The theme is Cardinal Brady's statement this week at TCD that the real clash of cultures is between those who believe in God and those who disdain such belief and aggressively oppose any tolerance of its influence on law, morality or the public square.
Here is the relevant section of his address:
Brady's full address is online at http://tr.im/lrcOThe Compatibility of Faith and Reason
As recently as last Saturday, Pope Benedict addressed this precise point in Jordan when he said, and I think it is important to hear his words in full:
"Mature belief in God serves greatly to guide the acquisition and proper application of knowledge. Science and technology offer extraordinary benefits to society and have greatly improved the quality of life of many human beings…. At the same time the sciences have their limitations. They cannot answer all the questions about man and his existence. Indeed the human person, his place and purpose in the universe cannot be contained within the confines of science ... The use of scientific knowledge needs the guiding light of ethical wisdom. Such is the wisdom that inspired the Hippocratic Oath, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Convention and other laudable international codes of conduct.
"Hence religious and ethical wisdom, by answering questions of meaning and value, play a central role in professional formation. And consequently, those universities where the quest for truth goes hand in hand with the search for what is good and noble, offer an indispensable service to society."
As Cardinal John Henry Newman, reflecting on the idea of a university, said as far back as 1852: so often the "fundamental dogma" of the scientist today is "that nothing can be known for certain about the unseen world." The pursuit of theological studies therefore is the pursuit of a mirage and in the mind of the scientist lacks the credentials necessary for inclusion in the university curriculum.
This idea that "religion is a delusion" has enjoyed something of a resurgence recently. It has been re-energized in the popular media by what one author describes as the "New Atheists". The fact is that the popular assumption that faith and reason are incompatible is false. Faith and religion remain an essential part of the human experience and of the search for meaning and truth.
The real clash of cultures in our world at the moment is not between the religious traditions of the world. All the indications are that the major religions of the world are moving towards greater understanding. The real clash of cultures is between those who believe in God and those who disdain such belief and aggressively oppose any tolerance of its influence on law, morality or the public square.
Any thoughts on this welcome between now and Sunday...