CHULA VISTA — Jesuit Father Robert Spitzer said that many young people have heard about “multiverses” and have come to believe incorrectly that the proposed existence of multiple universes is “a substitute” for the traditional belief that there was a single moment when God created the world from nothing.
“But, in point of fact, there’s more than enough evidence out there to show every multiverse needs a beginning, every string universe needs a beginning, every oscillating universe needs a beginning, and our universe needs a beginning,” Father Spitzer said.
“Prior to that beginning, physical reality was nothing,” he said, “and if physical reality was nothing, it could only do nothing. And if physical reality could only do nothing, it could not have moved itself from nothing to something … Therefore, something else had to do it, and that ‘something else’ has to be a transcendent Creator.”
Father Spitzer developed Credible Catholic, a free educational curriculum for middle school and high school, through his nonprofit The Magis Center, in response to young people leaving the Church. The curriculum, which includes a series of online video modules, has been embraced by the San Diego Diocese.
Father Spitzer said the “fine-tuning” of the universe also points to God. He explained that there are about 20 constants, including gravity and the speed of light, that control all of the laws of physics. If the values of these constants had been “ever so slightly higher or lower” than they were at the Big Bang, he said, “life would have been impossible in our universe.”
There is more scientific evidence for faith today than ever before, he said.
“We’ve just got to get the word out there because they’re leaving for no good reason,” he said of those young people who abandon their faith over the faith-vs.-science issue.
Credible Catholic’s “True Happiness” module identifies four levels of happiness: pleasure; ego-comparative, which comes from feeling or appearing superior to others; contributive, which involves having a positive impact on others; and transcendent, which is associated with a connection to God.
Father Spitzer cited studies that show increasing levels of depression and anxiety.
“There was a 63% increase in depression (and) anxiety for the 10 years prior to COVID and a 56% increase in suicidal contemplation and suicides prior to COVID,” he said. “Today, post-COVID, double it.”
He said his “True Happiness” module provides an explanation for this disturbing trend: There has been “a huge increase” in ego-comparative happiness, with young people comparing themselves with others on social media, coupled with “a huge decrease” in transcendent happiness, with a decline in religious affiliation among young people.
“You look at that ‘bifecta,’ it’s literally killing them,” said Father Spitzer. “You can trace about 70% of the suicides and the suicidal contemplation, depression, anxiety, just to these two things. And all I can say is, you don’t need a drug to get over this. What you need is God.”
Father Spitzer recalled the beginning of Credible Catholic. A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that some 42% of young Catholics would leave the Church and lose their faith in God before age 25, and half of them would do so because they falsely believed that faith and science are incompatible.
Father Spitzer struck back by developing Credible Catholic, a curriculum made up of “seven essential modules.”
In the San Diego Diocese, teachers and catechists are teaching Module 2, “Evidence of God’s Existence from Science,” and Module 6, “True Happiness.”
Reflecting on the content of Module 2, Father Spitzer said his “number-one message” is that, contrary to what is commonly believed, the majority of scientists are not atheists – and he has the numbers to back up this claim.
Fifty-one percent of scientists overall and 66% of those under age 35 identify as believers, he said. Some 76% of doctors believe in God, and 74% of them believe in miracles.