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Looking to the beginning of creation

By Sister Helena Burns, FSP | Contributor
Sunday, September 9, 2012

Got atheists? Atheist friends or family, that is? The “stellar” new DVD “Cosmic Origins” might help. Today’s top scientists (many award-winning) weigh in on the mysterious origins of our universe (and a possible beyond). Old and new cosmological theories are presented, leading up to the possibility of an “intelligent designer.”

But the film — being mostly a scientific exploration and explanation — doesn’t harp on “intelligent design,” which, as Cardinal George tells us, belongs more to the realm of philosophy rather than either science or religion. Physics is juxtaposed with a brief consideration of metaphysics. The viewer does not feel bamboozled or railroaded by a sudden “attack” of “religious thought” at the end, where Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer (Magis Institute for Faith & Reason) introduces the concept of a harmonious relationship between science and belief.

The tone is one of informative scientific updating for the layperson, but without talking down to us. Definitely not an “apologetics” tone.

The format is diverse: footage of the universe, graphics, interviews, more than one live host, “man-in-the-street” opinions, etc. “Cosmic Origins” never lags. There is a conspicuous presence of young adults, especially in the personalized but contrived-looking “man-in-the-street” scenes. Atheism and “unaffiliated” are the fastest growing “religions” among young adults, and the “new atheism” movement is eagerly proselytizing these young minds and hearts.

Carl Sagan wanted the average person to be informed about science and was frustrated by what he deemed Americans’ “celebration of ignorance.” However, scientists need to understand that not everyone is interested in understanding how things work or even the scientific explanation of the origins of the universe. It can be argued that the average person does not even need to know these things to flourish.

Also, we all have our own specialties. Does Dawkins know what a mechanic knows? Can he fix his own car? Sometimes, scientists have a kind of hubris, demanding that everyone bow down to their discipline or field as the most important thing on earth.

The universal longing for love, meaning, fulfillment, self-understanding, connection with others, etc., trumps the desire for and acquisition of practical and functional knowledge every time. But this is still not an excuse to be a willful ignoramus. At least be curious about God’s astounding creation, OK, believers?

This DVD might be the first bridge towards reaching atheistic scientists and their followers, who only have science, because many eschew philosophy along with theology.