Shining a light in the darkness at Boston College, Jesuit Father Ronald Tacelli is the subject of a hopeful profile at Catholic Exchange. His undergraduate philosophy course, “Does God Exist?”, introduces skeptical and poorly catechized students to proofs for God’s existence.
The article’s quotes from one BC student indicate the challenges professors must face at today’s highly secularized, historically Catholic institutions:
Prior to taking the course last fall, sophomore Matthew Johnson was skeptical, even “frustrated” with those who attempted to prove the existence of a divine being, saying he found those attempts “futile and wasteful at best.”
However, he saw the course itself as anything but futile because it improved his understanding of theism and gave him more respect for theists: “The class helped me to widen my views to incorporate proofs for God’s existence that were neither dogmatic nor far-fetched. I now consider myself, as Father Tacelli would say, ‘on the search.’ I don’t know if I believe that a God exists or not, but I was not even open to the idea of a God’s existence before Father Tacelli’s class.”
…Matthew Johnson has continued thinking about God, in part by reading books from Father Tacelli, including Progress and Religion by Christopher Dawson and Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Johnson says that “Father Tacelli has been an excellent advisor, guide and mentor on this journey, and though he has certain beliefs and articulates and advocates them strongly, I never felt judged or looked down upon because I wasn’t ‘a believer.’ In fact, what he teaches and how he teaches it have opened up the possibility of me becoming ‘a believer.”
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