Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"The Language of Science and Faith" by Karl W. Giberson and Francis S. Collins

"Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes." When Pope John Paul II spoke these words he crystalized an argument that, for me, had been ongoing since I was about 11 years old and first became acquainted with the debate which continues to surround us today.

For me, it has always been easy to reconcile religion with science. I just figured science was invented by God. For an 11 year old, that was pretty deep thinking. And really, over the years, my views on that have not changed much. It's kind of like this; God created us, watched us screw things up and hopes we can straighten it all out ourselves without his Intervention. We, too, can only hope. This belief system is commonly known as "Deism."

In the famous Scopes "Monkey" Trial of 1925, in which a schoolteacher was charged with teaching evolution against the state law prohibiting it, the prosecution argues that Evolution, as a theory, has no creedence in religion. William Jennings Bryan, the 3 time candidate for President, and noted attorney, actually argued against science. His opponent, the brilliant, and somewhat unpredictable Clarence Darrow, argued for the defense that the Bible, particularly Genesis, was "pleasant poetry." I have never been comfortable with either of these dismissals of the two divergent points of view. Nothing is ever that simple.

This book will set what you think you believe in, on it's head. I thought I was a believer in Deism, that is, one who believes in a God who created the Universe, then stepped back to let us run our course. This book postulates the belief in BioLogos, which is a form of Theism, a belief that there is a God who acts in conjunction with his Creation. I'll have to think about this concept.

This is a book which will require more than one reading, as well as an examination of some of my core beliefs regarding religion. My own relationship with God is a very personal one. I speak, He listens; sometimes. At other times, He roars, and I begin to rethink my position. We are engaged in a tug of war for my soul, and at age 56, I'm not all that sure who is winning.

Enter this book with an open mind. It was not written to destroy any religious beliefs you might already have. Rather, this book explores the things we all have in common, with the design of reconciling the science interwoven within our individual beliefs.

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