Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno says believing God created the universe in six days is a form of “pagan superstition.”
Consolmagno told the Scotsman the idea that religion and science are competing principles is a “destructive myth.”
Consolmagno works in a Vatican observatory in Arizona and as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy.
He is keenly aware of the renewed interest in creationism taking hold in America – particularly among evangelical Christians who take the Bible – including the Genesis account of creation — literally.
Consolmagno described creationism as a “kind of paganism” because it is similar to the idea of “nature gods” who pagans believed to be responsible for natural events.
“Knowledge is dangerous, but so is ignorance,” he said. “That’s why science and religion need to talk to each other.”
Consolmagno stated that the Christian God is a supernatural god. In the past, the belief in God being supernatural led the clergy to become involved in science to find natural explanations for things like thunder and lightning. Pagans often attribute thunder and lightning to vengeful gods.
“Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism — it’s turning God into a nature god,” he said. “And science needs religion in order to have a conscience, to know that, just because something is possible, it may not be a good thing to do.”