Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Religion and Science: A Symbiosis I 35 ginning that religion has a more fundamental claim on man than science, that is as it should be. After all, if "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom/'69 how could a physicist resist? But even assuming this to be so, we are entitled to wonder how science can be a symbiotic partner with religion unless the relationship benefits religion as well. Certainly the gift of science to religion is not the imparting of the scientific consciousness to religious thought. The end of participation in the collective representations of the phenomenal world occurred in Israel long before it happened in the West; and, interestingly enough, in the ancient East, where this revolution in religious thought did not occur, the development of science was substantially delayed.70 So science is, if anything, the product of the revolution in theological consciousness: The Jews succeeded in divorcing their Creator from his creation long before Galileo was able to get the Prime Mover out of Aristotle's scientific cosmology. Nor can science fill its proper place by permitting itself to be pressed into service wherever theologians need to buttress their own grand schemes of the universe. Of the myriad abuses of this type, two examples will suffice. One is the propensity of some religious thinkers for distorting scientific concepts to fit some theological principle—as when we are told that the quantum mechanical uncertainty principle gives us once more the possibility of free will, as if that were something which Laplace could take away and Heisenberg restore. A similar misuse of science is the all-too-frequent attempt to harness it to the task of "proving" scriptural accounts of creation—an effort that often, curiously, goes together with adducing gaps in scientific knowledge as "proofs" for the existence of God. I believe these abuses are based not on faith in the ability of religion to comprehend all truth, but instead on the unfortunate modern skepticism which accepts any scientific proposition, no matter how well-founded it may or may not be, as the only kind of knowledge worth having. And that is false to both religion and science. On the other hand, science does offer to religion a valuable example of the continual interplay of creative doubt with an abiding faith in the basic orderliness of the universe. This fundamental article of scientific faith is grounded in "the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher."71 Unfortunately, now that religion has fallen into disrepute as the source of a unifying vision, this priceless legacy from medieval theology has been largely forgotten. Nevertheless, it remains possible for the scientist to work both critically and worshipfully, thus offering to the practice of religion one particular means (among many) of loving God with all one's mind. Scientific propositions may also properly serve to confirm individual faith or elucidate theological principles. C. S. Lewis has written that the story of the Incarnation of Christ has not the suspicious a priori lucidity of Pantheism or of Newtonian physics. It has the seemingly arbitrary and idiosyncratic character which modern science is slowly teaching us to put up with in this wilful universe, where energy is made up in little parcels of a quantity no one could predict, where speed is hot unlimited, where irreversible entropy gives time a real direction and the cosmos, no longer static or cyclic, moves like a drama from a real beginning to a real end. If any message from the core of reality were ever to reach us, we should expect to find in it just that unexpectedness, that wilful, dramatic anfractuosity which we find in the Christian faith.72