The Dialogical Inclusion of Science and Religion

Science and Religion like other inter-disciplines meet in the event of our being humans. But this event of being human is complex and produces several evental truths. Fidelity to these truth events produces the expressions of the relations of Science and Religion. The enmity between them cannot be thought to be based on some false consciousness of humans. Such thinking does not consider the desire of the human being. It is dependent on the Socratic tradition that sees false consciousness as disruptive irrationalism. The events of Science, as well as the event of religion, produce us as subjects. We are subjected to these and other events. Indeed the event of bringing together Science and Religion can initiate different ways of being human in the world.

1. The Mathematics of an Event

Alain Badiou has enabled us to identify the order beings (ontology) with mathematics. Badiou sees Being as such as pure inconsistent multiplicity without any organizing structure, overall unity or centring bases. Badiou finds that axiomatic set theory provides a formal way of counting this state of becoming of being as one. This means set theory provides a way of counting the dynamism of being as one that manifests the primacy of existence over essence and the Sartrean sense. We may also say that set theory captures what Martin Heidegger calls Dasein ( Being there) to adequately describe the becoming of Humans. This means the becoming of being is an infinite set and at any stage, it is only unfolding a sub-set that is moving towards infinity. The same is true of humans. At any stage, it is in the state of being there (Dasien)/ being on the way as Heidegger teaches us. Thus we can see that set theory enables us to mathematically catch the dynamism of being. The pure inconsistent multiplicity is named as an event by Badiou. The multiplicity is inconsistent because it is constituted of several multiplicities that can be counted as one from several perspectives (subsets in the context of set theory). In this context, it is important that we understand what Badiou means when he uses the terms belonging and inclusion. We have to come to the set theory to understand the distinction that Badiou makes between belonging and inclusion. In the set theory: belonging (∈) and inclusion (⊂) is explained in the following manner. Every mathematical set has elements that are included in it, but do not belong to it; there is always some excess. Maybe we can translate it in this way. Given the Hindutva Politics in India, everyone is included in India but everyone does not properly belong to it. This also can be viewed from the point of those that regard that Science and Religion cannot dialogue with each other. Dialogue thus is thought as not properly belonging to Science and Religion

2. The Mathematics of Science and Religion Dialogue

We can arrive at the mathematics of Science and Religion Dialogue. We need the set theory to come to it. From the point of set theory, the categories of one and many do not make any sense. There is no set that unifies/ totals up in some absolute sum. The only relations that we can use are one of belonging and inclusion. This means we have only two ways of counting sets. This distinction between belonging and inclusion comes from the power set axioms. Let us take an example where all the multiples (members/ elements) included in α belong to ß. This means all the γ’s and ∂’s that are included in α belong to ß. Set ß counts-as-one… all the sets included in α. Thus Set ß contains or includes all the subsets of α. Set ß, therefore, is the power set of α. We have two ways of writing it: p(α) and {α}. Now let us consider this: If γ belongs to the power set of α, that is the same as saying it is included in α. But the set p(α) is different from α itself. There is therefore a gap between α and p(α). The power set is always bigger than the set itself. This means the power set of α has at least one multiple ( member/ element) that does not belong to α. This means the evental multiples make for the excess. Thus, the event of dialogue between Science and Religion will become the power Set where we will hit a synergistic point that will always be larger than both Science and Religion taken singly. There is always progress in this dialogue. Both Science and Religion complement and enhance our humanising/ ways of being human in the world.

3. The Event of Dialogue

The empty set is included in every set but may not always be counted as belonging to it. It is the excess that is not often considered. But the empty set has a power set. Although nothing belongs to the empty set and hence it is a void, we can still think of all its possible subsets or its power set. When we consider its power set, we get something included in it. The empty set includes itself and is no longer empty if one considers its power set. This gives us the possibility of naming/ counting it as void. We are enabled to count it or speak of it. In order to arrive at the mathematics of dialogue, we will have to arrive at the power set of that which becomes the matter of dialogue. We can consider the matter of dialogue as a set A. This means we consider all the possible subsets of the matter under dialogue. We, therefore, arrive at all possible subsets of A. Thus we have to arrive at the power set of A. The event of dialogue is inconsistent multiplicity and remains uncountable. It is the power set of A. Several elements belong to it. When we dialogue, we articulate a subset of the inconsistent multiplicity ( set A). All the possible subsets can inform the content of the dialogue. Hence, there is always more subsets to be considered in the process of dialogue. This means the state of dialogue manifests excess. Therefore, dialogue does not come to an end. It continues in-exhaustively when we remain with the subsets and consider the future arrival of further subsets. When we try to consider what we count as properly belonging to Science or Religion, we end up taking rigid positions and the dialogical state of our dialogue can enter a dialectical state. Therefore we have the challenge to keep the dialogical state going. To do this we have to stay with the power set or all possible subsets of matter under dialogue.


Science and Religion exhibit inclusion and open us to enter a dialogical state between the two. As long as we stay within the event of dialogue, we are drawn into in-exhaustible possibilities of dialogue. As subjects of the event of dialogue, we manifest our fidelity to the event by continuously engaging in dialogues with Science and Religion. We remain always on the dialogical way, dialoguing and integrating both Science and Religion remaining subjected to the truths of the event of dialogue.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao