According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power
is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. - anon

Friday, September 13, 2013

Discussions in Science and Religion - Week 1: Recap - "Unequal Playing Fields"

 

by Jonnie Russell
September 11, 2013
Comments

Our six-week live online has begun and the week one lecture/discussion video is up for free on HBC as well as mission soulutions.  If you haven’t watched and are in the high gravity group (or the in-the-flesh Claremont group), do it! If you haven’t signed up and want a free taster with this first week, by all means give it a try, see the goods and where we’re going and join in here.
 
As I said in my prep post last week, this is intended to be your time: a forum for you to get my brief recap of the week's happenings and give the beginnings of what might be some conversation starters. What has perked my interest may very well be completely different from what interested or puzzled you, so by all means, feel completely unbound to responding to me and my thoughts. Your reactions (this will be up both here and the high gravity group site) will be studiously followed by Tripp and myself, so as to cull the reactions into a list and throw them back at Philip to make him answer, assuage, unravel, or puzzle along with us. We might not get to all of them each week, but we will definitely be able to cover a good smattering of the issues that arise. So…weigh in! My format will be simple: Recap and React.
 
Recap:
 
This week kicked off with Philip giving us a broad picture of the past and present situation between religion and science. He began by asking “what’s at stake?”  In the context of the New Atheists, the best-selling militant posse of public (pseudo?) intellectuals who claim that God is beyond passé (and more a vicious poison), is there a conversation to be had that does not collapse into a snarling fundamentalism? It is precisely this road that Philip wants to walk. Accordingly, what is at stake in this conversation in our age is the very intellectual credibility of  Christianity (a good question for yourself: is it for you? do you feel that way?)
 
Past and present entries into the religion and science discussion have varied widely. Some looked for a spot to slide God into the science, a continued attempt to save a seat by offering various “God filling the gaps” answers. Others have argued that they inhabit different spaces or different orders (Gould’s magisteriums), a way to insulate each with their own purview, a tactic that often leaves the religious with the heart and heaven. Still others, reject the conversation or validity of the other wholesale, a polarized fundamentalism. None of these will work. We must face the conversation more frontally, oppose the binary with a more gracious and open-handed approach.
 
Why? Because important concerns arise. Culturally, science fear (perhaps a deep envy of its cultural authority) pervades many of the religious. Strident defensiveness of one’s purview is just ugly. Demographically, huge shifts in recent generations to spiritually indie (…but not religious, etc.) show the end/death of Christian ownership of western culture. No longer is it the default outlet for the religious impulse.  No longer is it the default merchant we run to. Constantinianism and its mercantilism are waning, if not dead.  Existentially, it’s good to grapple [as Christians with scientific discoveries and understanding]. [A] constructive theological project (our project in these weeks) necessitates that we [then] grapple well.  As Philip showed, this has always been happening with people of faith. A[n] [ancient] scientific model informed the [ancient] biblical authors. Hubble’s findings in the 1920′s effected a change in thinking about the universe’s beginning and cosmology, etc. “Not to grapple [with science] is to make a mockery of our heritage.” Well said Dr. Clayton!
 
In the last bit before the discussion time, Philip ended by detailing nine themes to be covered in coming weeks.  The attentive will notice that about four of those correlated almost exactly with some of my own outline of key themes that I’ve found in my own work. [Questions] of the soul, human uniqueness, divine action, and environmental/ethical issues will be discussed, plus more!
 
React:
 
-This is going to be really fun!
 
-Perhaps it’s my upbringing rearing its formative head, but even after years of interest in science and religion discussions, and a decided willingness to let scientific finding and research effect my theological and philosophical reflection, I still struggle, or worry, that the playing field is unequal–that to ‘let the best knowledge of our day’ have its way with my thinking will inevitably end up one-sidedly submitting theology to (i.e. under) the scientific.  Is this merely because I’ve only seen poor examples or is it something more fundamental–something related to science being more rigorously norming, more fundamental?
 
-Philip, you mentioned how entering into this exciting journey of open-handedly exploring science and religion has been a wild ride, one that (so far) has “cost” you a form of divine action among other things. I take you to mean some form of interventionist divine action. Are there examples of things your religious experience, beliefs, knowledge, commitments have caused you to give up (or,costed you) scientifically?  In other words, is the dynamic of costing asymmetric or reciprocal? Does it go both ways? Are there any examples from your own [professional, or personal,] development?
 
*What are you (fellow participants and general readers) feeling or thinking after the first week? Any questions, excitements, worries, or housekeeping questions?
 
*[Does] the broad brushed history - and current context of the engagement between Religion and Science - make sense?
 
*Did Tripp or Philip say anything exceedingly heady that we should pester them to flesh out more or clarify?
 
Next week we dive into the quantum and the cosmic!
 
 

Index to past discussions -
 

 
 
 
 
 

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