New society formed

From: John W Burgeson (burgytwo@juno.com)
Date: Mon Sep 02 2002 - 11:20:18 EDT

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    The following news was posted today on Metanexus.

    I think it reflects an optimistic approach to the problems. Which is
    good.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)

    NEW SCIENCE AND RELIGION SOCIETY TO HEAL DIVISIONS AMONG FAITHS

    (Granada, Spain, August 23, 2002) -- Scientists and religious scholars
    from
    the world¼s major faiths voted today to form the International Society
    for
    Science and Religion. Meeting at the historic Alhambra in Granada,
    Spain,
    the society elected the Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne of Cambridge
    University
    as its first president.

    Science and religion are both searching for truth, Polkinghorne said in
    his
    opening address to the society. „We meet reality as a Thou and as an It,
    and we know reality through trusting and not just testing,¾ he said.
    Polkinghorne, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1997, is ordained in
    the Church of England and distinguished for his work in mathematics and
    physics at Cambridge.

    Astrophysicist and Islamic scholar Bruno Guiderdoni noted that „true
    knowledge brings us back to God.¾ „For Islam there is only one God and
    only
    one truth. Religious diversity continues and we all have to live
    together.
    Let us conclude that diversity is God¼s will.¾

    Diversity is reflected in the society¼s roster, which includes members
    from
    all the world¼s faith traditions, east and west. The society¼s 97
    charter
    members include Nobel laureates and members of the national academies of
    science from many nations. Along with Polkinghorne, three other members
    of
    the society, Paul Davies, Ian Barbour, and Arthur Peacocke, are past
    winners
    of the Templeton Prize for their contributions to religion and science.

    Many expressed the hope that the society would bridge long-standing
    divisions between religion and science and help overcome conflicts among
    the
    religions themselves. „As we face the universal claims of science and
    confront its new challenges together, maybe we will find a common
    spiritual
    ground among ourselves,¾ according to Peacocke, an Anglican priest and
    physical biochemist from Oxford University.

    Guiderdoni, who also serves as the Director of Research at the Paris
    Institute of Astrophysics, said „once our spiritual nature is recognized,
    how is it possible for us to bring violence to each other?¾

    Religious conflicts are especially dangerous in an age of advanced
    science
    and technology. Carl Feit, cancer researcher and Talmudic scholar at
    Yeshiva University in Jerusalem, agreed that today¼s science offers great
    promise of benefit but also generates fear of misuse. „The wisdom of the
    ages has much to say regarding the wise and benevolent use of such
    power,¾
    he said.

    The society held its founding meeting at the Alhambra to recall a period
    in
    the later middle ages when Jews, Christians, and Muslims all interacted
    in
    the setting of Moorish Spain. „The Alhambra symbolizes the sort of
    religious cooperation and openness to science we hope will characterize
    the
    next millennium,¾ Polkinghorne told the society members.

    George Ellis, a cosmologist from South Africa, said that the founding of
    the
    society is an important moment in human history. „This is an occasion
    for
    us to celebrate.

    For more -- see Metanexus



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