He compared faith to the process of coming to know another human person. While one can begin to come to know someone by reason, or through a Google search or a background check, when a relationship deepens, other questions arise.
“When she reveals her heart, the question becomes: Do I believe her or not? Do I trust her or not?” he said.
“The claim, at least of the great biblical religions, is that God has not become a great distant object that we examine philosophically,” the bishop said. “Rather, the claims is that God has spoken, that God has decided to reveal his heart to his people.”
Bishop Barron addressed several other mindsets that he said forestall intelligent argument about religion.
The mentality of “mere toleration” keeps religion to oneself and treats it as a hobby. However, religion makes truth claims, like claims that Christ rose from the dead.
“Truth claims, if they really are truth claims, cannot be privatized,” he said. "A truth claim always has a universal scope, a universal intent."
“The privatization of religion is precisely what makes real argument about religion impossible.”
While science has created great knowledge that should be embraced, there is the mindset of “scientism” which reduces all knowledge to scientific form.
“It results in a deep compromise of our humanity, it seems to me,” he said, contending that religious truths are more akin to those of literature, poetry and philosophy. The scientistic mindset would have to argue that Shakespeare’s plays or Plato’s philosophical dialogues do not convey deep truths about life, death, faith, and God.
Scientism also mistakes its subject when attempting to consider God. “The one thing God is not is an item within the universe,” Bishop Barron said.
The bishop also faulted a mindset that is “voluntarist,” which believes that the faculty of the will has precedence over the intellect. In a religious context, this holds that God could make two plus two equal five. This gives rise to a view of God as arbitrary and even oppressive.
(Story continues below)
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In response, some people believe humanity’s will trumps the intellect and determines truth through power. According to Bishop Barron, they see God as incompatible with human freedom and, in the words of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, see freedom as the inherent liberty to determine the meaning of one’s own concept of existence, the universe, and human life itself.
Addressing the Facebook employees about their work, he said that their company’s social media network shows an “extraordinary spiritual power” in connecting all the world.
“I think that it’s a spiritual thing that you’re bringing everybody together,” he said.