Deacon to lead ‘Faith and Reason’ course

Deacon Mike Gouge is no stranger to scientific theory. In fact, the Ph.D. and recent retiree from Oak Ridge National Laboratory has thrived on research about the beginnings of the universe.

Now, Deacon Gouge wants to preach what he has practiced by leading an adult faith formation class called “Faith and Reason,” which explores the intersection of faith and reason, with science and technology thrown into the mix.

Deacon Gouge, who serves at St. John Neumann Church, wants to show that the study of the cosmos is in line with creation beliefs. “We can learn something from God just from natural reason, particularly God as creator and sustainer,” he said. “To know more about God, we have to go to Revelation, the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The course Deacon Gouge will lead is five hours and will be broken into two sessions. The first session is an introduction to faith and the physical sciences. The second session will explore the intersection of faith and the life sciences, such as biology.

Sessions are planned for Knoxville on Oct. 13 and 27 from 9-11:30 a.m. at St. John Neumann Parish in the Elizabeth Ann Seton Community Room, and in Chattanooga on Nov. 3 and 10 from 9-11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church’s parish life center. The registration fee is $10.

“We’ll conclude with how the Catholic Church over the last two millennia has fostered science through its belief that creation is intelligible. You can look at the universe as created by God.
“Just as we expect adult Catholics to grow in their faith, that includes an awareness of how faith and reason, or science, cannot contradict each other, they can actually reinforce each other,” he said.

The course, targeted at all adults, will be presented at a level for participants to understand the science.

Deacon Gouge retired from ORNL in December as a group leader running the lab’s superconductivity program. He graduates in December with a master’s degree in theological studies.

“It is my hope that the beauty of the created order and the fact good science cannot contradict our faith will resonate with participants and give them a foundation to grow in faith in this Year of Faith,” he said.

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