist' policies is the operative principle in the breakdown and the disintegration of civilizations" (p. 768, 2008 reprint edition).
This insight is quite applicable for many of today's issues, with climate change, perhaps, heading the top of the list.
Meteorologist Anthony J. Sadar is author of In Global Warming We Trust: A Heretic's Guide to Climate Science (Telescope Books) (www.InGlobalWarmingWeTrust.com).