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Science, The Church, And Religion


JenellYB
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Here's something I'd like to share here...I've mentioned Dr. Mitchell at UH in some of my other posts, and I have taken under him the RS course he teaches there, "Science and Religion".

Here he give a talk on the topic, that given how the uneasy relationship between science and religion seems to be arising in several threads here, some might find of interest. He presents some perspecitves I've not encountered here, so may be something new to some.

A heads-up before you play it, the sound seems weak, at least on my computer, so I really have to crank the volume up to follow it well....Dr. Mitchell's sometimes rambling presentation doesn't always make that easier, either.

 

Jenell

 

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Hi Jennell,

 

I read the interview and watched the video and frankly found nothing he said that I could object to. I think he takes a reasonable approach to the subject. Faith and belief are two very different things and he points that out. I have faith in scientific process. I am troubled by belief systems arising from fables, myths and ancient writings. We have seen what happens with belief or what some call blind faith: extremists strap on suicide vests and take as many people with them as possible on the promise of 72 virgins, others drink grape cool aid at Jonestown and die for belief, young men and women join the volunteer army to be sacrificed in foreign lands for patriotic beliefs and others are influenced to vote for people that will end up harming them for political beliefs.

 

I think that through the exponential explosion of information we are experiencing there is much confusion as to which information to believe and most tend to believe what agrees with what they already agree with. I believe nothing I can't confirm and trust no one’s word unless it can be corroborated

 

 

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Guest billmc

Interesting video, Jenell. I'd like to hear more about how he distinguishes faith from belief. As you know, Christianity is generally big on having and making "believers", not "faithers." So I'd love to hear more from him on that topic.

 

I also appreciated how he said that religious faith should not completely yoke itself to any one scientific view because our knowledge grows. Interesting that he said that the Church of the Middle Ages was more foundational to Aristotle than to the Bible. I also felt some cohesion with the Bible as poetry. For me, that is more and more what the Bible is becoming to me, one big poem.

 

Thanks for sharing this. I'll have to see if I can find his book.

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The people I appreciate are Ilia Delio (quotes from a conversation she had with Michael Dowd are posted in the Progressive Christianity area,) Bruce Sanguin, author of "If Darwin Prayed." and others who have made the jump to a position that is not debating the issues because they have a vision of an Evolutionary Christianity has located itself in the wonder of the universe and evolution. I too am over the debate.

 

Ilia Delio describes the universe as the cosmic cruciform, in which we see in every quark, photon and supernova revealings of God's first word love in Christ. The universe as the word of love embodied, enfleshed. Father George Coyne, former director of the Vatican's Observatory, says that in a fertile universe such as ours, a universe that is old enough to have the element carbon for carbon based life forms and a universe with 1022 stars, through the processes of chance and the necessary laws of physics it was inevitable, but not by design, that something like us would be here. And that was probably what God was hoping for.

 

I have posted the "If Darwin Prayed" poem by Bruce Sanguin in the Progressive Christianity area. I love how he writes these prayers and other liturgical elements with both scientific and Biblical imagery and metaphor.

 

Take Care

 

Dutch

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I caught his mention of a book, I don't remember him mentioning that while I was there, and I tried to browse it but didn't find anything, so since this is a recent interview, maybe it's in the works but not our yet.

 

What I think is most signficant about his approach through the RS dept at a public university is that he is introducing whole new groups of people to these kinds of ideas, not only re religion and science, but as he handles many topics in a very "progressive Christian" perspective. Most of the Christian students, and ones that may have been exposed to and walked away from conservative religion for the same kinds of reasons most of us here have, that take courses or attend casual discussions are getting their first introduction to another way of seeing the religion. For many, including myself, it may be the first time they've encountered liberal Christianity in a functioning setting. I never knew what a different Christian perspective existed within academic theology.

 

His perspectives on faith is much as is being shared by several here, it isn't about 'beleifs', more of a state or condition or attitude with which we approach not only religion and thoughts about god, but life itself.

 

Jenell

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Guest billmc

For many, including myself, it may be the first time they've encountered liberal Christianity in a functioning setting. I never knew what a different Christian perspective existed within academic theology.

 

I grew up in a very conservative form of Christianity where liberals were sneered at for holding to a "social gospel" or for "working for their salvation." ;) So I was surprised when I read in some books and blogs that the "different Christian perspective existed within academic" circles for the past 150 years but, for some reason, had never trickled down to the average layperson or person in the pew. And I wondered why? Why was it so damn hard for me to find this "different Christian perspective", other than the fact that the Christianity I held to as a youth pretty much forbid me from reading anything except the Bible or something by an author whose work consisted of that view of Christianity? Oddly, I first heard of what we call "Progressive Christianity" on a Yahoo atheist board. God works in mysterious ways. :D

 

But I do sometimes wonder if we concentrate so hard on being the "kinder, gentler" Christianity that we have no prophetic voice? I'm not at all saying that we need to all wear placards that say "REPENT!" And I'm not even saying that we should push PC per se. But I do agree with Spong that our faith should be primarily a way of wisdom, that we should live life fully, love wastefully, and be all we can be. That can be a very prophetic and wise message in our time. So, to me, PC is not another system of belief. It is a way of seeking wisdom. Now, if I could just take a pill...

 

:lol:

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I don't think PC/liberal C don't have a prophectic voice, just that is is so very different from what the voice sounds like in conservative and fundamentalism relgion, and second, that the kind of interchange of ideas we have here is very very new, for those of us older, myself 62, there was nothing like the internet to provide a dorrway to the 'outside world'....I was not only raised in a conservative fundamentalist leaning family, but live in a very conservative fundamentalist sub-culture, community, here in SE Texas. This is red neck country..this is Klan country....those such as I learn, sometimes painfully, to walk quietly in their midst, lest we find ourselves nailed to a cross!

 

For the same reason, I think the more progressive/liberal Christian community is also just beginning to find it's prophetic voice, remember, we haven't been speaking out in the public world much for very long yet. And the new capacity for sharing ideas through the internet that is allowing so many of us for the first time to share them, discuss them with others, is a big part of that, I think.

 

Recently, I had an interesting flash, of insight? Fantasy?

As in the bible, Jesus said the coming would be as the lightning, beginning in the east and spreading to the west....think about how the opening up of information and sharing of ideas are brining many elements of Eastern thinking into our own western culture, including religion, but the 'spark' for my insight, if that, was in Revelation, where it says He will come with/in "clouds", a sharp sword emerging from his mouth (as in sharp cutting speaking, words, of truth?), and that those that follow Him are called and faithful, and which came to mind as I watched one of these tv commercials where someone needing something declares "to the cloud!"

Ie, could the development of technology like the internet be interpreted as the joining of minds and consciousnesss, into the 'one mind, of which Christ is head?'

 

Jenell

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  • 2 weeks later...

A belief is just an opinion held so strongly that the believer considers it true, a fact.

 

Faith is even if everything I believe turns out to be wrong, I'm still ok.

 

Jenell

 

 

"I think therefore I am".

 

I don't believe I am and it isn't an opinion that I am.

 

I know I am because of apriori knowledge. In the past I believed nothing without good reason and some of the things I have believed proved to be wrong because I didn't have good enough reason.

 

I have removed the phrase "I believe" from my comments and my thought process. I prefer to say "I think". That being said; I do have faith but my faith is in the power of reason and in natural law. I think we are saying about the same thing regarding faith.

 

I stopped believing and started thinking. Sometimes what I think is wrong but when I realize it's wrong I am closer to truth. I have faith that reason and thinking will eventually get me there as long as I don't get lazy and start believing again.

 

I enjoy your comments and I think you are on a good path. Thanks for joining us.

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You know, I think the most liberating thing that happened to me when I went from believing to thinking, is that I lost the need to believe I'm right, realizing I might be wrong about things stopped being scary or threatening.

 

Sometimes when I hear, or read, in some Christian traditions, the idea expressed that those that reject the traditional beliefs such as the ressurection or the rapture, or of a literal heaven and hell in an afterlife, are trying take their reason for hope away, as if all that matters to them is what comes after this life...as if this life is just a burden to be borne in order to get to the real prize, heaven, I have to wonder.....do they really see it that way? Do they really so disdain this wonderful opportunity of life? Even if there were nothing beyond this life, isn't this life itself a miraculous gift of itself? Isn't this life itself enough?

 

Jenell

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Having admired Einstein for many years, I came across this quote today:

 

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein

 

From this link:

 

Faith In God and Science

 

http://www.huffingto...e_b_884534.html

 

And why not both ... and?

 

Myron

 

 

Many more Einstein quotes can be found here at my favorite science and philosophy link.

 

Einstein.jpgAlbert Einstein Quotes on Philosophy of Religion, Theology, God

 

The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. (Albert Einstein)

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954) From Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press

 

Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of Nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being. (Albert Einstein, 1936) Responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray. Source: Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffmann

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Harry,

 

On some days I am inclined to describe myself as a Christian with Buddhist tendencies and on other days as a Buddhist with Christian tendencies. I admire the common elements. The Dalai Lama's lectures on Jesus being a good example.

 

Myron

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Harry,

 

On some days I am inclined to describe myself as a Christian with Buddhist tendencies and on other days as a Buddhist with Christian tendencies. I admire the common elements. The Dalai Lama's lectures on Jesus being a good example.

 

Myron

 

 

I understand what you mean. The basic tenants of Christianity and Buddhism are love and forgiveness, after that it's all window dressing.

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