Julie’s Jar: Science and Religion

The class on Science and Religion looked interesting. I thought about going, but it wasn’t until 15 minutes before the class that I was roped in to actually show up, thanks to Janis Brown. The six week course has been dizzying. I haven’t sat in a graduate level course for some time. I take copious notes, but haven’t done any of the reading: maybe later.


religion-and-scienceThe worlds of science and religion/theology are often pitted against each other as if they are competing truths. I don’t understand this view; I just know it happens.  When people outside the congregation of FCC Pomona learn that our son and daughter are both studying Biology, they respond with surprise. How is it that two theologians/religious types raised two scientists? Science is such a different field than theology. How did that happen?


We aren’t afraid of science in our home. In fact, we are curious about it, interested in the new discoveries in biology, physics, geology, etc. It is a sad, sad situation that people of faith have an adversarial relationship to science and vice-versa.


Space travel requires a lot of science. Gravity is a new movie about people traveling, working and having problems in outer space. After the movie premiered, a number of scientists complained about inconsistencies, like the Hubble telescope and the International Space Station can’t occupy the same space, but in the movie they do. It’s like those old B movies in which dinosaurs and cavemen are in the same scene. Dinosaurs predate human presence. Although, you can’t convince a creationist of this.


The pushback from the scientists who advised on the movie is simple; it’s a story. When the science made the telling of the story less interesting or more cumbersome, the story won out.


Our faith tradition has many stories as part of our sacred text. I think some people look at the text too scientifically, trying to prove it’s absolute fact and miss the story, the multi-valent, multi-dimensional reality of a story.


Both science and religion ask questions, and neither can answer questions about ALL things. I am grateful that our children grew up in a faith culture that encouraged them to allow conversation between two areas of deep interest for them. It is important for congregations to be safe places for people to explore meaning in light of all we are learning. “Painting The Stars” class is a great place for doing this for those of you interested in the conversation between Faith and Science.


It is frightening to me that over 50% of the population of our country thinks evolution is bogus. It makes me wonder how much religious people have done to perpetrate ignorance. Ignorance is an enemy of faith. Evolution is NOT a faith statement. Thanks to research done in the area of evolutionary biology advancements in medicine have been made. Would people abandon those advancements for the sake of clinging to a religious ideology?


It is a false dichotomy: science or religion. I am taking the class because people of faith need to have competence in the conversation between the two. There is too much antipathy in the conversations today. Science is important in our world. Religion is too. It is possible to have meaningful dialogue and discovery between the two while remaining curious about the world and universe and confident in our faith. It’s not the confidence that makes for ideological certainty. It is a confidence that there is always more to discover, that the questions deepen faith more than answers and that the mystery of God awaits our exploration.

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