Stephen Barr: “Recent discoveries point toward God”
Stephen Barr, University of Delaware physics professor and president of the Society of Catholic Scientists gave an intriguing lecture for the Belmont Abbey College Cuthbert Allen lecture series on Science & Christian Faith: The Myth of Conflict.
In his discussion Barr argued how over the last century developments and trends in science have begun pointing to a metaphysical picture more in line with Christianity and Judaism. In his discussion Barr used numerous examples of scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo and Georges Lemaitre, who retained their Catholic or Christian faith throughout their scientific careers and even praised God for helping them see the beauty in his creation. He also clarified how the Big Bang theory, which Lemaitre originated, and evolution are not contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. “I have always felt that science and the Catholic faith have always seemed to me profoundly in harmony,” Barr remarked.
He also touched on miracles and how they are not contrary to science but rather as they are supernatural, meaning beyond the natural, they still have a foundation in the natural. Their foundation in what is natural simply point to God’s power over nature, and his love for us and therefore give us hope. In one example he illustrated how the bible, and Genesis specifically challenged the current philosophies of the day, that animals, the sun and the stars were worthy of worship. The book of Genesis challenged that thinking and pointed to a single God outside of time as the creator who brings order to all things. These teachings actually gave a better understanding of our world.
The nearly full capacity crowd at the Belmont Abbey Basilica, listened intently at Barr’s presentation which began with an image of Albert Einstein and Georges Lemaitre, a creative way to show hiw science and religion indeed complement each other and are not in conflict. He concluded his lecture by pointing to five major recent discoveries that are all better explained and reinforce the Judeo-Christian view of the cosmos. One example he gave was that the atheistic view of the universe says that the universe has always existed. However recent discoveries point to the idea that the universe and time itself had a beginning, and most scientists now agree that the Big Bang theory is the strongest explanation of that beginning.
Mr. Barr began his visit at the Abbey by meeting with students, faculty, monks and staff in the Haid Ballroom for a pre-event question and answer. He then enjoyed dinner at the Lowry Alumni House with a group of faculty, President Thierfelder, Abbot Placid, Dr. Grattan Brown, chair of the Cuthbert Allen Lecture series, and other guests.