Certain segments of our current society have chosen for either religious or political reasons or both (a dangerous combination), to wage war on science.
Denying the obvious reality of human-caused “climate change” is but one piece of their agenda in a larger assault on scientific truth. Whether out of pure capitalist greed, or naive or willful ignorance, these folk create “straw men” to intentionally disregard science out of fear of what science will tell us.
They choose to experience the world not as it appears, but rather from a place of fear, refusing to believe the truth and audaciously declaring the laws of physics to be nonsense! You’d think they had been born 500 years ago! How sad! And how very dangerous for us all!
Over a century ago the Nobel Prize-winning British physicist, chemist, and mathematician William H, Bragg wrote: “From religion comes a man’s purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another.”
They are, in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which everything can be grasped.”
More recently the late Carl Sagan (astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist) said, “Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality … The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
For a number of years now the Clergy Letter Project has encouraged communities of faith to celebrate “Evolution Weekend” in the month of February.
My own faith tradition, the United Church of Christ (UCC), has formally designated “Faith, Science, and Technology Sunday” in February “closest to Darwin’s birth date on the 12th.” BTW, Darwin was a man of profound and deep personal faith!
The connections between spirituality, science and technology are many. Taking a broad view that celebrates all the sciences open us to be passionate about the intersections of science in medicine, technology, ethics, astronomy, geology, climate, to name but a few – and the religious imagination.
The UCC has issued a pastoral letter which followed a full year of churchwide study by scientists, philosophers, theologians, and clergy. It is called “A New Dawn Arising: Faith Engaging Science”
Perhaps the 20th century’s greatest scientific genius, Albert Einstein, spoke of his attitude toward God: “We see a universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand those laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.”
With the ancient poet of Israel, a 21st-century person of faith AND science can also say: “Wonderful God! Awesome God! How majestic is your name in all the universe.”
Understanding, valuing, and practicing scientific exploration and experimentation is not in opposition to faith, but is an expression of it!
The Rev. Dr. Rex E. Piercy is Intentional Interim Minister at Hanapepe United Church of Christ.