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“You Have Ten Minutes to Prove The Existence of God to My Husband”

ON THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN SCIENCE

By Benjamin D. Wiker | September 2000
Benjamin D. Wiker is Assistant Professor of Classics at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. He is currently scripting a docudrama adaption of his article "The Christian & the Epicurean," which appeared in the July-August 1999 NOR, for Iberia Productions.

So spoke the wife of the glowering elderhosteler. She came up to me at the break in my third lecture on St. Thomas Aquinas. The elderhostelers, as the name suggests, were all senior citizens. They came to hear about the Angelic Doctor, and it was obvious that this woman’s husband was an elder particularly hostile to things religious.

In this woman’s voice I heard the years of frustration, a believing woman and an unbelieving man, one flesh but two minds for a half a century of marriage, she getting more desperate and he more obstinate, and time passing all too quickly. She really hoped that I, the poor representative for St. Thomas, could do in so short a time what she was unable to do in five decades.

Alas, I failed. But I say this in my defense: not even St. Thomas, unless it be through the presence of his personal holiness, could have changed her husband’s mind in ten minutes. The ruts of his unbelief were worn too deep.

But what enkindled her hope? The focus of my third lecture was on St. Thomas’s famous proofs for God’s existence (Summa Theologiae, I, 2.3). She must have thought she had providentially stumbled upon the answer to all her prayers in a form which her husband, a man of reason, could not dispute. Finally, proof. And not just one, but five!

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