A more fearless theology

The Vatican is hosting an astronomy gathering, within the view that the world is one, and the truth of spirituality (or here, religion) and science must be aligned.

Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, a member of Father Funes’s team and curator of one of the world’s most important collections of meteorites, kept at Castelgandolfo (the Pope’s summer residence), explains.

They want the world to know that the Church isn’t afraid of science,” he said.

This is our way of seeing how God created the universe and they want to make as strong a statement as possible that truth doesn’t contradict truth; that if you have faith, then you’re never going to be afraid of what science is going to come up with.

Pretty smart people, those monks.

It is also a reminder of how the role of fear changes as we move along certain lines of development.

For instance, a fundamentalist view tends to be fueled by, and fuel, fear. Taking certain stories as absolute truth makes the world appear more predictable, so also less scary. But taking these stories as the absolute truth also triggers fear, since the world will – or can be – at odds with it.

Fundamentalist Christians take certain (really quite arbitrary) stories as the absolute truth, which makes them right and the world more ordered and clear. But it also pits them against science and large parts of the modern worldviews, which creates fear both through a sense of separation, and also because there is always a chance the opponent has a good point.

A more rational and modern worldview is slightly less fear based. For instance, as the Vatican demonstrates, we may feel confident enough to trust that since the world is one, the truths and insights from science and spirituality (or religion) are aligned, or at least not fundamentally at odds with each other.

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