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Ecumenical Dialog

So far most of those in the science/religion field have been working within a Christian context, but there is growing concern to bring into the dialog people from other faith traditions. Recently a major conference, called "Science and the Spiritual Quest", was hosted by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the University of California, at Berkeley. This conference brought together three dozen scientists from around the world, representing all three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Participants came from four major scientific areas - physics, cosmology, biology, and computer sciences - and spoke publicly about how they saw their lives as scientists and their lives of faith working together.

Many agreed with cancer researcher Carl Feit from Yeshiva University in New York, who noted that "I don’t think that by studying science you will be forced to conclude that there must be a God. But if you have already found God, then you can say, from understanding science, ‘Ah, I see what God has done in the world." Feit, also a Talmudic scholar, is one example of the long and noble tradition of great Jewish scientists. Similarly, Bruno Guiderdoni, another participant at the conference, is a research physics at the Institute of Astrophysics in Paris, and also a practicing Moslem with a serious interest in Sufi mysticism. According to Guiderdoni, Islam views the entire universe as "God’s self-disclosure to himself" - thus, he says, for Moslems there should not be any contradiction between religion and the results of science. Mark Richardson, organizer of the Berkeley conference, says that its ecumenical nature was one of the crucial features and he hopes to see more such interfaith conferences in the future.

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Margaret Wertheim

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