Scientist leading parishioners through intersection of faith and reason

Deacon Mike Gouge, left, who serves at St. John Neumann Church in Farraugut, assists Bishop Richard F. Stika at the June ordination Mass for Father Dustin Collins as Father David Carter, right, and other diocesan priests concelebrate.
Photo by Dan McWilliams

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.
Deacon Gouge has spent the fall preaching 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.
The next stop on Deacon Gouge’s science-in-religion tour is Chattanooga on Saturday.
Deacon Gouge, who serves at St. John Neumann Church in Farragut, 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 has been leading is five hours and was broken into two sessions. The first session was an introduction to faith and the physical sciences. The second session explored the intersection of faith and the life sciences, such as biology.
Deacon Gouge’s Chattanooga workshop, the second of two held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, is Saturday from 9-11:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church’s parish life center. The registration fee is $10. He already held sessions on Oct. 13 and 27 at St. John Neumann Parish.
“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 last December as a group leader running the lab’s superconductivity program. He graduates next month 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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