Sunday, June 19, 2005

on a rational mind, a caring heart, and the example of my father

For Mother's Day, I wrote that it is because of my mother that I am able to believe. I remember today that it is because of my father that I know what to believe. If my mother's example gave me the heart of my belief, my father's example provided its head. In a world that so often puts faith and reason as fundamentally opposed to each other, Papa showed me that the two must go hand in hand. With a (I hope) future in academia, it is important for me to be able to protect my faith against the intellectual attacks that come against it. You know the idea - faith is something irrational. People accept religion because they don't think about it. Atheism is the only rational point of view.

My father, I can assure you, thinks about his faith a good deal - a trait which he passed on to me. Our long philosophical discussions on faith and morality did more to shape my beliefs than anything else. Our discussions would have meant nothing, however, if I had not seen how these beliefs shaped his life. Papa is a doctor, and he takes his job very seriously - as a healer of the body, but also a healer of the soul. The kindness with which he treats each person, the way he can so clearly see that person's emotional as well as physical needs, has shown me that an intellectual faith does not need to be removed from the world, nor does it need to go through the world judging, but should be open to the world, showing what it has to offer and kindly helping as far as it has permission to help. My father's example has shown me that the head of a scientist and the heart of a Christian are not at odds with each other. I pray that I will be able to use them both at all times, just as he does - pondering my faith with a rational mind and carrying out my scientific work with love.

No comments: