Today we are looking at something that is valuable. What is a person worth? This is an age-old question with a wide variety of meanings and answers. Yet it is something that we all think about. At this time of year, we begin to reflect on what is or is not import in our life.
Probably one of the best examples of the miracle of love comes from a highly unlikely source- John Lennon. In his Billboard hit song of October, 1971 entitled Imagine- Lennon expressed the feeling of millions of people all around the world.
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today (ah ah ah)
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed…
No religion: What was Lennon saying here? For starters, a world without “divine” messengers, like Osama bin Laden, sparking violence. A world where mistakes, like the avoidable loss of life in Hurricane Katrina, would be rectified rather than chalked up to “God’s will.” Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable. Where critical thinking is ideal. In short, a world that makes sense.
In recent years scientists specializing in the mind have begun to unravel religion’s “DNA.” They have produced robust theories, backed by empirical evidence (including “imaging” studies of the brain at work), that support the conclusion that it was humans who created God, not the other way around. And the better we understand the science, the closer we can come to “no heaven … no hell … and no religion too.”
Like our physiological DNA, the psychological mechanisms behind faith evolved over the eons through natural selection. They helped our ancestors work effectively in small groups and survive and reproduce, traits developed long before recorded history, from foundations deep in our mammalian, primate and African hunter-gatherer past.
Wait just one minute. Hold the presses here. This can not be and this is the exact philosophy that Bishop Fulton Sheen warned us about. God does not love us because we are valuable. We are valuable because God loves us. What the modernists have done is completely changed this around. They have in essence created their own science. A new science does not necessitate a new religion or a new philosophy. To mix them is committing what the scholastics call the fallacy of uniform method of science. As Fulton Sheen said,
"Here we call it the 'Fallacy of the Uniform Method of Science' -- the fallacy of taking one science as the norm, and making it the measure, the guide, the interpreter, and the inspiration of every other science." (Philosophy of Religion, 185).
To make matters worse we can see this same idea throughout history. According to Karl Marx, religion is like other social institutions in that it is dependent upon the material and economic realities in a given society. It has no independent history; instead, it is the creature of productive forces. As Marx wrote, “The religious world is but the reflex of the real world.” He concluded that religion was used by the powerful to control the masses.
Then we have Freud's psychoanalytic perspective that viewed religion as the unconscious mind's need for wish fulfillment. Because people need to feel secure and absolve themselves of their own guilt, Freud believed that they choose to believe in God, who represents a powerful father-figure.
How do these three people (Lennon, Marx, and Freud) demonstrate the words of Bishop Fulton Sheen to be correct? The answer is simple and rather straightforward. Bishop Fulton Sheen explained we gain our value not through us, not through self-worth but through the discovery that we are not as significant is we think and not a great without our creator.
We did not create ourselves any more than buildings in our society built themselves or we created our parents. In a period of reflection, remember to save some room for the greatest reflection of them all- God does not love us because we are valuable. We are valuable because God loves us.