In Search of a Science-Religion Rapprochement: Introducing the Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin

“I fully expect that in the next millennium Teilhard will generally be regarded as the fourth major thinker of the western Christian tradition. These would be St. Paul, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Teilhard.”

– Thomas Berry, The Human Phenomenon, p. xiv.

Dear Students,

Most of you that I teach in my religion classes genuinely wonder about the relationship between science and religion. The question seems quite straightforward: how can we reconcile, both intellectually and personally, the powerful and predictable usefulness of science with the unsurpassed beauty, meaning, and wholeness of religion? It seems abundantly clear that the future of the planet, as well as fulfillment of our personal lives, depends to a large extent on coming to some kind of rapprochement between science and religion.

We as educators don’t teach you how to reconcile these because most of us are confused, too. Although it’s an obvious area of importance for the future – where else can we find the moral motivation and selfless discernment to do what needs to be done for the planet without a harmonious picture of the universe and our role in it? – we do little to even initiate a dialogue between these two ways of knowing.

As a humanities teacher, then, I would like to introduce to you the writings of French paleontologist and Catholic priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955). His voluminous body of theological work was too radical for early-20th century Catholic sensibilities, and so his work could not be published until after his death. Yet today in the 21st century Teilhard is being increasingly recognized as a spiritual visionary of the first order, a “world treasure,”[1] as Cynthia Bourgeault calls him. I hope that this blog entry, summarizing some of his key ideas in a relatively short, readable form, serves as an enticing introduction to one of the most exciting thinkers of the last 100 years.

A Brief Biography of Teilhard’s Life Journey

As a young boy growing up in Auvergne, France in the late 19th century, young Pierre was gripped by insecurity when he realized that everything eventually dies. Remembering those years, he wrote, “A terrible grief assailed me; I had learned that I was perishable.”[2]He recalls finding an iron piece of metal farm machinery that became an object of devotion for him – until he found that it too could be scratched and rust. Even at a young age, Teilhard yearned to find that which endured time, for only this was worthy of his devotion, “However far back I go into my memories (even before the age of ten) I can distinguish in myself the presence of a strictly dominant passion: the passion for the Absolute.”[3]

Yet his desire to find God had a competitor: his deep love for the natural world which surrounded the country estate of his youth. Nature was terra mater, “mother earth,” which nourished him in the same way as his parents and large family did. Even as a student, his vision of the natural world was extraordinary, for he felt “drawn by Matter – or, more correctly by something which ‘shone’ at the heart of Matter.”[4]

As he progressed onto Jesuit boarding school and then to seminary to become a Catholic priest, these two competing desires – love of God and love of the earth – only intensified and seemed to him irreconcilable. Then he discovered Henri Bergson’s book Creative Evolution, which offered evolution as a dynamic, universal law impacting all phenomena. Matter and spirit, the two competing interests of his life, could now be seen as two parts of a larger unity which he could refer to as “sacred evolution.”[5]

Being drafted to serve in World War I might have been experienced as a devastating and dangerous roadblock to his divine quest, yet his request to become a stretcher bearer for a mostly French Muslim regiment became another turning point in his life. Teilhard found his time at the front to be one of incredible spiritual growth, as he lived the ultimate questions of life, coming to find an “intensity of feeling, the celebration of exuberant life and sensous beauty, the palpable concreteness as well as spiritual depth of his vision”[6] in the midst of the carnage of trench warfare.

Following his ordination as a priest and continued scientific study, he began to teach theology at a Catholic university in Paris. Trying to reconcile his paleontology study with the Church’s teachings on original sin led him to suggest adjustments to the traditional doctrine. Theological watchdogs in Rome condemned his work, exiling him from mainstream European Catholicism to do scientific research in China. He was never to teach or write publicly about theology again.

For the next quarter century, Teilhard worked prodigiously in his scientific studies in China, churning out research papers in paleontology with fervor. Meanwhile, his passionate quest for God only grew, resulting in nearly an equal number of theological essays and writings, which could only be shared secretly among a small band of supporters. One of his best known works, The Divine Milieu, was completed in China in 1927, but was not published until 1957, two years after his death.

By 1950, with his best years of research behind him, Teilhard moved to New York City, still unable to return to his homeland for more than a visit. He continued to write and speak until his death on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955. Upon reflection of his life, Oxbridge academic and British archaeologist Dorothy Garrod stated:

In him, the scientist was doubled by a Christian thinker of great originality and vision – two sides of his character which were facets of a singularly well knit and integrated spirit, whose philosophy of the Universe developed continuously right up to the time of his death.[7]

Teilhard’s Vision of God, Evolution, and Human Purpose

As a preface to this vision, I would like to contrast Teilhard’s palpable exuberance for the whole of life with the fragmented reality that you as students face in 21st century contemporary society. As an example of this, I refer to one of my favorite academics, Jonathan Haidt, a leader in the field of positive psychology, who concludes near the end of his insightful book The Happiness Hypothesis:

I don’t believe there is an inspiring answer to the question, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ Yet by drawing on ancient wisdom and modern science, we can find compelling answers to the question of purpose within life (238).

For all of the wisdom in the book, Haidt’s advice at the end is to give up on the ultimate question of why we are all here. Settle instead for purpose in one’s own life. What’s good for us personally doesn’t have any significant impact on, or is in any correspondence to, the universe at large.

With this conventional perception in place, let’s look at Teilhard’s alternative vision.

  1. Evolution and the Story of the Universe

The old story of the universe from antiquity is called the Great Chain of Being, which viewed reality as originating in spirit and coming into physical form in matter. God was at the top of the chain, dwelling beyond time and space. Moving down the chain, every entity had its place and played its role in an orderly, structured universe. This commonly accepted belief anticipates that over time physical matter makes its way back up the chain to join spirit in a final consummation.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.18.25 PM

Source: Danika Barker

The Great Chain of Being has broken down under the half-millennium reign of scientific materialism which assumes that matter is the only reality. Modern human beings find themselves, then, as conscious beings set in relief against an unconscious, dead backdrop, alienated from and dwarfed by an immense and purposeless universe.

With the old story in tatters, Teilhard’s imagination was set ablaze by Bergson’s Creative Evolution, which shaped his worldview for the rest of his life. He came to envision evolution as not only an all-pervasive aspect of physical reality, challenging the long-accepted conception of a static universe, but he also perceived this same dynamic in the psychic and spiritual development of humankind. Evolution, growth, and change was the fundamental “arrow of the universe.”[9]

Most importantly, this new story was not random, nor ultimately entropic. Although it contained elements of chance and loss, such as survival of the fittest, there was a far greater surge towards complexification, so much so that an overall journey of the universe[10] could be detected: all of reality was moving in a positive, life-affirming direction. The universe had its own arc of history, a journey of wholeness, interweaving the physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of all that is.

  1. Humans as the Leading Edge of Evolution

According to Teilhard, this fundamental drive of evolution towards greater orders of complexity does not occur in a linear fashion. Rather, as any system – physical, psychological, or spiritual – becomes denser and unstable, a moment presents itself when a leap to a new level may occur. The emergence of life on earth is one such major jump in the story of the universe.

Consequent to the arrival of the biosphere, a second and equally momentous event in the universe’s story occurred with the birth of human reflective consciousness. What we consider humans’ most significant and endearing traits – our ability to love, plan, evaluate, create, forgive, hope – are all part of a new geophysical layer that Teilhard termed the noosphere (“new-us-sphere”), an energetic field of human consciousness that rings the planet. (Such a planetary band of interconnected knowledge that he foresaw seems to have anticipated the creation of the Internet, and for this reason, some have called Teilhard the patron saint of the World Wide Web.[11])

The spirit of humanity’s cosmic role is caught well in one of Cynthia Bourgeault’s inspired lecture improvisations:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.32.45 PMTeilhard’s bottom line is going to be is that we are simply being morally and intellectually lazy to allow the vastness of our solar system to allow us to arrive at the conclusion that we’re random and useless – incidental – and that we have no point, no context, and no obligation . . . . What is needed more than anything else is to get on this arrow of evolution and ride it – like the stallion that it is – and ride it with courage and direction in the point in which it is tending.[12]

Rather than being alienated from or unimportant to the universe, human beings have an absolutely indispensable role to play. Teilhard believed that of the three fundamental entities in the universe – matter, energy, and consciousness – humans alone have the high calling of developing the third element.

  1. God and the Divine Milieu

Now we come to the energetic center of the Teilhardian vision. In my religions classes I frequently ask students to close their eyes, hold up their index finger, and then respond to this question: “Where is God?” The vast majority of students point up, while a couple point sideways or within themselves, and maybe an atheist student doesn’t point at all. Despite our secularized modern culture, most of us still conceptualize God as “up” and beyond ourselves, which in religious parlance is called the “transcendence of God.” On the other hand, some years ago, I did this activity with a group of Filipina maids at a church here in Hong Kong, and all of them pointed towards their hearts. Such intimacy is called the “immanence of God.”

Teilhard brings a new imaginative dimension to this conversation:

In addition to the two classical ways of picturing God – either far away in heaven (transcendent) or living within your heart (immanent) – Teilhard’s spirituality presents a third, much more comprehensive way to view our relationship with God. God is the One in whom we live and move and have our being.[13]

This third way is described by the signature Teilhardian phrase, the “divine milieu.” King describes this term in this way:

The divine presence in the world is this mysterious ‘milieu’ radiating throughout all levels of the universe, through matter, life, and human experience. We are immersed in this milieu, we are bathed in it. It can invade our whole being and transform us, if we but let it . . . . [It is] a ‘divine ocean’ in which our soul may be swept away and divinized. All realities, all experiences, all of our activities, all our joys and suffering, have this potential for divinization, for being set on fire through the outpouring of divine love.[14]

Cynthia Bourgeault concretizes the divine milieu further.[15] She explains that most cosmological maps are composed of two realities: the physical world and the imaginal realms. This latter dimension is the spiritual energy that surrounds and interpenetrates every aspect of materiality. Cynthia describes the divine milieu as the connective tissue between the physical and imaginal domains. It is analogous to the human body that serves as the boundary between the inside and outside of a person. In the divine milieu, God interacts with visible reality by partially immersing Itself in material reality.[16] God can be found at the heart of matter.

  1. The Teilhardian Paradigm Shift

For Teilhard, then, there is no up and down separating spirit and matter, no Great Chain of Being where matter eventually ascends up the hierarchy culminating in spirit. As he himself states, “In a concrete sense there is not matter and spirit: All that exists is matter becoming spirit. There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the ‘stuff of the universe” is spirit-matter.”[17] Theologian Walter Wink helps us visualize such a shift in which the traditional up-down/spirit-matter worldview split has been replaced with an integrated image in which matter is visible/exterior and spirit is invisible/interior.[18]

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.40.06 PM.png

In sum, Teilhard revisions the entire divine-human relationship in terms of evolution, putting forward a provocative synthesis. The radiant energy of God pervades the on-going cosmic evolutionary process, leading the universe to a matter-spirit integration. Nested at the center of this sweeping divine impulse is a newly emergent human purpose, which is to raise consciousness across the cosmos. Humans are co-creators with God of the universe’s ultimate destiny. A high calling indeed.

Find Zest in Life

How might Teilhard’s vision impact your lives as HKIS students? In response, let me first draw your attention to a recent feature in the “Atlantic Monthly” titled “The Silicon Valley Suicides.” The author, Hanna Rosin, paints a picture of affluent young people as dedicated to their schoolwork and high-achieving, but lacking in so many other ways: empty, low self-esteem, little intellectual curiosity, and anxious. She notes something that I have observed, too, in my years at HKIS: very few students rebel any more. Rather, they submit to long hours of study and competition because they see no alternative – no exit – from the educational juggernaut that they find themselves in.

In seeking to apply Teilhard’s cosmological vision on a personal level, King first notes the great dangers of the spiritual life – boredom, loss of purpose, indifference, and despair[19] – sentiments that modern-day students seem to be well-aquainted with. In essence, the dead universe has now manifested itself as malaise in the modern psyche. Traditional Christianity, Teilhard observed, offers little help to the scientifically minded. Prayer and worship in the up-down universe were increasingly difficult for many modern people to accept as scientific materialism threatened belief in a transcendent God.

Given these hazards as significant forces in the lives of young people, what advice would Related imageTeilhard offer students? Put simply, find zest in life.[20] The first responsibility of contemporary humanity is to find an inner light that can illumine one’s own darkness. Teilhard’s own spiritual vitality, which leaps off of every page, emerged from his seeing the divine everywhere. He perceived a dynamic cosmic and intimate God who invited humans to participate in Its divine milieu. This is an image of God, he believed, that modern humans could adore. And in the presence of such awe and beauty, humans would be transformed into the divine likeness.

Most practically, finding zest in life won’t come through rational explanations. Rather, put into Teilhardian terms, it results from attuning the heart to the divine milieu through time-tested means: prayer, meditation, singing, chanting, worship, pilgrimage, and other spiritual practices. However, crucially, these rituals need to be re-imagined and re-articulated for those living in an age of science.

Teilhard’s View of the Future

Ultimately, Teilhard wanted to serve the future, the evolutionary direction of the human-divine relationship in the universe. With this intent, he offered two scenarios: a dark vision of its destruction as well as a hopeful alternative of convergence.[21] Writing in 1938, he predicted that the demise of earth would manifest itself at the confluence of three factors:

  1. Depletion of earth’s resources.
  2. Polarization of humanity between those idealizing change and those idealizing re-entrenchment of past values.
  3. Spiritualization of all religious traditions towards unity.

It’s likely that you could pick up today’s newspaper and find references to the first two factors, and the third is evident, in nothing else than, in the phenomenal growth of Asian spiritual practices, such as yoga and mindfulness, in mainstream culture. Certainly the ongoing attraction of the Star Wars movies revolves around use of “the Force;” spiritualization has become part of mainstream culture. In this scenario, however, the dark forces of self-destruction overwhelm those moving to greater spiritual union.

The hope for peace, on the other hand, rests on the complexification and cooperation of science and religion, increasing the influence of those favoring spiritual progression. Science needs to devote itself to solving threats to the biosphere. Religion, Teilhard believed, needs to assist humankind to make another leap – to a more grounded spirituality where the divine milieu is sought, both individually and collectively.

Conclusion

As human cultural evolution continues to progress in our increasingly interconnected world, it is not difficult to foresee that global civilization may be approaching another crossroads similar to the jump to the biosphere and noosphere. Will the forces of convergence lead to a more holistic unification of humanity at a higher spiritual plane, or will the energies of destruction offset the divine impulse?

Teilhard’s bold cross-disciplinary work models a solution. The scientific mainstream needs to relinquish its outright rejection of anything that hints at something beyond strict materialism. For example, the research work of the Institute of Noetic Sciences should be a model for others to follow. On the other hand, traditional religious systems need to engage in dialogue about the findings of science and re-envision their maps of reality. Here the Dalai Lama’s statement inspires: “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the claims of science and abandon those claims.”[22] Both ways of knowing are necessary to fulfill our divine calling and advance “sacred evolution.”

In the end, the spirit of Teilhard seems to be asking us to keep in mind three things, as we continue on our life journeys:

  1. May our scientific study explore the spiritual.
  2. May our religious study welcome the scientific.
  3. May each of us seek to manifest love at every level of the cosmos.

With regard to the third plea, let us hear a final word, his most-quoted passage, from the scientist-mystic himself: “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”[23]

References

Bergson, H. (1911), tr. by Arthur Mitchell. Creative Evolution. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Bourgeault, C. (2015). “The Divine Milieu.” Lectures at Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado on December 17 and 18.

Haidt, J. (2006). The happiness hypothesis: Finding modern truth in ancient wisdom. New York: Basic.

King, U. (1996). Spirit of fire: The life and vision of Teilhard de Chardin. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis.

King, U. (1999). Pierre Teilhard De Chardin: Writings selected with an introduction by Ursula King. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis.

King, U. (2012). “The Evolution of Religion, Society & Consciousness with Ursula King.” Burke Lecture.

Lama, D. (2005). The universe in a single atom: The convergence of science and spirituality. USA: Morgan Road Books.

Rosin, H. (2015). “The Silicon Valley Suicides.” The Atlantic, December.

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin Quotes. Good Reads. Accessed on December 28, 2015.

Swimme, B. and Tucker, M. (2011). Journey of the universe. New Haven: Yale.

Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1936). “The Evolution of Chastity,” in Toward the Future, XI, 86-87

Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1969), tr. by J.M. Cohen. Human energy. London: Collins.

Teilhard’s evolutionary spirituality. Website accessed on December 28, 2015 at http://www.teilhardforbeginners.com/tspirituality.html

Wink, W. (1998) The powers that be: Theology for a new millennium. New York: Galilee.

Feature Image accessed from this website.

Footnotes

[1] Bourgeault, C. (2015). “The Divine Milieu.” Lectures at Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado on December 17 and 18.

[2] King, U. (1966). Spirit of fire: The life and vision of Teilhard de Chardin. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis, 7.

[3] Ibid., 5.

[4] Ibid., 9.

[5] Ibid., 38.

[6] Ibid., 65.

[7] Ibid., 230.

[8] King, U. (1999). Pierre Teilhard De Chardin: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Ursula King. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis, 39.

[9] Bourgeault, C. (2015). “The Divine Milieu.” Lectures at Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado, December 17 and 18.

[10] Swimme, B. and Tucker, M. (2011). Journey of the universe. New Haven: Yale.

[11] King, U. (2012). The Evolution of Religion, Society & Consciousness with Ursula King. Burke Lecture.

[12] Bourgeault, C. (2015). “The Divine Milieu.” Lectures at Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado, December 17 and 18.

[13] Teilhard’s evolutionary spirituality. Website:http://www.teilhardforbeginners.com/tspirituality.html

[14] King, U. (1999). Pierre Teilhard De Chardin: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Ursula King. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis, p. 57.

[15] Bourgeault, C. (2015). “The Divine Milieu.” Lectures at Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado, December 17 and 18.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1969), translated by J.M. Cohen. Human energy. London: Collins, 57-58.

[18] Wink, W. (1998) The powers that be: Theology for a new millennium. New York: Galilee, 15-21.

[19] King, U. (2012). The Evolution of Religion, Society & Consciousness with Ursula King. Burke Lecture.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Bourgeault, C. (2015). “The Divine Milieu.” Lectures at Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado on December 17 and 18.

[22] Lama, D. (2005). The universe in a single atom: The convergence of science and spirituality. USA: Morgan Road Books, 3.

[23] Teilhard de Chardin (1936), “The Evolution of Chastity,” in Toward the Future, XI, 86-87

[24] King, U. (1966). Spirit of fire: The life and vision of Teilhard de Chardin. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis, 125.

[25] Ibid., 7

[26] Ibid., 56.

[27] Ibid., 145

[28] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

[29] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

[30] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

[31] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

[32] Bourgeault, C. (2015). “The Divine Milieu.” Lectures at Aspen Chapel in Aspen, Colorado on December 17 and 18.

[33] King, Spirit of Fire, 110

Addendum I: Well-Known Teilhard Quotations

 Even though Teilhard is far from an easy read, I offer a sampling of his well-known passages which speak of his revelatory vision that he so desperately wanted to share with the world to the end of his life.

  1. Teilhard’s critique of the Church:

“Today the Church, drifting in a backwater of abstract theology . . . [and] over-refined piety, has lost contact with the real. The guidance provided by the clergy, and the interests of the faithful, are gradually being confined to a little artificial world of ritualism, of religious practices, of pious extragancies, which is completely cut off from the true current of reality.”[1]

  1. Attraction to the natural world:

“The truth is that even at the peak of my spiritual trajectory I was never to feel at home unless immersed in an Ocean of Matter . . . .” [2]

  1. Desire to reconcile religion and science:

“I am writing these lines from an exuberance of life and a yearning to live; it is written to express an impassioned vision of the earth, and in an attempt to find a solution for the doubts that beset my action – and its hopes, and because at the same time I am dedicated to God, the only Origin, the only Issue, and the only Term. I want to express my love of matter and life, and to reconcile it, if possible, with the unique adoration of the only absolute and definite Godhead.”[3]

  1. Love occupies a special place in the purpose of the universe:

“Love is the most universal, the most tremendous and the most mysterious of the cosmic forces . . . . Is it truly possible for humanity to continue to live and grow without asking itself how much truth and energy it is losing by neglecting its incredible power of love?”[4]

  1. Love as the cohesive energy of the universe:

“If there were no internal propensity to unite, even at a prodigiously rudimentary level — indeed in the molecule itself — it would be physically impossible for love to appear higher up, with us, in hominized form. . . . Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come into being.”[5]

  1. Humankind’s essentially spiritual nature:

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”[6]

  1. A true science of the future:“The time has come to realise that an interpretation of the universe—even a positivist one—remains unsatisfying unless it covers the interior as well as the exterior of things; mind as well as matter. The true physics is that which will, one day, achieve the inclusion of man in his wholeness in a coherent picture of the world.”[7]
  2. Sacredness of the visible world:“The world, this palpable world, which we were wont to treat with the boredom and disrespect with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association for us, is in truth a holy place, and we did not know it. Venite, adoremus.”[8

Addendum I Footnotes

[1] King, U. (1966). Spirit of fire: The life and vision of Teilhard de Chardin. Mary Knoll, New York: Orbis, 125.

[2] Ibid., 7

[3] Ibid., 56.

[4] Ibid., 145

[5] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

[6] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

[7] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

[8] https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5387.Pierre_Teilhard_de_Chardin

Addendum II: Additional Reading

 Cynthia Bourgeault[32] suggests the following reading materials to learn more about Teilhard’s life and work:

  1. Ursula King’s Spirit of Fire: This gives a Spirit of Fire: The Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardinreadable chronology, illustrated with plentiful pictures, of Teilhard’s life, writings, and thought.
  2. Ursula King’s Pierre Teilhard De Chardin: Writings Selected with an Introduction by Ursurla King: King’s poignant introductions eases the reader into selections of Teilhard’s writings.
  3. Sarah Appleton Weber’s translation of Teilhard’s The Human Phenomenon. Dive into his most important work with this translation.
  4. The Jesuit Priest Who Believed in God and the Singularity.”
  5. Read Hymn to the Universe for private meditation and liturgical service.
  6. The Letters of Teilhard de Chardin and Lucile Swan: Where did a Catholic priest learn to say such profound things about love? Learn more about the relationship between Teilhard, who remained faithful to his priestly vows, and American sculptor, Lucile Swan, for nearly a decade in China. Cynthia calls her the co-creator of The Human Phenomenon, his greatest work. She became his deepest friend and soulmate, and he passionately was in love with her. In later years, however, their relationship foundered, and Teilhard developed other friendships with women, but none as challenging and intimate as what he had with Lucile. While a physical copy of the Letters is very expensive – Cynthia says snap up any for $500 US – you can find these letters online here.

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About martinschmidtinasia

I have served as a humanities teacher at Hong Kong International School since 1990, teaching history, English, and religion courses. Since the mid-1990's I have also come to assume responsibility for many of the school's service learning initiatives. My position also included human care ministry with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Hong Kong, southern China, and others parts of Asia from 1999-2014. Bringing my affluent students into contact with people served by the LCMS in Asia has proved to be beneficial to students and our community partners alike. Through these experience I have become committed to social conscience education, which gives students the opportunity to find their place in society in the context of challenging global realities.
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11 Responses to In Search of a Science-Religion Rapprochement: Introducing the Life and Vision of Teilhard de Chardin

  1. Rishi says:

    This is truly marvelous, Marty! What a treat for your students. I hope they recognize how lucky they are! With this they will take away a sense of the cosmic vision needed more than ever now.

    • Thanks, Rishi! I haven’t figured out how or where to drop this into my teaching, but I do think that students would be relieved to discover that someone has actually theorized what I I think they sense and want to discover: that science and religion are two ways of explore one reality.

    • Thanks, Rishi! I haven’t figured out how or where to drop this into my curriculum, but I do think that students would be quite pleased to discover that someone has theorized what they already sense and want to explore: that religion and science are two approaches to one reality.

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  3. Miyona says:

    Mr. Schmidt, I just reread it and I think I actually understand it now!!! I think it is kind of similar to what we learned in Bhutan.

  4. Great, Miyona. Trying to establish a dialogue between the two. Glad you understood it this time!

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