Scientific rationality, human consciousness, and pro-religious ideas

In Wissenschaftliches Denken, das Rätsel Bewusstsein und pro-religiöse Ideen. Würzburg, Germany: Königshausen&Neumann. pp. 83-93 (2019)
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The essay is an English version of the German article "Wissenschaftliche Rationalität, menschliches Bewusstsein und pro-religiöse Ideen". It discusses immanent versus transcendent concepts in the context of the art of living, as well as the understanding of human consciousness in the context of religion. Science provides us with a far reaching understanding of natural processes, including biological evolution, but also with deep insights into its own intrinsic limitations. This is consistent with more than one interpretation on the “metatheoretical“, that is on the philosophical and cultural level, including liberal, enlightened forms of religion as well as agnostic views. Choices and preferences are mainly a matter of wisdom and art of living, and not just of knowledge, and this, in my view, supports metaphysical and anthropological optimism as expressed in liberal pro-religious ideas. Within Christian theology, metaphysical optimism and openness are most characteristic for the ideas of “apokatastasis” – “salvation for all” - repeatedly condemned as heretical, but also widely supported from early Christianity to modern times.



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Alfred Gierer
Max-Planck-Institute of Developmental Biology, Tuebingen, Germany

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