The Faith and Fiction Round Table is a group, started by My Friend Amy, that determined six books relating to faith and mostly fiction to read together in 2011. We have discussions via email and then post our thoughts on the book.
This month’s book is A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
This book is on the Image Journal Top 100 list, so I was excited that it coincided with the Faith ‘n’ Fiction Round Table, since I’ve committed to reading every book on that list but my progress has been so very slow.
So often science and faith have been cast as opponents. Whether we’re talking Galileo or the current origins conflict, science and faith are often seen — even by their members — as mutually exclusive. This is something I grew up blowing off, almost ignoring. I knew the two could work together. But as I’ve experienced more of the world, I’ve seen how strong the dichotomy is, in practice. (Like oil and water? Do you remember those science experiments?)
In Canticle, though, Miller casts at least this small part of the church, a monastery dedicated to the memory of an early 20th century engineer, as the keeper, sustainer, of scientific knowledge.
As the monks copy artifacts and fragments over the multiplied lifetimes, most of the time they gain no understanding from what they read. And the outside world is no better, with low single-digit literacy over the centuries, following that first catastrophic nuclear “Simplification” (in the 1940s).
But time passes, and eventually one of the monks with a particularly scientific mind takes the necessary leaps and reinvents electric light.
At this point, the outside world (this monastery is very isolated) also has a leading scientist or two, but his mind is clouded by his preconceptions — and the monk has reached so much greater success, even without the benefit of a university education.
Hm, that may be a bit more detail than I needed to give.
Anyway, I guess my question today is this: Do you view science and faith as diametrically opposed, or do you see how they can be reconciled? Examples?
NOTE: This is not a forum to debate creation/evolution or the like — not even close.
For more posts on A Canticle for Leibowitz, please visit:
My Friend Amy
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