Rabbi Sachs on Science and Religion

Religion / Science

From a wonderful article, linked below, on how important it is that science and religion maintain the greatest degree of conversation possible:

“Yet the rabbis knew wisdom when they saw it, and they valued it even though they dissented from some of its conclusions. They did so for three reasons. First, it was evidence of the fact that God had indeed created humankind ‘in his image, after his likeness’, meaning according to Jewish tradition, ‘with the capacity to understand and discern’. Intellect, insight, the ability to frame and test hypotheses: these are God-given and a reason to give thanks.

Second, scientific method can apply to religion as well. The Talmud tells the story of a Rabbi Shimon Ha-Amsoni who had spent a lifetime applying certain exegetical principles to biblical texts. On one occasion he encountered a verse which, if interpreted by his rules, would yield an unacceptable conclusion. He then and there declared his principles unsound, in effect abandoning his entire life’s work. His students were aghast. They asked him: are you really willing to give up everything you have taught because of one counter-example? He smiled and said, ‘Just as I received a [divine] reward for the exposition, so I will receive a reward for the retraction.’ This is in effect an anticipation, many centuries earlier, of Karl Popper’s account of scientific method. Religion may not be science but it can use the same rules of logic.”

Read the full article in the Times here.

Thanks to Kendall Harmon for pointing us to the article.

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...