For the first twelve hundred years of the Christian era the predominant way of interpreting the Bible was allegorical. Metaphor, analogy, poetry were taken for granted as vehicles of deep truths. The great change came when language was refined to be the vehicle of only single meanings. This wasn't all bad by any means. It enabled science to flourish and bring us to an even deeper appreciation of the wonders of the universe. The trouble was that religious people were taken in by the triumph of scientific discourse and wanted theology to sound scientific. It wasn't sufficient to affirm that the Bible to contain deep truths. It had to be literally true to be -- well -- true. Whatever the Book of Genesis is it isn't a scientific treatise but it contains a great story about the glory and mess of being human. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-jones/creationism-vs-scientism-_b_4725340.html)I also believe that science and religion shouldn’t be compartmentalized so they have no interaction with each other. Science might focus on the “how” and religion on the “why” but in today’s world we need both as we face into the issues of our day.
“Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” ~ Albert Einstein (1954)
So if science and religion can and should exist together, might they also speak to one another and help each other as we live into the 21st Century and all of the religious, technological and scientific advancements that have taken place. What might they say about…
- · Genetically Modified Foods?
- · Fracking & Tar Sands?
- · Climate Change & Pollution?
- · Drought?
- · End of Life issues?
- · Sustainable Development Goals?
These are just a few of the items that the intersection of science and religion should be in dialogue about today. I don’t have the space here to investigate these myself, but I believe we need to hear voices from all corners, and in many cases to tackle them sooner rather than later.
"Science is showing us how this grand system works, and religion is beginning to say more loudly that we have a moral responsibility for those vast consequences of our behavior.” ~ Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori (former Presiding Bishop)
As Episcopalians, we value and believe in the Incarnation, that God is with us in our struggles on our planet. In the incarnation, God who created everything that is, created everything good and places the responsibility of its stewardship on us. May we work together for the betterment of all humankind, and take care of this beautiful planet, our island home, entrusted to us for its care and keeping, so that we can past it on to the generations to come.