Gratitude is probably the most scientifically studied virtue. We could do a Thanksgiving edition every year and focus entirely on new research each time. We know the benefits of being grateful, and we know steps each of us can take to become more grateful. We even know how gratitude correlates with, and often cultivates, other virtues like optimism, humility, and forgiveness.
How might science work alongside Scripture as a tool for discipleship? Or how can it illustrate sermons, support the biblical teachings, and supplement the wisdom of the church? Can it be a catalyst for worship? May it even draw folks into our ministries, perhaps attracting the “nones” and “dones” to come back?
Let’s take a look at some of the scientific work on hope and optimism. Very little of it takes a theological perspective, but as you teach and preach true Christian hope, the science can surely be a good conversation partner.
The problem of evil and suffering faces us in many forms. Truth be told, it is probably the single best argument against belief in a good God. Especially in those cases where evil and suffering are rooted in nature and cannot be excused by human sin. As we begin a series on natural evil and theodicy, we focus this week on some of those faith-rattling natural occurrences.
How do we reconcile a good God with the gruesome competition we see all around in the natural world? We will attend to this question over the next few weeks. But today, before we take on natural evil and theodicy, an important reminder: We are created not only to compete and survive and pass on our genes. Biologists also tell us we are created to cooperate.