Catholics Should Use Science to Evangelize Says Chemist

Catholics Should Use Science to Evangelize Says Chemist September 5, 2019

Ever since I first heard her speak on an episode of Catholic Answers Live I was dying to chat with Dr. Stacy Trasancos.

A convert to Catholicism, Dr. Trasancos received her PhD in Chemistry and, at the height of her career, had a conversion to Christ and His Church. She’s gone on to receive an MA in Dogmatic Theology and now writes, speaks, and leads other in how to evangelize—especially through science.

Her fantastic book is Particles of Faith. And I recently had the privilege of interviewing her on The Cordial Catholic.

Our discussion began in the beginning: with the Big Bang and I asked her how we can use current evolutionary science to help prove our faith. After all, if the common consensus amongst scientists is that the universe and all that we know had a singular point of creation can’t we, as Catholics, call that God and conceded a victory?

Not so fast, says Dr. Trasancos.

If we use science in a way that attempts to prove our faith we end up no better than those who subscribe to a theology of scientism: that everything can be proved through science.

We go down to their level unnecessarily.

Instead, Trasancos approach is much more nuanced, more circumspect, and she says that we should approach science as a way to prove our faith only tentatively. Carefully, at least. After all, she says, it wasn’t that long ago that we knew basically nothing about the atom. We have come so far but we could come further still—another theory of how the universe came to be could, one day, supplant the Big Bag and Catholics who pin their philosophical and theological hat’s on that theory could find themselves suddenly scrambling.

Rather, Trasancos attitude toward science is a much bigger, as I think she would say.

God created everthing, we believe this as Catholics and say it every week when we recite the Creed. Therefore, whatever we can find out through science about the mechanisms and forces and processes that God used and is using in His ongoing creative process is fine and dandy but we have to recognize our own human limits.

Science is a tool. It’s a great tool but only a tool. As surely as we may think we’ve figured out how God does what we could always discover more and realize that we were completely wrong.

Recognizing, instead, at a high level that God is Creator and science is His creation helps to, as Trasancos says, “inoculate” us from having to worry about new scientific discoveries our breakthroughs coming along and shipwrecking our faith.

Because they can’t, and they won’t, if we recognize (a) that God is God over all and that (b) science has its limits.

This, says Dr. Trasancos, is also an incredible opportunity for evangelization.

Once we’re no longer afraid of science somehow disproving our faith, once we recognize its proper place in relation to God and the created world, we can use the beauty and order and incredible breadth of creation as an amazing tool for evangelization.

In our interview, Dr. Trasancos relates a story of trying to replicate photosynthesis in a laboratory. Frustrated, she looked out the window and an enormous tree. A tree which, by its very nature, simply photosynthesized. And here was Trasancos, a skilled chemist in an expensively outfitted lab, completely unable to do what this tree did all on its own.

Doing what God made that tree to do.

It’s an amazing opportunity to share our faith.

To listen to my wonderful interview with Dr. Stacy Trasancos click here, or listen below.

 

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