We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Saturday, March 30, 2013

How are They Being Used

Illustration from: Pierre d’Ailly, Concordantia
astronomiae cum theologia (1490)
While Rom Phra Khun covers a variety of subjects, the central thread that runs through this blog is the question of the relationship of faith to science.  I am personally convinced that the world religions each need to discover a viable relationship to science if they are to themselves remain viable.  For Christianity, this means that Jesus is good news for the great majority of people only to the degree that our message resonates with the age we live in—the Age of Science.  There is also something at stake here for science as well, I believe.  Human "spirit," however we conceive it, is a reality, which is bound up with the Spirit of the Creator, again however we conceive it.  Science constantly bumps up against the reality of the human spirit and needs religion for ideas and vocabulary in discovering what this spirit is.

How we talk about the relationship of faith and science matters, thus, to scientists and people of faith.  An article recently posted by Rabbi Geoffrey Mittleman entitled, "How to Talk About Science and Religion," is a useful brief guide to some of the ways we can talk about this important relationship.  Mittleman describes four ways of framing it: (1) contrast; (2) concert; (3) conflict; and (4) contact.  He favors the last way, which puts faith and science into a mutually beneficial dialogue with each other.  He concludes the article by writing, "When we remember that both science and religion are human enterprises, we can remember that the most important question isn't whether they need to be viewed separately, or if they can be reconciled, or if they are inherently in conflict. The most important question is: How are they being used?"  I recommend the article.