|Carina Nebula [Courtesy NASA]|
Science and religion are often seen as enemies locked in mortal combat. Some people in both camps are aggressively continuing the warfare, particularly on the topic of evolution. But conflict can be avoided. ... The two kinds of inquiry offer complementary perspectives on the world, separate and independent from each other and not in conflict.
Both science and religion ultimately flow out of the same radical eros for truth that lies at the heart of our existence. And so, it is because of their shared origin in this fundamental concern for truth that we may never allow them simply to go their separate ways.
Science and theology ... share one fundamental aim which will always make them worthy of the attention of those imbued with intellectual integrity and the desire to understand: in their different ways and in their different domains, each is concerned with the search for truth. In itself, that is sufficient to guarantee that there will continue to be a fruitful developing dialogue between them.
The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe.
On the other hand, to limit and insist upon the whole of life and death to this side of Adam's advent to the earth, some six or eight thousand years ago, as proposed by some, is to fly in the face of the facts so indisputably brought to light by the researcher of science in modern times ... To pay attention to and give reasonable credence to their research and findings is to link the church of God with the highest increase of human thought and effort. On that side lies development, on the other lies contraction. It is on the former side that research work is going on and will continue to go on, future investigation and discoveries will continue on that side, nothing will retard them, and nothing will develop on the other side. One leads to narrow sectarianism, the other keeps the open spirit of a world movement with which our New Dispensation began. As between them which is to be our choice?
Claims on both the religious and scientific sides to give an all-encompassing and exclusive view of truth will bring religion and science into conflict. A more tentative search for the spiritual meaning of ancient scriptures and for the methodological fruitfulness of biological research programs offers the prospect of a more positive and creative interaction, the results of which cannot be laid down in advance.