Science and faith: Bridging the gap through education


By Junno Arocho Esteves

CITY (CNS) — Creationism vs. evolution, scientific method vs. ethics, science
vs. faith, the church’s censure and rehabilitation of Galileo Galilei. For centuries,
there have been countless confusion and arguments pitting science against faith
as if they were two opposing forces.

the hopes of dispelling lingering myths and misunderstandings, one ecclesiastical
institute has launched a unique online course explaining the compatible roles
religion and science play in seeking meaning and knowledge in today’s world.

by the Pontifical Council for Culture, the “Science and Faith in
Dialogue” program is run by the Theological Faculty of Catalonia in
Barcelona, Spain, and it seeks to bridge the gap between science and faith
through education.

course was offered in Spanish in October 2013 and has had 750 students take
part worldwide, including 256 from Latin America.

of the course’s success, the theological institute of Catalonia is now launching
the course in English starting Feb. 9, 2016.

class begins an introductory video on the day’s lesson, narrated by Father Emili Marles Romeu, director
of the “Science & Faith in Dialogue” program. In a style much
like the U.S. science documentary series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,”
the priest explains complex historical and scientific discoveries with relative
ease. The lesson plans also include texts, summaries, tests and assignments.
Students can also opt to be assigned specialized tutors who assist them
throughout the course.

course offers discounted courses to countries in Latin America with students
paying a minimum of 20 euros for the entire 12 lesson course. Through grant and
financial assistance, 25 percent of the students enrolled were able to study at
no cost.

Marles told Catholic News Service that the low price and grants allow for the
course “to be accessible to everyone regardless of location or financial
situation.” He and others presented the program at a news conference Dec.
10 at the Pontifical Council for Culture.

lesson plans cover an array of scientific studies, including the debate between
creationism and evolution and stem cell research. While the course is offered
to everyone, Father Marles said that it is directed especially to those with an
educational role in the church.

Armand Puig i Tarrech,
dean of the Theological Faculty of Catalonia, said the course is a service that
helps students and those who work in the field of Catholic education and
catechism address the misconception that “the Bible and human reason are
opposed to each other.”

course shows that countless scientific achievements have been achieved by
Catholics dedicated to their faith like Galileo, the father of observational
astronomy and modern physics, and Msgr. Georges Lemaitre, the Belgian priest
and astronomer who proposed the Big Bang theory.

faith needs reason in order to be more grounded in the world, Father Puig said that
science must also recognize its limits. “This course helps to bridge the
world of science with human and divine realities,” he said.

can access a trial course, further information and registration details at


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