Towards the Being of Science and Religion Dialogue

To enter the hermeneutics of Science and Religion dialogue, we may have to embrace the destruction of the Western Metaphysics of Martin Heidegger. We have the challenge to manifest the Being in the dialogue of Science and Religion. To do this, we have to accept what Heidegger calls ontological difference. Between Being and beings. This means we have to enter ontology through the ontic portals. This means have to give up the ontic categories that are imposed on this dialogue based on the metaphysical tradition that is brought to bear on this dialogue. This is perhaps why Derrida challenges us to overcome logocentrism. Maybe it to overcome the imposition of ontic categories that Raimundo Panikkar also invites us to step into the mythos leaving the portals of the logos in order to authentically enter the dialogue among religions. In the context of Science and Religion dialogue, we have the challenge to avoid getting lost at the ontic level of Science and Religion and enter what Heidegger might call the ontological difference between the dialogue of Science and Religion. This entry into the ontological difference will manifest the Being of this dialogue.

From Ontic to the Ontological

Heidegger famously made a distinction between Being and beings. We as humans as beings-in-the-world have a basic openness or disposition of trust to the world. It is in and through this pre-reflective familiarity with the world that Being is given to us. But this access to Being is given through beings of our experience. Thus, our ontic concerns become the basis of knowing as well as forgetting of Being. This means our concern with beings of the world chiefly leads to ontological amnesia. This is why even as we deal with what is called Science and Religion dialogue, we may forget the Being of this dialogue if we remain prisoners of the ontic level. Thus, when we bring metaphysical traditions to bear on the relationship between Science and Religion, we then see them as enemies or incommensurable. But we forget that we can only chase the beings of/in Science or the beings of/in Religion(s) on the basis of Being itself. Hence, the challenge is to overcome metaphysics to enter into authentic dialogue or Sangam with Science and Religion. We, therefore, have to leave the ontic and enter the ontological. We have to leave the logos and enter the Mythos. It is only then that we can have Sangam between Science and Religion. This openness opens us to dialogical dialogue otherwise all dialogue is condemned to be dialectical dialogue.

From Dialectical to Dialogical

When we remain at the ontic level of dialogue, we remain with the ontic categories that are metaphysically laden. These metaphysically laden categories contest other ontic categories that are embedded in other metaphysical traditions. This is why we have to heed to Heidegger’s invitation to overcome metaphysics. It is by giving up of the ontic pole that we are enabled to enter the ontological zone, the zone of our primordial familiarity. This primordial familiarity is the fundamental home or interior space. When we enter it we become dialogical. This is why Heidegger invites us to return to our home. We, therefore, cannot enter the dialogue between Science and Religion without stepping into this interior space. Maybe we have to encounter Jacques Lacan’s Real bursting through and shattering of the symbolic. The dialectical has to die and we have to let live the dialogical. It is thus by stepping outside the categories of our everyday life ( ontic level) that we can encounter the Being of the dialogue of Science and Religion. It is in the encounter of the Being of dialogue that we may be enabled to enter into dialogue with God. This means we will be enabled to move from the God of metaphysics to the Being of God or the ontological God. We, therefore, will be enabled to live the portals of the ontic God to the Being of God and come to the ontological God.

From Ontic God-Human-Cosmic to the Ontological God-Human-Cosmic

There are several metaphysical traditions that inhabit the ontic levels of our experience. These metaphysical traditions define God, humans and the cosmos. This is why God, humans and the cosmos are viewed differently by different religious and cultural traditions. The divine. Human and cosmic differences are visible only at the ontic scale. When we enter the ontological difference, we can have a disrupting experience that melts away all the walls that divide the divine, human and cosmic. The dialogue of Science and Religion being simultaneously an inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue may open us to the encounter of the Being of God or the divining of the Divine and multiple ways of humans humanizing the cosmos and themselves. While we live the dialogue of Science and Religion, we will be enabled to enter the ground zero of existence where, the Divine, the Human and the Cosmos are deeply interrelated. Perhaps, by leaving the portals of the ontic that we can fully encounter our own true selves. This might be the reason why Raimundo Panikkar talks of a profound cosmotheandric experience where one has a fullness of divine, human and cosmic intuition. While the cosmotheandric intuition may come to us in several other ways when we leave the ontic pole, the dialogue between Science and Religion dialogue can also take us to the real encounter of the cosmos, humans and the Divine.


Our pursuit of Being the dialogue between Science and Religion has brought us to the zone of ontological difference. It is in this ‘topos’ that we are enabled to encounter the Being of the Cosmos, the Being of the Human and the Being of the Divine revealing our authentic Being as an inter-being and as such is profoundly dialogical.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao