Something different

One of our friends from Harvard Business School is our Section B section mate Roy Schoeman, raised Jewish and now a devout Catholic. (He taught at HBS for some time.) Speaking personally, your correspondent goes back a long way in the Catholic religious practices, having pretty much memorized the Latin Mass as an altar boy at ages 7-10 or so in the 1950’s.

For high school, we went to the Portsmouth Priory (now Abbey) School, and had some serious discussions about choosing the monastic life, which a number of the monks recommended to us. (We’re pretty happy things went in another direction, since our son just got married to his loving and beautiful wife on 4/22/18.)

Anyhow, we emailed Roy the other day about some terrible problems: Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and so forth have killed hundreds of millions of people — why is that consistent with a fair and loving God? For that matter, what goes on in the billions of other galaxies and planets with somethings like humanoids? Lord Acton says that most great men are bad men — is that not itself evidence that the Creator screwed up in the universe’s design?

As a faithful Catholic, Roy’s response was, in part, to cite the thousands of miracles performed at Lourdes and elsewhere, as well as in the New Testament itself, underlining the truth and charity of Christianity. Fair enough, even if you think only some of these miracles are true. To be fair, Roy has an extensive bibliography of research showing the miracles to be miracles, which we can make available to any reader.

We pause to point out that we listen to Dennis Prager a lot, a devout Jew who says many of these horrible questions will be addressed the day you show up for the afterlife, which is a fair enough response. Afterlife would cure a billion things, but why is it pretty secret? — billboards advertising the benefits of “afterlife” would be cool and popular.

The point of this piece is the following: at present we do not believe, or more precisely feel, that the beauty of the many miracles (assuming that they are all 100% true) outweigh the horrors inflicted by the Stalins, Pol Pots, etc. of the world. To say that such things will be cured in an afterlife, as Dennis says, gives almost no comfort, since there are very few billboards on the highway of life advertising this afterlife.

This is of course way off usual Dinocrat blah-blah, but with billions of galaxies with their millions of planets with humanoids or some such, there ought to be some things to connect us better if there is a God, and certainly something better and much more billboard-like than changing water into wine at a marriage at Cana.

3 Responses to “Something different”

  1. Jamie Says:

    I can’t say it better than this man does.

  2. Neil Says:

    Theology is, or at least ought to be, an attempt to understand reality. Too often, we try to look for a God that is what we want him to be–the type of atheist, for example, who has decided he will never forgive God for not existing.

    A lot of people, including Prager (as I understand him), see bad people doing bad things, and want a God who doesn’t let that slide. But God is not a tame God, he’s not there for our wish fulfillment. I think C. S. Lewis has the right of it–God made us in his image, and that includes the power to choose. We can attempt to understand and obey God’s will as best we can, or we can attempt to impose our own will on God and His Universe. The great evils of the world arise from the latter.

    Mere Christianity is very, very good, and The Great Divorce makes some good points. Also, chaos theory and quantum mechanics are a window on His existence.

  3. Mark Russell Says:

    I would recommend viewing Dr James White’s commentary on that same Dr Peterson video.

    BTW, Jesus did a whole lot more than changing water to wine, including raising a man from the grave and the coming back himself.

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