Science is inseparable from the really big questions of human existence—at least in the general discussion carried on in personal conversation, classroom, and the media. It is sometimes argued that it is not appropriate to address science in the framework of these large human questions. Science, so the thinking goes, deals with discrete questions about natural processes; it is the epitome of human rationality; it is an intrusion to lay big questions on science, because such questions are more appropriate to religion and metaphysics. To the contrary, argues an opposing view, the results of scientific research and the worldviews that follow from that research raise perennial issues so forcefully and poignantly that withholding questions is unnatural and even inhuman. These questions seem to be inherent to science, and they are so important for so many that it is futile to try to suppress them. In the big questions, science, religion, and metaphysics meet each other.
If one looks at the flourishing activities of the science-and-religion dialogue, one might conclude that all is well, and we need only to go on as before. However, a deeper analysis shows that often the dialogue consists in agreeing that we disagree, which diminishes its potential usefulness. Also, despite the flood of science-and-religion books for the general reader, how much has the dialogue really influenced the thinking of working scientists or of pastors and members of congregations?
This does not have to be a reason for discouragement if the issues in question are tackled appropriately. History provides helpful examples. Take the search for understanding the nature of light. For more than two centuries Newtons corpuscle theory of 1704 and the wave theory of light vied for dominance until in the 1940s the quantum electrodynamics (QED) theory unified the two. This enabled physicists to deal successfully with many previously unsolvable problems. The main steps that led to this success were: (1) New experiments were carried out and the results accepted after critical examination, even though they were extraordinary at first glance; (2) The results were expressed in mathematical terms; (3) A new theory was formulated, even though it did not fit the existing (philosophical) framework; (4) The breakthrough was interpreted in a wider context. Correspondingly, the following procedure suggests itself for the science-and-religion dialogue: (1) Formulate all results, including those of religious/spiritual research, in scientific terms (natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, etc.); (2) Attempt to interpret all findings in an enlarged common framework; (3) Consider their impact on the current conceptualizations and worldviews and, if need be, amend and, most important, apply them. …
K. Helmut Reich is a professor in the School of Consciousness Studies and Sacred Traditions, Rutherford University, and Senior Research Fellow Emeritus, University of Fribourg. His mailing address is Route des Chemins de Fer 3, CH-1823 GLION (Switzerland); e-mail: helmut.reich @ tele2.ch.
Whose Broad Experience? How Great the Audience? by Joan D. Koss-Chioino
The dialogue between science and religion appears to be increasing in extent and importance. One problem it might explore is that violence and chaos are fast becoming the norm rather than the exception in our world. Can an integrated religion-and-science field offer ideas or solutions that neither discipline alone is able to achieve? Can moral imperatives be carefully aligned with applications of science and technology? Can scientists and their sponsors accept and carry out their work with a view that is integrated with their spirituality? Might this eventually thwart the use of scientific applications toward destructive ends and serve to unite not only disparate fields of study but also highly diverse groups of the religious?
These are very large and serious questions. A small first step might be for the field to include the multitude of small religions on the world stage. In his Zygon editorial of March 2007 Philip Hefner points out that the religion-and science field lacks breadth because its audience is limited and narrow in its vision of the scope of its subject matter. There are ways to expand that vision: first, to bring an anthropological (world) perspective to this issue; second, through this perspective to explore how to considerably broaden the base of experience upon which the religion-and-science dialogue rests by including hitherto excluded popular audiences; and third, to be concerned with cultural diversity and expand views of what constitutes the experience and study of religion and science. …
Joan D. Koss-Chioino is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Arizona State University and Research Professor of Psychology at George Washington University, 2753 Bon Haven Lane, Annapolis, MD 21401; e-mail: jdkoss @ gwu.edu.
From Grand Dreaming to Problem Solving by Wesley J. Wildman
Philip Hefners editorial in the March 2007 issue of Zygon asks us to evaluate the science-religion conversation from two angles: the experiences that inform it and the people who have a stake in it. What he hints at I would like to amplify. A potentially vast audience has a stake in the science-religion conversation, and the way that conversation typically runs is based on too narrow a domain of experience. The science-religion conversation needs to make the shift from grand synthetic dreaming to concrete problem solving. Aiming to solve real problems is the quickest way to broaden the base of experience informing the conversation, and nothing will engage the large audience of potential stakeholders more effectively.
This thesis is subject to misunderstanding. I do not advocate blunting the philosophical edge of science-religion dialogue. I do not urge academics to abandon the highest standards of rich interpretation and precise argument in exchange for the transient glories of popular relevance. Nor do I argue for admitting to the dialogue table anyone who feels an interest in a topic regardless of expertise or preparation. On the contrary: Intensify every facet of the science-religion skill set! We need better multidisciplinary training with higher standards. We need more thinkers able to function as contributing members of multiple disciplines. Most of all we need people with such talent and preparation that they can tackle the hardest questions of the all-too-familiar problems embedded in ordinary life. …
Wesley J. Wildman is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at Boston University, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215.
Needed: Modest Witnesses and Scholars by Ann Milliken Pederson
The engagement between religion and science is vulnerable to the same problems as the cultures it embodies have. Keith Ward in his recent book God: A Guide for the Perplexed mourns the loss of imagination and experience of transcendence in Western culture and particularly in the practice of religion. Why is this? he asks. I think it is partly because people have come to take the traditional images of God too literally. In an age where science is the queen of the academy, it is widely thought that the literal, the comfortable, and weighable real, is the true, and the only form of truth (Ward 2005, 2). I could not have more accurately diagnosed our cultural illness whose symptoms are manifest in the literal, the comfortable, the weighable, and the marketable. We have reduced our vision of the more to the less. Whether in the recent works of Richard Dawkins or other scientists whose only form of truth seems to be a kind of literalism or reductionism, or in the voices of scientific creationists, subtlety, nuance, and the imaginative are hard to find. Blogs, editorials, and media sound bytes are replete with religiously warring factions of those who say a lot and listen little. …
Ann Milliken Pederson is Professor of Religion at Augustana College, 2001 S. Summit, Sioux Falls, SD 57197, and an adjunct associate professor in the Section of Ethics and Humanities at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine.
Religion-and-Science Dialogue from the Vantage Point of Religious Studies by Donald M. Braxton
Five years ago, I was asked to build a Religious Studies program from the ground up. My new home institution, Juniata College, had never before housed a program for the academic study of religion. Having myself been reared in a department of religion at Wittenberg University and the University of Chicago Divinity School in the 1980s, I had watched my field transform in the last twenty years. Of particular interest to me was how strongly in ascendancy was the scientific paradigm and how quickly the impact of the hermeneutical and postmodern turns of my own educational formation had declined. Certainly, the secular sciences that focus on religion were chastened by the various forms of cultural criticism that this period generated, but by the late 1990s it was clear that its chief impact was to motivate the scientific study of religion to more rigorously screen itself for its own biases. One important bias of which it became aware was just how Christian the supposed neutral analytical tools of earlier generations were, even to the point that we began to lose confidence that we could adequately define what makes religion distinctively religious. …
Donald M. Braxton is J. Omar Good Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Juniata College, 1700 Moore Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652; e-mail: Braxton @ juniata.edu.
The Scientist as Statesman: Biologists and Third World Health by John J. Carvalho IV
One of the most threatening problems the world faces is the growing poverty crisis and the related human rights inequalities and the spread of diseases in underprivileged areas. Human rights and relief organizations try hard to contain the devastation of these interconnected difficulties. What is the role of the biomedical scientist in this endeavor? The challenges that biomedical scientists face in their research lead us to question whether scientists can go beyond the time-consuming realm of experimental investigation and engage the issues of society in a more public way. I suggest how the scientists role can be expanded in our complex and precarious world, introducing the idea of the modern biomedical researcher as scientist, scholar-philosopher, and statesman for the scientific community and the larger human rights community. I provide examples of where the scientist can interface with human rights organizations, medical doctors, political and civic leaders, and the science-religion dialogue. My argument reveals the emerging role of the biomedical scientist as one of public service in addition to and beyond the realm of the experimental investigator. This role, however, is formidable, and I list some of the obstacles it entails.
environmental ethics • evolutionary biology • global health • global inequalities • globalization • human rights • liberation theology • preferential option for the poor • science and philosophy • science and religion • science and society • social justice • theology of disease • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
John J. Carvalho IV is a postdoctoral fellow and winner of the National Research Service Award in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, 423 Brookline Ave. #117, Boston, MA 02215; e-mail: john_carvalho @ hms.harvard.edu.
Religion on Which the Devout and Skeptic Can Agree by Matt J. Rossano
A starting point for a constructive exchange between two groups, devout religionists and scientific skeptics, is that they can hold certain religious ideas in common. These ideas, however, must preserve the compelling nature of religious commitment without unduly compromising rational sensibilities. In the histories of both science and religion progress has been made by synthesis. The definition of religion is a key issue for the success or failure of synthesis, and I propose a new definition. Both devout religionists and scientific skeptics must make compromises if synthesis is to be successful. For the devout these compromises include waiving the prerequisite of belief in the supernatural and placing behavior above belief. For the skeptic they include abandoning explanatory exclusivity, acknowledging the authority of moral experts, and recognizing the necessity of community in achieving moral excellence. I defend each of these compromises as reasonable and tolerable costs of integration.
compromises • defining religion • mysterium tremendum • science/religion integration • synthesis
Matt J. Rossano is Professor of Psychology at Southeastern Louisiana University, Box 10831, Hammond, LA 70402; e-mail: mrossano @ selu.edu.
Religion Is Not About God—Responding to Loyal Rue
Religious Naturalism and the Future of Christianity by Donald M. Braxton
Loyal Rue suggests that religion is not about God as such but about the cultivation of personal and social well-being. Religion may employ cultural resources that include concepts of supernatural agencies, but religions essential functionalities are not dependent on that particular resource. I largely endorse Rues view of religion and employ Rue as a guide to thinking through its consequences for the future of Christianity. For Rue, two challenges face Christianity: the erosion of confidence in personal-god concepts and the ecological crisis engulfing the planet. In the face of these twin momentous changes, I suggest ways in which certain cultural tropes in the Christian matrix will rise to the fore and others will erode.
Christianity • ecological collapse • religious naturalism • sacramentality • sacrifice
Donald M. Braxton is J. Omar Good Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Juniata College, 1700 Moore Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652; e-mail: braxton @ juniata.edu.
Taking the Super Out of the Supernatural by Leslie Marsh
Metaphysical dualities divorce humankind from its natural environment, dualities that can precipitate environmental disaster. Loyal Rue in Religion Is Not About God (2005) seeks to resolve the abstract modalities of religion and naturalism in a unified monistic ecocentric metaphysic characterized as religious naturalism. Rue puts forward proposals for a general naturalistic theory of religion, a theory that lays bare the structural and functional features of religious phenomena as the critical first step on the road to badly needed religion-science realignment. Only then will humanity be equipped to address the environmental imperative.
cognition • consciousness • environmentalism • evolutionary psychology • naturalism • pantheism
Leslie Marsh is a researcher at the Centre for Research in Cognitive Science, Department of Informatics, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton BN1 9QH, United Kingdom; e-mail: l.marsh @ sussex.ac.uk.
Religious Naturalism or Theological Humanism? by David E. Klemm
Loyal Rues book Religion Is Not About God (2005) is a polemic for religious naturalism. In it Rue sets up a general model of religion based on principles of scientific materialism, tests his model against five historical religions, and speculates on the future of religion. He claims that in the West, modern science and pluralism threaten the moral authority of Christianity in facing the environmental crisis, which is fueled by a rival metareligion, consumerism. He concludes that an ecological Doomsday is likely, following which a new religion will arise: religious naturalism. I challenge Rues account at three levels, from the standpoint of theological humanism. First, as a philosopher of religion, Rue cannot carry through his scientific materialist explanation of religion. The first-person experience of consciousness escapes such an account. Second, as a myth maker, Rue unifies the evolutionary epic retrospectively, where the evidence is thin, and projects the future overconfidently. Third, as a theologian, Rue is wrong to equate God and Nature.
religious naturalism • Loyal Rue • scientific materialism • theological humanism
David E. Klemm (http://www.uiowa.edu/~religion/) is Professor of Theology, Ethics, and Culture in the Department of Religious Studies, University of Iowa, 314 Gilmore Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242; e-mail: david-klemm @ uiowa.edu.
Mythic Religious Naturalism by William A. Rottschaefer
In his book Religion Is Not About God, Loyal Rue presents an evolutionarily based explanation of religion as a means to further the personal and social fulfillment of human beings. Rue argues that religions in the form of myths, adaptive falsities, provide an account of the connection between what is (facts) and what matters (values). Myths are false because they attribute subjectively based values to valueless facts, but adaptive because they motivate personally and socially beneficial actions. He maintains that the current crises of humankind, evidenced by both social conflict and environmental degradation, indicate that the major religious traditions—all of which project values onto some transcendent reality—are failing to serve humanity. To overcome these crises, Rue maintains that we need a new, scientifically based naturalized religion, one that attributes subjectively based values to Nature instead of a transcendent reality. I accept Rues naturalism about values but reject his subjectivist account of them. Contrary to Rue, I show that the naturalistic fallacy sets no barrier to the existence of objective moral values. Modeling my view on the selection theories used in biology and psychology, I offer a scientifically based explanation of the origin and existence of objective values and support it with empirical findings from developmental psychology. Whether this account can count as religious, I do not address.
adaptive falsity • evolution of religion • fact and value • maladaptive truth • myth • naturalistic accounts of religion • naturalistic fallacy • Nihilism • Loyal Rue • selection theories
William A. Rottschaefer is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Lewis and Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219; e-mail: rotts @ lclark.edu.
Religious Naturalism—Where Does It Lead? by Loyal Rue
I respond to the four symposiasts who commented on my recent book Religion Is Not About God (2005)—religious studies scholars Donald Braxton and David Klemm, philosopher William Rottschaefer, and cognitive scientist Leslie Marsh. Various general and specific points relative to the nature of religion and the future of religion are either clarified or defended. Among the issues that receive attention are (1) the status and adequacy of my proposals for religious naturalism: Can it motivate wholeness, and is it finally a form of pantheism? (2) ritual practices, particularly those of Christianity, reinterpreted within the framework of religious naturalism; and (3) the adequacy of any naturalistic position to account for subjective properties of consciousness.
Donald Braxton • David Klemm • Leslie Marsh • moral realism • pantheism • religious naturalism • William Rottschaefer
Loyal Rue is Professor of Religion and Philosophy at Luther College, 700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101; e-mail: rueloyal @ luther.edu.
Three Historical Probes
The Western Roots of Avataric Evolutionism in Colonial India by C. Mackenzie Brown
British colonialism and Orientalist scholarship on India were key factors affecting the initial Hindu responses to modern science and technology in the nineteenth century. One response was the elaboration of avataric evolutionism—the idea that ancient myths of Vishnus ten incarnations anticipated Darwinian evolution. This idea quickly became intertwined with political and nationalist concerns and cannot be fully understood in a purely theological context. These concerns were reflected in scriptural interpretation, especially in what may be termed the scientific exegesis of the Vedas and Puranas. Such scientific exegesis of scripture appealed to Keshub Chunder Sen, the leading figure of the Brahmo Samaj in the second half of the nineteenth century. Keshub was apparently the first Indian to develop the notion of avataric evolutionism, in the context of his New Dispensation, a synthesis of all religious traditions (in particular Hinduism and Christianity) and modern science. His pronouncement of avataric evolutionism in 1882, however, was not the first proposal of the idea. I conclude with an examination of the Western roots of this idea, specifically in the writings of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky.
avataras and Darwinism • avataric evolutionism • Madame Blavatsky • British colonialism • Dayananda Saraswati • Hinduism and Darwinism • Hinduism and evolution • Keshub Chunder Sen • Orientalism • scientific exegesis of Vedas • Theosophy
C. Mackenzie Brown is Professor of Religion at Trinity University, One Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX 78212.
Charles Lyell, Uniformitarianism, and Interpretive Principles by Owen Anderson
I examine the development of Charles Lyells principle of uniformity and its influence on the development of modern geology and biology and argue that distinguishing between philosophical starting points and empirical findings is essential for clarity in the discussion between science and religion. First, I explore Lyells arguments against catastrophism and how these were both empirically and religiously motivated. I then consider how David Humes empiricism, theory of causation, and rejection of miracles influenced Lyell. Using these insights, Lyell formulated his principle of uniformity, which he believed was based on current empirical findings, and rejected explanatory hypotheses that used the biblical Flood or other catastrophist accounts as violations of uniform causation and introductions of theological concepts into empirical science. I next examine the influence of Lyells principle on Charles Darwin. Although Lyell opposed Darwinism for most of his life, Darwin relied heavily on Lyell, as is evidenced by references throughout The Origin of Species. I contend that the most important aspect of Lyells principle for Darwin is that it makes natural evil (the struggle for survival) a process that has always been occurring rather than something introduced after the Fall as recorded in Genesis. Finally, I discuss the role that uniformity plays for Lyell, Darwin, and modern science as an interpretive principle rather than as an inference from empirical data, and I conclude by noting that keeping the distinction in mind between interpretive principles and empirical findings will help clarify debates between science and religion.
catastrophism • causation • Charles Darwin • empiricism • David Hume • interpretive principles • Charles Lyell • miracles • natural evil • paradigms • principle of uniformity • uniformitarianism
Owen Anderson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Arizona State University West, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, Phoenix, AZ 85069; e-mail: oanderson @ asu.edu.
Religion and Francis Bacons Scientific Utopianism by Stephen A. McKnight
Francis Bacon often is depicted as a patriarch of modernity who promotes human rational action over faith in divine Providence and as a secular humanitarian who realized that improvement of the human condition depended on human action and not on Gods saving acts in history. Bacons New Atlantis is usually described as a scientific utopia because its ideal order, harmony, and prosperity are the result of the investigations of nature conducted by the members of Solomons House. I challenge these characterizations by showing that Bacons so-called scientific utopianism is grounded in his religious convictions that his age was one of Providential intervention and that he was Gods agent for an apocalyptic transformation of the human condition. I examine the centrality of these religious themes in two of his philosophical works, The Advancement of Learning and The Great Instauration, which are well known for setting out Bacons critique of the state of learning and for presenting the principles of his epistemology. Analysis of The Advancement of Learning demonstrates Bacons conviction that his reform of natural philosophy was part of a Providentially guided, twofold restoration of the knowledge of nature and the knowledge of God. Examination of The Great Instauration reveals that Bacon sees his age as one of apocalyptic transformation of the human condition that restores humanity to a prelapsarian state. Analysis of the New Atlantis shows that utopian perfection can be achieved only through a combination of right religion and the proper study of nature. Moreover, when the scientific work of Solomons House is recontextualized within the religious themes of salvation and deliverance that permeate the New Atlantis, the full scope of Bacons scientific utopianism can be seen, and this project is not the one usually portrayed in scholarly treatments. Bacons program for rehabilitating humanity and its relation to nature is not a secular, scientific advance through which humanity gains dominion over nature and mastery of its own destiny but rather one guided by divine Providence and achieved through pious human effort.
Adam • The Advancement of Learning • apocalyptic restoration • Francis Bacon • Bible • biblical themes • Christianity • creation • the Fall • God • The Great Instauration • human nature • instauration • James I • natural philosophy • nature • New Atlantis • new Jerusalem • original sin • religion • science • scientific utopianism • Solomons House • Solomons Temple • utopianism
Stephen A. McKnight is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Florida, 72 Silver Knob Drive, Mars Hill, NC 28754; e-mail: smcknigh @ history.ufl.edu.
Midwifery as a Model for Ecological Ethics: Expanding Arthur Peacockes Models of Man-in-Creation by Gloria L. Schaab
In Creation and the World of Science (1979) scientist-theologian Arthur Peacocke asks what the role of humanity might be in relation to creation if conceived within the scientific perspective that favors the theological paradigm of the panentheistic God-world relationship. Deeming roles such as dominion and steward as liable to distortion toward a hierarchical understanding of humanitys relation to the rest of creation, Peacocke proposes seven other roles to express the proper relationship of humanity to the cosmos in panentheistic relation to its Creator. Although each of these models has merit within a panentheistic paradigm, Peacocke and the paradigm itself suggest that the panentheistic model of God in relation to an evolving cosmos may be most effectively imaged through a model of female procreativity. In keeping with this proposal, I develop the understanding of humanitys ecologically ethical role in relation to the evolving cosmos in terms of the midwife to the process of procreation. I evaluate the efficacy of the midwife as a paradigm for ecological ethics by means of several criteria, including the propositions of the Earth Charter, a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century (Earth Initiative 2000).
cosmology • creation • Earth Charter • ecology • ethics • evolution • God-world relationship • images of God • immanence • midwife • panentheism • Arthur Peacocke • procreativity • transcendence
Gloria L. Schaab is Assistant Professor of Theology and Director of the M.A. in Practical Theology at Barry University, 11300 NE 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, FL 33161; e-mail: gschaab @ mail.barry.edu.
A Christian Theology of Evolution and Participation by Nicola Hoggard Creegan
Recent controversies surrounding the discernment of design in the natural world are an indication of a pervasive disquiet among believers. Can God as creator/sustainer of creation be reconcilable with the belief that Gods work is indiscernible behind secondary evolutionary causes? Christian piety requires that the order experienced in the natural world be evidence of Gods love and existence. Theistic evolutionary models rarely examine this matter, assuming that God is indiscernible in the processes and order of the world because only secondary causes can be examined. This leaves antievolutionary perspectives to interpret and address the problem of seeing God in the world. I examine these issues in order to gain more credibility for the religious longing to discern God in nature while at the same time affirming the indubitable truth of an evolutionary history. I argue that Gods trinitarian nature, hiddenness, and incarnation give us reason to believe that Gods presence in the natural world will be discernible, but only within the natural processes, and thereby only in an obscured fashion. I also argue that newer understandings of evolutionary mechanisms are more consistent with theological appropriation than are strictly Darwinian ones.
Simon Conway Morris • creation • Charles Darwin • Richard Dawkins • Christian de Duve • Deus absconditus • sensus divinitatis • Denis Edwards • evo devo • evolution • God • Stephen J. Gould • John F. Haught • incarnation • intelligent design • Stuart Kauffman • kenosis • Jürgen Moltmann • natural selection • nature • non-Darwinian evolutionary models • telos • trinity
Nicola Hoggard Creegan lectures in systematic theology at the Tyndale-Carey Graduate School, Private Bag 93104, Henderson, Waitakere City, New Zealand; e-mail: nicolahc @ bcnz.ac.nz.
Teilhard de Chardins Evolutionary Natural Theology by David Grumett
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin develops, as is well known, a model of evolution as a convergent progression from primordial multiplicity through increasing degrees of complexity toward a final Omega point of spiritual consummation. I explore how Teilhard fuses Darwinian and Lamarckian theories of evolution in developing his own, and in particular his defense of the view that Lamarckism is fundamental to a proper understanding of evolutions human phase. Teilhards scientific interpretation of evolution is inspired by Christian cosmological insights derived from patristic theology and contemporary Pauline scholarship and cannot be separated from them. His integration of science and theology provides the basis for a renewed evolutionary natural theology that supplants the traditional static models developed by William Paley and others. Teilhards natural theology also provides a framework for theological ethical reflection on how humanity should act in its capacity as created co-creator with God. In later work, he considers the implications of his evolutionary theology for the wider universe. Teilhard thus presents an invigorated natural theology grounded in evolution that confirms and completes a dynamic and teleological view of the cosmos.
complexity • convergence • Simon Conway Morris • creation • Charles Darwin • evolution • Fall • incarnation • invention • James Jeans • Jesus Christ • Jean Baptiste Lamarck • matter • Jürgen Moltmann • Omega point • Paul • red shift • selection • technology • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin • theology
David Grumett is Research Fellow in Theology, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, UK; e-mail: d.j.grumett @ exeter.ac.uk.
The Sense of the Beautiful and Apophatic Thought: Empirical Being as Ikon by Michael Craig Rhodes
This essay is an interdisciplinary study of beauty that attempts to bridge the gap between religion/theology and science in some measure by drawing from Dionysius the Areopagite (c. 500) a notion of being that I argue is consonant with the notion of the sense of the beautiful, which I develop using Steven Weinbergs and Werner Heisenbergs discussions of empirical beauty. I use the term ikon to refer concisely to Dionysius theophanic notion of being, namely, that the beyond-being is nonsubstantially present in being.
apophasis/apophatic thought/apophaticism • beauty • Dionysius the Areopagite (Denys) • empirical being • ikon • science • theology • theophanic
Michael Craig Rhodes is instructor of theology at Loyola University, 6525 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626-5385; e-mail: michaelcraigrhodes @ yahoo.com.
Enlarging the Interdisciplinary Circle: Joan Koss-Chioinos and Philip Hefners Approach to Spiritual Transformation and Healing by K. Helmut Reich
In the current scientific age there exists in academia a certain reservation regarding, even a fear of contact with, controversial issues such as faith healing or shamanism or even spiritual transformation. Although classical medicine, neurobiology, and possibly even social circumstances and forces are recognized, researching the controversial issues evoked may be frowned upon and even be risky for ones academic career. Fortunately, Joan Koss-Chioino, Philip Hefner, and their colleagues (anthropologists, artists, neuroscientists, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, theologians, and others) have not shrunk from doing so. The result, reviewed here in some detail, goes beyond what is common knowledge and points the way to further beneficial insights via open-minded interdisciplinary research.
anthropology • Christianity • clinical experiences • healing • interdisciplinarity • neuroscience • psychology • religion • research methodology • science and religion • shamanism • spiritual transformation • theology
K. Helmut Reich is a professor in the School of Consciousness Studies and Sacred Traditions, Rutherford University, and Senior Research Fellow Emeritus, University of Fribourg. His mailing address is Route des Chemins de Fer 3, CH-1823 GLION (Switzerland); e-mail: helmut.reich @ tele2.ch.
This article reviews Spiritual Transformation and Healing: Anthropological, Theological, Neuroscientific, and Clinical Perspectives edited by Joan D. Koss-Chioino and Philip Hefner.
Christopher Southgate is Research Fellow in Theology at the University of Exeter, Amory Building, Exeter EX4 4RJ, U.K.; e-mail: c.c.b.southgate @ ex.ac.uk. This poem appears in Easing the Gravity Field: Poems of Science and Love (Nottingham: Shoestring, 2006).