A weekly dose of science for the church
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Yes, we know—in ways the biblical writers didn’t—how huge that world, or the cosmos, is. But we also all know God’s love. And so it’s natural to ask: If Christ saves us on Earth, what if there are other “worlds”? What do we do with Jesus’ atonement?
You’ve seen the movies—from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to Men in Black to Alien. Sometimes the aliens are friendly, other times not so much. Sometimes they are funny, and others will give you...
How are we finding all of these “exoplanets”—planets beyond our solar system? And how can we tell if they might host life? That’s our focus as we continue our astrobiology series.
The search for life “out there,” whether or not we find it, can be relevant today. When we consider science and the meaning of life, we ask one of the great questions of any age.
Whether we find it or not, the possibility of life on other planets remains scientifically and theologically significant.
All in all, we know that technology accelerates life, and it increasingly feels like we can’t keep up. For centuries, theologians and mystics have reminded us that we need to slow down in order to find God, and that deep relationships with our God and our friends grow slowly in the soils of time. Science tells us many of the same things (naturally, with some scientific haggling), particularly about how excessive use of technology impoverishes ourselves and our relationships.
The religion-vs.-science narrative persists in our wider culture, but that’s clearly a false narrative when it comes to the interface between religion and health. Study after study shows positive connections between health and things like church attendance, religiosity, and religious coping.
It is hard to let go of wrongdoing and to make it right. We need help. That help can come in many forms. Of course, it begins with Scripture and the Holy Spirit working in us and the saints that support us. But it may also come in the form of . . . science? Yes, science.
Atkins believed all those “nothing but” statements—nothing but atoms, chemical elements, genes, and neurons—and for him, that meant there is nothing more. Davies saw an amazing picture of the natural world that suggested more—mystery, meaning, and maybe even purpose.
I learned again that first night of class that our task as Christian leaders is to move people from felt needs to real needs. Felt needs are simply wants, wishes, and hopes in our gut that reflect basic necessities for life like safety and physical essentials. Real needs are deeper and in their truest form what God has for us.
We have given our youth space to ask their questions and even voice their doubts. If you follow the research on young persons and faith, that space is important. And that includes helping them engage science and faith. There are good reasons to believe the church’s failure to address such questions is one cause for the continued rising number of religious “nones.”
Jesus in the Passion gives us the ultimate example of what researchers often call grit or resilience—a suite of cognitive and character traits working together in combination to achieve a goal in the face of great adversity.