Religion and Science Are Not at Odds, Says Winner of Templeton Prize

Article excerpt

New York

Rev. Michael (Michal) Heller, a Polish Roman Catholic priest and cosmologist whose intellectual and religious life has been grounded in the insights of both science and religion, has won the 2008 Templeton Prize.

Mr. Heller, 72, who teaches at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, was awarded the prize of 820,000 [pounds sterling] ($1.66 million Cdn) for his work in connecting the realms of physics, cosmology, theology and philosophy.

In an interview, Mr. Heller reiterated his belief that the oft-described "two worlds" of religion and science are not at odds, saying that without the meaning afforded by religion, "science would be meaningless."

Mr. Heller has had a long interest in examining such questions as "Does the universe need to have a cause?" and he has engaged sources from different disciplines that might otherwise have little in common, the John Templeton Foundation said.

"Michael Heller's quest for deeper understanding has led to pioneering breakthroughs in religious concepts and knowledge as well as expanding the horizons of science," John M. Templeton Jr., the president of the John Templeton Foundation, said in a statement in conjunction with the announcement of the award at the Church Center for the United Nations.

Mr. Heller told ENI the grounding for his beliefs came in part from the background of his parents. …