A weekly dose of science for the church
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Science is not the center of the church, and never should be. But let me get back to that courtyard renovation at my church—a half block from North Carolina State University, which trains more STEM professionals than any other school in the state. If we are not taking the science they are teaching seriously, they will not take us seriously.
There’s been a longstanding warfare thesis about the alleged rivalry between faith and science. But in the words of historian Ron Numbers, it’s “more propaganda than history.”
In recent decades, many interesting studies have examined how religion and faith help us deal with stress, loss, and trauma. Events as different as 9/11, near-death experiences, and caring for someone with cancer have been studied.
How do these attachments affect our relationship with God? Scholars have determined that our history of human attachments—good ones and bad ones—can impact our relationship with God.
Our faith can give us the power for change, but so does our God-given neurobiology. Scientists call it neuroplasticity. Our brains are malleable, and as our neurons and synapses rewire, we change. New neurons can even form. This happens throughout our lives, though at a slower rate as adults. Any repeated brain activity rewires us, and once rewired, our mental and physical experience of the world can be transformed.
How do scientists and clergy work together for the good of the gospel? Fortunately, the Christian scientists I’ve met share a love for both their individual specialities and for the bigger-picture greater good of the Gospel of Jesus.