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Science and the Sacred

Though science and religion may have had a thorny history, nevertheless science has retained a sense of the sacred, seen in the work of many modern scientists such as Einstein, David Bohm, Wolfgang Pauli, and Erwin Schrödinger. Science has its origins in wonder and awe, even reverence, in the face of the natural world. It begins with a question that leads to a sense of mystery and to the determination to seek truth no matter where it leads. When described in this way it would be difficult to distinguish the heart of a true scientist from that of a religious person. Indeed Einstein makes this explicit in his statement, ‘To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself to us as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling, is at the centre of all true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of devoutly religious men.’ (Albert Einstein, ‘Strange is Our Situation Here on Earth,’ in Modern Religious Thought, edited by Jaros Pelikan, Boston, 1990.)