First-ever Wonder Conference boldly goes to frontier of ‘science and religion’

By Gina Christian, OSV Information

(OSV Information) — Are science and faith essentially opposed to each other? That popular idea has “worked a large amount of mischief,” claimed Bishop Robert Barron, who released a new meeting Jan. 13-14 to show how the Catholic Church champions “the unity of religion and purpose.”

Some 1,000 clergy, spiritual and lay attendees joined the to start with-at any time Speculate Conference, which took area at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Conference Center in Dallas. The inaugural event was hosted by the Word on Fire Institute, part of the nonprofit Phrase on Hearth Catholic Ministries media apostolate founded by Bishop Barron, who is bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester.

In 2020, the apostolate been given a $1.7 million, a few-year grant from the John Templeton Basis to deal with the perceived disconnect in between spiritual perception and scientific inquiry, with the funding assisting to sponsor the meeting.

The meeting featured an array of authorities in physics, philosophy, technological know-how, theology and record, like amid other people Jesuit Father Robert J. Spitzer, president of the California-based mostly Magis Center of Cause and Faith and the Spitzer Centre Jennifer Wiseman, senior astrophysicist at the Goddard Area Flight Heart Karin Öberg, professor of astronomy at Harvard University Christopher Baglow, academic director of the Science and Religion Initiative at the McGrath Institute for Church Daily life at the College of Notre Dame and Stephen Bullivant, director of the Benedict XVI Centre for Faith and Modern society and professor at St. Mary’s College in London.

The “supposed conflict among faith and science, or religion and reason” has grow to be “a major cause for (religious) disaffiliation among the our youthful individuals,” said Bishop Barron in his Jan. 14 keynote tackle.

He included that St. Thomas Aquinas, a well known Dominican theologian and philosopher from the 13th century, would be “turning in his grave” at the prospect, due to the fact the Catholic Church “(stands) for the unity of faith and purpose.”

Bishop Barron mentioned portion of the blame for that opposition lay with the Catholic Church by itself.

“We dumbed down the religion immediately after the (Second Vatican) Council, and it was a pastoral disaster,” he explained, prompting applause from the viewers.

A 2015 analyze by Pew Investigate found that practically 6 in 10 grownups, or 59% of the U.S. general public, viewed science and religion as frequently conflicting. Just about 3 out of 4 of those people who rarely or by no means attended religious products and services were most likely to assume science and faith mostly conflict on the other hand, 68% of U.S. grown ups surveyed at the time reported their private spiritual beliefs and science did not conflict. Pew Research discovered religion most most likely affected people’s sights of scientific subjects when it came to human evolution and the development of the universe.

Bishop Barron reported the “fundamental problem” is not science, but rather scientism, or “the reduction of all know-how to the scientific form of expertise.”

But scientism can not deal with questions of elegance, morality or transcendence, which grow to be “meaningless” when diminished to scientific info, the bishop said.

In his handle, Bishop Barron said he aimed to study how the globe is essentially knowable, the intellect is not materials but immaterial, and the “inescapability” of metaphysics, or awareness about what exists over and above the physical planet. He cited the late Pope Benedict XVI whose writings pressured the “unique resourceful Intelligence” to which both equally the universe and human reason pointed.

In his Jan. 13 presentation entitled “The Proof for God from Science,” Father Spitzer — who referenced a selection of prominent scientists, which includes physicist Stephen Hawking and cosmologist Thomas Hertog — said the at the time-common notion of an “eternally inflating, infinite multiverse” is now “(fading) into the world of fantasy.”

As scientific inquiry into its origins is refined, the universe is shown to be “exceedingly fantastic-tuned for life” by “a super intelligent, transcendent creator whose graphic can not be suppressed,” explained Father Spitzer.

Father Sinclair Oubre, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orange, Texas, informed OSV News the convention was an important qualified progress opportunity for parish religious instruction workers. Father Oubre, who did not go to the conference, despatched two of his spiritual schooling administrators to participate so they could improved put together young folks in their superior faculty plans as they head to universities where they might be challenged by atheistic professors.

The priest reported he was grateful for Bishop Barron’s initiative in addressing the “false conflict” between science and religion.

“The Catholic Church has generally acknowledged that purpose and what is discovered in organic regulation is an element of God’s revelation,” he said.

Gina Christian is countrywide reporter for OSV Information

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