The sun, with all those planets revolving round it and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
GALILEO GALILEI (1564-1642)
I was prompted this week to think about the relationship of Science, Philosophy and Religion when, in a 3rd class Scripture lesson, I was asked how the dinosaurs fit in with the account of the Creation in Genesis.
And, as if that weren t enough, in 4th class we started Buddhism by discussing the nature of Suffering, and the Buddha’s desire to bring Suffering to an end. One girl then asked if it was even possible to end Suffering. Wasn t it just a natural and inevitable part of life? And one of the boys then suggested that Suffering was not just natural, but necessary and useful to give us a full experience of life.
These are deep questions and the fact that seven and eight year olds discuss them freely shows how natural such enquiry is to human nature. While we call it the Scientific Method, the examination of data, the formulation of hypotheses, and robust disputation are necessary for all disciplines which like Science, Philosophy and Theology aim to uncover the nature of reality. In this ongoing project, fundamentalism and slavish adherence to orthodoxy are barriers to understanding rather than a bridge.
The aim of all these fields of study is the discovery of truth. They may come at it from different angles but, as a Japanese girl once told me, There are many paths up the mountain, but only one view from the top.