10.27.2009

Silence


Cline Ave, East Chicago, Indiana, 2009


"[...] Augustine was no die-hard biblical literalist. He took science very seriously, and his "principle of accommodation" would dominate biblical interpretation in the West until well into the early modern period. God had, as it were, adapted revelation to the cultural norms of the people who had first received it. One of the psalms, for example, clearly reflects the ancient view, long outmoded by Augustine's time, that there was a body of water above the earth that caused rainfall. It would be absurd to interpret this text literally. God had simply accommodated the truths of revelation to the science of the day so that the people of Israel could understand it; today a text like this must be interpreted differently. Whenever the literal meaning of scripture clashed with reliable scientific information, Augustine insisted, the interpreter must respect the integrity of science or he would bring scripture into disrepute. And there must be no unseemly quarreling about the Bible. People who engaged in acrimonious discussion of religious truth were simply in love with their own opinions and had forgotten the cardinal teaching of the Bible, which was the love of God and neighbor."
-- Karen Armstrong in The Case for God

Having just read Dawkin's new The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, this was a particularly enlightening passage in Karen Armstrong's (also new) book. In the risk of sounding too "see, can't we all just get along?", can't we all just get along? Why must science be the antithesis of religion?

This is a question for both the ardent anti-theists out there (like Dawkins) and the ardent anti-science-ists out there?

(Bear in mind, though, that I say all this as an atheist, so perhaps it is a bit much of me to request that Christians out there demure to my views on science.)

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