Russell E. Saltzman on trying to understand the universe without reference to God:
Scientists started doing science as if God did not exist long ago, at least back to Descartes, and the habit is well established. He thought mathematics and physics could tease out more about God than any jumped-up band of theologians. It wasn’t his idea to displace God with science, but that’s what happened in his “mechanical universe.” To Descartes, a rational cosmos spoke of a rational God. This same rationalism could be extended to the structures of society and government, since all springs from a scientific God.
Also today, George Weigel on religious liberty and its contemporary enemies:
Independence Day concludes the Fortnight for Freedom mandated by the U.S. bishops, a two-week period of reflection and prayer on the defense of religious liberty that began on the vigil of the liturgical memorial of St. Thomas More. In July 2012, we may be grateful that none of us faces the headsman’s axe, as More did in Tudor England. But neither should we be indifferent to, or flippant about, the 21st century threats to religious liberty that surround us. They have yet to bring anyone to today’s equivalent of the scaffold on Tower Hill, but they are already putting severe pressure on both believers and religious institutions.