You’ve probably heard about the recent speech by our newly minted Governor-General: Ms. Julie Payette, whose task it is to stand in for the Queen in a ceremonial way, went way beyond ceremony, and began pontificating on the superiority of science over faith. In fact, mocking religion, she put anyone who holds such quaint notions as ‘divine intervention’ in the creation of Man, on par with those who consult horoscopes, as Rex Murphy puts so well. Ms. Payette is an intelligent woman, a former astronaut with an advanced degree in engineering, but she is woefully mis-educated, as are most people nowadays. I hope to have an article soon on this fiasco, which the Prime Minister has only made worse with his own doubling down in support of her ill-considered words.
Does Ms. Payette really think that the only explanation for all that we see, all the beauty, order and harmony in the universe, is pure, ungoverned, random chance, and that any cause for ‘climate change’ (itself a fraught hypothesis) besides human, is laughable? She is free to her private opinion, to which she can hold forth in whatever private gatherings she attends, at home and abroad. But as Governor-General, she has a specific role, which implies, at the very least, unifying and respecting the country and its citizens, and not belittling with condescending remarks, in superciliously sarcastic tones, those Canadians who hold religious views, and are not atheists like herself. The fool sayeth in his heart, there is no God. It is, in a word, embarrassing, and indicative of the sad, limited, Godless, cramped state of our institutions of higher learning, where Ms. Payette’s mind and thoughts were presumably formed.
The truth will set you free. As John Paul II put it in Fides et Ratio, faith and reason are two wings upon which the human intellect soars to the heights of truth. Without faith, not only is reason limited to the horizons of this passing and uncertain existence, but fails and falters, eventually going far astray. Scientists are now acting like astrologers, predicting the future on the flimsiest of data, with a hubris that would have put the Greek gods to shame.
Is this speech from the highest office in our land an official declaration that Canada is now a secularist nation, devoid of religious guidance, even of respect for religion itself? Does this apply across the board, to Christians, Jews, Muslims and Indigenous?
With few exceptions, like the political acquiescence to the sensitivities of Native cultures, we are already more or less atheistic in outlook, but to have this so clearly enunciated by the Queen’s representative, supported by the Prime Minister, is a troubling sign. As Pope Leo XIII put it in his encyclical Immortale Dei, a society without religion can never be well governed. In fact, it can only be badly governed, with death and tyranny the order of the day.
After all, if we are just a loosely-bound herd of highly developed apes, who by ‘random chance’ happen to have refined the art of tool-making, but with no transcendent destiny, no God, no binding morality, then what’s to stop us killing our unwanted babies, leaving them to die; murdering our elderly sick; using and abusing each other economically, physically and sexually; getting away with as much theft and corruption as we can; and, if and when this meaningless ‘reality’ gets too much, spending our lives in a drug and alcohol-addled stupor?
Wait a minute…
Dostoyevsky and history are both right: without God, anything goes. We need to turn things around in this nation before they get a lot worse. Yet the Liberals big plan is to legalize marijuana, and sell weed at LCBO outlets, at least here in Ontario. Don’t worry. They won’t be too near schools.
Man is by nature a religious being, and it all depends on just what religion one chooses, from a hedonistic, self-centred agnosticism, all the way to the full glory of Catholicism. Listening to Julie Payette, I am reminded of Chesterton’s quip, that a man who has lost his faith will not believe in nothing, but will believe in anything, including chicken-little apocalyptic anthropogenic climate change, as well as the random bouncing of atoms producing an organ as complex as a human brain, which we should all use a little more than we do.