Archpriest Kirill Kopeikin. About the Department of Theology at MEPhI

  1. Lemma
  2. Протоиерей Кирилл Копейкин. О кафедре Теологии в МИФИ
  3. Russian
  4. Asliturk, Miriam
  5. Ecumenism and dialogue > Education - Co-existence - Education, Science and Orthodoxy
  6. 06-03-2018
  7. Копейкин, Кирилл [Author]. Протоиерей Кирилл Копейкин. О кафедре Теологии в МИФИ
  8. НИЯУ МИФИ. Национальный исследовательский ядерный университет «МИФИ» .
  9. ethics - academic theology - Peter the Great
  10. Click Here
    1. <p>Копейкин, Кирилл и Сергей Маляров. Протоиерей Кирилл Копейкин. О кафедре Теологии в МИФИ. <em>НИЯУ МИФИ. Национальный исследовательский ядерный университет «МИФИ». </em>2013. Retrieved from: <a href=""></a> </p>
    1. Archbishop Kirill, while commenting on MEPhI scientists’ collective appeal to close down the Theology Department, points out that he is surprised by this reaction. He believes that the desire to ban something is inconsistent with the spirit of academic freedom. Himself a graduate of the Physics Department of the Leningrad State University, Archbishop Kirill describes the scientific community in the Soviet era as “a real oasis of freedom in a non-free world.” This is probably why, he argues, so many physicists became priests: an “unbiased study of the Book of Nature led them to comprehend the Creator.”

      At the same time, Archbishop Kirill emphasizes that there are historical grounds for a certain misunderstanding between science and religion: in particular the fact that since Peter the Great’s times theology has not been an academic discipline and was taught only in special religious educational institutions. Thus “an almost insurmountable barrier” grew between science and religion.” After the 1917 revolution, atheism became the state ideology, and departments of scientific atheism were founded in almost all universities. The latter “implanted in the heads of students the idea of the incompatibility of science and religion.” The opposition of the MEPhI scientific community to the creation of a Theology Department thus can be seen as the fruit of scientific atheism departments’ activities.

      Archbishop Kirill maintains that although theology and science belong to different spheres of human knowledge, they have some common points. For example it was discovered in the XX century that a subject observing the world cannot be completely excluded from the picture of the world: quantum mechanics indicates that a person is deeply entwined in the fabric of being. There are also a number of questions that both science and theology study, such as how the world came into being, what matter is, etc. Science also strives to transform the world, and therefore, become itself almost the Creator or at least the demiurge. In this regard, ethical problems arise: to what extend can science transform nature and in doing so it can rely on the picture of the world that it has now. Archbishop Kirill stresses that the modern scientific picture of the world is not complete. Firstly, the ontological status of the laws of nature remains unclear. Secondly, scientific method of objectification does not take into account the mental or the psyche. Even ordinary biological life (not the physical processes of “metabolism” accompanying it) does not “fit” into the scientific picture of the world. Finally, natural science fundamentally refuses to raise the question of the meaning and purpose of the existence of the world and man. Theology can fill these fundamental “gaps” and help work out a meaningful interpretation of the formal laws of the universe and thus develop a new conceptual language adequate to the present state of science. In practical terms a dialogue between religion and science can be fruitful as far as the so-called convergent technologies (bridging the gap between the living and non-living worlds, mental and physical) and ethical issues are concerned.