Relevant Religious Positions
A Vatican cardinal said Thursday that the faithful should listen to what secular modern science has to offer, warning that religion risks turning into "fundamentalism" if it ignores scientific reason.
Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Pontifical Council for Culture, made the comments at a news conference on a Vatican project to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science that has long bedeviled the Roman Catholic Church and is part of the evolution debate.
The Vatican project was inspired by Pope John Paul II’s declaration in 1992 that the church’s 17th-century denunciation of Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus’s theory that the Earth revolved around the Sun; church teaching at the time placed Earth at the center of the universe.
"The permanent lesson that the Galileo case represents pushes us to keep alive the dialogue between the various disciplines, and in particular between theology and the natural sciences, if we want to prevent similar episodes from repeating themselves in the future," Poupard said.
Well, that’s one billion Christians who don’t have to twist their minds into a pretzel over that particular issue, which is roughly half of the Christian host. And it’s worth noting the Cardinal is restating the Catholic Church’s position, not making a change. Given that the fundamentalist view of science v. religion is not held by every other Christian sect either, this is a reminder that religious fundamentalism’s antipathy regarding science is a minority view within Christianity. This may or may not be relevant to various people, for various reasons.