My entry for November 2, 2011, published by Patheos on the Black White and Gray blog.
“As a graduate student, I remember reading Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on Faith and Reason and reflecting on his claim that science, for all of its great advances, is insufficient by itself to answer questions about the meaning of life, questions better left to philosophy and theology. As he wrote, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” Reading Cardinal John Henry Newman’s book The Idea of a University communicated the same message: the intellectual life, the life of a student, a scientist or a university professor, is a search for truth, and all sincere search for truth leads us to God.
If faith and reason are like two wings of a bird, and if the pursuit of scientific knowledge can help us in our search to know God, then why do we read so much about religion and science being in conflict? As I often tell my students, public debates about many topics related to religion are dominated by extremes. As Rice sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund shows in her book Science Vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, two of the most outspoken intellectuals in the religion and science debate, Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins, do not fully represent the views of either non-religious or religious scientists.”
Click here to read the full article.