Philosophy, as it was described to me as an undergraduate at Catholic University, gets you to the horizon… allows you to touch the very limit to the mere idea of God. Theology on the other hand was God reaching the rest of the way. The vast world beyond the horizon, as it were.
Leah Libresco’s conversion from atheism to Catholicism appears to be one of those rare “aha!” moments where the horizon was crossed. In her final post for the Patheos Atheist portal blog, she recounts the conversation that got her from a distant, Platonic idea of morality through mathematical forms-material reasoning to bridging the idea of an objective moral law. The conversation moved into evolutionary biology and then…
My friend pressed me to stop beating up on other people’s explanations and offer one of my own.
“I don’t know,” I said. ”I’ve got bupkis.”
“Your best guess.”
“I haven’t got one.”
“You must have some idea.”
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“Ok, ok, yes, I heard what I just said. Give me a second and let me decide if I believe it.” (emphasis added)
The entire exchange is worth reading, if for no other reason than watching how a deeply respectful and honest exchange of ideas — rather than two hypotheses hammering away at one another — evolved into an accommodation.
Now Libresco does have some reservations about Catholicism, namely with regards to homosexuality or a series of other reservations that mentally creep up from her philosophically-inclined background. I hope she holds on to them all. The great thinkers and doctors of the Church alloyed their past with their present… and those new viewpoints and twists on the kaleidoscope allow the Church to expand into the title of Catholic.
Lex orandi, lex credendi — it rings true every time. The Liturgy of the Hours is a fantastic way of reaching beyond that horizon.