On Language of Faith and Science

To appreciate and understand the layer requires an effort. One must understand science – its processes, its discoveries, and its way of enriching our understanding of creation. However, one must also understand that this understanding is not in conflict with a belief that God created a world and that God doesn’t overrule well-established scientific claims. There, The Language of Faith and Science is a good place to start. (from the book)

The interchange between science and religion is a subject that laypeople don’t jump on with profound interest. Ok – that mean I’m an exception to this rule of thumb.

Several years ago, I decided to tackle the topic on my own, and it has been a fascinating journey. (I’ve written much here.) The first book I read was Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution by Karl Giberson; a physics professor at Eastern Nazarene College and the director of the Form on Faith and Religion at Gordon College. As a historical perspective, his book provides an excellent background.

Since then, my journey included the work of many prominent people in the field. Many titles later, I read The Language of God by Francis Collins, the former head of the Human Genome project and the current director of the National Institute of Health. (My post about this book.)

The Language of Science and Faith (2011) is a joint venture between Giberson and Collins. It’s chapters are in a logical sequence, and each chapter’s content focuses around individual questions. Here are several important item of note:

This book is for Christians who do not see science and faith as archenemies, and want to know more about the interchange between these two disciplines

The book is an excellent starting point, but for anyone seeking more information regarding either the science or the theology, more reading is required. (Yes, I can provide guidance for those desiring so.)

Being that I’ve already completed significant reading on the subject, I appreciate this book’s annotated bibliography – thus look forward to examining some of the online resources.

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42 thoughts on “On Language of Faith and Science

    • Mobius,
      Given our interaction on the subject, I think you will like it. Check the library system! BTW – in my “Religion and Science” category, I have a few book reviews. Thanks for commenting.

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  1. I’ll make you a deal – since my Internet connection is hinky, I’ll spare you my usual quoting form Einstein and the movie “Contact”. Deal? 😉
    Keep up the good work, my friend. Maybe one of these days people won’t view science and religion as mortal enemies!

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    • John,
      I’m currently reading at interesting one: Faith of Scientists: In Their Own Words (Nancy Frankenberry). Bought it on a whim at Half-Priced Books. Getting close to the end, so I imagine I will post about sometime in the next month or two. Thanks for commenting.

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  2. I have long known that you cannot separate science from the various religions of the world, especially the Old Testament of the Bible. It is a subject that fascinates me to no end.

    Tim

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    • Shimon,
      You comment made me laugh. It seems that the battle between science and religion, especially regarding evolution, is more of an American issue. Not that others through out the world don’t side with literal meanings of Genesis, but the conservative Christian churches here are emphatic about it. Actually, the Creation Museum is located within an hour of my home. Not long ago I was 4-5 states away and happened to be talking to a tour group who was on their way to the museum. If you interested, search Creation Museum Kentucky. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Sounds like an excellent intro. I don’t understand people who say it has to be only one way and not the other. Why can’t the two live together. Thanks for the recommendation. You know I love to read.

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    • TBM,
      Part of the problem is that the media concentrates on the battle between the two extremes: the atheist’s view of definitely no God and the Young Earth Creationist view of Biblical literalism. Those reports give people the impression that they have to choose sides, thus forgetting about the views in between the two – actually were most Americans are found. Second aspect is the lack of education by the churches in that range to their flock. For instance, you can take it to the bank that the Biblical literalist churches are educating their members! By the way, I have other books and posts about the topic here. https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/category/religion-and-science/ … thanks for commenting.

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  4. Interesting post.
    I’m not so sure that there is a great chasm between religion and science. They can live along side each other quite easily. In fact scientific study enhances our understanding of the world around us, but it does this because it is continuously modifying and/or rejecting previous theories as new discoveries are made. In other words, it is dynamic, not an absolute.
    Unfortunately, problems and confusion arise because many people use the words “science” and “evolution” as interchangeable, i.e. meaning the same thing. They are encouraged (perhaps tricked) to do so by those who ‘believe’ in evolution, to enhance its appeal to an audience who do not really think about things but simply go along with the trendy flavor of the day.

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    • Fasab,
      Your first paragraph actually caused a respectful chuckle – because (if you recall) that is how we first met.

      Good point about people using “science” and “evolution” interchangeably. After all, evolution is a subset of science, but science is not a subset of evolution. As for being tricked, I would maintain otherwise as there are simply many voices of theologians and scientists would support this view point – thus way beyond being trendy.

      I know we have different viewpoints within Christianity, but I appreciate your respectful and insightful words here. 🙂 Many thanks for sharing.

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  5. What an interesting topic, I must say I think you’re the only one I “know” who is really talking about it, particularly from a Christian perspective. In college I learned that throughout most of the Middle Ages, the pursuit of science was a religious pursuit (i.e. learn more about God through His creation), with only a few exceptions. The two sort of gradually diverged alongside the secularization of society in general. I think it is important to note that it is not science and religion themselves at odds, but the religious and scientific communities.

    It is true that some people have used science as an excuse to supplant God, which of course is what lies in the heart of the fears and suspicions of the religious communities. Then again, I would imagine many more have used Capitalism, politics, food, etc., without the same public backlash. Unfortunately, considering that advances in science have sort of occurred on the same timeline as the secularization of the Western world, I think science has ended up being the scapegoat, and even in many cases embraced that role.

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    • Twixt,
      Thanks for the kind words, but there are more people like me on this issue than most realize. Meanwhile, just because some use science to supplant God (and in my opinion, an incorrect use of science), they are one of the extremes that gets media coverage … as does the opposite extreme of those using religion to supplant science … yet far more disagree with both sides! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  6. I am going to have to take the time to look at all your posts on the subject. I don’t believe there is ‘great’ animosity between all religion and science, only that it sometimes takes time to catch up. This one sounds like a very interesting read, thank you.

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    • Val,
      The animosity is between the extremes, yet there are many who find them compatible, and many others who don’t know because they simply don’t know. Thanks for commenting … and you are welcome to read as many posts as I have on this subject. 🙂

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  7. What a great review. Very interesting, too. I have never heard of ay book covering both like this. Thanks, Frank – I would otherwise never have heard of this.

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  8. Interesting post Frank, as usual! I think you know my views on this…when it comes to science, I’ll take mine straight up – no chasers. Always interesting to read other views though.

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    • Alex,
      And that’s ok! Anyway, you realize that I have a specific target audience for these posts. Meanwhile, I will tell you that the current book I’m reading is about the wide-range of views among (about 18) scientists. It’s helped me understand the range of thoughts within the atheists and agnostics. Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Guapo,
      Ah yes – you would fall into Stephen Jay Gould’s NOMA model … Non-overlapping Magisteria … as the two subjects have their own discipline, yet remain separate … and that’s fine! 🙂 Thanks for commenting.

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  9. Of all the topics you cover, and I do enjoy them all, this is by far my favorite and the one I most look forward to, Frank. I find the two subjects as both distinct, yet overlapping in ways often supporting one another. I rarely seem to have facility of language, though, to give my conversation that intelligence it requires. I appreciate the thoughtfulness with which you have set out your own journey for clarity, and I learn from you. I see some book titles here I will want to read. Thank you, Frank. Debra

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  10. This is my favorite subject that you cover. I do not see Evolution and Belief in God as contradictory at all. It actually amazes me that folks dig in and take a dogmatic approach on either side. God can do whatever He wants using whatever tools or methods He wants. We are but peons who show hubris in thinking or saying we even know what God does or does not do. I just respect Him.

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    • Randel,
      I confident that numbers would support that your thought represents the majority! (Surprised?) One of the things that I find is the wide range of thought. For instance, here’s a post I did some time ago regarding difference models about the relationship between science and religion. https://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/on-the-models-between-science-and-theology/ However, each of these can be subdivided – for instance, he current book that I’m reading has helped me understand the range of thought within the atheists and the agnostics. Thanks for stopping by and I hope all is well. Try to stay cool up there in the Land of Cheese.

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  11. Thank you for commenting on this. One of the biggest lies in the church is that religion and science cannot co-exist, and the reason that lie exists is because it is perpetuated by individuals who would wish to keep the layperson ignornat in order to maintain power and control over said layperson. It has nothing to do with God, but everything to do with the worst desires of man, and unfortunately we have all been swept up into this philosophical ‘cold war’.

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    • Ryan,
      “The church” is such a broad term that is not inclusive on this issue. Their is more support at the denomination level than one may realize. In other words, the religious conservatives don’t speak for all Christians, although they may think they do. Toss in others like Palin and Christine O’Donnell, mimsconceptions reign supreme. Because I’ve written extensively on this topic, I invite you to see “Religion and Science” category in the sidebar. Thanks for commenting.

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    • 🙂 …. oh yes, the library has come through too. Especially if they are part of a larger consortium that shares. Good luck and enjoy!

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