Today, the Ottawa Citizen asks the religion experts, “What is the greatest obstacle to faith?” One answer in particular is remarkable because the respondent, Kevin Flynn, is an Anglican priest and director of the Anglican studies program at Saint Paul University. Flynn appears to be a smart guy, so why is he targeting science rather than individual intelligence and reason as obstacles to faith:
Perhaps the greatest obstacle to faith in our culture is the notion — widely held but little examined — that science has made religious faith absurd and untenable. This is not science, but “scientism.”
is related philosophically to logical positivism, a position that holds that only statements that can be empirically verified are genuine. . . .[and] Logical positivism has largely collapsed as a philosophical position because it suffers from a basic contradiction: its own principle of verification cannot be tested empirically.
God always “makes the first move” in our relationship with Him. He offers us the gift of faith and we then choose how to respond to this offer.There are many things that might impede our reception of this gift. When we struggle with faith, however, we can always ask God for help.
As one Ottawa Citizen reader pointed out to me, Kevin Smith, a member of the board of directors for the Centre of Inquiry, agrees with some of the other experts on the premise, but Smith reaches a different conclusion, “in the gotcha sense”
The greatest obstacle to faith is knowledge and that’s something religionists understand. They commit the primordial sin against freethinking by banning books that question corporate dogma, as the Vatican has done.
Smith goes on to say
Nietzsche said, “faith is not wanting to know what is true.” It might provide comfort, security and an escape from fear, but you’ll have to leave knowledge at the door.
That is what the religion experts want; they want the faithful to close the door on knowledge, and rational thinking because that way, the experts can use their knowledge to convince their flock to remain faithful to unsupported theories and beliefs.