Loren Wilkinson, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Regent College is a man long associated with integrating the realms of scientific and religious understanding. Furthermore, he is a poet farmer, a significant upgrade (in my book) on Plato’s notion of a philosopher king! He has truly influenced many throughout his numerous years as a teacher. If you are at all confused, intrigued, or passionate about the integration of faith and science, you must read these essays/lectures that can be found in the resources section of this site. There are not many who can seamlessly integrate Aristotle, fine ‘religious’ liqueur, scattering x-rays and Savoyard cheeses! Let these titles tickle your fancy…
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.