A weekly dose of science for the church
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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.
Can a scientist believe in resurrection? Can a thinking person really accept one of the most outrageous claims in Christianity? We think so. So how do scientists who are Christians understand the resurrection?
You largely trust your own mind, right? It is a source of reliable knowledge, except, maybe for those moments you can’t remember where you left your keys. Well, psychology tells a very different story. There are dozens of biases that impact how reasonably, or accurately, or unselfishly our minds function.
Research shows our gut instinct is that we want God and science. And this leads to a question: Are there places that talk about both science and God?
What if science—indeed, the very physics we’ve been slogging through—is actually the locus of God’s action?
Is the world fundamentally determined or undetermined?… All of these possible interpretations point to the enigma of the way the world really is. Does God play dice? Is there a reality to things before we observe them? Are there many worlds? Are there hidden variables that still elude us nearly a century after Einstein postulated them?