The belief that God created the universe in six days is a superstition and a "kind of paganism" that both discredits religious faith and demeans science, Br Guy Consolmagno SJ has declared. Consolmagno, a Jesuit brother who in his scientific work has pioneered the field of gravitoelectrodynamics, said that far from being a Christian viewpoint, creationism harks back to primitive beliefs in "nature gods" who were held responsible for natural events. He said a "destructive myth" has developed in modern societies that religion and science are competing ideologies - and that this is fed by creationism, which scholars say is a distortion of the biblical texts it claims as its own. Br Consolmagno works in the Vatican observatory in Arizona. He is also curator of the Vatican meteorite collection in Italy. In addition to his work in astronomy, he studied philosophy and theology at Loyola University, Chicago, and physics at the University of Chicago. He has spent several terms as a visiting scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Centre. Speaking recently at the Glasgow Science Centre, Consolmagno argued that the distinctive Christian understanding of God's transcendence recognises divine creativity in the unfolding of natural phenomena which had been previously attributed to vengeful gods. He said: "Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which turns God into a nature god. And science needs religion in order to have a conscience, to know that, just because something is possible, it may not necessarily be a good thing to do."
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