I have a personal policy to at least try to read all books that people give me to read. Reading a book not of my choice, I reckon, is God’s way of teaching me new things.
July 5, 2008 by 9 Comments
As a result I have just finished The Ottaviani Intervention which was given me by a traditionalist Catholic. It’s a tiresome book, I’m afraid, which critiques the Novus Ordo Mass quite severely. It has more than a whiff of conspiracy theory about it, and at places becomes so obsessed with it’s theory that it becomes ludicrous. It would be much stronger if it actually took the time to praise the Novus Ordo for the good things it accomplishes. We always listen to negative criticism better if the positive comments come first. As it is, The Ottaviani Intervention sounds like a person who has been given a spanking new Toyota, but prefers his Model T. “But this car has electric windows! They will only break down you know. The old crank down ones never broke down. This new fangled Toyota has cruise control. How stupid and irrelevant is that??!! You never needed that on the Model T because I always cruised along at thirty miles an hour.” You get my drift.
The other book is Skeptics and True Believers by a scientist with the cool name of Chet Raymo. (Sounds like a science fiction hero) Anyway, Chet (who was brought up as a Catholic) takes easy pot shots at superstition and New Age wackos and of course, lumps all religious believers into the same mass grave. Believers are all superstitious, credible, emotionally immature babies who need a comfort blanket in the face of the immense, cold universe and the vast amount of time it has taken the world to evolve.
What always mystifies me about Raymo, Hitchens, Harris and Dawkins etc. etc. is how they rightly criticize non-scientific souls like myself for not knowing or caring about ‘real science’ and yet they launch into the attack on religion without taking the time to study ‘real religion’. Nevertheless there are good things in the book. He quotes a rabbi who says there are ‘two Adams’ linked to Genesis 1 and 2. These represent two types of man. The first is the Adam who is steward of creation and called to name all things. The second is the man of meaning. The man who walks with God and struggles through sin and redemption. The first Adam is the scientific man. The second is the mystic. They forever struggle, but they forever need one another.
The clash between religion and science is, perhaps, simply a natural part of being human. It’s a constant battle, and always has been. The battle between the mystic and the scientist, between the poet and the man of facts. Each deals with the world he lives in with a totally different language, and although they will always clash, they are two sides of the same coin.