Spirituality, Counselling and Psychotherapy

The first of Michael Heffernan’s talks on Spirituality, Counselling and Psychotherapy takes place on 2nd October. See previous post A Listening Heart. Following is a brief outline of Michael’s previous talks on Faith and Science in Dialogue.

Many popes including Pope Francis and Pope Benedict actively encouraged the dialogue between faith and science.  These two talks addressed various aspects of the dialogue.  Two basic boundaries were explored: Science seeks to describe HOW things work, Faith asks WHY does anything exist?   Confusion about these boundaries gives rise to two forms of tunnel vision or fundamentalisms.

Scientific fundamentalism believes that science explains everything. The implications of a query regarding why does anything exist are neatly avoided by saying things exist because they exist  – a most illogical and unscientific statement!  On the other hand, religious fundamentalism ignores the various genres and styles of sacred scripture and argues that every word and narrative of scripture must be taken literally.   Each fundamentalism is a distorted mirror image of the other!

Scientific intelligence, which is exclusively cognitive, is but one form of the multiply forms of human intelligence which include affective aspects as well as intuition, appreciation of beauty, music, art, drama, poetry to name but a few.  Pope Benedict reminds us that all forms of human intelligence are involved in belief in God. He also reminds us that God is incomprehensible but not unknowable and beyond scientific investigation. Our experiences of goodness, especially love, are reflections of God’s qualities.

Darkness and doubts about God’s presence were illustrated by the example of Christ “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me”  and the experiences of the Dark Night of doubt endured by Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Therese of Lisieux.  The lectures involved discussion and dialogue with those attending.