One of the first catechetical lessons children are taught is that God knows and loves all things perfectly and that He made them in His image. They learn that all people have a material body with the senses to see, hear, smell, taste and touch, and an immaterial soul with the powers to know and love. This explains to a child, to anyone, why we all have that the innate desires to know and be known, to love and be loved, to learn, to belong.
Atheist grown-ups, on the other hand, argue that there is no soul, there is only the brain. As far as any evidence has ever been able to determine, they say, the human mind is nothing more than a piece of software running on the computers we call brains. Our thoughts are Newtonian machines calculating data according to decision-making algorithms. They conclude that things like love and suffering are just the result of chemical reactions. They conclude we have no free-will. They claim that at death the brain ceases to function, and the person ceases to exist.
I wonder if they’ve met a little boy named Nicholas Coke? His heartwarming story is undoubtedly perplexing to an atheist. You see, he has no brain. He was born with a condition called anencephaly and only has a brain stem. He was expected to die at birth, but he lived and kept on living for almost four years now. It is said that he survives “only on will and love.” His mother says that the love from his family makes him stronger, and that he’s grown physically and emotionally. He smiles at them; he knows they are there. Even the most pertinacious atheist could not claim he’s dead or non-existent.
Oh science! Even if science explained every physical relationship in the whole world, it wouldn’t be able to predict the next behavior of a single person. Don’t we all know that? We know we thrive on love, we know we are more than matter. October is Respect Life Month and it’s the Month of the Holy Rosary. Pope Benedict XVI has declared that October 11 begins the Year of Faith. Please join me in this special month in prayer that all souls – even those without brains, and even those who think brains are all they have – are led to Heaven. God bless this little boy and his family’s love for showing us what we all know, but sometimes forget.
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