THE JOURNEY BEYOND ATHENS AND JERUSALEM
John Caiazza's essay raises important controversial issues regarding the contemporary debates between science and religion. His arguments are largely presented in a dichotomous and rather adversarial mode with which I strongly disagree. Unable to present a detailed counterargument in this brief reflection, I ask, What is being spoken about, and who is speaking? What is meant by science and religion here? Neither term can be taken as a unified, essentialist category; both comprise many historical layers, possess numerous internal complexities, and invite a diversity of interpretations. I refer to the science of China, India, and the ancient Near East, all of which have fed into modern science, so that the sciences cannot be restricted to those of the modern West. Nor can religion be limited to the religious beliefs and practices of Western Christianity. I discuss the position/location/context of the author- Caiazza's as well as my own- after introducing Hans-Georg Gadamer's idea of the “fusion of horizons,” which provides a rich vein for enhancing the debate between science and religion. To expand the respective horizons of their dialogue it will be important to move away from an adversarial, exclusionary spirit to a more collaborative and communicative framework that allows for the development of new ideals, new questions, new ways of knowing, and an ethical and socially responsible stance more centered on human needs and concerns. We may have to build an altogether new Athens and Jerusalem for this.
Keywords: Athens and Jerusalem; Walter Ong; adversarial approach; biosphere; essentialist categories; hiddenness of the author; human flourishing; magic; mystic rose; nature and culture; noosphere; social responsibility of science; techno-secularism; transdisciplinary dialogue; transformative power of love; “fusion of horizons”
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 1, 2005