Magi Mike's Blog

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Quiet, Reflective, Christian Thinking on Science and Religion

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The Rev Brenda Freije, Pastor for discipleship and formation, North United Methodist Church, Indianapolis

Science and Religion: Word Frequency 1800-Present

As a United Methodist pastor, I am part of a Christian tradition that looks to Scripture, church tradition, critical thinking and relevant experience to reflect on God and make decisions about life in relationship to our Scriptures. Within this framework, there is plenty of room for science, including the science of evolution. What can be measured and tested and studied through scientific methods informs my theology, and my theology informs how I understand the results of that scientific method. I am not an expert on other faith traditions, but I imagine that many of them could make similar claims.

The Scriptures are ancient writings crafted over centuries. The truths they contain are timeless and require attention and study to appreciate. One needs to be careful not to read the ancient writings as if reading a twentyfirst century newspaper article. The story of God is not so easily contained or summarized.

Problems arise when one confuses religion and science and tries to read the Bible as if it were a precise recounting of history. The two creation stories in Genesis at the very beginning of the Bible, which tell very different stories about how the world was formed, should be enough to give one pause. There is tremendous wisdom and sound advice in the Scriptures, and I believe the teachings in the Bible, if honestly followed, will be a source of joy, peace, love and life not only for the follower but also for the follower’s community.

Science and religion ask different questions and apply different methods of study. This doesn’t make them incompatible. It does make them distinct. Claims about God as the creator of life are claims of faith. Claims that there is no divine power behind the created order are claims of a different kind of faith. It is the role of parents and our communities of faith to teach about these claims and to help our children think critically about the science they are learning.

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Written by mikemagee

11 February, 2012 at 10:48 pm

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