Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Faith, Science, and Transforming Christian Theology - A BRAVE CHURCH INDEED!

In my recent comments about "Transforming Christian Theology" by Philip Clayton, I remarked that it would take a "brave" church to begin conversations about theology as Mr. Clayton suggests.  Well, it turns out that there are such brave churches, at least one.

In a recent article at Associated Baptist Press (http://www.abpnews.com/) entitled "Seminar equips clergy, laypeople to talk about faith, science", a story about First Baptist Church of Austin, Texas describes a seminar regarding the relationship of faith and science.

This kind of development is GREAT!  I have long contended that the Church cannot deny or ignore science, nor can it fail to engage our current scientific worldview.

One quote in the article was "There are a lot of Baptist churches for which the subject would be too controversial."       I think that this is the understatement of the century.  Just look at the comments posted at the ABP website related to this article.  Unfortunately, if one were to judge just from the comments at the ABP website on many topics, ABP's following seems to be made up of people who are AGAINST every opinion that ABP's writers express.

Does the topic of science and religion bother you?  Does it interest you?  Rather than deny or hide, I suggest some reading.  I would suggest the following authors:

Rodney D. Holder
John Polkinghorne
Ernan McMullin
Graeme Finlay
Colin Russell
Alister McGrath
Robert S White
John Bryant
Michael Poole
Sir John Houghton
Denis R. Alexander
Roger Trigg
R. J. Berry
Ernest Lucas
Ian Barbour

There is one specific book that I would especially recommend to the commentator to the ABP article who wrote,  "Rather they (several scientists that the commentator makes reference to in his comments) are saying that these processes are intrinsically random. Such understandings are, in principle, at odds with teleological metaphysical accounts that see everything as intrinsically purposive."

I would suggest to this commentator and to anyone one else interested in "randomness" and "chance" in the natural world and the actions of God to read "God, Chance and Purpose" by David J. Bartholomew.  I must warn you that this book can be quite challenging, especially if you do not have any background in statistics or mathematics.  However, the book is well worth the read if you can take some time to read carefully, thoughtfully, and with an open mind.

I affirm that God created the world, his creation is good, and as one of his creations what we learn about his creation only glorifies him.  God is faithful.  He is not a trickster.  We can have confidence in what our senses tell use about our natural world.  What we learn is always provisional and changing and growing; but, we do not need to be afraid.  Trust in God.

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