The German mathematician Professor Hans Rohrbach tells of the following conversation between Cardinal Faulhaber, Archbishop of Munich, and Professor Albert Einstein.
“I respect religion, but believe in mathematics;” said Einstein, “doubtless for your Eminence the reverse is true.”
“You are mistaken;” replied Faulhaber, “religion and mathematics are for me only different ways of expressing the same Divine exactness.”
Einstein was astonished. “But what if one day mathematical research should show that certain verdicts of science contradict those of religion?”
“I have such a high regard for mathematics,” replied Faulhaber, “that in such a case you, Professor, would be under the obligation to never stop looking for the error in calculation.”
…Experience shows that faith in God’s Word has nothing at all to fear from serious thought. It would be useless to reject faith for the sake of natural science, or to abandon thought for the sake of faith. Faith does not need to prune the assertions of science nor does science need to blend the confessions of faith into shape. A sacrifice of one’s reason is not demanded. On the contrary, it is just the Bible which sees both together: creation and Creator, nature and revelation, the visible and the invisible…
It is necessary to look at both together and to see the harmony of both Divine revelations, the book of nature and the book of the written word.
The thinness of the new atheism is evident in its approach to our civilization, which until recently was religious to its core. To regret religion is, in fact, to regret our civilization and its monuments, its achievements, and its legacy. And in my own view, the absence of religious faith, provided that such faith is not murderously intolerant, can have a deleterious effect upon human character and personality. If you empty the world of purpose, make it one of brute fact alone, you empty it (for many people, at any rate) of reasons for gratitude, and a sense of gratitude is necessary for both happiness and decency. For what can soon, and all too easily, replace gratitude is a sense of entitlement. Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies.
To regret religion is to regret Western civilization.
Absolute atheism starts in an act of faith in reverse gear and is a full-blown religious commitment. Here we have the first internal inconsistency of contemporary atheism: it [often] proclaims that all religion must necessarily vanish away, and it is itself a religious phenomenon.
Science, like any other human affair, is indeed shot through with prejudice and partisanship, not to speak of ungrounded assumptions, unconscious biases, taken-for-granted truth, and beliefs to close to the eyeball to be objectified. Like religion, science is a culture, not just a set of procedures and hypotheses. Richard Dawkins declares that science is free of the main vice of religion, which is faith; but as Charles Taylor points out, “to hold that there are no assumptions in a scientists work which aren’t based on evidence is surely a reflection of blind faith, one that can’t even feel the occasional tremor of doubt. . .
There are . . . still a great many telescopes up which science is churlishly reluctant to peer. Science has its high priests, sacred cows, revered scriptures, ideological exclusions, and rituals for suppressing dissent. To this extent, it is ridiculous to see it as the polar opposite of religion.