Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Where Religion and Science Meet

Speaking of NPR... I was off driving around in circles with Ellie tonight. I think the time change has been a little rough on her; but tonight she just seemed a bit wound up after an evening trip to the park and a few rounds of chase, which she still loves!

Anyway, the show on NPR was about the apparent conflicts between scientific practices and religious beliefs, when those conflicts can be reconciled, and where science and religion really do diverge.

It's a pretty interesting topic to me, considering that my father is both a very religious person (he was a missionary in Turkey for 11 years!) and a high-school biology teacher. No, no. He's not from Kansas. (No offense to any Kansans reading this, of course.) He doesn't have any qualms, whatsoever, with where science and religion intersect or diverge. To poorly paraphrase him: Religion deals with what you believe about purpose. Science is about striving to understand what you believe. (Eh, I'll never do him justice.)

Funny anecdote interjected:
When I was in 4th grade, we moved across town. During this time,
the school district was in the middle of rewriting the sex-ed curriculum.
Guess who was in charge, my dad! My mom, as a school nurse was also
involved. Amazing I wasn't more humiliated.

A few days after moving in, a neighbor from down the street knocks on
the door, makes a little small talk, then asks if we've heard about the awful
things they're trying to teach our kids in school about sex! Atrocious,
what some people think the schools should be teaching kids.

My dad graciously explained that he was one of the main authors of the
new curriculum. Our slightly embarrassed and dumb-founded neighbor turned
to go away, and mumbled something like "what did the Lord have in mind when he sent you to our neighborhood?"

Well, now these neighbors watch my parents' dog and bring in the mail
when they're out of town. Nice enough people.

My person feelings, summarized in 200 words or fewer:
Religion is a nice thing to have around to guide us and provide anecdotes that help us articulate what it is that we believe. Logic and reason have to be able to play a role in supporting those beliefs, too. Science is a major part of that. Science is all about the striving to understand the world around us, and as a result ourselves. Ideally, the more science reveals, the more we appreciate about the amazing universe in which we live. I think that to declare "God created the universe in 6 days" belittles what the universe is. Belittles God. If we resign ourselves to the same literal beliefs that people had thousands of years ago, to me, that implies that the depth of our understanding hasn't grown in all those thousands of years. Poor God, to have such pitiful companions that they wouldn't strive to grow and understand him more fully, more deeply.

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