Reconciling God and science

Today, we’re talking to astrophysicist Jennifer Wiseman about the link between science and spirituality.

As Wiseman writes in a paper for the BioLogos foundation:

“Americans, both adults and schoolchildren, are not ranking favorably compared to the rest of the world’s developed nations in science knowledge these days. We enjoy our technological achievements and resulting gadgets, but true comprehension of scientific principles and recent discoveries is not a strong part of our culture and national conversation these days. This is reflected directly in what kinds of things are (and are not) discussed in church. In my own generally very good church experience growing up in mainstream America, I can only remember science and nature being discussed in a general way (e.g., we should look at the beauty of flowers and mountains and animals and thank God), except for once in a specific way in a children’s sermon (where we were told we should not believe we came from monkeys!). That was a while ago, but how are science issues handled today? Do pastors speak about the evidence from cosmic background light for a spectacular beginning to the universe? Are the genetic codes being mapped out for animals and humans resulting in praise for God’s amazing “blueprint”? Are the advancements in nanotechnology and biotechnology and medicine subjects for discussion of good and poor uses of technology in church? The answer to these is, of course, “no”, for the most part, yet even issues seemingly more relevant to the daily lives of parishioners are often driven by current technology and scientific advancement, and an informed congregation can better understand how to praise, pray, discern, dialogue, and serve.”

Wiseman will also be speaking today at 12:20 p.m. at the MacLaurin CSF in a talk entitled, ‘Other Worlds! Exoplanets, Life, and Human Significance.’

Do you think that there is a way to reconcile religious belief and scientific fact? Is it important for religious leaders to incorporate science into their sermons?

— Maddy Mahon, assistant producer