Friday, January 11, 2013

Science/Faith Conferences

The interface between science and faith is the subject of many investigations among Christians in the field of science and to a lesser extent, among the laypeople in our churches. Popular conferences bring together science scholars to investigate the relationship between science and faith. Some seminars are directed toward and populated mainly by Christians in science professions, often with laypersons invited as observers. Other gatherings include theologians invited by conference sponsors to gain their particular perspectives concerning science. Perhaps most valuable are conferences which include individual participants formally trained in both science and theological disciplines. This blend of professional qualifications may be unusual in the conference setting. Our culture’s trend toward specialization may be responsible for this dichotomy.

In the past several years I have personally attended such conferences or viewed recordings of conferences. As a former science teacher my personal interest in science and theology make me a unique beneficiary of the planning of conference organizers. The conferences also hold appeal for my wife, a former math teacher, who shares my interest in matters of science and faith. As former teachers, we enjoy discussing issues and events related to our common career interests as well as matters of Christian concern, personal and societal.

Our concern is the substantial segment of our church population uninterested in matters of the science/faith connection. At a recent northeast conference on science and faith, some of the speakers decried the tendency of evangelical church attendees to be suspicious of the findings of science. There are multiple reasons for this phenomenon. Some find their personal interpretations of origins questions or the benefits resulting from scientific and technological advances to be contrary to their personal views. Our Creator has gifted humans with free will to choose, select, or reject modern technological advances and life styles and incorporate them as their own. We rejoice in the Creator’s gift of free will. Our science and theological beliefs are central. They are included in the gift of free will.   

What are the findings of science? If we were to categorize such findings, many Christians may not approve of them. A significant segment of the evangelical Christian community, for example, including a number of evangelical institutions of higher learning, now subscribes to evolution, including molecules-to-man evolution. The author of this Science/Faith blog does not endorse molecules-to-man evolution. We believe our interpretation of the evidence for creation and intelligent design scenarios diametrically opposes macro-evolution. Molecules-to-man may describe one important application of “macro-evolution.” We do not believe in macro-evolution.

We promote the idea that geological and historical events clearly present evidence of sudden creation events which are unexplained by any evolutionary scenario. Our readers are encouraged to read widely and broadly on the questions of human origins and the implications of the findings of science as it relates to evolution, creation, and intelligent design. In addition to the professional science community’s answer on origins, other advances provided by science and technology in our society have significant impacts on our worldview. As Christians we must be aware of these impacts and be prepared with our response.

Some fellow Christians have come to different conclusions about origins. Theistic evolutionists believe evolution is one means by which God could have accomplished his creative work. Finally, I encourage each reader to read and study these origins questions broadly. No conference attendance, regardless of the quality of the presenters and their presentations, substitutes for personal study and reflection on these vital issues.