Friday May 18 2018 | 6:00 PM Museum of Science and Technology (51, Skenderbegova st., Belgrade) Speakers: Prof. Dr Miloje Rakocević, University of Niš & His Grace Bishop Dr Maxim (Vasiljević) of Los Angeles and Western America Moderator: Prof. Dr Aleksandar Petrović, University of Belgrade Assistant Organizer: Aleksandra Stevanovic, University of Belgrade
by Aleksandra Stevanovic The project “Science and Orthodoxy around the World” led by the National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens initiated a plethora of public lectures aimed at triggering the dialogue on science–religion relationship. Belgrade lecture in May 2018 was one of the activities within this multiannual international project. The lecture was held on May 18th, 2018 at the Museum of Science and Technology in Belgrade. It was announced by Television Hram of Serbian Orthodox Church (http://www.tvhram.rs/vesti/vesti-iz-crkve/317/predavanje-episkopa-maksim...), Radio Belgrade – the National Television Radio, Church Radio Slovo Ljubve, leading daily newspapers (Politika and Danas), and recorded and broadcasted by Television Hram (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObFL-0l2vfo). The lecture attracted about 90 people in the audience, including the Ambassador of Republic of Greece in Serbia, H. E. Mr. Elias Eliadis, academicians, scientists, theologians, students from the Department for History of Science and Faculty of Orthodox Theology in Belgrade, young scholars and researchers. Belgrade lecture was opened by Professor Aleksandar Petrović, Adviser of the project SOW, who introduced the theme of the science and religion relationship the night before Museum Night in Serbia and moderated the dialog. On behalf of the project’s organization, Mr. Nikos Livanos from National Hellenic Research Foundation presented strategies, activities, and the key goals of Project SOW. Prof Dr. Miloje Rakocevic The event included two speakers, a recognized scientist and an eminent theologian, with the aim to bring the two seemingly distant perspectives together. The first speaker, Professor Miloje Rakočević from the University of Niš presented a very intriguing and holistic approach in his long-term scientific work. The lecture titled “Four Eyes in the Cognition of Reality: The Relation of Science, Philosophy, Arts, and Religion” started from the idea that in knowledge of overall reality all four lines of possible cognition have to be considered: science, philosophy, arts and religion. The lecture aimed at synthesizing the four spheres of cognition, prefiguring new perspectives, with metaphoricity, codogenicity, and semioticity of the phenomena in nature and human creation, as their nucleus in general, as well as in concrete examples. With a brief overview of the civilizational course of science and Orthodox Christian religion interrelatedness, Professor Rakočević presented how new connections of science, philosophy, religion, and arts were established. Presenting the determination of the periodic system of chemical elements according to golden ratio and the genetic code the question of the existence of reality as such emerged in a new way, and this question inevitably again led towards a new establishment of the relation between science and Orthodox religion. His Grace Bishop Maxim (Vasilević) The second lecture “Natural Sciences and Theology” focused on the points of contact between natural sciences (biology, physics, medical therapy…) and theology that would enable their meaningful dialogue. His Grace Bishop Dr. Maxim (Vasiljević) implied that life in Orthodox Christian experience is not understood merely as “moral” or “spiritual” (contrary to somatic, physiological), but as a complex fact and reality of God-given life in all dimensions. The Bishop, speaking on the science–religion permeating, talked about the necessity of a complementary and multidisciplinary approach. Such approach arises from the fact that human reality is determined by the “fallen” state of nature (understood anthropologically and cosmologically), which, due to the inevitable entropy tends to chaos, and transcendental impulse towards genuine existence which does not want to know about death and corruptibility. In that sense, according to His Grace, the encounter should be in the search of the truth, one and the same truth. By considering the question of freedom and self, Bishop Maxim explored where science and religion permeate each other and invited all to the dialog of love and metamorphosis for a true dialog is possible once we recognize mutual benefices, given by God. The lectures were followed by a twenty minutes question and answer session. Highly interesting topics and presentations by Professor Rakočević and His Grace Bishop Maxim opened a vivid discussion in the audience. People wanted to know more about “general harmony” which Professor Rakočević focused on, and the concept of freedom elaborated in the lecture by His Grace Bishop Maxim. This lively discussion confirmed a strong interest in the science–religion relationship among the scholars in Serbian academic community.