Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Update!

My last post here was about discerning to attempt to write a book that would encompass the main theme of this blog (faith & reason), but with a unique twist. The "twist" involves aspects of analytical problem solving and decision making used where I work, and which I'm certified to teach, incorporated with the thinking of a multitude of philosophers, theologians and apologists. 

Well, the discernment has resulted in full manuscript and proposal currently being sent to various Catholic publishers. I also received a foreword from blogger, author, scientist and professor Stacy Trasancos. It's so good it makes we want to re-read my own book!!! Below is a snippet or two.

It's looking to be a long process, but I'll keep you posted (literally). In the mean time wish me luck...or better yet, say a prayer.

Grounded in teaching of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Saint John Paul the Great, Pope Francis, and a generous foundation of other familiar theologians and apologists, Ben Butera walks us through the reason of faith. He shows how the modern secular language of analytical problem solving can apply as a person reasons through the truths of faith and lives them out in his or her life. Ben is a catechist, a husband, a father, a Solutions Development Manager for a global 500 company, and as such, an analyst, and he is a story-teller. The instructions he presents in this book are full of metaphors and analogies, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis or G.K. Chesterton, to give the reader a helm to grasp when navigating good decision-making through the lens of grace. He shows a person how to dive into mystery and how to approach objective truth in natural law and morality the same way one approaches objective truth in science or engineering.

Rather than urge a different epistemology upon the reader who may be unprepared for it, Butera meets the reader of this scientific age where he or she is by showing how the analytical reasoning of empiricism can be applied to the laboratory of one’s life. “Test out the truths of faith,” he says in his own words. “Do what you know. It works.” He does not leave the reader there though, being told logical reasoning works, for we all know that logic alone cannot guarantee a sound conclusion.  Butera then leads a reader from familiarity into the realms of new, or at least new to the reader, epistemologies and of reasoning confidently in faith. The approach is simple and effective. In often humorous ways, he reminds us that even the simple questions we try to think through are often not as simple as we assume them to be on the surface. We are all trying to figure life out, but alas, we need the vantage of faith to really get the full perspective.
Not to spoil the book before you even read it, but that is the charm in these pages. You will discover that you already engage in complex problem-solving, and that you can transfer those same skills to moral questions. All the million questions you will encounter through life about how to know what the right thing is to do, how to know which path to choose, how to know when to endure and when to act, how to have confidence in yourself in various situations, can be analyzed in faith. There is joy in that! Sadly, the secular message robs maturing minds of this fact and leaves people feeling unsure about this thing we call the “moral compass.”

Books like this show that modernity is moving past the “conflict” dialogue and into one of coherence, and we live in this exciting moment in history. What if the youth of today were as unfamiliar with the faith and science conflict myths as they are with rotary dial telephones? I think they will be. I think the Buteras of the world are leading us there. I think the days of secularism, while never gone completely, are waning among many groups of people, quiet people, the people living their lives who we never hear about in the loud bustle of the media. Being Catholic is exhilarating, a quest for truth that calls one to adventure and victory. I enthusiastically recommend this work. Ben Butera is the voice of the new evangelization.

Stacy A. Trasancos, PhD
Author of Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science
Ave Maria Press
Professor, Science in the Light of Faith
Holy Apostles College & Seminary