A modern view, described by Stephen Jay Gould as "non-overlapping magisteria" (NOMA), is that science and religion deal with fundamentally separate aspects of human experience and so, when each stays within its own domain, they co-exist peacefully.
This is the view that has allowed me to function (most of the time) as a Christian without suffering from too much cognitive dissonance. Three cheers for Gould!
NOMA seems like dualism to me. Orthodox theology draws a strong distinction between the created and the uncreated, but not as much between the material and spiritual. To say that they do not overlap does not, to me, sound Orthodox at all.
No one is specifically saying that the material and spiritual do not overlap. NOMA (as I understand it) says that science functions in its own particular way and domain of expertise, and religion/spirituality in its way and domain of human experience. NOMA is simply accepting that the Bible is not a science textbook, and that science indeed works, given time and enough serious participants, as a process. One can still engage with the ascetic struggle and sacramental life of the Church, practice watchfulness of one's thoughts, engage in deeper and deeper prayer, approach theosis (by God's grace), and so on without trying to argue against the bits of science that contradict the Biblical mytho-poetic narrative of creation, for instance. Science works. Orthodox spirituality works. But each works in a very different dimension or domain of human experience.
This, at least, is my understanding of NOMA.
i understand what you're saying, its reasonable. but i still disagree. Here is what St. Theophan the Recluse has to say about it:
Sobraniye pisem (Collected Letters) Vol. 2, (1994), p. 117
A believer has the full right to insinuate himself with spiritual things into the material realm, while materialists crawl with their matter, without a twinge of conscience, into the spiritual realm. Right-mindedness is on our side, while incoherence is on theirs. And this is not because every sandpiper praises its own swamp; rather, it is to the point. Matter cannot be either a power or a purpose. Both are outside of it. Matter can only be a means and a field for spiritual powers, in accordance with the spiritual origin (the Creator) of all things.
Slova na Gospodskiye, Bogorodichnyye, i torzhestvennyye dni (Homilies on Feasts of the Lord and the Theotokos, and festal days) (1883), p. 196
A pure spirit [nous] contemplates God and receives from Him knowledge of mysteries. But even the spirit, combined with the body, after the diversity of the creations of the visible world has been revealed to it through the senses, have been enlightened by the same inward illumination from above, must contemplate in these creations all the mysteries of the knowledge of God, and the mysteries of God’s making and governing of the world, so that even when faced with this great amount of knowledge it can remain unperturbed in the same single Divine contemplation. But, having fallen, a person is captivated by the diversity of created things and even overwhelmed by impressions from them, which supplant within him the very thought of God. Studying created things, he goes no further than what he sees in them – their composition and interrelations – and, not receiving illumination from above, does not see in them the clear reflection of God and the Divine mysteries. The world has become for him a tarnished mirror, in which nothing can be seen but the mirror itself. Hence a great amount of knowledge suppresses within him the knowledge of the one thing; it turns him away from it, makes him cold toward it. Such is the price and such is the fruit of science in a fallen state.
St Feofan Zatvornik, Nastavleniya v duhovnoi zhisni. - Pskov-Pechery Monastery of Holy Dormition: Mosc. Patriarchate Publ., 1994, http://creatio.orthodoxy.ru/sbornik/sbufeev_whynot_english.html
"The positive teaching of the Church serves to know whether a concept is from the Truth. This is a litmus test for all teachings. Whatever agrees with it, you should accept it, whatever does not- - reject. One can do it without further deliberations.”
Sozertsanie I razmyshlenie. Moscow, Pravilo very, 1998, http://creatio.orthodoxy.ru/sbornik/sbufeev_whynot_english.html
"Science goes forward fast, let it do so. But if they infer something inconsistent with the Divine Revelation, they are definitely off the right path in life, do not follow them.”
the mystical prayer life of the Orthodox Church also includes a deeper understanding of creation itself -- far deeper than science can ever attain. Fr. Seraphim Rose, commenting on the teaching of St. Gregory of Sinai, says this:
Genesis, Creation, and Early Man (2nd Edition), p. 458
St. Gregory the Sinaite and other Holy Fathers of the highest spiritual life beheld the first-created world in the state of Divine vision, which is beyond all natural knowledge[.] St. Gregory the Sinaite himself states the “eight primary visions” of the state of perfect prayer are: (1) God, (2) the angelic powers, (3) “the composition of visible things,” (4) the condescension of the Word (the Incarnation), (5) the universal resurrection, (6) the Second Coming of Christ, (7) eternal torments, (
the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. Why should the “composition of visible things” be included together with the other objects of Divine vision which are all within the sphere of theological knowledge alone, and not scientific knowledge? Is it not because there is an aspect and state of creatures beyond the sphere of scientific knowledge, which can only be seen, as St. Isaac himself saw God’s creation, in vision by God’s grace? The objects of these visions, St. Gregory teaches, “are clearly beheld and known by those who have attained by grace complete purity of mind” (On Commandments and Doctrines 130, Philokalia 4, p. 248).
St. Isaac tells us that mystical union with God can lead us to a vision and comprehension of the act of creation itself:
Homily 21, Russian ed.; Homily 85, Greek ed.
Describing how men of the highest spiritual life are enraptured at the future life of incorruption: “And from this one is already exalted in his mind to that which preceded the (making) of the world, where there was no creature, no heaven, no earth, no angels, nothing of that which was brought into being, and to how God, solely by His good will, suddenly brought everything from non-being into being, and everything stood before Him in perfection.”