In sync with my current series as I trawl through a bundle of New Scientist articles thoughtfully loaned to me by a parishioner is this offering from today’s Facebook feed: Is your church still picking a fight with science?
My current congregation never has, but one sometimes gets the impression it’s one of a group of rogue ships in the ecclesiastical flotilla when the chips are down.
Today’s article makes the point that nostalgia for the past rather than preparedness to meet the challenge of the present drives the wedge between faith and science, thus perpetuating a false dichotomy. Many people of faith are also scientists at the peak of their disciplines, and it is the Church’s responsibility to nurture and encourage the inquiry they inspire. Instead, the public face of the Church highlighted across the media is of reactionary conflict rather than constructive dialogue.
Sometimes the conflict is legitimate. Scientific inquiry will, on occasion, be asked the Church’s valid question “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and it will be seen by some as unwarranted intrusion. Equally, scientists nurtured and respected by the non-reactionary faith community will be sympathetic to the ramifications of holistic perspectives in their fields of endeavour.
Today’s article finishes with four questions that any church community might thoughtfully consider.
- What does your church do to proactively let people know that science, and scientists, aren’t the enemy?
- How do you help to raise up young people who don’t see a conflict between the pursuit of an education and the faithful following of Jesus?
- Does your church work to help members to recognize, and appreciate, different ways of reading the Bible?
- Maybe we need a special Sunday to recognize and honor our scientists and their achievements; a hug a scientist for Jesus day, if you will. Is this something your church could do?
I don’t know if the scientists in my church want to be hugged – but they do know their work is respected!