Monday, November 14, 2005

Tenzin Gyatso on Science and Faith

Hat tip to The Green Knight.

I have often been asked why I consider myself a Buddhist. Well, read this piece by Tenzin Gyatso and you'll find out.

Consider this

"If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change. In my view, science and Buddhism share a search for the truth and for understanding reality. By learning from science about aspects of reality where its understanding may be more advanced, I believe that Buddhism enriches its own worldview."
A remarkable statement. Buddhism is not alone in this kind of beleif, but it is the only one that has said this so unequivicolly.

Simply another example that science and faith need not be enemies, that learning and understanding can trancend and work hand in hand to improve our lives.

14 Comments:

At 12:47 PM, Blogger v said...

Speaking of which, your article brought to mind a similar story I recently read with a slightly different angle:

"In theological discussion with religious leaders, I often ask what their response would be if a central tenet of their faith were disproved by science. When I put this question to the current Fourteenth Dalai Lama, he unhesitatingly replied as no conservative of fundamentalist religious leaders do: In such a case, he said, Tibetan Buddhism would have to change.

"Even, I asked, if it's a really central tenet, like (I searched for an example) reincarnation?

"Even then, he answered.

"However-- he added with a twinkle--it's going to be hard to disprove reincarnation.


"Plainly, the Dalai Lama is right. Religious doctrine that is insulated from disproof has little reason to worry about the advance of science. The grand idea, common to many faiths, of a Creator of the Universe is one such doctrine-- difficult alike to demonstrate or to dismiss."

http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:j6usdw0Rs98J:www.thepossums.com/f/showthread.php%3Fp%3D49200+dalai+lama+scientific+twinkle&hl=en&client=firefox-a

I'd also like to point out that the Catholic church has very publicly stated words to the same effect:

"THE CATHOLIC CHURCH EMBRACES EVOLUTION


6:33am EST
CATHOLICS SAY EVOLUTION IS COMPATIBLE: In a remarkably odd statement this past week, the Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin!

In fact Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture said that "if the Bible were read correctly" that the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin's theory of evolution were "perfectly compatible."

"The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator".


He went on to advocate that the idea of creation is a theological one, while the substance of origins is a scientific one and that Catholics should "know" how science sees such things so as to "understand better."
http://www.crosswalk.com/news/weblogs/kmc/?adate=11/14/2005

and:

The Vatican Gets Right with Science Again


Ahh, this is gratifying. From today's AP story, "Vatican: Faithful should listen to science":

VATICAN CITY - A Vatican cardinal said Thursday 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 in the United States.
...
Poupard and others at the news conference were asked about the religion-science debate raging in the United States over evolution and "intelligent design."
...
Monsignor Gianfranco Basti, director of the Vatican project STOQ, or Science, Theology and Ontological Quest, reaffirmed John Paul's 1996 statement that evolution was "more than just a hypothesis."


"A hypothesis asks whether something is true or false," he said. "(Evolution) is more than a hypothesis because there is proof."
http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=the_vatican_gets_right_with_science_agai&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

 
At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Brad said...

That'd be all well and good if it weren't for more recent news like this.

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI has waded into the evolution debate in the United States, saying the universe was made by an “intelligent project” and criticizing those who in the name of science say its creation was without direction or order.

That's not to say that Catholics can't separate fantasy and reality, as my parents are proof that you can be a Catholic and still know that creationism is a fictional story, or possibly a metaphorical representation, of the earth's and our creation.

I suspect they're the silent majority of Catholics.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Faith and science aren't enemies, but they aren't necessarily friends either. They use different tools to understand the world/universe, etc.

For Christianity, some things are taken on faith, such as Jesus' resurrection. Science cannot "prove" the historicity of this, but for Christians, that's not the point. We believe that Jesus was raised from the dead because we trust the greater narrative that says it is so, and we trust the promises that go with that narrative.

The problem with fundamentalists is that they believe -like many secularists - that the scientific method (or a bastardization of it) is the highest authority. So, they end up with so-called "Intellegent Design" and a literal creation story. As if literal, or scientific truth is the highest truth.

Faith and science can dialogue - even battle it out. That's okay. There doesn't have to be a winner or a loser in this fight. There only need be respect.

kgp

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Kevin,

I agree. It is sad that the need to be "right" has taken over for the need for knowleged and acceptance that faith and facts can be two different things.

 
At 5:55 PM, Blogger Nastyboy said...

Faith and science can dialogue - even battle it out. That's okay. There doesn't have to be a winner or a loser in this fight. There only need be respect.

Kevin, that has to be one of the most balanced and fair minded comments I've ever read on the net. What kind of Blogger are you? ;-)

A wise man (my Father) once told me that the minute you think you know everything should be the exact moment that you know you are full of shit.

 
At 11:18 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Nasty Boy wrote:

***A wise man (my Father) once told me that the minute you think you know everything should be the exact moment that you know you are full of shit.***

Amen.

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

Whats appealing about some forms of bhuddism, is the dealing with "rational reasoning" so to speak. I mean, it basicaly says "Dude, relax and be nice"..

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger DazzlinDino said...

And when is that baby due?????

 
At 8:28 AM, Blogger Mike said...

December 14...so pretty much any day now, although my other two were each only 1 day early. But just in case...

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Whats appealing about some forms of bhuddism, is the dealing with "rational reasoning" so to speak. I mean, it basicaly says "Dude, relax and be nice"..

I fail to see how relaxing and being nice correlates with 'rational reasoning'?
I think anger is sometimes the most 'rational' response for particular situations......

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Summons his best Yoda voice:

"And that is why you fail"

:)

 
At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

While I don't often agree with you Mike and you haven't posted anything for some time now, you still managed to squeeze a vote out of me for best new blog. Don't mistaken this for kindness. I can still be an ass at the drop of a hat.....

:)

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger Mike said...

LOL, thanks buddy. No worries, I have never mistaken anything you've done as kindness and I'm well aware of you superhuman ability to be an ass...


;)

 
At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buddhists get the inner process right. Science gets the outer process right. What more is there to say? Sufis do a good job also of unifying the two.

 

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