At a Catholic church in Boulder City, science and religion share common ground

At St. Andrew Catholic Community’s prayer garden, religion literally shares common ground with science.

The formal public debate this month between Bill Nye “the Science Guy” and creationist Ken Ham ended with both camps declaring victory.

That’s hardly anything new, given the past couple thousand plus years of science versus religion, and it will likely be chalked up to another moment waiting to land in the history books and be sorted out centuries later.

But not everybody has gone down the rabbit hole in defense of the position that things must be only one way or another and never both: Just as every Christian is not a creationist, not every scientist has renounced God.

Those lingering in the middle of the Venn diagram can find solidarity in a peaceful little prayer garden at St. Andrew Catholic Community in Boulder City, where science and religion literally share common ground.

The church’s desert-landscaped garden, complete with statuary, leads into an outdoor labyrinth modeled after the one in France’s Chartres Cathedral and hosts a series of bronze placards detailing the history of the universe. It begins with the “formation of the universe” 13 billion years ago and continues on to other notable events, including the formation of an Earth-like planet 4.6 billion years ago and the arrival of early humans 3.5 million years ago. The path ends with the phrase: “In relation to 13 billion years, the church is 5 seconds old.”

This merging of beliefs, declared by so many to be completely divergent, is the perfect launch pad for the contemplative labyrinth. Geophysicist Jim O’Donnell, who is a parishioner at St. Andrews, says he worked on the project with geologists Fred Bachhuber and Dave Weide at the request of the church’s former pastor Joe Annese.

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