Flashbacks: On the Science-Religion Interchange

I became interested in the interchange between science and religion during my time as A Frank Angle. Here are a few of my favorite posts on the topic. Enjoy, visit as many as you want, and I hope you comment on the post you visited.

On a Blog Reflection: 2012

In lieu of Friday’s typical Opinions in the Shorts, here’s a look back at 2012. Besides, I still feel a bit overwhelmed from the hectic nature of the past few days.

From the blogging perspective, 2012 was a successful year.

  • Except when on vacation, I maintained my 5-6 posts per week
  • December was already on pace to be the best month ever, but with Freshly Pressed, this month may stand a while
  • Visits for the year improved over 40% from 2011
  • Reached the 100,000 mark for visits
  • 20,000th comment will be soon – and who will get the fireworks display
  • Freshly Pressed on December 24
  • Being added to Le Clown’s blogroll
  • My 1000th post party was very special
  • I continue to enjoy posting and interacting with my visitors

By reviewing my 2012 posts, I selected one post from each month to feature the variety of topics that I embrace. From politics to religion to science to travel to ballroom dance and more, here is my look back at 2012. This collection also gives new readers a chance to learn about me and this blog – which could either encourage them to return or drive them away!

For your comments, which did you read? To my long-time visitors, do you have any memorable posts that I didn’t include?

January: My story of living with a night of blame for 40+ years

February: A tribute to Pi – yep, 3.141592653, including a link of Pi to a million digits

March: On a spectacular place – the universe

April: Looking at the difficult topic of free will

May: Political gridlock remains valid today … and probably tomorrow

June: Faith and science are compatible

July: A mistaken view about global warming

August: I enjoy college football, so look at some of my favorite college football traditions

September: Time for a cruise – Start in Amsterdam, and then follow the link at the bottom of the post to the next port

October: Learn about and enjoy tango

November: I enjoy classic cartoons, so it’s all about Taz

December: How many people can play one instrument at the same time

To send you into the weekend, enjoy Disco Santa, which makes me laugh … and yep, sure sounds like the Village People. Have a safe weekend, and hopefully I can get a play-toy post together for your Saturday.

On Faith and Science

I find it interesting when hearing Christians say one has to choose between religion and evolution. Another spark of interest is when atheists and/or agnostic say that because one is a Christian, that person must take the Genesis account of creation literally.

To add to the fray, not long about I did this post about evolution without mentioning religion, yet numerous comments mentioned religion. Does all this imply or assume a natural conflict between religion and theology? – Especially because one relies on facts about the natural world and the other relies on an inward faith in something outside the natural world that science cannot prove or disprove.

Faith is a complex, yet bold and loving trust about God, God’s grace, and God’s creation that changes our heart, thoughts, and actions. Faith is not proof and does not require proof. It is through this gift from God (Ephesians 2:8), the unconditional trust of faith, that Christians place themselves into the hands of God for care, comfort, reassurance, strength, and protection. Faith is also the trust Christians place in God for the positive future when God reveals himself to us in eternal life. (1 Peter 1:3-5, John 11:26-27)

I appreciate this description of faith by Lutheran Theologian Dr. Ted Peters:

Faith responds to God’s Word. Faith recognizes that God is gracious. Faith believes. Faith trusts. Faith invites the risen Jesus Christ into one’s soul. Faith acts in love. Faith seeks understanding. “Atheist Stimulus and Faith Response”, Trinity Seminary Review, Summer/Fall 2009 (Vol. 30, Issue 2)

I describe science as a way of knowing, but not the only way. Although science and theology examine different realms of human life, integrating the two leads us to a newer and deeper perspective of nature. Using science, theology, philosophy, psychology, history, ethics, and other social sciences enhances our understanding as each provides a layer of information and perspective into a quest for meaning; however, science cannot detect or measure faith. Science cannot test a God is everywhere hypothesis. Besides, these statements are outside the boundaries of science. Again, from Dr. Peters (2009):

Believing faith is justified by appeal both to the story of Jesus we find in God’s Word and to reason as well. Reason supports faith, even if this support never completely expunges all doubt. Scientific reasoning provides helpful knowledge of the created world in which we live, to be sure; but its method restricts itself to looking for natural causes. Modern science is blind to transcendent reality. This blindness is not proof that no transcendent reality exists. People with strong Christian faith can work quite happily in scientific research.

The way science opens our eyes to nature, we can get a broad perspective of creation. As the United Church of Christ states, “We are seeing nature with new eyes, and what we see fills us with wonder and praise.”

Dr. John Haught (Georgetown University) describes how science and theology together enhances a two-dimensional Flatland into a multi-dimension view.

It is our own attachment to Flatland that leads us to an either/or rather than a both/and way of thinking about natural and divine creativity. Thus, we think we have to make a choice between explaining the diversity of life in terms of either natural selection or divine creation. (Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution, 2001)

Faith is a spirit. Faith is confidence. Faith is a power of hearing and understanding the word with the hope of living by the word. Faith is a belief in a presence of unconditional love, forgiveness, and eternal life. Faith is a confidence of God at work in our lives, including our ability to discover and understand the world through science. Faith is a trust to never let go.

Image from John Haught’s book Responses to 101 Questions on God and Evolution (Paulist Press)