The goal of reconciling science and religion seems worthy of consideration. After all, logically there should be one ultimate metaphysical truth despite a variety of tools and paths to get there. This is not to imply that the ultimate mystery will be unraveled anytime soon. If anything, the further science probes into the secrets of the cosmos, the more mystery is revealed.
But on the contemporary scene, no one, in my estimation does more to accomodate science and spirituality than the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. I recommend one of his latest books, The Universe in A Single Atom–the Convergence of Science and Spirituality.
What religious leader would state about their own religion, ‘…if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.’ In stead of reacting to the scientific method with reactivity and irrational defiance [fundamentalist Chrisitianity and Islam in the 21st century] we need to maintain the open-minded skepticism of the Buddhist approach.
The Dalai Lama has always made it his goal to acquaint himself with the most advanced and cutting-edge scientific knowledge. Clearly he is unafraid to grant science its due–an understanding of the physical universe. But as a spiritual individual he is also aware that science cannot address deep issues of morality nor totally explain the nature of subjective experiences and awareness.
He clearly places the Buddhist goal of alleviating human suffering in the context of spirituality and science. Each can contribute greatly to the achievement of this goal: science through technologic advancements in providing food, shelter and medicines, and spiritulaity by directing our goals away from the pure acquisition of material wealth and towards a peaceful acceptance of the impermanence of life.
Anyone who has watched him speak or read his words understand how special this man truly is. When having a dialogue with representatives of other world religions, he listens attentively, eager to learn something of their perspective. He is open to the exchange of ideas. Remarkably, he never encouranges anyone to become a Buddhist. In fact, he emphasizes the spiritual essence of all religions and believes that someone can find this spiritual core from within their own tradition. He is the embodiement of grace, intelligence, tolerance of others and compassion. So allow me to toast the winner of the Metaphysical Cup–the Dalai Lama.