Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Science vs. Religion

After the extremely scandalous episode at the University La Sapienza occurred, it is good for people to remember the following (taken from The History of Jesus Christ by Fr. Bruckberger):

“Even the great public cannot ignore and does not ignore the fact that science, like every product of collective opinion, is subject to fashion. Scientists talk all the time about outmoded theories. This would be scandalous if we were not too addlepated to be conscious of scandal. How can one feel a religious respect for something that is subject to fashion?” ~Simone Weil

“It is hard for me to understand the great role, especially in epochs of transition and uncertainty, played by fashion in science, a role only slightly inferior to that which it plays in women’s dress. Man is indeed an animal very susceptible to suggestion on every subject.” ~Einstein

Fr. Bruckberger :
In these conditions one can see how silly it is to attribute to science the prestige of truth –which, incidentally, it has ceased to demand – and how ridiculous it is to talk of a possible conflict between science and religion on the level of truth…. Never forget that, like fashion, science is always of its time.

Science has become a dangerous mastodon, an imbecile without true judgment or responsibility, but unhappily omnipotent, capable of crushing all men beneath its feet: it is the monster in Picasso’s Minotauromachia.” It is imperative to domesticate this mastodon, it is absolutely necessary to reduce it very soon, if not to impotence, at least to obedience. Instead, it is we who do obeisance to it and bow before it; indeed we abdicate all judgment to it, our material security and our spiritual dignity, to the truth that we idolize – and this is abominable. Science is our Moloch, our Baal, our Astarte, we give it everything it demands, including our souls. We no longer look to God for our salvation, we look to science, we feel ourselves impotent and humble before it alone, we abdicate everything at its feet; nothing is too precious for us to convert into a burnt offering to science.

Scientism in its grossest, most outdated, most laggard form is still engaged in playing havoc with the traditional teachings of our religion… There is inevitable conflict (between science and religion) whenever science demands unquestioning respect that is actually idolatrous. Just the same, it is high time to tell science that it extrapolates, that it exaggerates, that it exasperates, that it is in our service and not we in its service and that, even if it is as big as Goliath, we do not recognize its right to make us bow down and worship it.
O when hatred enters your heart so as to govern it completely, be silent, flee, hide yourself, disappear, play dead, or be ready in advance to forswear all that you hold most precious, with honor in the lead.

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