Perspectives

Cohort Member Scott Scruggs’ Sermon: Ecology & Creation Care

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church pastor Scott Scruggs preaches on a Christian perspective on Ecology and Creation Care.  Check it out: ScottScruggs-CreationCare

Cohort Member Scott Scruggs’ Sermon: Engaging The Evolution / Creation Conversation

Menlo Park Presbyterian Church pastor Scott Scruggs engages the Evolution / Creation conversation.  Check it out here: ScottScruggs–Evolution

Jennie McLaurin in Christian Week: Reconnect with the real world.

Pastoral Science Lead Investigator Jennie McLaurin writes a column on technology for Christian Week: Reconnect with the real world: Take a break from the virtual and get back to the vital.

Science and Faith together

Central to the understanding of those involved in this website is the notion that there is plenty of room for both science and faith to flourish in the life of an individual and in the life of society.  What is more to difficult to state succinctly is how these two areas interact with each other and relate to each other. We believe all truth is God’s truth, so that anything that becomes reasonably certain as evidenced by rigorous science will not somehow undo our faith. It may, however, cause us to rehearse again what it is we actually believe about a thing, and to check if that meaning is required of us. The classic example is the creation of the earth in particular, and the universe(s) in general, and how we hold the reading of Genesis. We use our reason, history, and tradition to exegete the Biblical text and also to interpret it for our faith’s understanding.  And as Christians, we do so under the authority of Scripture, the counsel of the Spirit, and the recognition of our own finite and fallen nature.

This sort of generous scholarship and patient wisdom is sometimes hard to find among those who publish popular material, whether it be for the avid scientist or the avid Christian. The fact that there are many Christians who hold to an orthodox understanding of the faith, and who also accept evolution as the best explanation for the process of creation, is rarely voiced in the media. The extreme views are seen as the norm by many.

However, if we look a bit more closely at some of the popular offerings on TV and the web, there is plenty of room for conversation. The US public television network, PBS, has a series “Closer to Truth.”  The show (with episodes available on-line at www.pbs.org) examines how theology, faith and science interact in the lives of many prominent scientists. It is a great conversation starter and worth watching for its wide-ranging commentary.

Two recent blogs by New Scientist (linked below) reached across to the land of religion. The editor noted that it is “time to accept that atheism, not god, is odd.” (March 3, “Where Do Atheists Come From?”) The social scientists wonder if religious belief is somehow hardwired into us, for reasons not fully explained but nonetheless socially and evolutionarily helpful, then why are some people lacking that instinct? Is it because of damage or environmental adaptations, or what? Belief in a god actually increases with educational achievement, rather than decreases, as some had portrayed. So—rather than ridicule the believer, the question becomes “why not believe?” The answers on the blog aren’t much, but the data is a discussion starter.

A second blog is titled “Knowing the Mind of God: Seven Theories of Everything” (March 4, 2010). The title’s reference is a nod to Stephen Hawking’s phrase  and what it might be like to have a unifying theory of creation (or in his words, nature.) The seven competing theories are briefly outlined for the novice. They are still difficult to understand! The bottom line is that we don’t have a simple unifying theory from science, and some of the present postulations are not able to be proven and depend on non-human experience for understanding. That sounds a lot like religious faith to me!

So stay tuned to the cultural conversations, and join in where you can. There really is enough room for God and science in our lives. Worship in truth, wonder in love.

Jennie McLaurin