Thursday, October 8, 2015

Catholic Authors

I must confess that I am an Evangelical Protestant and have been one for over thirty years. However, my favorite authors tend to be Roman Catholic. My favorite author is Thomas Aquinas and C. S. Lewis would probably be my second favorite author. As observed by Father Schall C. S. Lewis had a Catholic mind. Sometimes I wonder why Catholics tend to be my favorite authors. It is probably because intellectually and philosophically I am Catholic.

What do I mean when I say I am philosophically and Intellectually Catholic. I think what I mean is that I accept Catholic tradition and its historical position on the relationship of faith and reason. Once I was driving Peter Kreeft to the airport and I asked him why Catholics accept that Faith and reason are compatible but evangelicals still argue about this relationship. There are even those who argue the position of faith against reason. Kreeft told me that Catholics had been thinking of this relationship for two thousand years and the topic is still quite new for Evangelicals. I consider myself Catholic because I endorse the position that faith and reason are compatible. A statement made my Walker Percy which I like very much says: "it is no small thing, either, to turn your back on two thousand years of rational thinking and hard work and science and art and the Judean-Christian tradition." I have observed that Catholics see both faith and reason as sources of truth.

I would like to show two examples of the contrast between evangelicals and Catholics. The first one has to do with the relationship of Church and State. Our church has been doing a study on the relationship between Church and State using teaching by R. C. Sproul. Basically, the study looks at what the Bible tells us about politics. It tends to emphasize divine revelation. I think Catholics would look at reason. They would look at Aristotle and other important political theorists and discuss what reason can tell us about the relationship of church and state. There is a tendency among Protestants to look at topics from a Bible alone perspective. An example would be Wayne Grudem's Politics according to the Bible. A second example would be the emphasis on philosophy in Catholic colleges and university and the lack of it at evangelical colleges. For example, our school has many Bible courses and only a few philosophy courses which are under theology. I think the Catholic perspective would be that you could not understand theology without understanding philosophy.

A question I have had in my mind for a long time was why Catholic priests are educated in so many field besides theology. I have many priests who have graduate degrees in psychology, philosophy, political science and other disciplines. What is the reason for this? The few Catholic priests I have interacted with were very knowledge and widely educated. My question is regards to this situation is it because on the stress of reason in the Roman Catholic tradition?

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