In a 1983 address to an international symposium on Galileo, Pope John Paul II issued a stunning pronouncement:
The Church is convinced that there can be no real contradiction between science and faith. … It is certain that science and faith represent two different orders of knowledge, autonomous in their processes, but finally converging upon the discovery of reality in all its aspects …
Given centuries of animosity between science and religion, the pontiff’s epistle astounds for several reasons. First, it stresses the complementarity rather than antagonism of rational and intuitive modes of knowing. Second, it grants autonomy to both revelatory processes, implying that neither should seek to manipulate or triumph over the other. And third, it suggests that ultimate truth—so far as we can know it—emerges from the concerted efforts of external and internal explorations.
This essay began a nine-part series in Huffington Post that attracted quite a number and range of comments. The series was reposted at Like the Dew. Click here for my HuffPo page.